As dog lovers, we all have our favorite breeds. Our preferences are usually guided by our upbringing or experiences with certain dogs – some of us may have happy memories of the Golden Retriever we owned as a child, or perhaps we’ve spent our adult lives around working breeds used in police work. We’ve all come to realize the amazing ways our canine friends can enhance our lives.
Although we all have our favorites, determining which is the most popular breed of all is an extremely difficult task. The American Kennel Club recognized 192 breeds on its 2018 list of the most registered breeds in the United States, with the Labrador Retriever gaining the top spot (as it has every single year since 1991).
But instead of limiting ourselves to just the U.S., what if we tried to find out the most popular dog breed in the entire world?
Until recently, it would have taken significant (not to mention almost impossible) research to determine which dog breed is the most popular globally. After all, not every country publishes registration statistics like the AKC.
We needed a way to gauge the popularity of breeds, looking at the world as a whole rather than just one individual nation. So, as many of us do, we turned to Google – Google Trends, that is. Google Trends allows you to compare the popularity of search terms against one another. In our case, we were able to find out which dog breed is the most searched for – and by this metric, the most popular – in the entire world.
The period covered by our analysis included Google searches performed between August 1st, 2018 to July 31st, 2019.
For each breed, we have listed a couple of additional details. The AKC Rank shows where the breed ranked in number of registrations on the 2018 American Kennel Club list. This allows you to draw an easy comparison between how popular each breed is in the United States, compared with the world as a whole.
The countries/regions most popular in shows you where each dog breed was most searched for. Note that this is weighted and shows which countries have a higher proportion of all queries – not a higher absolute number of searches.
The Top 50 Most Popular Dog Breeds In The World (based on Google Trends data)
50) West Highland White Terrier
AKC Rank: 42
Countries/regions most popular in: United Kingdom, Hungary, Poland
Commonly known as the Westie, this medium-sized terrier originated in Scotland – so it is no surprise it maintains popularity in the UK today.
49) Rhodesian Ridgeback
AKC Rank: 41
Countries/regions most popular in: Sri Lanka, Germany, Czech Republic
This distinctive, handsome dog originated in southern Africa. A member of the hound group, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are confident, loyal and protective of their owners.
AKC Rank: 40
Countries/regions most popular in: Canada, Poland, Ireland
Newfoundland dogs are huge – males can weigh as much as 150 pounds! These working dogs were originally bred to assist fishermen in Newfoundland.
47) Basset Hound
AKC Rank: 39
Countries/regions most popular in: Denmark, Sweden, United States
Bred to hunt, the Basset Hound is famously devoted to tracking, and has a powerful sense of smell which can only be rivaled by the Bloodhound.
46) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
AKC Rank: 18
Countries/regions most popular in: Denmark, Belgium, Australia
Affectionate and loving, this breed makes a great family dog – requiring lots of interaction and playtime.
45) Boston Terrier
AKC Rank: 21
Countries/regions most popular in: Puerto Rico, Canada, United States
Boston Terriers have a unique tuxedo appearance, giving them their nickname of the American Gentleman.
44) Shar Pei
AKC Rank: 64
Countries/regions most popular in: Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay
Originally from China, the Shar Pei was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1992. Their small, triangular ears and a high-set tail give Shar Peis a very distinctive look.
43) Bichon Frise
AKC Rank: 46
Countries/regions most popular in: Romania, Serbia, Lithuania
The name for these small, white dogs is derived from the French for curly lap dog, but Bichons are actually originally from the Mediterranean – but it was in France where their modern reputation as lap dogs was cultivated.
42) Cocker Spaniel
AKC Rank: 64
Countries/regions most popular in: United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway
It is no surprise that these dogs are popular in Britain – the English Cocker Spaniel was originally bred as a hunting dog and now regularly succeeds at Crufts, a popular dog show in the UK. Its American counterpart is also successful at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
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41) Alaskan Malamute
AKC Rank: 58
Countries/regions most popular in: Slovenia, Norway, Croatia
These large working dogs were bred for their strength and stamina to haul heavy cargo across the tough terrain of Alaska. Malamutes are still used today as sled dogs for travel, moving freight or carrying light objects.
