Determining the most popular breeds of dogs around the world is a bit more challenging than it may appear. One of the biggest problems is that there is no one recording service or program that monitors domestic pets within any given country around the world. Countries that license dogs have the advantage of being able to provide information on how many dogs are licensed, but that doesn't give the breeds. Plus there is always the issue that despite mandatory licensing there are probably hundreds of thousands of unlicensed dogs that are either owned in remote areas, urban centers or that are semi-wild or strays at any given time.
According to the National Pet Owner's Survey, conducted in 2005 and 2006 in the United States it is estimated that at least 63 percent of all households have at least one dog or cat, which results in a total number of just under 70 million households that consider themselves pet owners. From that number the National Pet Owner's Survey also determined that there are almost 75 million pet dogs within the United States alone. In addition to this number the Humane Society of the United States also reports that there are 6 to 8 million dogs and cats that enter shelters and SPCA facilities across the United States every year. Approximately one quarter of these dogs that end up in shelters are reported as purebreds and only about half of these dogs are reclaimed by owners in any one year. All other dogs that enter these shelters are euthanized typically after a very short stay in the shelter, simply because there are insufficient funds and space to keep these poor animals.
Certainly not all dogs will fall into this category however and most dog owners are responsible, loving and very caring people. Dogs that end up in loving homes are valuable family members and become a part of the household. Purebred dogs will be registered, at the very least litter registered, so fairly accurate numbers of the breeds that are being registered within each Kennel Club or breed association can be recorded and reported. When information is given on the most popular dog breeds it is purebred numbers that are being counted as reported by the country's individual Kennel Club or national dog registry.
Despite the vast difference between different countries, the same breeds of dogs seem to be within the top ten dogs almost every year. The information provided below is from the registration numbers for the AKC (American Kennel Club), UK Kennel Club, SCC (France), NZ Kennel Club, ANKC (Australian Kennel Club), VDH (German Kennel Club) and the CKC (Canadian Kennel Club).
Within all these countries either a Labrador Retriever or a Golden Retriever is within the top five breeds registered in that particular country. In fact in all countries reported except France both the Lab and the Golden Retriever are in the top 10. This is largely due to the versatility of the two breeds as well as their family friendly temperament and highly social behavior. Both breeds, when trained and socialized from puppies tend to be very dog friendly, highly intelligent and also commonly found serving as guide dogs, assistance dogs and of course as hunting and family pets.
Another dog that is in the top 10 in all countries reporting is the German Shepherd Dog, also known as the Alsatian in the European countries. Not surprisingly this noble, beautiful and excellent watch and guard dog is considered ideal for many living situations. Despite its larger size the German Shepherd Dog adapts well to apartment life and small spaces providing they have routine walks and exercise times. Like the retrievers, German Shepherd's are very family friendly dogs and when trained and socialized are good with other pets and dogs, although they are protective of their families and territory.
For small breeds there is a bit of a difference between countries, with some favorite national breeds rising to the surface. In the United States and Canada, the Yorkshire Terrier is way up on the list of the top 10 but it is also ranked high in France, surprisingly however, not in the United Kingdom. The West Highland White Terrier and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels get the high small dog ranking in the UK Kennel Club. The Cavalier also shows up as popular breed in New Zealand and France and the elegant Shih Tzu is another popular American and Canadian small breed, not showing up in any other country reporting. Dachshunds are within that top group in the USA and Germany and Poodles of all sizes are within the most registered breeds in the US, Australia, Canada, Germany but surprisingly not in France.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are very popular in New Zealand and Australia as well as France and the United Kingdom, but again not found on the roster for top breeds in Canada or the United States. The Boxer does very well in several countries including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany. Border Collies, a very versatile breed, are popular in countries where working dogs are still in demand including the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
There are some national favorite dogs that seem to show up in the top 10 only in one country. In Canada the Shetland Sheepdog or Sheltie is ranked as number 5 and the Bernese Mountain Dog at number 10. In New Zealand the Chihuahua breaks into the top 10 and in Australia the Doberman is within this group as well. The UK has two unique breeds to the list including the very popular and lively Border Terrier and the English Springer Spaniel. Germany boasts three unusual top 10 breeds that are native to the country. These include the German Shorthaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer and the Riesenschnauzer, known in other countries as the Giant Schnauzer. France's top 10 list includes the Belgian Sheepdog Malinois as well as the Brittany Spaniel that are not in the top list in any other country reviewed.