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Definitive rankings: most popular dog breeds in America

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    Definitive rankings: most popular dog breeds in America

    Choosing a loyal companion is one of the most important decisions a pet owner can make. Each year the American Kennel Club keeps track of which dog breeds are gaining in popularity in the United States, and which ones are falling out of favor. The AKC only analyzes data dealing with purebred, registered breeds, so sadly, your sweet mixed breed pal isn't counted in the final tally.

    Still, the list seems to include every kind of dog imaginable, from tiny lap dogs, to mighty hunters, to prime show dogs. The sheer amount of breeds that are ranked is a reminder of the diverse taste of dog owners in America, and the many different types of pups that we love.

    There’s a dog out there for everyone, and if you need proof, then look no further than the 95 different breeds that complete this list of the most popular pooches, as reported by the AKC.

    Click here to see the other cute pups who made the second half of the list.

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    #95. Setters (English)

    2017 rank: #95 (up 7 spots from 2016)

    The class of English gentleman who loved hunting are responsible for this breed. English Setters are purposefully quiet, making them ideal for treeing prey.

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    #94. Brussels Griffons

    2017 rank: #94 (up 3 spots from 2016)

    This uncommon little breed is often confused with the Yorkshire terrier, but the Brussels Griffon is very much its own dog. Perhaps best known to Americans from the movie As Good As It Gets, the Brussels Griffon loves snuggling, and—believe it or not—climbing, cat style.
     

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    #93. Afghan Hounds

    2017 rank: #93 (up 20 spots from 2016)

    These elegant dogs are as fast as a racehorse. An average member of the breed can reach 40 mph, which puts it neck-and-neck with a purebred racehorse.

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    #92. Border Terriers

    2017 rank: #92 (down 6 spots from 2016)

    Border Terriers were bred to hunt small game; they don’t make good pets for households where hamsters or gerbils reside for that very reason. However, if you’re looking for a competitive breed, then you can’t do better than these wiry dogs. Border Terriers have been known to annihilate the competition in Earthdog trials.

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    #91. Norwegian Elkhounds

    2017 rank: #91 (up 3 spots from 2016)

    Norwegian Elkhounds are believed to have a history that dates back to the Viking era. These dogs are known for their tracking skills, and they can sometimes be found on search and rescue teams.

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    #90. Standard Schnauzers

    2017 rank: #90 (down 5 spots from 2016)

    These cute pups were actually bred to seek out vermin—and their trademark whiskers actually serve a purpose. The fur would mat together to prevent rats and other small animals from biting them while they were on the hunt.

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    #89. Retrievers (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling)

    2017 rank: #89 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    In the 17th century, these Nova Scotia retrievers were often used to lure ducks for hunters. As sporting dogs, these retrievers need plenty of exercise to burn off their excess energy each day.

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    #88. Pekingese

    2017 rank: #88 (up 5 spots from 2016)

    Imperial China took their love for Pekingeses seriously. In fact, if you were caught stealing one, it was an offense punishable by death. While that part of their history is intense, their time in the palaces of China made them the lovable lap dogs they are today.

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    #87. Keeshonden

    2017 rank: #87 (up 5 spots from 2016)

    In the 18th century, the Keeshond was the dog of the Dutch Patriots Party. However, these days, they're perhaps best known for their "monocle" markings that make them look as if they're wearing glasses.

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    #86. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs

    2017 rank: #86 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    As part of the Livestock Guarding Dog Program, some Anatolian Shepherds guard sheep in Namibia. Their presence there has also had the added benefit of protecting cheetahs from being shot by farmers, since the big cats are afraid of the dogs.

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    #85. Bouviers des Flandres

    2017 rank: #85 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    In many European countries, the Bouviers des Flandres is considered an ideal police dog. However, they have their share of fans stateside as well—one of the most famous of which is former president Ronald Reagan.

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    #84. Basenjis

    2017 rank: #84 (up 4 spots from 2016)

    Depictions of Basenjis were found carved in the Great Pyramid of Khufu, proving these curly-tailed pups have a long history. Whether they're popping up in works of art or drawing lions out of their lairs in Africa, this breed is nothing short of dynamic.

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    #83. American Staffordshire Terriers

    2017 rank: #83 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    They may be large, but American Staffordshire terriers are gentle in nature. In fact, they're known as “nanny dogs” thanks to the breed’s ability to be patient and nurturing toward children.

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    #82. Staffordshire Bull Terriers

    2017 rank: #82 (unchanged from 2016)

    Like other bull terriers, this breed was originally bred to fight. However, they have happily transitioned into loving companion dogs in the modern day.

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    #81. Coton de Tulear

    2017 rank: #81 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    The Coton de Tulear was once the official dog of Madagascar, and only royals were allowed to own the breed. Thanks to their affable personalities, the breed has grown in popularity, ranking as the 80th most popular dog breed in 2016.

