The whole world knows that almost everyone loves dogs. It’s not hard to see why. These lovable and loyal creatures add joy to every home and every life. Breeds of Dogs and pups truly are man’s best friends.
In fact, a 2018 survey conducted by Purina found:
- 95 percent of participants view their dog as part of the family.
- 62 percent said their dog helped them de-stress after a long day at work and 55 percent believed their dog provided emotional support after they received bad news.
- 50 percent of the women that were surveyed even admitted to preferring time with their dogs over time with their partners.
While it’s easy to fall in love with every single pup you interact with, it might be wise to look into the many different breeds of dogs that exist before deciding to bring one into your family.
So let’s take a look at the most beloved mutts of 2021 with a comprehensive guide to the common breeds of dogs around the world.
This guide will cover all types of dogs, ranging from popular dogs to famous dog breeds and much more.
To begin with, let’s go over what exactly the seven major dog groups are. The American Kennel Club classifies dogs into seven major categories.
This is carried out based on the original work that each breed was developed to perform.
The groups are:
The Sporting Group
Dogs from this group were originally bred to help hunters while they captured feathered games for sport.
Each breed within this group generally has a specific bird that they were experts at hunting.
Retrievers were good at finding waterfowl thanks to their ability to swim, while Spaniels and Settlers were more adept at catching grassland birds like quail and pheasant.
Notably, dogs from this group have thick, water-repellent fur, an evolution of their hunting instinct.
The Working Group
These reliable dogs were formerly bred to perform duties of importance. These strong, dependable, and intelligent animals are ancient breeds.
They were used to help out with a range of tasks like acting as watchdogs and pulling carts and sleds.
Dogs from this group include Siberian Huskies, Great Danes, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers and Akitas.
The Hound Group
Dogs from this group are the ones with the strongest smelling senses. Also originally bred for hunting, these pups used their superior sniffing skills to pursue a warm-blooded quarry.
In today’s world, they are a popular breed for law enforcement. Dogs from this group that you probably know of are Beagles, Basset Hounds, Greyhounds, and Bloodhounds.
The Terrier Group
The Terrier group encompasses dogs that were bred for their vermin and rodent killing capabilities.
Although most of them still possess the instincts of their ancestors, they are considered loving companions today.
Terrier dogs range from Jack Russell Terriers and Bull Terriers to Fox Terrier, Scottish Terriers, and Border Terriers.
The Toy Group
Much like the name suggests, the cute little dogs from this group were created in order to serve as lapdogs.
They might be tiny in size, but make up for it adequately with feisty intelligence. They’re also the perfect breed for small houses and apartments.
Dogs from the Toy group are Shih Tzus, Pugs, Pomeranians, Malteses, and Silky Terriers.
The Herding Group
These dogs aren’t just man’s best friend, they’re also a shepherd’s best friend. As the name suggests, dogs from the Herding group are used to do exactly that for livestock, mostly on farms.
The Non-Sporting Group
As the most unique group of all, the Non-Sporting group consists of dogs that don’t really fit into any other group.
The most common dogs from this group are a mix of different sizes and physical and personality traits, including Dalmatians, Chow Chows, American Bulldogs, Poodles, Boston Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Shiba Inus, and French Bulldogs.
Now that we’ve covered the major groups of the different breeds of dog, let’s dive straight into the specifics:
50 most popular breeds of dog on the planet
As America’s top breed of dog since 1991, Labrador Retrievers are the most loved family dogs. With their history beginning in Canada, Labs love being on the water and were originally used to help fishermen on ships.
Their friendly demeanor and exuberant spirit make them the perfect therapy dogs. These same qualities also make them ideal for a family with children. Although they generally need some obedience training, Labs are intelligent and mild-tempered pets.
Top amongst tiny breeds that everyone is obsessed with is the French Bulldog. This breed has historically produced companion dogs.
Although they have the word ‘French’ in their names, these dogs were bred in England to be miniatures. The ‘French’ part of their moniker was birthed when they accompanied English lacemakers to France.
French Bulldogs are ideal for city-dwellers, given how they can fit almost anywhere and don’t require much exercise. Their naturally short coat also makes cleaning up after them an easy task.
