Welcome to our complete guide to AKC Dog Breeds. Looking at the top AKC dog breeds for this year.
It’s 2017, which means it is time once again to see where our favorite AKC dog breeds ranked in popularity last year according to the American Kennel Club’s annual survey.
This list has long served as a starting point for prospective dog owners.
We’ll take a look at some of the reasons behind these breeds popularity.
As well as some of the risks of choosing a popular dog breed.
How do they pick the most popular AKC breeds?
The AKC determines popularity based on registration statistics.
In other words, they keep track of the number of AKC puppies registered in their databases. This allows them to determine which breeds Americans love the most.
A look at the past few years of AKC dog rankings reveals that Americans have not changed their tastes very much over the past four years.
Still, many people have concerns about popular dog breeds.
Is it good to be popular?
As anyone who attended high school can attest to, popularity is complicated. This is also true for AKC popular dog breeds.
Some dog owners’ worry that popularity can change a breed, for better or for worse. In some cases this can mean breeding a working breed like the Doberman for more family oriented qualities.
In other cases, as with Bulldogs, it can also mean that breeders select for traits like brachiocephalic faces that come with a host of expensive and distressing health issues.
Either way, these ten AKC recognized breeds are consistently ranked most popular for a reason. Because these are the puppies that are being produced in the greatest quantities right now.
Let’s go in reverse order and start at number ten, the Boxer breed!
Boxers are number ten in the top 10 AKC dog breeds.
With their athletic bodies and brachiocephalic faces, Boxers are a bit of a beloved contradiction.
Many people love their clownish natures, and Boxers are active, loyal dogs. They do well with equally active families.
Like many popular breeds, Boxers are predisposed to some serious health conditions, including cancer, degenerative myelopathy, hypothyroidism, cardiomyopathy, hip and elbow dysplasia, and sensitivity to the drug acepromazine.
You can find out all about the Boxer breed of dogs here.
9. Yorkshire Terriers
Coming in at number nine on the AKC dog breeds top 10 list are the gorgeous Yorkshire Terriers.
Their small size, silky fur, and “big dog trapped in a little dog’s body” personality has earned the Yorkie a place on the AKC’s most popular dog list for the last four years.
Although the breed has slipped from 6th place to ninth over time. Probably due to the rise in popularity of the flat faced dog breeds.
Unfortunately, this tiny dog comes with big health problems too. While many Yorkies lead long, healthy lives, the breed is prone to luxating patellas, dental problems, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, eye problems, and weak or collapsing tracheas.
When buying a Yorkshire Terrier it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into, and to buy a pup from a breeder who is rigorous about health testing.
You can find out all about these adorable little dogs here.
A big switch up in size at number eight is the wonderful Rottweiler.
Rottweilers, with their muscular bodies, lovable faces, and ferocious reputation, inspire love and fear wherever they go.
These large, powerful dogs can be incredibly loyal, loving family members. But their strong protective instincts necessitate training and proper socialization. These are not ideal dogs for first time dog owners, and require experience, commitment, and training.
Rotties are happiest with a job to do, so be prepared to participate in activities with your pup.
Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye issues, heart problems like cardiomyopathy and subaortic stenosis (SAS) are all common in Rottweilers. Make sure you find a responsible AKC breeder who regularly tests and screens for these conditions.
You can find out all about the fabulous charismatic Rottweiler breed here.
Don’t be fooled by the elaborate hair styles you may have seen televised. Poodles are highly intelligent, athletic dogs who come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy.
Poodles are loved for their intelligence and their hair, which does not shed – although it does require regular grooming.
The variety of sizes also means that poodles are susceptible to different health problems. Toy and miniature poodles may develop problems more common in small breed dogs, like luxating patellas, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, dental problems, and collapsing tracheas.
Standard poodles, on the other hand, are more likely to develop hip dysplasia and bloat.
Toy, miniature, and standard poodles all suffer from an increased risk of certain cancers, like insulinoma and hemangiosarcoma, skin problems like sebaceous adenitis, and Cushing’s Disease, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, and hypothyroidism.
Most of these issues can be avoided however through proper health testing. And a well bred Poodle really is a wonderful companion for many homes.
You can find out more about the Standard Poodle breed here.
6. French Bulldogs
French Bulldogs, with their lovable, flat faces and charming nature, are creeping up the AKC’s ranking slowly but surely.
Their low exercise requirements make them ideal for city dwellers or those who are not able to keep up with more active breeds, but there is a reason Frenchie’s do not enjoy long jogs.
Frenchies are brachycephalic, which means they have short noses, and this adorable trait has a cost. The French Bulldog may have an elongated soft palette, narrowed nasal cavities, laryngeal collapse, and other structural problems which lead to difficulty breathing. This makes them very exercise and heat intolerant.
In addition to brachiocephalic complications, Frenchies are also prone to spinal malformations and diseases, reproductive problems, eye problems, and intestinal disorders.
Before you buy a French Bulldog, make sure you know all about their special requirements.
A super dog comes in at number five. The wonderful Beagle.
Beagles hold a special place in America’s heart. These outgoing, affectionate hounds are lovably naughty at times and totally motivated by their noses.