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    #80. Giant Schnauzers

    2017 rank: #80 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Giant schnauzers demand respect, but once they have it, they will make exceptional guard dogs. They're also keen workers who thrive when given a task, even one as simple as fetching your shoes.

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    #79. Chinese Crested

    2017 rank: #79 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    These little dogs are neither fully hairless or of Chinese origin. The Chinese Crested actually originated in Africa, but they came to be popular as ratters on Chinese ships, which earned them their name. They are also notably fluffy for a supposedly hairless breed, and require a bit of routine grooming to keep their unique look tidy.

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    #78. Russell Terriers

    2017 rank: #78 (up 12 spots from 2016)

    Russell Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, and Parson Terriers all originated from the same dedicated breeder—Reverend John “Jack” Russell. What makes the Russell Terrier a bit different is its shorter legs; they were bred this way to make them easier to carry on hunts.

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    #77. Lhasa Apsos

    2017 rank: #77 (down 6 spots from 2016)

    The Lhasa Apso is considered sacred in Tibet, their country of origin. Many Tibetan people believe that the dogs play a crucial step in the reincarnation process—and that before a priest could be reborn as a human, they would first be reincarnated as a Lhasa Apso.

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    #76. Chow Chows

    2017 rank: #76 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    Like the Chinese Shar-Pei, the Chow Chow has a trademark blue tongue. Cat lovers who are thinking about adopting a dog would do well to consider this breed, since they are the cats of the canine world. Like your feline friends, they tend not to care much about their owner's needs, and prefer to do their own thing.

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    #75. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs

    2017 rank: #75 (up 3 spots from 2016)

    Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are a rare breed that is climbing in popularity. This could be due in part to their great strength, and their adaptability—these animals love activities, and will happily go hiking or learn agility tricks.

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    #74. Italian Greyhounds

    2017 rank: #74 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    In the past, Italian Greyhounds were a favorite of aristocrats. When you take into account their sleek look and love of being in their owner’s lap, it’s easy to see why so many people fall for this breed. Italian Greyhounds aren’t just terrific snugglers, they’re also extremely fast: according to Animal Planet, they can run up to 25 miles per hour.
     

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    #73. Irish Wolfhounds

    2017 rank: #73 (unchanged from 2016)

    This breed is so old that it has its own motto. In ancient Rome, it was said that Irish Wolfhounds were "gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked." They came by the motto naturally—these fierce dogs were big game hunters who could easily take down elk.

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    #72. Setters (Irish)

    2017 rank: #72 (up 4 spots from 2016)

    America's love of Irish setters may have begun with a dog named Elcho. Elcho was the first Irish Setter to become a show dog stateside, and the prolific pooch is believed to have fathered 197 puppies.

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    #71. Miniature Pinschers

    2017 rank: #71 (down 3 spots from 2016)

    Contrary to popular belief, the Miniature Pinscher is not a miniature Doberman Pinscher. In fact, they’re far more closely related to the Italian Greyhound and terrier breeds. These little dogs are known for being a tad bit stubborn, but they’re perfect for people who love active pups.

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    #70. Old English Sheepdogs

    2017 rank: #70 (up 5 spots from 2016)

    Disney loves this long-haired breed. Not only did an Old English Sheepdog star in the classic film The Shaggy Dog, animated versions of the breed appeared in The Little Mermaid and 101 Dalmations.

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    #69. Cairn Terriers

    2017 rank: #69 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    The Cairn Terrier holds a special place in pop culture history. One little pup named Terry took on the role of Toto in the Wizard of Oz, ensuring that the breed was forever immortalized on the big screen. Terry lived to be the ripe old age of 11.

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    #68. Cardigan Welsh Corgis

    2017 rank: #68 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    Despite not being Queen Elizabeth II’s preferred breed of Corgi, the Cardigan Welshes have been around longer than their Pembroke cousins. These reliable little animals are farm dogs at heart, and they’re right at home working with livestock or keeping mice out of the barn.

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    #67. Dogues de Bordeaux

    2017 rank: #67 (down 4 spots from 2016)

    This big, drooling breed has an equally large heart. While they can strike an imposing figure, these gentle giants make excellent therapy dogs.

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    #66. Great Pyrenees

    2017 rank: #66 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    King Louis XIV's court loved this breed so much that they were declared the royal dog of France. Despite their royal fans, they were bred to watch over flocks at night—as a result, even today they're considered nocturnal.

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    #65. Wirehaired Pointing Griffons

    2017 rank: #65 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    This breed has webbed toes for swimming, but they're also adept pointers. They were specifically bred for their versatility as hunting dogs.

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    #64. Chinese Shar-Pei

    2017 rank: #64 (down 3 spots from 2016)

    A devoted dog lover named Matgo Law made it his mission to save these wrinkly pups from extinction. When owning pets became a luxury in Communist China, Law made a plea for other countries to help him save the breed. After the story was picked up by Life magazine, the Chinese Shar-Pei became an in-demand breed stateside.