This confident and courageous breed of dogs is most popularly known for its military or law enforcement service. They are large, agile, noble, and highly intelligent.
Also known as Alsatians, German Shepherds feature second on the American Kennel Club’s list of popular breeds of dog.
They have a strong sense of purpose and are extremely obedient to their masters. It’s easy to understand why their name in German is ‘Schutzhund’, which literally translates to protection dog.
Born of the Sporting group, cheerful Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds of dog in America and the world.
Similar to their Labrador relatives, Golden Retrievers make excellent guide dogs and therapy dogs. They’re outgoing, devoted, and friendly.
This is why it’s no surprise that they’re great pets to have. With their love for outdoor play and swimming, they’re also perfect companions for kids.
They’re easy to train, but their long, shiny coats mean that there’s plenty of cleaning up to do when you have a Golden Retriever in your family.
Although they were originally bred for the horrific sport of bull-baiting, Bulldogs are now considered a gentle and loving pet to have for your home.
These pups are also an extremely popular bunch of dogs, with the American Kennel Association ranking them fifth on their list of popular breeds of dog.
That’s not all, Google indexes place Bulldogs pretty high on their popular search trends as well! They’re low-maintenance pups who love nothing more than a nice nap on the couch, but a brisk walk every now and then serves their bodies well.
The proud Poodle is an aristocratic breed of dog. Formerly the most popular breed of dog in American homes, the noble Poodle now stands at number 6.
Poodles usually come in three different sizes: Standards, Miniatures, and Toys. Poodles are also popular on dog show circuits across the globe, all thanks to their elegance, athleticism, and regal attitude.
It’s important to note that Poodles need socialization from a very early age to avoid excessive protectiveness for their owners.
They also require loads of grooming. A fun fact about the traditional grooming style that Poodles used to have, like the pompons around their ankles, is that they actually served the purpose of protecting joints and vital organs from freezing water.
With their happy-go-lucky spirit and high energy levels, Beagles are the dream pet for both adults and kids.
As fun-loving as they are, their Hound ancestry can sometimes result in a stubborn streak that requires patient training and obedience.
It is this same ancestry that gives them their strong sense of smell and they love to do nothing more than chasing a scent around all day.
Beagles need lots of outdoor playtimes and get along well in groups. Their pleasing colors and pleading faces result in an extremely cute appearance, making them the most popular Hound group dog to have in America.
If you’re looking for a companion that doubles as a guardian, then the Rottweiler is your new best friend.
Known for their courage and strength, Rottweilers are descendants of the Mastiffs of the Roman legions. They were originally bred as cattle drivers.
Rottweilers have a reputation for being aggressive and dangerous but this isn’t necessarily true.
With proper socialization, these pups can be loving and protective playmates. They are intelligent animals with strong guarding instincts which makes them a good choice for search and rescue teams.
Pointers (German Shorthaired)
Pointers are named after their historical purpose of hunting. These dogs would lift one paw to signal the location of prey to their human hunters. This enthusiastic breed is trustworthy and eager to please.
They’re easily recognizable by their coat that is spattered with a distinctive pattern. This noble breed is known for dogs that are agile, athletic, and active, which is exactly why they need humans who will engage in plenty of playtime with them.
Known around the world as ‘sausage dogs’ or ‘wiener dogs’, Dachshunds are a breed of tiny, bold, and vivacious pups.
Although they look absolutely adorable, Dachshunds are great watchdogs. Their hunter instincts make them brave and slightly stubborn.
This hunting personality is tempered by their intelligence and devotion, making them good for a household. Ideally, there shouldn’t be too many steps in their living environment, as stair climbing causes considerable physical strain on their backs.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis
Popularly known as the Queen of England’s favorites, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are beloved by the British. They’re great herders and are considered amongst the friendliest of small house dogs.
Their friendly and intelligent nature makes them great to have around children and other pets. Despite their tiny stature, they’re good at herding larger livestock like cattle.
Their inherent energy means that they require loads of activity to stay healthy and happy. Pembroke Welsh Corgis enjoy being lavished with attention. Although they have a tendency to bark, it’s mainly due to their watchdog nature.
Although the country is in their name, Australian Shepherds do not originate from Australia. In fact, they’re known to have come from California around the time of the Gold Rush.
