Top 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds for 2021 (AKC)

April 1, 2022

Are you looking to add a new dog to your life and family?  Depending on your situation, some breeds will be a better fit than others for you. Each year both the American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club release their lists of popular dog breeds – based on their registration statistics. Check out the AKC’s list of the top 10 dog breeds – maybe you might find the dog you have been looking for!


labrador retriever - top 10 most popular dog breeds

The Labrador Retriever is a friendly dog making it favorite among families including those with children… this is shown by the fact that this breed has been at the top of the list for the past 30 years!  A hardworking, strong, athletic breed that enjoys hunting to agility to just being a loving, family companion.  With their wide range of capabilities, temperament and dependability, they have become one of the primary choices for service and guide dogs as well as search and rescue.

Temperament:  Friendly / Active / Outgoing

Height:  22.5 to 24.5 inches (male) / 21.5 to 23.5 inches (female)

Weight:  65 to 80 lbs (male) / 55 to 70 lbs (female)

Life Expectancy:  10 to 12 years


Frenchie - most popular dog breeds

An affectionate and sweet-tempered companion that is intelligent and can serve as a good watchdog.  With their tendency of barking less than many other breeds, combined along with their small stature, these dogs would be a good choice for apartment living.

Temperament:  Playful / Smart / Adaptable

Height:  11 to 13 inches

Weight:  under 28 lbs

Life Expectancy:  10 to 12 years


The Golden Retriever’s personality and self confidence makes this breed well known for being a hard worker and eager to please.  Combined with their intelligence and friendly demeanor, this breed has become a popular choice for service and guide dogs.  

Temperament:  Intelligent / Friendly / Devoted

Height:  23 to 24 inches (male) / 21.5 to 22.5 inches (female)

Weight:  65 to 75 lbs (male) / 55 to 65 lbs (female)

Life Expectancy:  10 to 12 years


As a strong and determined working dog, the German Shepherd are a popular choice for herding dogs, police / military work and as guide dogs for the blind.  The qualities they exhibit have made them well known as a companion, protector and friend.

Temperament:  Smart / Loyal / Courageous

Height:  24 to 26 inches (male) / 22 to 24 inches (female)

Weight:  65 to 90 lbs (male) / 50 to 70 lbs (female)

Life Expectancy:  7 to 10 years

5. standard POODLEs

standard poodle - top 10

While you might look at the Poodle and think of them as pampered… these dogs originated as a water retriever.  The Poodle is, therefore, an incredibly athletic and excellent swimmer.  Their coat is one that lends itself to ‘hair styling’ which is why you see so many with a traditional Poodle cut.  They require both physical exercise and mental stimulation and enjoy being with people… these things combined are a real benefit when you look at the fact that this breed is growing in popularity as a choice for service dogs.  They are very intelligent, eager to please and love to work and be active.

Temperament:  Proud / Active / Very Smart

Height:  over 15 inches

Weight:  60 to 70 lbs (male) / 50 to 60 lbs (female)

Life Expectancy:  10 to 18 years


With a line of ancestry dating back to bull baiting (which explains more about their stature), this breed has evolved into a line that provides a calm, yet courageous, companion for all.  As one of the brachycephalic breeds, these dogs are fairly well known for both snoring and snorting… and a few other things too!  These guys also make a good choice to add to the list if you are an apartment dweller as their exercise requirement is on the lower scale as far as needs go.

Temperament:  Calm / Courageous / Friendly

Height:  14 to 15 inches

Weight:  50 lbs (male) / 40 lbs (female)

Life Expectancy:  8 to 10 years


beagle - top 10

Beagles are a gentle and good-tempered breed but they do have a tendency to be excitable which means they are more likely to bark or howl… and the Beagle has a very distinct bark!  A scent hound… which means they may get into things you don’t want them to (i.e. think litter box etc) and if you happen to have them off-leash be prepared that they may pick up on a scent that will have them heading off and make it more challenging for you to get them back on leash.  They will need a fair bit of exercise to keep them content… but overall they can make a very good family dog as they usually love children and get along with other pets.

Temperament:  Merry / Friendly / Curious

Height:  13 inches and under / 13 to 15 inches

Weight:  under 20 lbs (13 inches and under) / 20 to 30 lbs (13 to 15 inches)

Life Expectancy:  10 to 15 years


rottweiler - top 10

Rottweilers are a strong and loyal breed… one that can be a loving and protective guardian.  They are incredibly smart and eager to please but can also have a stubborn streak.  Not an overly vocal breed, and despite their size, love to be a house-dog where they are spending time with the family.  

Temperament:  Loyal / Loving / Confident Guardian

Height:  24 to 27 inches (male) / 22 to 25 inches (female)

Weight:  95 to 135 lbs (male) / 80 to 100 lbs (female)

Life Expectancy:  9 to 10 years


german shorthaired pointer - top 10

Very intelligent and highly trainable, this breed makes a good family dog… but they do need an energetic lifestyle.  They are well suited to rigorous outdoor activities and competing in dog sports whether on land or in the water.

Temperament:  Friendly / Smart / Willing to Please

Height:  23 to 25 inches (male) / 21 to 23 inches (female)

Weight:  55 to 70 lbs (male) / 45 to 60 lbs (female)

Life Expectancy:  10 to 12 years


dachshund - top 10

This breed comes in a wide variety of sizes and colours but generally they are small enough to live easily in an apartment, and large enough for a house whether in the suburbs or the country.  With their short legs small walks provide maximum exercise!  This breed is a mix as far as personalities and temperaments… if well trained, they are excellent family dogs and companions, but if not well trained, they can be difficult to handle.  

Temperament:  Spunky / Curious / Friendly

Height:  8 to 9 inches (standard) / 5 to 6 inches (miniature)

Weight:  16 to 32 lbs (standard) / under 11 lbs (miniature)

Life Expectancy:  12 to 16 years

If you are interested in the complete list of most popular dog breeds for 2021, you can find that here.

I encourage you to also check out CKC’s most popular breeds in Canada – though their list is for 2020 as it hasn’t been updated. The comparisons are interesting.  Personally I wouldn’t have thought that the lists could, in essence, vary so much between the two countries.

If you already have a dog, where are they on the list?

source: AKC re breed stats


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