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    #63. Dalmatians

    2017 rank: #63 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    The spotted dalmatian have a long been associated with firefighters, and for good reason. These hardworking pups used to work well with horses in the days before fire engines, and they would run ahead of firefighters to clear a path as they made their way to the scene. When firefighters transitioned from wagons to trucks, the breed adapted with them.

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    #62. Pointers (German Wirehaired)

    2017 rank: #62 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    These wire-haired dogs can hunt during any season, and on almost any terrain—which helped increase their popularity over the years. Whether they're diving into a lake or running through tall grass, this breed will seldom allow its prey to get away.

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    #61. Whippets

    2017 rank: #61 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Like Greyhounds, these quiet dogs are also quite fast. The sporting breed was a favorite among textile workers in the 1900s, many of whom are responsible for introducing the sleek dogs to America.

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    #60. Bull Terriers

    2017 rank: #60 (down 3 spots from 2016)

    Thanks to their distinctive looks, Miniature Bull Terriers have a history of being spokesdogs for famous brands. Notable members of the breed include Target’s Bullseye, and Bud Light’s Spuds Mackenzie—who, despite being a ladies’ man in the commercials, was actually a female named Honey.

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    #59. Alaskan Malamutes

    2017 rank: #59 (unchanged from 2016)

    These furry pups were bred to haul cargo across frozen terrain, but they're now happy to be companion animals. The Malamute is a large, caring breed that makes an excellent family pet.

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    #58. Scottish Terriers

    2017 rank: #58 (unchanged from 2016)

    Scottish Terriers were all the rage in the United States during the 1930s. They even charmed Franklin D. Roosevelt—whose Scottie, Fala, was called the “most photographed dog in the world.”

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    #57. Samoyeds

    2017 rank: #57 (up 8 spots from 2016)

    Samoyeds are true ancestors of the wolf—their howls actually sound like singing, and when they're in a group it can sound as if they're harmonizing together.

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    #56. Australian Cattle Dogs

    2017 rank: #56 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    Australian Cattle dogs have a dash of dingo in them, and a bit of Dalmatian too. This makes them a breed that's at once terrific at herding and deeply loyal.

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    #55. Airedale Terriers

    2017 rank: #55 (unchanged from 2016)

    The largest of all the terrier breeds, the Airedales were instrumental in WWII when they served as messenger and ambulance dogs. Don't be fooled though—they may be the largest terriers, but they possess just as much energy as their smaller counterparts.

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    #54. Portuguese Water Dogs

    2017 rank: #54 (down 3 spots from 2016)

    The most famous Portuguese Water dog owners in recent history are the Obamas. Their pups Bo and Sunny no doubt contributed to the breeds' increase in popularity in 2016.

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    #53. Papillons

    2017 rank: #53 (unchanged from 2016)

    Called Papillon thanks to their butterfly-like ears, this toy breed isn’t big on lounging. Papillon owners should be prepared to spend a great deal of time playing with and exercising their energetic pup.

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    #52. Spaniels (English Cocker)

    2017 rank: #52 (up 4 spots from 2016)

    During a period from the 1930s until the 1950s, the English Cocker Spaniel was the most beloved dog breed in America. While they've never quite reached that level of popularity again, these sweet animals remain a favorite among pet owners.

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    #51. Bullmastiffs

    2017 rank: #51 (down 3 spots from 2016)

    Originally bred to be guard dogs, the Bullmastiff is quite often described as muscular and fearless, and makes a great family companion. Possibly the most famous Bullmastiff in America is Butkus, Sylvester Stallone's pet, who appeared in the movie "Rocky" when they couldn't afford a trained movie dog. 

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    #50. Bloodhounds

    2017 rank: #50 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    The exact origins of the "Sleuth Hound" as the breed is sometimes called are unknown. Bloodhounds became popular during the medieval times and the "blood" part of their name means "of aristocratic blood"  due to princes and other noble church members owning packs of these dogs. Bloodhounds are known for their droopy wrinkled features and their  distinct sense of smell which can often help law enforcement locate criminals and missing persons.

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    #49. Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers

    2017 rank: #49 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers stand as high as 19 inches and weigh as much as 40 pounds. Famous for what has come to be known as the “Wheaten greetin’” an incredibly crazy display of affection upon welcoming their owners home these exuberantly playful pups were originally bred as farm dogs expected to herd livestock hunt down potentially destructive pests and protect their owners’ homes from perceived threats with a signaling bark. Today they make fantastic family pets due to their exceptionally outgoing personality and reputation for playing well with kids.

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    #48. St. Bernards

    2017 rank: #48 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    Anyone who grew up in the 1990s may be compelled to call their St. Bernard Beethoven thanks to the breed’s starring role in the family film franchise of the same name. That 1992 movie and its subsequent sequels displayed St. Bernards as slobbery-yet-loyal beasts but that is an improvement over their portrayal in 1983’s horror flick “Cujo.” In reality St. Bernards are large friendly hard-working dogs that are famous for their alpine rescues of lost and injured hikers.