As a cowboy favorite, Australian Shepherds are excellent herders. They are energetic and active and require humans who can match their levels of enthusiasm.
They’re at their best when they have a job to do and flourish in a large country or farm spaces.
“Though she be, little she is fierce” is a Shakespearean quote that is best applied to Yorkshire Terriers. As the most popular toy dog breed in the United States, Yorkshire Terriers or Yorkies are famous for their long and shiny coats.
Despite their dainty looks and demure size, Yorkies are great at catching rodents and vermin.
Their tiny proportions make them good for urban living. It’s good to remember that they can be snippy around children and strangers and that their long coats mean that they require grooming on a regular basis.
Boxers are one of the most lovable breeds of dogs. They’re the whole package deal – good looks, loyalty, athletic prowess, energy, and protectiveness.
They’re patient and friendly, which makes them great companions for children. Boxers are also strong watchdogs and will attack intruders without fear.
Early socialization works wonders for dogs from this breed.
Made culturally popular by the cartoon character, Scooby-Doo, Great Danes are not only large in size but also large-hearted dogs. These dogs tower over most other pups.
When they stand on their hind legs they can even be taller than a lot of humans. Much like their famed cartoon representative, these dogs are great around children. Like the Australian Shepherd, their names are also a misnomer.
Great Danes didn’t originate from Denmark but came from Germany, where they were used to hunt wild boars. These dogs require plenty of space and care. They’re also considered expensive dogs due to the vast amounts of food they consume.
Siberian Huskies are one of the most handsome breeds of dogs on earth. Their striking blue or brown eyes and lupine features give them the strongest resemblance to their wolf ancestors.
These dogs were bred to transport sleds across the Siberian icescape, a fact that is connected to their name as well as their nature. Siberian Huskies love to run and enjoy a generally active lifestyle.
Their high metabolism allows them to survive in extremely cold temperatures and sprint for hours on very low quantities of food without feeling a drop in energy levels. Despite their furry coats, they’re clean, low-maintenance dogs.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
A proud member of the Toy group, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are graceful, gentle, and affectionate. Also known as Blenheims, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels love their humans and are not afraid to show it.
They love being cuddled, which makes them perfect for persons experiencing empty nests after their children have moved out of their homes. Interestingly, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels also get along very well with cats.
So if you’re concerned about your pet feline making friends, this breed is a good option. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels’ long, furry coats mean that they require frequent grooming, even though they don’t shed too much.
The story goes that Doberman Pinschers were first bred by tax collectors who needed an additional security detail while they collected debts at night. And it’s not hard to see why Doberman Pinschers made sense for exactly that.
They’re believed to be a mix of many breeds of dog, including Rottweilers, Black and Tan Terriers, and German Pinschers. Fierce and noble, Doberman Pinschers make for great guard dogs.
Their agility and strength are the reason they’re a dominant presence in police forces and the military. They rank fifth when it comes to intelligence, which explains why they’re so easy to train.
With their furry coats, full beards, and almost human-like mustaches, Miniature Schnauzers look like little grandfathers. But don’t be fooled by appearances because these dogs are far from being slow or lazy.
As a relatively new breed, Miniature Schnauzers originated from Germany in the late 19th century. They’re adaptable dogs that thrive in both apartment and farm-style environments.
Shih Tzu translates to ‘little lion’ but this Tibetan-origin pup is nothing like its namesake. Known for being incredibly cute, Shih Tzu love being showered with affection and pampering.
They’re perfect as companion dogs and can spend all day following their human around. Shih Tzus are slightly lazier than other breeds, making them a good choice of pet for city dwellers.
Since it was the first official dog that was bred in the United States, it’s no wonder that Boston Terriers are very popular in America.
Boston Terriers’ ancestry can be traced all the way back to a stout little dog from Liverpool named Judge. Judge was a cross between a Bulldog and the now-extinct white English Terrier, and the father of all Boston Terriers.
Also known as the ‘American Gentleman’ because of their tuxedo-like markings, the Boston Terrier became the official dog of the State of Massachusetts, as well as the mascot of Boston University.
