AKC’s 2021 Most Popular Dog Breeds List Brings New Surprises


Every year, the American Kennel Club (AKC) releases a list of the most popular dog breeds from the prior year. Every time, there are many consistencies but also many unexpected changes. One breed continues to break records this year, a few fan-favorites went down a spot, and another re-entered the top five.

Of course, all dogs are amazing regardless of breed, but this list is still fun and interesting to look at. No matter where your dog’s breed falls, they’ll always be the most popular in your household.

Frenchie playing with basketball

AKC’s Most Popular Dog Breeds 2021

For 31 years in a row, the Labrador Retriever has ranked number one on the list, making a new record every year. However, the dogs that follow this breed often change slightly with some new surprises each time.

“The versatile, family-friendly Labrador Retriever has solidified itself as America’s dog,” said Gina DiNardo, an AKC executive secretary. “With their loving, outgoing personality and eager-to-please attitude, it’s no surprise that the Lab has been able to continue its record-breaking run as the most popular breed in the U.S.”

Labrador Retriever on the beach

The most popular breeds in 2021 are:

  1. Labrador Retrievers
  2. French Bulldogs
  3. Golden Retrievers
  4. German Shepherd Dogs
  5. Poodles
  6. Bulldogs
  7. Beagles
  8. Rottweilers
  9. German Shorthaired Pointers
  10. Dachshunds

What Changed This Year?

French Bulldogs kept their number two spot from the previous year, but a few other changes were made. Golden Retrievers passed up German Shepherds and claimed the third-place spot.

The Poodle entered the top five this year for the first time since 1997. It’s suspected that their popularity is due to the many Poodle mixed breeds that are in high demand. Poodles bumped Bulldogs out of the top five for the first time in nearly a decade.

Standard Poodle outside

Of course, all these popular dog breeds are at the top for a reason. They’re known for being adorable and friendly. However, it’s important not to get a dog solely based on looks. If you go to a breeder, make sure it’s a reputable one that prioritizes the dog’s health. Pet stores, online breeders, or any other breeder that won’t show you the parent dogs or breeding location is likely a puppy mill.

Around the world, breed standards are also starting to change for the better. Norway recently banned the breeding of two popular breeds to encourage healthier breeding practices, and many countries have similar regulations for flat-faced dogs. It’ll be interesting to see if those changes affect the AKC at all in the future.

You can view the AKC’s most popular dog list for 2021 here!

H/T: akc.org

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