What are the top 10 dog breeds?

Updated November 21, 2016

Each year, the American Kennel Club compiles a list of the most popular dog breeds. This list is based on the number of new AKC registrations for each particular dog breed in a given year. Historically, the top breeds change very little. The American Kennel Club list of the top 10 dog breeds for 2009 include small toy breeds, hunting dogs and working dogs.

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever has remained the top dog on the American Kennel Club list since the early 1990s. The Labrador Retriever is gentle and good-natured, which makes him an excellent family pet. Labs, as they are affectionately called, are extremely intelligent and are often used as guide dogs, in drug enforcement and as search and rescue dogs. Labs come in yellow, black and chocolate colours.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd took over the number two spot last year and continues to increase in popularity. The German Shepherd is highly intelligent, loyal and good-natured, making him an excellent family pet. He is often considered the world's leading police, guard and military dog according to AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. German Shepherds are often used as guide and service dogs, in search and rescue and in drug enforcement.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers, commonly known as "Yorkies," are small dogs with big personalities. Although they belong to the toy group, they are actually true terriers, originally used to catch rats in 19th century clothing mills. Eventually, their good looks and personality caught the eye of European high society, and they have remained popular ever since. Yorkies are happy, energetic, brave little dogs.

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever has been among the top four dog breeds since the early 1990s. He is a loyal and loving family companion who wants nothing more than to please his owner. He is highly intelligent and makes an excellent hunting dog as well as a guide, assistance and search and rescue dog.


The Beagle has a delightful personality, and is always ready to play, making him an excellent choice for a family dog. His astute hunting ability and sense of smell make him a top choice for hunters as well. Beagles often are used as search and rescue dogs as well as in drug detection.


Boxer dogs are best known for their desire to interact with children. They are patient and playful while at the same time being protective and alert, which make them an excellent choice for families. A Boxer stands up on his hind legs and "boxes" with his front legs when defending himself, hence the name Boxer.


Much like Boxers, Bulldogs are known for their tendency to bond with children. They are gentle and protective with lovable personalities, making them a popular family pet. Bulldogs continue to gain in popularity and have steadily moved up on the AKC top dog breed list since the early 1990s.


Dachshunds are lovable, playful companions, but they should be supervised around children. They are excellent hunters, both above and below ground, with keen senses of smell. Dachshunds were originally bred in Germany to burrow into badger holes and fight to the death.


Poodles can be found in three sizes: standard, miniature and toy, which, according to the AKC, may account for their ranking on the top breed list. Poodles are extremely intelligent and often excel at obedience training. Poodles shed very little, making them a popular choice for people with allergies.

Shih Tzu

The word Shih Tzu translates into "lion," which adequately describes this fearless little dog. He is not afraid to stand up for himself, yet he remains lively, friendly and trusting towards everyone. Developed strictly as a house dog, the Shih Tzu has been a cherished pet of Chinese royalty since the Ming Dynasty.

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