These little dogs are active and fast, so make sure they’re leashed when you’re stepping out with them. The ever-cheerful Boston Terrier is also the perfect size for urban living.
Bernese Mountain Dogs
One of the four types of Swiss mountain dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs are breeds of dog used to herd cattle in Switzerland. These large dogs are built for work and are hardy enough to withstand tough cold weather.
They get their name from the Swiss canton of Bern. They are friendly, intelligent, and highly trainable but are high-energy dogs that require lots of activity.
Berners get along with families, especially with children, but they will often attach themselves to one lucky human. They adore companionship, which makes them great partners for long walks.
Small but feisty, Pomeranians are good as cuddle buddies that also pack a punch. This tiny breed is said to be descendants of large sled breeds of dogs.
Ideal for families with slightly older children, Pomeranians are easy to train and make great watchdogs.
Their size makes them good pets for an apartment, but keep in mind that they’re a noisy Toy breed which might lead to issues with your neighbors.
As their national dog, the Havanese has a place of pride amongst Cubans. Named after the city of Havana, this breed of dog has an intense need to be around humans, resulting in the nickname ‘Velcro dogs’.
They don’t shed their long coats too much, making for easy cleaning up. However, their long coats need frequent combing to avoid tangles.
An apparent favorite of famed literature figures, both Ernest Hemingway and Charles Dickens owned Havanese dogs.
Originating from Italy, Cani Corsi served as bodyguards in ancient Rome. Currently, Cani Corsi is one of the most popular breeds in Europe.
While not the most friendly, they are protective of and loyal to their families. They make great guard dogs and do well with people when socialized from an early age.
Spaniels (English Springer)
English Springer Spaniels are athletic and agile dogs that were originally bred for help with hunting.
English Springer Spaniels are good for tracking and make good companions for camping and hiking.
They love human beings and are eager to please. They enjoy hours and hours of outdoor play, including swimming and fetch.
Named after the islands off of Scotland, Shetland Sheepdogs, also known as ‘Shelties’ are tiny herding dogs.
Obedient and intelligent, Shetland Sheepdogs are easy to train and eager to please. They thrive in human companionship and shouldn’t go too long without it.
In fact, they’re so attached to their humans that they’re often called ‘shadows’. They bark and prefer to be reserved around strangers, both of which are qualities that contribute to their superiority as watchdogs.
Brittanys are best suited to humans that love the outdoors and lots of activity in their lives. Brittanys were bred as gundogs, and are still excellent at hunting.
Their hunting skills include pointing and retrieving, in both open fields and dense covers. Brittanys tend to be sensitive because of which they need plenty of positive reinforcement.
According to the American Kennel Club, “The Pug’s motto is the Latin phrase “multum in parvo” (a lot in a little).” This is a completely accurate description of this breed of dog.
Pugs are mischievous, expressive pets that are perfect for a house. They’re small, don’t need too much exercise, don’t require too much grooming, and aren’t destructive by nature.
The only thing they need in large quantities is their human affection. They thrive in moderate climates and care needs to be taken to prevent them from becoming overweight.
Cocker Spaniels are furballs that are filled with love. Although they remain bird dogs by instinct, they make great companions to families, especially ones with children.
They also get along well with other pets, even other dogs! Cocker Spaniels are named after Woodcocks – the birds they were trained to hunt.
They love snuggles and cuddles as much as they love playtime. They love attention from their humans and can be sensitive if they don’t receive enough of this.
Miniature American Shepherds
Miniature American Shepherds are a relatively new breed that originated from California in the late 1960s.
They’re connected to the Australian Shepherd, which explains why they look so similar to them.
They’re good-natured, intelligent and devoted, and are committed to being excellent herders despite their small stature.
As the apex herding dog, Border Collies are known to love to do chores. They enjoy having tasks and duties to perform and do so with great gusto.
It is said that they were in order to herd sheep in the hilly border country between Scotland and England – a fact that lends itself to this dog breed’s name.
Border Collies are notorious for their ‘herding eye’, an intense gaze through which they control their flock. They are very intelligent dogs that respond well to training.
They’re suited to live with families, as long as they get high amounts of regular physical activity.
