Pups, commence your barking! The American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dog breeds for 2022 includes long-enduring favorites and some entertaining newcomers. In a time when American families are just as likely to have dogs as children, this list may be a helpful resource in deciding which pup is best suited for your home.
The Five Top Dog Breeds According to the American Kennel Club
We’re highlighting the top five most popular dog breeds in America, according to the AKC’s March 2022 announcement, in addition to some sleeper stunners from South Carolina. These rankings are based on AKC registration statistics from the 2021 year, so you can expect the organization to publish its 2023 ranking in the next couple of months.
#1 Labrador Retriever
The Mister/Miss Congeniality of the dog world, Labrador retrievers have claimed the #1 ranking on the AKC’s list of most popular dog breeds since 1991.
Described as active, friendly, and outgoing, labs get along swimmingly with young children and other dogs. There’s no such thing as a stranger for these welcoming pups, who endear millions with their playful, open demeanors.
If you’re considering adopting a lovable lab, be prepared to give them plenty of daily exercise. Otherwise, your energetic canine companion may seek stimulation through undesirable behaviors. Keeping your lab active via enthralling games of fetch, laps at the pond, and regular runs will help stave off health conditions like myopathy and hip dysplasia.
On average, labs live between 11 and 13 years. In their initial months of life, they’ll benefit from gradual socialization and puppy obedience courses. If you can participate in training along with them, even better. These sweethearts love to feel like they’re part of the family.
#2 French Bulldog
Affectionately referred to as “Frenchies,” these small but mighty pooches with their adorable bat-like ears are a popular choice for urban residents (possessing all of the vigilance of the most dedicated watchdog without the irritating bark).
French bulldogs can best be described as playful, smart, and adaptable. Like labs, they’re an easygoing breed with minimal grooming needs. Unlike a lab, however, a Frenchie’s top-heavy frame is not conducive to aquatic adventure.
Your French bulldog will thank you four times over for devoting time to keeping its facial wrinkles clean and dry. While French manicures aren’t necessary, their nails should be trimmed regularly. Taking them on frequent, short walks or puppy play dates can help with this endeavor. Take care that they don’t become overexerted during these walks as their cute, albeit flat faces make them prone to breathing issues, especially in more humid climates.
Don’t be fooled by their small stature – Frenchies can have large personalities. Early dog obedience classes can help curb overwhelming habits. These lovable pups aim to please and will enjoy games designed to build cooperation and listening. With a life expectancy of 10-12 years, each day with your French bulldog will be equal parts fun and sweet.
#3 Golden Retriever
Beloved for their intelligent, friendly, and devoted temperaments, golden retrievers are as loyal as they come. Their desire to please their owners makes them a highly trainable breed, and it’s essential to teach them good habits early so they don’t resort to digging or other maladaptive behaviors.
Goldens get along wonderfully with friends and family members of all ages. You’ll want to invest in a durable dustbuster and grooming brush. They frequently shed their lovely golden locks. Avid enthusiasts of the great outdoors, these energetic doggos live to play fetch on land or in the water.
You could spend hours entertaining goldens with a favorite ball or chew toy. Going on hikes is also preferred to high-impact runs, which may cause weakness in a golden’s joints. Agility classes are healthy options that also double as training opportunities. Who doesn’t love a win-win scenario like that?!
Maintaining an active lifestyle will ensure your golden reaches its average life expectancy of 10-12 years. As you’re indulging them in pets, give a quick check to their floppy ears, which may develop infections if left unattended.
#4 German Shepherd
“I’m your huckleberry” should be the motto of this courageous, confident, and smart breed – German shepherds are always up for the challenge.
These herding dogs are one of the most watchful and protective on the AKC’s most popular list of dog breeds, making them excellent choices for families wanting a little more vigilance at home.
German shepherds come in a wide range of colors, from blue or sable to white and liver, among other combinations. While they have one of the shortest life expectancies on this list, at 7-10 years, you’ll love each day spent with your noble companion.
German shepherds tend to get along with most dogs, though there are some cases where it may be best for them to live in a “one-dog home.” As intelligent as they are, they may view boundaries as “challenges” to overcome. That’s code for, “I need to exercise often, or else I’m going to apply myself to finding five innovative ways to escape my fenced-in area!”
