Dogs have been man’s best friend for thousands of years. Selective breeding has produced hundreds of different purebred dog breeds, many of which are household names. But some breeds stand out as particularly popular and have risen to fame either for their loveable temperaments, intelligence, working abilities or good looks. Here we’ll look at 10 of the most famous and popular dog breeds worldwide.
10 Most Famous Dog Breeds
The Labrador Retriever originated in Newfoundland, Canada where it was used as a working dog for fishing and hunting. It is one of the most popular dog breeds worldwide thanks to its friendly temperament, intelligence and versatility. Labs make wonderful family pets, service dogs and hunting companions. They have a short, weather-resistant coat that requires minimal grooming and sheds seasonally. Labs come in three colors – yellow, black and chocolate. They are energetic dogs that need daily exercise.
The German Shepherd is a relatively new breed developed in Germany in the late 1800s. It quickly became popular for its intelligence, trainability and use as a military and police dog. German Shepherds have a striking wolf-like appearance with alert, upright ears. They are highly active dogs that excel at tasks requiring obedience, detection and protection. Though sometimes portrayed as aggressive, German Shepherds are loyal family companions if well-trained and socialized.
The friendly, family-oriented Golden Retriever was originally bred as a gun dog to retrieve waterfowl. It remains a popular hunting companion but is more widely kept as a pet. Goldens have a water-repellent double coat that comes in shades of cream or gold. They are outgoing, exuberant dogs that get along with everyone. Their intelligence and desire to please makes them a top choice for guide dogs, search and rescue dogs and other service roles. Proper training and exercise are musts for this energetic breed.
The Bulldog originated in England where it was used in the bloody sport of bull baiting. Today’s Bulldog retains its thick, wrinkled coat, sour expression and strength along with a friendly, calm temperament. The short-haired Bulldog comes in a range of colors including red, fawn and piebald. It has a sturdy, thick-set body and short legs, making it unsuitable for running or high jumping. The Bulldog’s pushed-in face makes it prone to overheating and breathing difficulties. But its comical personality has made it a popular mascot and pet.
The Beagle is a small hunting hound with big ears and a bigger personality. They were originally bred to track rabbits and other small game. Today Beagles are happy-go-lucky family companions known for their friendliness, curiosity and determination. These energetic hounds thrive when kept active. They are independent thinkers but respond well to positive training methods and food rewards. The tri-color Beagle has a short, weatherproof coat and compact frame standing around 13-15 inches tall.
Poodles come in three size varieties – Standard, Miniature and Toy. But all types share the same elegant, proud temperament and lavish coat. Poodles are super-smart, highly trainable dogs. Their non-shedding, hypoallergenic coat has made them a popular choice for allergy sufferers. Show clips call for fancy, high-maintenance trims but many owners opt for shorter, more manageable styles. Poodles make charming pets but need daily physical and mental stimulation. They excel at dog sports and service work.
The Rottweiler is a robust working breed descended from ancient Roman drover dogs. They were used to herd livestock and pull carts loaded with meat to market. Rotties are powerful dogs with a sleek black coat and tan markings. They can make loyal family guardians but need thorough obedience training and socialization. Their natural protectiveness and strength make them unsuitable for novice owners. Rottweilers thrive when given a job to do like therapy work or search and rescue.
This long, low German breed was developed to hunt badgers and other tunneling animals. Hence the name Dachshund meaning “badger dog.” Dachshunds come in three coat varieties (smooth, wirehaired and longhaired) and two sizes (standard and miniature). They are tenacious hunters with a big bark. With their elongated bodies, stubby legs and outgoing personalities, Dachshunds also make quirky, fun-loving companions. Owners need patience as housetraining can be challenging. Dachshunds are prone to back issues so should not be allowed to jump on and off furniture.
The Boxer originated in Germany in the late 19th century from now extinct larger hunting and fighting breeds. Developed to be lighter and faster, the Boxer became popular as a guard dog, military dog, police dog and family companion. Boxers have a powerful, muscular build and strong, blunt muzzle. Their tight-fitting coat comes in fawn or brindle shades with white markings. They’re energetic, playful dogs that bond closely with their human pack. Boxers need consistent leadership along with daily mental and physical exercise.
The Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie, is the quintessential lap dog. This dainty breed originated in England during the Industrial Revolution to catch rats in clothing mills. Yorkies weigh just 4-7 pounds but have oversized personalities. They have long, silky, high-maintenance coats that are either blue and tan or black and tan. Yorkies are affectionate, spirited dogs but can be possessive of their owners. They’re prone to small dog syndrome without proper training and socialization. But their compact size makes them an easy-to-handle pet.
There are many factors that make a dog breed famous. Historic working breeds like the Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd earned reputations for their intelligence, trainability and abilities. Other breeds attracted attention for their unique looks and winning personalities. From the wrinkly Bulldog to the flamboyant Poodle, certain breeds capture the public’s imagination. But dogs become beloved companions when they find the right homes that can meet their individual needs for exercise, training and interaction. While no breed is universally perfect, the most famous dogs above make excellent pets for the right owner.
Tables Comparing Breed Traits
|Labrador Retriever||Canada||Large||Short, dense||Yellow, black, chocolate||Friendly, energetic, intelligent|
|German Shepherd||Germany||Large||Medium length, double coat||Black & tan or all black||Loyal, protective, driven|
|Golden Retriever||Scotland||Large||Long outer coat, dense undercoat||Light golden to dark golden||Friendly, intelligent, devoted|
|Bulldog||England||Medium||Fine, short||Red, fawn, piebald||Calm, courageous, friendly|
|Beagle||England||Small||Short, dense||Tricolor (black, tan, white)||Friendly, intelligent, determined|
|Poodle||Germany, France||Varies by size variety||Curly, harsh, dense||Solid or particolor||Active, proud, very smart|
|Rottweiler||Germany||Large, robust||Coarse, medium length||Black with tan markings||Confident, steady, protective|
|Dachshund||Germany||Small||Short (smooth) or long||Varies||Clever, curious, lively|
|Boxer||Germany||Medium-large||Short, shiny||Fawn or brindle with white||Fun-loving, energetic, loyal|
|Yorkshire Terrier||England||Small, toy size||Long, fine, silky||Blue & tan or black & tan||Spirited, tomboyish, affectionate|
|Breed||Exercise Needs||Grooming Needs||Trainability||Kid Friendliness|
|Labrador Retriever||High||Low||Eager to please||Excellent|
|German Shepherd||High||Moderate||Very high||Good|
|Golden Retriever||High||Moderate||Eager to please||Excellent|
|Bulldog||Low||Low||Can be stubborn||Good|
|Poodle||High||High if show clip||Exceptional||Excellent|
|Rottweiler||Moderate||Low||Responsive but needs experienced handler||Good with socialization|
|Dachshund||Moderate||Low to moderate||Can be stubborn||Good|
|Boxer||High||Low||Eager to please, responds well to positive reinforcement||Good|
|Yorkshire Terrier||Moderate||High||Moderate||Good with socialization|