Second, only to the majestic Great Dane, Mastiffs are one of the largest dogs in the world. And that’s not all – they’re also believed to be one of the oldest dogs, serving as one of man’s strongest protectors during battle.
Despite their formidable size, Mastiffs are gentle around their families. That said, they can be protective of the ones they love, which also makes them excellent watchdogs.
They make for caring pets but families should consider the level of maintenance needed for a large dog before making their decision. They also tend to drool, making clean-up a necessity.
Like most other small dogs, Chihuahuas make up for their diminutive size with massive personalities. Chihuahuas are the national symbol for Mexico, a tidbit that serves as an inspiration in many Hollywood movies.
Their tiny size also makes them somewhat of a style icon for the rich and famous like Paris Hilton.
They require training and it’s ideal that small children around them are instructed on how to handle them. They thrive in warmer climates and are good for city living.
Vizslas are a handsome breed of dog that finds their origins in Hungary. They are lean and light on their feet, making them perfect companions for jogging and running. Vizslas are active, athletic, and have high levels of energy.
They’re affectionate and like being around families, but are not ideal candidates for apartment living. Vizslas need loads of physical activity and do best around families that encourage the same.
Basset Hounds are a breed of dog that is characterized by long droopy ears, wrinkled brow, and big eyes that give them an appearance of being perpetually sad.
While originally bred to hunt games like rabbits, they’re presently considered relaxed family dogs that adore children. They have an uncanny sense of smell, with their sniffers coming second only to those of Bloodhounds.
The loose skin around their necks and ears helps trap scents, making it easier for Basset Hounds to track.
Their lazy stubbornness might mean that their humans have to push them to exercise a little more. They might need their diets monitored for the same reasons.
The Belgian Malinois is an elite breed that is born from the same line as German Shepherds.
They’re strong, obedient, and protective, forming a part of many search and rescue, military, and security teams.
They’re even included on the White House security team. For proper exercise and training, they require potential training. They also need to be engaged in order to stay mentally and physically healthy.
An ancient dog of the Toy group, Malteses were bred to be pure white by Roman emperors who considered the color to be a symbol of divinity.
Their long flowing fur gives them a look of elegance and nobility. The aristocratic Maltese is a breed that is ready to befriend everyone.
Agile and friendly, Malteses are great as companions but also serve well as therapy dogs. They love to be with their owners and take well to training that is centered around rewards.
Distinguished by their silvery coats, Weimaraners were originally bred as gundogs for big games like deer. Also known as ‘Silver Ghosts’, Weimaraners were sought after as noble hunting companions by royals and aristocrats.
Currently, this hunting ancestry makes them a high-energy breed that needs training and plenty of activity.
They’re good with families and kids, as long as they remain committed to keeping them physically engaged.
After the grand success of the film Lassie in 1994, Collies rose to become one of the most popular breeds of dog in America.
Originating primarily from the Scottish Highlands, these dogs were used for herding. Not only are Collies sensitive and intelligent, but they also seem to have a strong sense of intuitiveness that allows them to pick up on their human needs.
They love being around families and children and need constant companionship.
Thanks to their massive size and their shaggy countenance, Newfoundlands are often confused as being bears. But this formidable size doesn’t translate into their personalities in the least.
These gentle giants are incredibly loving and caring – so much that they’re known as ‘nanny’ dogs. From Newfoundland, they originally served to pull nets for fishermen and drag timber from the forest.
At present, their webbed feet and water-resistant coat make them ideal for water rescues. As great as they are in family settings, Newfoundlands shed a lot and have large appetites, making them a slightly care-intensive pet.
As one of the most handsome breeds of dog around, Rhodesian Ridgebacks were actually bred with an intimidating task in mind.
A mix of Great Danes and indigenous African dogs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks were bred by colonial European farmers in order to protect them and to track lions.
They are strong-willed and athletic and must be trained firmly as puppies in order to be properly socialized. They are best suited to humans that have experience with dogs.
Notoriously popular in modern meme culture and in the world of cryptocurrency, the Shiba Inu is actually an ancient Japanese dog breed.
Shiba Inus are highly energetic and this sometimes means that they love escaping the confines of their environment. They have a confident and charming personality and make enjoyable companions.