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    #47. Akitas

    2017 rank: #47 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Originally known simply as snow country dogs Akitas hail from the mountainous region of Japan where they were used to track and hunt wild boar deer elk and bears. Author and activist Helen Keller is said to have brought the breed into the U.S. in 1937 and Akitas have since become known for their remarkable loyalty. The most famous Akita in history is Hachikō a dog that waited for its owner for more than nine years after his death. Their most recognizable features are their webbed toes and their curly plush tail.

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    #46. Bichons Frises

    2017 rank: #46 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Bichons Frises love to be the center of attention. They are highly trainable and easily perform new and exciting tricks. In fact this breed’s knack for entertaining originally earned it a spot in the circus. Today Bichons Frises are considered to be the ultimate companions thanks to their cheerful demeanor and cloud-like white fur coat that makes them resemble a child’s toy. However because of their exceptional affection they are also prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time and heartbreak if subjected to scoldings or harsh training.

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    #45. Shiba Inu

    2017 rank: #45 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Shiba Inu (Japanese for “brushwood dog”) is a very independent breed. Because of this they are next to impossible to train. However what they lack in obedience they more than make up for in loyalty. After the 2004 Chūetsu earthquake a Shiba Inu helped rescue workers locate her elderly owner who had been trapped beneath the rubble - an ordeal that was adapted into a movie called “A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies.” They are also known to frequently groom themselves similarly to cats as well as emit a piercing scream when they are unhappy or afraid.

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    #44. Belgian Malinois

    2017 rank: #44 (up 3 spots from 2016)

    Most commonly associated with police work Belgian Malinois are known for their exceptional tracking abilities. These dogs can detect odors hunt down suspects and find injured persons in search and rescue missions better than most any other breed. Because of this Belgian Malinois are the dogs that the U.S. Secret Service uses to guard the White House grounds. Their popularity rose after one appeared in the 2015 family film “Max” but it is important to remember that Belgian Malinois require plenty of stimulation and exercise or they may develop destructive and neurotic behaviors.

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    #43. Retrievers (Chesapeake Bay)

    2017 rank: #43 (unchanged from 2016)

    Chesapeake Bay Retrievers were originally used to hunt and retrieve ducks in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Today they remain a hunting breed but are also known to be ideal companions for people across the U.S. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers - or as they are more commonly known Chessies - are less friendly than Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers and are better suited for those with a commanding presence who prefer a protective hunting companion than an obedient pet.

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    #42. West Highland White Terriers

    2017 rank: #42 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Although they are small in size and look quite cuddly West Highland White Terriers have very high energy levels and are unlikely to settle for being someone’s lap dog. Commonly called Westies they were originally bred in Scotland to hunt foxes badgers otters and rats. A West Highland White Terrier has long-served as the mascot for the Caesar pet food company while the breed has most recently been prominently featured in the 2018 comedy “Game Night” starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams.

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    #41. Rhodesian Ridgebacks

    2017 rank: #41 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    Rhodesian Ridgebacks are most easily recognized by the naturally occurring ridge along their spine for which they have been dubbed “the dog with a snake on its back.” They have also been commonly referred to as “African Lion Hounds” thanks to their history of distracting lions for big-game hunters in Africa. Naturally Rhodesian Ridgebacks need plenty of exercise as well as mental stimulation to satisfy their active energetic and protective instincts.

     

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    #40. Collies

    2017 rank: #40 (down 3 spots from 2016)

    Known for their sheep herding abilities and their outstanding loyalty Collies are considered to be very compassionate and intelligent dogs. Additionally they are easily trained protective of their families and play well with children. Although there have been many Collies featured in pop culture over the years the one that is the most recognizable is Lassie a canine character that has been the subject of several television series and major motion pictures and one of only a few animal actors to have their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

     

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    #39. Basset Hounds

    2017 rank: #39 (unchanged from 2016)

    Basset Hounds’ most recognizable trait is a toss-up between their droopy puppy dog eyes that burrow into the heart of even the most stoic person and their ear-piercing howl. Then again many also first think of Basset Hounds for their sense of smell which is second only to that of a Bloodhound. They have been frequently featured in pop culture including several Walt Disney animated films and an array of television series - such as “The People's Choice” “Columbo” and “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

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    #38. Border Collies

    2017 rank: #38 (unchanged from 2016)

    Border Collies such as the one featured in the family film “Babe” and its sequel “Babe 2: Pig in the City” originated in the hilly border country between Scotland and England. Their trademark “herding eye” made them excellent at controlling flocks of sheep - a task for which they are still commonly used today. In addition to sheep herding Border Collies are great competitors in agility flyball flying disc and other dog sports therefore they are an ideal fit for owners with an active lifestyle.