Their sense of smell can lead them into trouble, and your neighbors might not appreciate their bugling voices, but these traits are also what make the Beagle a great hunting and working dog.
Beagles are typically healthy, sturdy dogs. They can be prone to hip dysplasia, anterior cruciate ligament tears, and intervertebral disc disease. Hypothyroidism, diabetes, seizure disorders, cataracts, and allergies may also affect the breed, and any potential beagle owner needs to be prepared for the breed’s legendary ‘selective hearing.’
But a well bred, properly trained and socialized Beagle can make a brilliant family pet.
Find out more about the fun loving Beagle breed here.
Bulldogs grace the mascots of many colleges and even the United States Marine Corps. Their loyalty, determination, and gentleness has won the Bulldog an enduring place in American hearts, but few breeds are as prone to health problems as the Bulldog.
Their flat faces make them prone to brachycephalic airway syndrome, and they are exercise intolerant and very sensitive to hot weather. These are definitely indoor dogs, and their wrinkly folds must be kept clean or else the breed is prone to skin infections.
The Bulldog’s stout build also poses problems. Hip and spine malformation can cause serious issues, and they are susceptible to knee injuries and problems. Bulldogs also suffer from numerous eye problems like cherry eye, entropion, cataracts, and dry eye, as well as skin problems, reproductive difficulties, allergies, bladder stones, and cancer.
Think hard before you pick up a Bulldog puppy and check out this complete breed guide.
3. Golden Retriever
People pleasing, active, and beautifully coated, the Golden Retriever is the third most popular AKC registered dog breed in the United States.
These dogs love to retrieve, whether it’s a duck, a tennis ball, or your sock, and tend to get along well with children, dogs, and just about everyone they meet – burglars included.
In recent years, the breed, like many, has diverged into sporting Goldens and show-ring Goldens.
The showier Goldens may have more health problems and temperament problems than the sporting lines, but both lines of Goldens are predisposed to certain types of cancers, including hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumors, and bone cancer.
Hip dysplasia, elbow deformities, and eye problems are also prevalent.
You can improve your chances of getting ahealthy pup by going to a breeder who fully health tests, and takes measures to look out for cancer rates in their dogs line. Older fathers mated to mother’s without a history of cancer in their family can help to improve your puppy’s chances.
Find out more about the brilliant Golden Retriever breed here.
2. German Shepherd Dog
There doesn’t seem to be a job that German Shepherds cannot perform. From herding and police work to guiding the blind, this breed is as versatile as it is intelligent.
Bringing a German Shepherd into your home is a bit like adopting a lifestyle, not a pet. These dogs require frequent exercise and mental stimulation, and obedience training is a must or your German Shepherd will outsmart you. The breed is famously loving and protective, but socialization is essential to temper out their protective instincts.
Their popularity is matched only by their health problems. Responsible breeders are working to eliminate certain conditions from the breed and improve its overall vigor, but German Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, heart problems, immune disorders, digestive problems, vision problems, epilepsy, cancer, and bleeding disorders.
Talk to your breeder to see what screening tests they regularly perform, and be sure to also ask about temperament. German Shepherds can be great family dogs, but an aggressive German Shepherd can be a dangerous animal.
Make sure that you pick a GSD puppy whose parents are both very friendly, and that you socialize him thoroughly from the day you bring him home to avoid potential problems.
Find out more about the amazing German Shepherd Dog here.
1. Labrador Retriever
There is no question about which breed of dog American’s love most. The Labrador Retriever has retained the top spot in the AKC’s ranking for over ten years.
Labradors, like German Shepherds, are famously versatile. They excel at a huge number of jobs and activities, from being reliable service dogs to canine athletes, and they love to be active with their families. Labs are adaptable to a variety of living situations, and with enough exercise can thrive in small apartments as well as homes in the country.
Their winning looks and personality come with some risks. Labs are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, along with eye disease, heart disease, epilepsy, allergies, osteochondrosis and panosteitis.
To make sure you avoid the health problems buy a puppy from parents with clear eye tests, as well as great hip and elbow scores. Choose a breeder who cares about their puppies as members of their family as well as show or working dogs.
You can find out all about the marvelous Labrador Retriever breed here.
A well deserved first place on the top AKC dog breeds list.
Health problems in purebred dogs
Almost every dog breed has its share of problems, but a look at the list of the AKC’s most popular dogs reveals that some have more problems than others.
If you are not prepared to deal with a lifetime of potential health concerns, you may want to avoid the admittedly lovable French Bulldog and Bulldog.
Responsible AKC dog breeders are always working to improve the health of their breeds. If you have fallen in love with a breed from this list, be sure to do your research and ask potential breeders about any health problems in their bloodlines and what tests they have performed to rule them out.
Of course, even the most responsibly bred AKC dogs may have problems.
The best thing you can do is to avoid purchasing or adopting a dog with a known problem, unless you are prepared to take on the additional challenges and costs of ownership.
Regular visits to the veterinarian, a complete and balanced diet, and adequate exercise will also help keep your dog active and healthy.