40) Australian Cattle Dog
AKC Rank: 55
Countries/regions most popular in: Costa Rica, Australia, United States
As their name suggests, the Australian Cattle Dog is a working breed used to help direct animals over sizeable distances. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1980.
39) Miniature Pinscher
AKC Rank: 70
Countries/regions most popular in: Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay
Commonly shortened to MinPin, factual records of the Miniature Pinscher’s origins starts less than 200 years ago. This assertive breed requires care, time and effort in training, and can make great agility dogs.
38) Belgian Malinois
AKC Rank: 43
Countries/regions most popular in: Montenegro, Serbia, Tunisia
Famously used by law enforcement to detect odors or apprehend suspects, this hard-working and energetic breed originates in Belgium.
AKC Rank: 56
Countries/regions most popular in: Croatia, United Kingdom, Slovenia
Dalmatians were popularized by the 1956 novel, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, and experienced a similar surge after the live-action film remake in 1996. The breed has its roots in Dalmatia, a region in Croatia.
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AKC Rank: 59
Countries/regions most popular in: Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina
A herding dog notable for their thick, white coats, Samoyeds are typically friendly dogs; however, they have a tendency to bark incessantly.
35) Bernese Mountain Dog
AKC Rank: 22
Countries/regions most popular in: Czech Republic, Belgium, Canada
The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of the four Sennenhund-type dogs from the Swiss Alps. These affectionate, patient dogs require plenty of exercise, and are increasing in popularity in North America.
34) St. Bernard
AKC Rank: 48
Countries/regions most popular in: Chile, Argentina, Switzerland
Usually portrayed as a gentle giant, St. Bernards are extremely large – they can weigh up to 180 pounds. These were historically used for Alpine rescues, but in modern times, they can make loyal and affectionate pets.
33) Staffordshire Bull Terrier
AKC Rank: 80
Countries/regions most popular in: Australia, Czech Republic, United Kingdom
Muscular and deceptively strong – particularly for an animal of their size – Staffies arrived in the United States in the late nineteenth century, but were not recognized as an official breed by the AKC until 1974.
AKC Rank: 145
Countries/regions most popular in: Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia
Able to achieve a top speed of almost 70 km/h (43 mph), greyhounds have been used in racing across the Western world since the middle of the twentieth century. They are commonly known as one of the fastest dog breeds in the world. In recent decades, greyhounds have become increasingly popular as a household pet in the UK and Ireland due to adoption initiatives.
31) American Staffordshire Terrier
AKC Rank: 85
Countries/regions most popular in: Czech Republic, Serbia, Hungary
This medium-sized breed is very loyal to its own family, although has been targeted by breed-specific legislation in many parts of the world.
30) Cane Corso
AKC Rank: 32
Countries/regions most popular in: Mauritius, Romania, Serbia
Historically, these dogs were used to guard property and people in Italy. It is becoming more prominent in the United States and was recognized by the AKC in 2010; since then, it has progressed to become the 32nd most popular registered breed in the United States.
29) Bull Terrier
AKC Rank: 62
Countries/regions most popular in: Czech Republic, Norway, Denmark
Notable for its distinctive head shape, the Bull Terrier can be stubborn. They require training and socialization to avoid behavioral issues, ensuring the breed interacts well with humans and other dogs.
AKC Rank: 75
Countries/regions most popular in: Paraguay, Philippines, Brazil
Known for its dense double coat and blue-black tongue, Chow Chows have their origins in China. They can become stubborn with age and are known to build strong attachments with just one or two humans, which can make them protective of their family.
27) English Mastiff
AKC Rank: 29
Countries/regions most popular in: Australia, Russia, United States
Calm and easygoing, these dogs need space to move around outside due to their size. English Mastiffs can also be stubborn which makes them difficult to train for inexperienced owners.