     

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    #37. Cane Corso

    2017 rank: #37 (up 3 spots from 2016)

    Also known as Italian Mastiffs Cane Corso were originally bred as guard dogs that also hunted wild boar. Usually standing at least 28 inches tall and weighing more than 100 pounds their muscular appearance may be in and of itself enough to ward off intruders. Cane Corso do not typically demonstrate their affection for their owners or their families through requests for attention or touch. However they are known to attempt to communicate their lovethrough “woo woo woo” sounds and snorts.

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    #36. Newfoundlands

    2017 rank: #36 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Newfoundlands are known to be sweet-tempered with a watchful eye. Perhaps that is why author J.M. Barrie chose one to be the nursemaid dog Nana for Wendy John and Michael in “Peter Pan” which is only one of many representations of the breed in pop culture. However before that Newfoundlands were originally working dogs pulling nets out of the water and hauling wood from the forest for their working-class owners. They have since earned their place in the home enjoying a slower lifestyle with the occasional physical activity - especially swimming at which they excel thanks to their webbed feet.

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    #35. Miniature American Shepherds

    2017 rank: #35 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    Miniature American Shepherds resemble Australian Shepherds - except on a smaller scale. Whereas their larger counterparts measure about 18-23 inches tall at the shoulder Miniature American Shepherds stand 14-18 inches tall. They were originally selectively bred in the 1960’s from small Australian Shepherds in the U.S. rodeo circuit to further reduce their size. Their small size and intelligence make them popular picks for travelers and those who frequent livestock shows - especially for their portability and reliability in herding.

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    #34. Weimaraners

    2017 rank: #34 (unchanged from 2016)

    Weimaraners are said to have been developed by German aristocrats who crossbred Bloodhounds with German and French hunting dogs. Once used in big-game hunts tracking bears deer mountain lions and wolves Weimaraners have since evolved into canine sidekicks that want to be with their owner all of the time. Because of this shadowing characteristic they have earned the nickname “Gray Ghosts.” However their hunting instincts have not completely disappeared as Weimaraners will still chase and kill anything that resembles small prey including mice birds cats and even small dogs.

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    #33. Maltese

    2017 rank: #33 (unchanged from 2016)

    Maltese have been around through the ages. Its exact origin is unknown but the breed is believed to have been developed in the Isle of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea and representations of it have shown up in early Greek Roman and Egyptian cultures. Typically weighing less than seven pounds Maltese are known for their long white coat that floats across the floor and gives them an elegant appearance. This paired with their uncanny athletic ability makes this breed a favorite at show competitions.

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    #32. Chihuahuas

    2017 rank: #32 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    Chihuahuas are much more than Taco Bell’s former spokesdog. They are small dogs with very big personalities and perhaps even bigger hearts. Chihuahuas develop exceptionally strong bonds with their owners a quality that has contributed to the phenomenon of young women carrying the breed around in their purse wherever they go. Standing between six and nine inches tall and weighing between three and six pounds Chihuahuas are naive about their small stature and are considered to be one of the world’s best watchdogs thanks to their alertness and proclivity to bark at suspicious activity.

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    #31. Pugs

    2017 rank: #31 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    Pugs’ history goes back 2000 years when they were developed to serve as refined pets for emperors of China. They are clowns at heart and love to be the center of attention - which they are thanks to their big eyes wrinkly face curly tail and tongue that often sticks out for all the world to see. Pugs often snort snore and wheeze and cannot tolerate high heat or extreme exercise. They have taken Hollywood by storm having been highlighted in movies like “Milo and Otis” “Pocahontas” and “Men in Black.”

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    #30. Vizslas

    2017 rank: #30 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    Vizslas were initially introduced to the U.S. in 1950 when one was smuggled out of Communist Hungary. They were first used as hunting dogs by Magyar hordes before being bred to serve as pointers and retrievers for Hungarian nobles. They have since earned the nickname “Velcro Vizslas” due to their desire to stay close to their owner. Vizslas are very active dogs with a strong sense of smell - qualities that have made them great at competitions drug-detection and search-and-rescue.

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    #29. Spaniels (Cocker)

    2017 rank: #29 (unchanged from 2016)

    Contrary to what Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp” would have you believe Cocker Spaniels do not and should not eat spaghetti. Easily identified by their big puppy dog eyes and their long lush ears Cocker Spaniels are the American Kennel Club’s smallest sporting spaniel standing about 14 or 15 inches tall at the shoulder. They are also exceptionally easy to train and very affectionate companions that are gentle in temperament around children the elderly and other pets. However it is important to remember that in addition to lovers Cocker Spaniels are also hunters - and very athletic ones at that.

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    #28. Mastiffs

    2017 rank: #28 (unchanged from 2016)

    Mastiffs are descendants of ancient Molossers which are said to have originated in Tibet or northern India where they were used to guard flocks against predators. Mastiffs are considered to be the largest breed in the world standing about 30 inches tall and weighing 120-230 pounds. In fact a 342-pound Mastiff named Zorba earned his status as the world’s heaviest dog according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Although their massive size makes them immediately intimidating Mastiffs are surprisingly patient and affectionate - just as the kids in the 1993 movie “The Sandlot” discovered.