West Highland White Terriers
West Highland White Terriers were first bred to hunt rats. These tiny dogs of Scottish origin are extremely confident in themselves.
Its toylike appearance makes it irresistibly adorable, consequently making it an extremely popular dog breed.
Often called ‘Westies’, these pups are great to have around a family in any type of size of home.
These peppy puffballs are a mischievous and loving breed of dog. They get along well with other dogs and children, making for excellent companions.
They need plenty of play and activities. They also love attention and can react sensitively if left alone for even a single day.
They’re entertainers who love performing for everyone around them.
The breed with the strongest nose in the game has to be the Bloodhound. These dogs were initially bred to hunt a range of animals as a sport through their powerful sniffing skills.
At present, they use these capabilities to help law enforcement track down fugitives and criminals.
Also known as the ‘Sleuth Hound’, this breed is best suited for experienced families, as novices might have a hard time managing the Bloodhounds’ stubbornness and sensitivities.
Experienced humans will enjoy a docile and friendly pup if they provide their Bloodhound with enough play and the right kind of training.
Spaniels (English Cocker)
Much like other Cocker Spaniels, the English one was named after the bird it was bred to hunt. These affectionate and merry dogs do well in most environments, as long as they are provided the exercise and activity they require.
With looks that are similar to the Shiba Inu, Akitas are another beloved Japanese dog breed. They’re so popular in Japan that there is an entire museum dedicated to them.
The 1987 film Hachikō Monogatari also popularised Akitas, further highlighting their deep sense of loyalty to their humans.
Their double coats help them navigate snowy weather with ease and give them a bold appearance that matches their personalities. While they are devoted to their families, they can get territorial and are not fond of strangers.
Portuguese Water Dogs
Portuguese Water Dogs thrive around humans who love the outdoors, especially ones that enjoy being in the water.
Their webbed feet make them assets to fishermen, helping them retrieve lost gear. They are smart, eager to please, and easy to train.
They are loving companions for families. They were famously represented by Bo Obama, the former First Dog of the United States.
Although they don’t shed too much, their coat requires thorough and regular combing.
Retrievers (Chesapeake Bay)
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers or ‘Chessies’ are mid-Atlantic dogs that are known for their duck hunting capabilities.
Their thick coats and sturdy bodies made them ideal for this sport. Due to their tenacious tendencies, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are better pets for humans that have previous experience with dogs.
They require loads of activity and thus need living environments that allow for the same.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Which breed of dog makes the best pet?
Answer: Although this depends on the specific type of dog that you are looking for, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are widely considered to make great pets thanks to their friendly and familial nature. Both breeds are intelligent and take well to training but both need solid amounts of exercise to stay engaged and healthy.
- What is the #1 dog breed in 2021?
Answer: The American Kennel Club hasn’t yet announced its rankings for 2021, but with a 29-year winning streak, it’s safe to expect that the Labrador Retriever will be at the top of the list this year too!
- What is the least popular dog?
Answer: All dogs are amazing in their own special way! But if we’re looking at it from a ranking point of view, the American Kennel Club ranked Norwegian Lundehunds as 195th on their list of popular breeds of dogs.
- What breeds of dogs are considered aggressive?
Answer: With the correct socialization at the appropriate stage of puppyhood, even the most aggressive of dogs can be trained into being mellow and gentle. That said, here are a few dogs that are conventionally considered to be aggressive – American Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, American Bulldogs, and Mastiffs.
- How many breeds of dog are there?
Answer: According to the American Kennel Club, there are 195 breeds as of 2020.
- Which dogs are used by the police forces?
Answer: Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds, and Bloodhounds are common breeds of dogs on police forces.
- Why do dogs howl?
Answer: Dogs howl for many different reasons including attracting attention, announcing their presence, and to communicate with other humans and animals.
- Which is the most dangerous breed of dogs?
Answer: While a dog’s temperament can be managed by training and socialization, American Pit Bull Terriers are largely considered the most dangerous breed of dog.
There are plenty of dogs waiting to find loving homes with humans that can nurture them and look after their needs. If you have the time, patience, money, and ability to handle taking care of a dog, then we can think of no greater joy! Figure out which type of breed best suits the living conditions that you can offer and make the choice of adding a furry dose of happiness to your life.