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26) Jack Russell Terrier
AKC Rank: –
Countries/regions most popular in: Bulgaria, Belarus, Estonia
Jack Russells were used to hunt foxes in England; due to their heritage, they tend to chase most animals they come into contact with. The breed is generally healthy and can expect to live for between 12 and 16 years.
AKC Rank: 47
Countries/regions most popular in: Montenegro, Croatia, Lithuania
Akitas were originally found in the mountainous areas of Japan. They have a particularly dense bone structure for their size and can have a dominant personality, especially around other dogs.
24) Great Dane
AKC Rank: 16
Countries/regions most popular in: Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic
These dogs were owned by German royalty in the 1500s/1600s, and were used to hunt bears, deer and boars. Famed for its giant size, the tallest living dog in the world is a Great Dane called Freddy, measuring 103.5 cm.
23) Border Collie
AKC Rank: 35
Countries/regions most popular in: Belgium, Czech Republic, Australia
A mix of intelligence and athleticism, Border Collies were developed in Scotland to herd livestock such as sheep. Their speed and stamina allows them to excel at a number of different skills such as agility and tracking.
22) Australian Shepherd
AKC Rank: 15
Countries/regions most popular in: France, United States, Belgium
Sometimes known as the Aussie, this breed has a misleading name – it didn’t originate in Australia at all! This herding breed is highly intelligent but requires lots of exercise and play if kept as a domestic pet.
AKC Rank: 17
Countries/regions most popular in: Costa Rica, Iran, Serbia
Also known as the Doberman Pinscher, this breed was developed by a German tax collector – Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann – in the late nineteenth century. Personalities can vary between each individual dog, and owning one requires dedication and commitment. With regular training, they are quick learners.
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AKC Rank: 37
Countries/regions most popular in: Malta, Romania, Serbia
One of the oldest toy breeds in Europe, the Maltese was originally bred for hunting rats. In modern times, they make active, playful and energetic pets, although they can occasionally be temperamental around small children.
19) Pembroke Welsh Corgi
AKC Rank: 13
Countries/regions most popular in: United States, Singapore, Estonia
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one of the smallest herding dogs. It is known as the preferred dog of Queen Elizabeth II, who has owned at least thirty corgis since her reign started in 1952.
18) Shiba Inu
AKC Rank: 44
Countries/regions most popular in: Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong
With their origins in Japan, Shiba Inus are particularly popular in Asian countries. They cope very well with difficult, mountainous terrain and were originally bred for hunting.
AKC Rank: 8
Countries/regions most popular in: Sri Lanka, Honduras, Guatemala
Rotties were used in Germany to herd livestock – their primary use was to pull carts containing meat to markets. Around the world, rottweilers are now used as search and rescue dogs, police dogs and guard dogs.
AKC Rank: 6
Countries/regions most popular in: Ukraine, Serbia, Portugal
Similar in appearance to the larger foxhound, the Beagle is a popular family pet due to its small size and excellent temperament. This breed also has a very heightened sense of smell – Beagles are better suited to ground-scenting as opposed to air-scenting.
15) American Pit Bull Terrier
AKC Rank: –
Countries/regions most popular in: Angola, Brazil, Turkey
The American Pit Bull Terrier is not presently recognized on the AKC’s dog breed list, and many other countries have imposed breed restrictions or banned ownership. Their energy and strength means they can excel at many dog sports such as weight pulling.
14) Shih Tzu
AKC Rank: 20
Countries/regions most popular in: Philippines, Poland, Brazil
This distinctive and sturdy toy dog originated in China and has a very noticeable underbite. Their feisty temperament means they can snap easily if repeatedly teased.
AKC Rank: 12
Countries/regions most popular in: Hungary, United Kingdom, Australia
There are two types of dachshund – the standard dachshund and the miniature dachshund. They have playful personalities and show great affection for their owners, although they do have a propensity to bark.
12) Yorkshire Terrier
AKC Rank: 10
Countries/regions most popular in: Belarus, Bulgaria, Hungary
Yorkies were developed during the 1800s in Yorkshire, England. They tend to be active and overprotective. They are excellent watchdogs as they tend to bark a lot, but this can be resolved with training.