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    #27. Spaniels (English Springer)

    2017 rank: #27 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    English Springer Spaniels’ name is derived from the way in which they “spring” at game to flush it out for hunters. They are typically bred as either hunting dogs or show dogs - but never both. One thing that they all excel at though is pleasing their owners and becoming valuable members of a family including those with children and other pets. Oh and they simply cannot resist a long walk a friendly game of fetch swimming or anything else that provides them some quality time with their owner.

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    #26. Brittanys

    2017 rank: #26 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Brittanys get their name from the area where they were developed hundreds of years ago - the westernmost region of France. They are primarily bird dogs hunting anything and everything covered in feathers. They tend to be a bit hyperactive and are therefore best paired with owners who can match their boundless energy with plenty of physical stimulation. Their exceptional exuberance also makes Brittanys quality companions for children - albeit only those who are big enough to not get trampled by the dog during one of its bursts of enthusiasm.

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    #25. Bernese Mountain Dogs

    2017 rank: #25 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    Bernese Mountain Dogs are originally working dogs from the farmlands of Switzerland where they were bred to herd cattle and pulls carts. Sometimes referred to as Berners these dogs have been known to pull up to ten times their body weight. Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to become very attached to their owners - especially children - and can express a great deal of affection. For that reason they make excellent therapy dogs. Because of their large size and hauling capabilities Bernese Mountain Dogs make ideal companions for hikers as they don’t mind pulling the extra weight of a backpack or other supplies.

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    #24. Shetland Sheepdogs

    2017 rank: #24 (unchanged from 2016)

    Shetland Sheepdogs were once described as miniature Collies since they essentially resemble that breed albeit on a smaller scale although they come in a variety of unique markings. Commonly called Shelties Shetland Sheepdogs originated in the Shetland Islands - which is also where Shetland Ponies and Shetland Sheep got their start. They integrate very well into families including those with children but can be wary of strangers and therefore have been known to be loud barkers. These qualities make Shetland Sheepdogs excellent watchdogs.

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    #23. Havanese

    2017 rank: #23 (unchanged from 2016)

    Havanese’ name is derived from Havana - the capital city of Cuba where the breed began in the 1800s as a lapdog for aristocrats and wealthy planters. This history of pampering has imprinted upon Havanese an expectation of being spoiled rotten as these house dogs stick to their owners like glue crave lots of attention and become anxious if left alone for too long or exiled to the backyard. However this also makes them people-pleasersand therefore easy to train as well as teach agility tricks.

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    75/ Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez // Wikimedia Commons

    #22. Pomeranians

    2017 rank: #22 (unchanged from 2016)

    Pomeranians look more like toys or fashion accessories than actual dogs. Maybe that is why the breed is popular among celebrities like Paris Hilton Nicole Richie Hilary Duff Gwen Stefani and Eva Longoria. You might be surprised to learn that Pomeranians are actually descendants of full-size sled dogs which likely explains their excessive energy level. In addition to featuring all of the vigor of a big athletic dog Pomeranians are rarely intimidated by strangers and other animals - even those that tower over their tiny bodies which typically weigh less than seven pounds.

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    #21. Boston Terriers

    2017 rank: #21 (unchanged from 2016)

    Boston Terriers’ roots are said to begin in England where someone crossbred a Bulldog with the now-extinct White English Terrier for the purposes of pit fighting. That dog which was sold to an American and brought to Boston Massachusetts in the late 1800s is believed to be the common ancestor of all true Boston Terriers. Despite these origins this breed would rather show affection than aggression. Their black-and-white tuxedo-like pattern paired with their great manners have earned Boston Terriers the nickname “The American Gentleman.”

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    #20. Shih Tzu

    2017 rank: #20 (unchanged from 2016)

    Literally translated from Chinese to English as “lion dog” Shih Tzu were originally bred in China to serve as lapdogs for royalty. Centuries later they have not forgotten their pampered roots. Although this lifestyle has not left them feeling entitled and therefore arrogant or aggressive they live for naps on the laps of their owners. Shih Tzu are one of the friendliest dog breeds in the world constantly showing affection for the members of their family and always eager to make new friends of both the two- and four-feet varieties.

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    #19. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

    2017 rank: #19 (unchanged from 2016)

    Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were named in honor of King Charles I and his son King Charles II European nobility who were especially fond of toy spaniels. Standing 12-13 inches tall and weighing 13-18 pounds Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are one of the larger toy breeds but that does not stop them from wanting to cuddle up on their owner’s lap. And although they are known to be a bit stubborn and difficult to train Cavalier King Charles Spaniels enjoy the best of both worlds. When they are not lounging on laps they can be found running around on the agility course or even helping out with small-game hunts.

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    #18. Miniature Schnauzers

    2017 rank: #18 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Miniature Schnauzers are maybe most recognizable for their bushy beard and eyebrows features that protect their faces from the vermin they were originally bred to hunt. They still perform pest control duties and are instinctually curious about mice gerbils and even small birds so they may not be the best dog for families with small pets. However Miniature Schnauzers are not ones to be left alone anyway as they have a reputation for following their owners everywhere and keeping them constantly entertained with their playful antics.