Some dogs on this list can tolerate “human food,” but German shepherds are not one of them. Table scraps can give them a tummy ache, so opt for kibble or dried biscuits for training motivation. They’ll thank you for providing structure when it comes to nutrition and exercise.
#5 Standard Poodle
These active, proud, and intelligent pooches have reclaimed their position on the top five most popular dog breeds list for the first time since 1997. This should come as no surprise, as there are too many reasons to love standard poodles.
To start, this breed keeps the shedding and drooling to a minimum and boasts a long life expectancy of 10-18 years! Don’t be fooled by their curly, high-maintenance coats (which require daily brushing to prevent matting) – these canines are super athletic and incredibly smart, making them a quick study in the training process. They are also unafraid to get down and dirty, thriving when given the opportunity to retrieve or show off their swimming skills.
If you’re welcoming a poodle into a home with another dog, it may be best to seek a “trial run,” as some prefer the alpha lifestyle. In two-poodle dwellings, they may benefit from being fed in two different rooms.
Speaking of food, poodles can be prone to becoming overweight, so keep an eye on calorie consumption and offer treats in moderation.
South Carolina’s Fan Favorites
As it happens, many South Carolinians also prefer the most popular dogs on the AKC’s list. Labrador retrievers and German shepherds are the two most beloved dog breeds in SC. The beagle come in at number three. It must be a regional preference, as these breeds are also the most popular in neighboring Georgia and North Carolina.
If you’ve lived in the Palmetto State for some time, you’ll likely be familiar with the Boykin spaniel. It is SC’s official state dog. Lauded as friendly, eager, and lovable, the Boykin sits pretty at #90 on the AKC’s list of 197 breeds.
In this case, the Boykin’s lower ranking can be attributed to its status as a hidden gem. Boasting luscious, dark chocolate-colored coats and long, downy ears, these adaptable dogs might convince you that they’re amphibious. Originally trained to work in the swamps of their home state, Boykins possess webbed feet, making them excellent swimmers. While this breed may be a bit more challenging to locate, you’ll never regret making a companion out of a one-of-a-kind Boykin spaniel.
The Many Merits Of Mutts
What could possibly be better than taking in one of the breeds on this most popular dog breeds list? Adopting a dog with a little bit of each breed!
If you’ve talked with a mutt owner, chances are they’ve sung the many praises of their mixed-breed companions. For good reason. While we consider ourselves equal opportunity dog lovers, there are numerous advantages to adopting a mutt over a purebred pup:
- Mutts tend to have fewer inherited issues, like cataracts, hypothyroidism, and elbow dysplasia. Researchers believe mutations inherent to mixed-breed populations were more widely spread over time.
- Mutts generally live longer than purebred dogs, thanks to their more varied genetic code. In one study, mixed-breed dogs were found to live 1.2 years longer than purebred dogs, with purebred status accounting for nearly half of the variance.
- Mutts tend to be more affordable than purebreds. While breeders may charge several thousand dollars for a purebred dog, adoption shelters generally require a fee of $100 to $500. This fee often includes initial vaccinations, microchips, and a spay or neuter surgery. If cost is of high concern, keep a lookout on your local dog adoption shelter’s social media page for free adoption days.
- Mutts are like snowflakes – you’ll never find another dog precisely like them! If you’re curious to learn more about their genetic makeup, several sites offer dog DNA testing. Discovering your dog’s profile might help clue you into some health problems they could encounter later in life.
- Mutts, once adopted, will be extremely grateful that you chose them. Nearly 3.1 million dogs enter adoption shelters annually, all of whom are deserving of a loving family. By adopting a mutt into your home, you’ll play an integral part in raising awareness of shelter overcrowding. You are also opening up one more space for a pup in need of a transitional home.
Woof, There It Is!
Whether you opt for a purebred pooch or a super mutt, a dog of any age will open up a new dimension of joy in your world that you never knew could be possible. From playtime at the park to snuggle sessions on the couch, it’s obvious why we call dogs our best friends. What breeds do you think will take the top spots in 2023? Keep an eye on the AKC’s social media page in March for when they publish their annual list.