AKC Rank: 11
Countries/regions most popular in: Denmark, Guatemala, Sweden
With a distinctively shaped head, Boxers are good-natured, playful dogs with expressive faces. Even as they grow older, they remain very energetic. Boxers can be timid around strangers, and may be aggressive around other dogs.
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AKC Rank: 23
Countries/regions most popular in: Bulgaria, Serbia, Israel
Small size mixes with big personality to create this alert, intelligent breed. Pomeranians make great pets for families with children who can act sensibly around the dog – they have a tendency to snap around other animals and act in a reserved manner around unfamiliar humans. Poms are happy as apartment pets and require only a small amount of indoor exercise.
Pomeranians are another breed popularized by royalty – Queen Victoria fell in love with the breed on a visit to Italy. She also helped to reduce the size of the breed from approximately thirty pounds to the size we see today – on average, a mere five pounds.
9) French Bulldog
AKC Rank: 4
Countries/regions most popular in: Hungary, United Kingdom, Czech Republic
With their trademark bat ears and a playful disposition, Frenchies are a popular choice for a family pet. They tend to be fairly quiet and are friendly with strangers and animals alike, sometimes requiring a great deal of attention. These smaller dogs do not require a lot of outdoor exercise and can struggle in warmer weather.
The Frenchie dates back to the late 1800s, when lace-makers in England relocated to the north of France with their toy-size Bulldogs. The dogs were crossed with other breeds and eventually made their way to Paris, where they became synonymous with the cafe culture and city life. Their popularity led them across Europe and to the United States throughout the twentieth century.
AKC Rank: 33
Countries/regions most popular in: Mexico, Guatemala, Puerto Rico
This toy breed is named after the northern state within Mexico, and has become a national symbol for the country. Although popular across Central America, Chihuahuas can be difficult to housebreak, require diligent training, and can be incompatible with small children as they are easily frightened. They can also become jealous of other pets.
The AKC first recognized the Chihuahua in 1908. Their coats come in a variety of colors and can be long or short. Chihuahuas make excellent house pets, although they will be unwilling to go outside in cold, wet weather.
AKC Rank: 7
Countries/regions most popular in: Argentina, Japan, Uruguay
For years after World War II, the poodle was the most popular dog breed in the United States. This fiercely intelligent dog comes in three different sizes (standard, miniature and toy). Poodles often get along well with other pets but can be shy around strangers. They are generally considered to be sociable, although they do require lots of mental stimulation.
The poodle is France’s national dog, although it is believed the breed started by hunting ducks in Germany. It has often won ‘Best in Show’ at both Crufts in the United Kingdom and the Westminster Dog Show in the United States. Poodle crossbreeds are also becoming a more common occurrence, such as Labradoodles and Goldendoodles.
6) Golden Retriever
AKC Rank: 3
Countries/regions most popular in: United States, Canada, Lebanon
The Golden Retriever has long been considered one of the most popular breeds in the United States. These working dogs can be trained for a variety of tasks and love to play outdoors. As the name indicates, they were historically used to retrieve game and waterfowl, but they now make wonderful family dogs due to their happy, gentle and outgoing personalities.
The breed was originally used by wealthy Scottish hunters to retrieve game birds from the rough terrain of the Scottish Highlands. In the United States, the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1925. President Ford and President Reagan both kept Golden Retrievers as pets whilst serving in the Oval Office – Liberty and Victory, respectively.
AKC Rank: 28
Countries/regions most popular in: Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala
This mischievous dog has a large head and is renowned for its human-like facial expressions. Due to the shape of their heads, Pugs have a tendency to wheeze and snort when undertaking physical activity. Its expressive personality makes it an ideal companion dog, and its even-tempered nature means it can make a good family pet too.