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    #17. Australian Shepherds

    2017 rank: #17 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Contrary to what their name suggests Australian Shepherds originated in the U.S. during the 1840s. Nicknamed Aussies they are one of the smartest and most loyal dog breeds in the world. In fact it is not uncommon for Australian Shepherds to outsmart their owners so it is best to keep their minds occupied with various household tasks like bringing in the newspaper and taking out the trash. They are also one of the most versatile dog breeds in the world excelling at herding obedience agility and even rodeo events.

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    #16. Doberman Pinschers

    2017 rank: #16 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Doberman Pinschers have a reputation for being sleek guard dogs especially in films like “Hugo” “Resident Evil” and “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” That is perhaps because they were originally bred to be such in Germany during the late 19th century. However Doberman Pinschers have since proven themselves to be much more than the sinister attack-dogs pop culture continues to portray them as. While it is true they remain great guard dogs they never look for trouble on their own and typically only attack when defending their family from perceived threats. Doberman Pinschers are actually very loving companions who view themselves as their family’s protector.

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    82/ Daniel Stockman // Wikimedia Commons

    #15. Pembroke Welsh Corgis

    2017 rank: #15 (up 3 spots from 2016)

    Do not allow the Pembroke Welsh Corgis’ short legs fool you - they are one of the most effective herding dogs in the world having originally been bred to herd sheep horses and cattle. However while they have proven themselves to be hard workers Pembroke Welsh Corgis are also extremely affectionate and outgoing with regal personalities that lend themselves to pampering. Perhaps that is why Queen Elizabeth II typically owns four or five Pembroke Welsh Corgis at a time with whom she is frequently photographed.

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    #14. Great Danes

    2017 rank: #14 (unchanged from 2016)

    Possibly best known for their fictional counterparts Scooby Doo and Marmaduke Great Danes are giant dogs whose physical size is matched only by the size of their hearts. Commonly standing as tall as 32 inches at the shoulder Great Danes are often referred to as the “Apollo of Dogs.” They are gentle giants with very affectionate personalities who sometimes seem to be oblivious about their size as they enjoy cuddling up on their owners’ laps. However while Great Danes are tender to the members of their family and other friendly individuals they will not hesitate to protect their loved ones if the need arises - starting with a bark that is truly representative of their size.

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    #13. Dachshunds

    2017 rank: #13 (unchanged from 2016)

    Dachshunds have many nicknames including “wiener dog” but their name actually translates from German to English as “badger dog.” That is because Dachshunds were originally bred more than 300 years ago to hunt badgers - and even fight them to the death. Their incredible sense of smell paired with their short legs and long bodies made these hounds the perfect little exterminators of the burrowing creatures. This history has likely instilled in Dachshunds an instinctual courageousness which may be a bit surprising to some - especially considering their relatively small size.

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    85/ Pamela Carls // Wikicommons

    #12. Siberian Huskies

    2017 rank: #12 (unchanged from 2016)

    Siberian Huskies were originally developed by the Chukchi people in Siberia as a working dog to pull heavy sleds over long distances. They were introduced to the U.S. in the early 1900s when they began to compete in Alaskan sled races. Featured in films like “Snow Dogs” and “Eight Below” Siberian Huskies are pack dogs and are particularly independent and difficult to train but still very affectionate dogs - albeit ones who do not beg their owners for attention 24/7. It is especially important to have a properly fenced backyard for this breed as Siberian Huskies are highly athletic and known to be serial escape artists.

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    #11. Boxers

    2017 rank: #11 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Boxers are probably best known for their wrinkled worrisome faces. However do not let those sad expressions fool you - Boxers are exceptionally playful dogs that are full of energy. In fact these qualities have earned Boxers the honor of being occasionally called the “Peter Pan of Dogs” - an especially appropriate title since they have one of the longest puppyhoods in the world and do not reach maturity until they turn three years old. And they are quite affectionate too often giving their owners big sloppy kisses. Speaking of which a Boxer named Brandy from St. Clair Shores Michigan holds the Guinness World Record for the longest tongue on a dog at 17 inches.

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    #10. Pointers (German Shorthaired)

    2017 rank: #10 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    German Shorthaired Pointers were originally developed in Germany during the late 1800s as a dog that would instinctively perform a variety of hunting-related duties. The breed’s name is partially derived from the arrow-like stance they exhibit when locating their prey. However German Shorthaired Pointers are quality companions for more than just hunters. Their high energy makes them good company for long hikes their athleticism makes them great agility competitors and their strong work ethic and desire to please make them all-around excellent additions to any family.