The Pug originated in China almost two thousand years ago, when Chinese emperors enjoyed the company of flat-faced, toy dogs (they also owned Pekingese and Shiz Tzus). In the 1500s, it made its way to Europe on Dutch trading ships, and famously saved the life of the Prince of Orange by barking to alert him to the danger of an incoming attack. Over the centuries, Pugs have made their way to all parts of the world.
4) Siberian Husky
AKC Rank: 14
Countries/regions most popular in: Czech Republic, Armenia, Russia
Siberian Huskies have famously been used to pull sleds over frozen landscapes. These strikingly beautiful working dogs have distinctive blue or brown eyes and are usually good-natured and playful. Their inherent energy means they require ample room to run around, otherwise they can become destructive.
These dogs were used by the Chukchi people of northeastern Asia to pull loads in freezing temperatures across difficult terrains. Despite weighing between fifty and sixty pounds, Siberian Huskies are powerful creatures. They recently experienced a surge in popularity due to their similarity to the fictional direwolves featured in Game of Thrones.
3) Labrador Retriever
AKC Rank: 1
Countries/regions most popular in: United States, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom
The Labrador Retriever has been ranked as the most popular breed in the United States by the AKC since 1991; however, it only ranks in third spot across the world.
Appearing in three colors (black, yellow or chocolate), the friendly and outgoing personality of a Lab makes them perfectly suited to life as a family pet. They are even-tempered and won’t hesitate to show love and affection. In addition, Labs are trained as service dogs in many countries; they can aid the blind, provide assistance to humans with autism or act as a therapy dog. Despite their relaxed disposition, these dogs love to engage in long games of fetch and can become destructive if left alone for too long.
Labradors were imported to Europe from Canada in the 1830s to be used as gundogs. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the British standardized the breed. To this day, the Lab is one of the most recognizable and loved breeds in almost all parts of the world.
2) German Shepherd
AKC Rank: 2
Countries/regions most popular in: Poland, United States, Slovenia
Sometimes abbreviated to GSD, the German Shepherd is a medium-to-large sized working dog with a striking, wolf-like appearance. This working breed consistently places in second on the AKC list – with our research showing it is the same story on a worldwide scale.
These large and agile dogs have extremely high intelligence and are loyal, brave and confident. GSDs are renowned for their character, with their loyalty and courage almost unmatched amongst canines. They can be trained for almost any task – German Shepherds are great family pets, reliable guard dogs, trained for police and military work, amongst a plethora of other jobs.
The breed was developed by German breeders who aspired to create the perfect herding dog. Although the German Shepherd dropped in popularity after the First and Second World Wars due to anti-German sentiment, it regularly features on lists of the most popular dog breeds around the world.
AKC Rank: 3
Countries/regions most popular in: United Kingdom, Hungary, United States
According to data from Google Trends, the Bulldog is the most popular dog breed in the world. Estimates indicate that the search term ‘bulldog’ is searched on a worldwide basis over 1.5 million times every month.
Also known as the British Bulldog and English Bulldog, this breed has a very distinctive set of unmistakable facial features. The Bulldog is muscular and well-set. They are typically friendly and courageous, sporting a smooth and glossy coat. They need some exercise to avoid becoming overweight – although they prefer to spend hot, sunny days indoors, as their short snout can cause breathing difficulties.
The history of the Bulldog dates back to the thirteenth century, when these brave dogs were used in the unsavory pastime of bull-baiting. Their sheer bravery and unbreakable spirit shines through to this day. England banned these brutal blood sports in 1835, and admirers faced a battle to prevent the breed from becoming extinct. The bulldog thus underwent a transformation from a fighter to a loyal, loving family pet who interacts well with children.
The phrase ‘bulldog spirit’ is derived from the tenacious nature of the breed. The dog is a national icon in England, and during the Second World War, Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s defiant attitude – not to mention his appearance – was likened to that of the Bulldog.
Congratulations to the Bulldog!
The Bulldog takes the crown for the most popular dog breed in the world, according to Google Trends data – narrowly beating the German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever.
Where did your favorite breed rank in this list? Were you surprised by the results? Make sure you head over to our Facebook page to join in the discussion!