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    #9. Yorkshire Terriers

    2017 rank: #9 (unchanged from 2016)

    You may not believe it because of their current status as one of the most pampered pooches in the world but Yorkshire Terriers are descendants from dogs who were originally used to hunt rats in the coal mines textile mills and factories of England during the Industrial Revolution. Today their beautiful floor-length silky coats have made Yorkshire Terriers - or as they are more commonly called Yorkies - a favorite among fashionistas (even if said coat does require a lot of maintenance). However it is important to note that Yorkshire Terriers have short tempers and tend to nip when anxious or annoyed and are considered to be one of the more yappy breeds.

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    #8. Rottweilers

    2017 rank: #8 (unchanged from 2016)

    Rottweilers have a history of being quite the hard-working dogs. Originally bred in Germany to drive cattle to butchers and pull carts filled with meat Rottweilers were later used as police dogs before eventually settling into their current jobs as very reliable guard dogs. They have an uncanny natural instinct to protect their owners their family and their home and have therefore earned a reputation for being somewhat aggressive and especially ferocious in their defense methods. However when properly trained and socialized Rottweilers can be quite loveable and even forget that they are entirely too big to be lap dogs

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    #7. Poodles

    2017 rank: #7 (unchanged from 2016)

    Originating in Germany as duck retrievers Poodles have since earned a reputation of royalty among dogs due to their consistent success at show competitions. These dogs look the part with their often fancy hairdos and dignified stances but those who believe Poodles are prim and proper may be surprised to learn that they actually have quite the goofy sense of humor. And although they often live relatively luxurious lives and develop superiority complexes as the alpha of a family as a result Poodles are extremely intelligent dogs that can be trained to perform a variety of tasks and tricks.

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    #6. Beagles

    2017 rank: #6 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Beagles’ name is said to have been derived from an old French word that translates into English as “gaped throat.”That is likely because Beagles bark howl and bay - especially when their uncanny sense of smell picks up something that intrigues them. Their noses have about 220 million scent receptors - exponentially more than the roughly five million scent receptors humans have which is probably why they are used to maintain safety at U.S. airports. However their noses also tend to get them in trouble as Beagles will break just about every one of their owner’s rules to get whatever food they happen to smell and require a great deal of patience while sniffing around during walks.

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    #5. Bulldogs

    2017 rank: #5 (down 1 spot from 2016)

     

    Much like the one featured in the 2002 comedy “Van Wilder” Bulldogs tend to be quite flatulent dogs. Their uniquely brutish faces have earned Bulldogs many mascot titles making their name and image synonymous with the terms courageous and tenacious. Originally bred to fight bulls for sport (hence their name) Bulldogs have now made a place for themselves in homes where they can essentially be couch potatoes and be a constant source of amusement for families thanks to their loving demeanor low maintenance and undying devotion.

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    #4. French Bulldogs

    2017 rank: #4 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    French Bulldogs’ trademark feature is their erect “bat ears” but this breed has a lot more going for it than its Bulldog-like face in miniature size. They are one of the most affectionate dog breeds out there and can even exhibit a possessive nature when it comes to their owners. Therefore French Bulldogs need plenty of socialization and as little isolation as possible. They also do not need much exercise lending themselves to a pampered lifestyle that has made them a favorite among celebrities - including Martha Stewart whose French Bulldogs even used to have their own blog.

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    94/ Siavash Ghazvinian // Wikimedia Commons

    #3. Retrievers (Golden)

    2017 rank: #3 (unchanged from 2016)

    Golden Retrievers very well be the All American dog - especially if you consider their frequent appearances in movies like “Air Bud” and television series like “Full House.” However before coming to the U.S. Golden Retrievers were bred in Scotland for the purposes of - as their name suggests - retrieve game for hunters. However while they will still perform those duties Golden Retrievers are now more prone to retrieving their owner’s newspaper and slippers. They are exceptionally easy to train but one of the least effective guard dogsthanks to their highly affectionate instincts.

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    #2. German Shepherd Dogs

    2017 rank: #2 (unchanged from 2016)

    German Shepherds may just be the most versatile dog breed as they have made names for themselves in a variety of industries - including law enforcement the military guide and assistance search and rescue herding and drug detection. German Shepherds tend to become very attached to their owners and are therefore affectionate and prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. However this quality also makes them particularly protective of their owners and suspicious of strangers which coincidentally makes them very effective watchdogs. Few animal actors have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame but this breed has two that made it big enough for that honor - Strongheart and Rin Tin Tin.

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    #1. Retrievers (Labrador)

    2017 rank: #1 (unchanged from 2016)

    Labrador Retrievers originally hail from Newfoundland where they were bred to be waterdogs that could help hunters retrieve ducks and fishermen pull in nets. Their “otter tail” assists them with these tasks by acting as a powerful rutter. Commonly called the quintessential dog due to their tendency to be both easygoing and athletic at the same time Labrador Retrievers may be one of the most frequently portrayed dog breeds in movies and on television - with appearances ranging from “Family Guy” and “Lost” to “Old Yeller” and “Marley and Me.” The breed is also the first to grace the cover of Life Magazine as well as a U.S. stamp.

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