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14 Most Popular Dog Breeds in the World (2024 Update)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 24, 2024 by Dogster Team

German shepherd dog standing in a field on a bright sunny day

14 Most Popular Dog Breeds in the World (2024 Update)

Global pet ownership is rising as more people discover the emotional benefits of canine companionship and savvy ways to make it work with their lifestyle. While regional differences exist, several breeds are distinguishing themselves as go-to options for new adopters.

Are you wondering which breeds are taking the globe by storm this year? If you’re looking for a tried-and-true breed, check out our breakdown of the top 14 choices for dog owners worldwide.

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The 14 Most Popular Dog Breeds in the World

1. German Shepherd

german shepherd dog standing at the park
Image Credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH, Shutterstock
Origin: 1800s, Germany
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Height: 22–26 inches

The German Shepherd was initially a sheep-tending dog, an athletic “living fence” that could contain and protect the flock as it moved. In short order, however, they transitioned to police and military roles.

The early 1900s saw the breed develop into a Hollywood hero with stars like Rin Tin Tin, which helped them become one of America’s most popular dogs. The GSD is currently the fourth most popular breed in the U.S., and they’re even more beloved on a global scale.

According to a 2023 study by TGM, German Shepherds are the top dog breed in the world, ranking in the top three in every region except Latin America.1

2. Labrador Retriever

labrador retriever dog standing in the grass
Image Credit: Alexander Rim, Shutterstock
Origin: 1800s, England
Lifespan: 11–13 years
Height: 21.5–24.5 inches

Despite the name, the Labrador Retriever descended from a Newfoundland water retrieving breed, the St. John’s Dog. After international trade brought the dog to England, nobles began refining and standardizing the breed in the late 1800s.

The Labrador Retriever is a friendly, gentle, and eager-to-please hunting dog, and they have long been the quintessential family pet.

Though they have been the second most popular purebred dog in America in the last two years, they held the number one spot for three straight decades prior.

3. French Bulldog

french bulldog standing on grass
Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock
Origin: 1800s, France
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 11–13 inches

The French Bulldog’s ancestors were popular companions for lacemakers in 19th-century England. As the Industrial Revolution forced many workers to move to France for employment, the undersized Bulldogs were crossed with other small breeds in their new homes to form the Frenchie.

The breed became a preferred pet for Parisian owners, associating with socialites and gaining notoriety as a fashionable accessory. Fun, adorable, and well-suited for city life, French Bulldogs enjoyed a steady climb in popularity in the 20th century.

The Frenchie’s rise culminated with their recognition as the most popular purebred in America in 2022, stealing the Labrador Retriever’s long-held position at the top. Proving it was no fluke, the breed again took the number one spot in 2023.

4. Pug

pug dog standing in the forest
Image Credit: marketalangova, Shutterstock
Origin: ~2,000–400 B.C., China
Lifespan: 13–15 years
Height: 10–13 inches

Pugs have existed since ancient China, where they served as close companions to the country’s elites. While they were a close-kept secret for generations, the breed eventually spread across the globe as trade opened around the 16th century, bringing their adorable snub noses to a whole new world of dog lovers.

The AKC recognized the Pug in 1885. Despite their various health issues, their playful personalities are irresistible to dog fans worldwide. Pugs are among the most searched dogs online, and owners can’t help showing off their wrinkle-faced companions.

5. Poodle

poodle dog walking in a field
Image Credit: Francine parent, Shutterstock
Origin: ~1300–1500, Germany
Lifespan: 10–18 years
Height: 10–15+ inches

Poodles may be one of the fanciest among modern breeds, but these athletic canines were hard-working water retrievers when they originated in Germany during the Middle Ages. The name “Poodle” comes from “pudel,” German for “to splash.” The athletic and intelligent dog would later find work as a circus performer and truffle hunter.

Thanks to their low-shedding coat, the Poodle became a go-to option for even more people, including those with allergies. The breed subsequently became the basis for the doodle trend.

Since they’re available in toy, medium, and standard sizes, Poodles can fit almost any arrangement, rural or urban, making them a preferred breed globally.

6. Rottweiler

Rottweiler dog standing at the park
Image Credit: Sinseeho, Shutterstock
Origin: ~0–300 A.D., Germany
Lifespan: 9–10 years
Height: 22–27 inches

Rottweilers descend from Mastiff dogs that Roman legions used to guard and move livestock as they advanced across Europe. In Germany, these dogs became the progenitors of the Rottweiler. Following the Roman empire’s collapse, the pups became drover dogs.

When that work dwindled with the adoption of railroads in the 1800s, the Rottweiler found their place as a police dog and loyal home companion. The muscular Rottweiler’s intelligence, devotion, and dependable courage have made them a popular choice for those looking for a loving guardian.

As a versatile choice for working roles, search-and-rescue, and service jobs, the Rottweiler has become a top breed for diverse owners worldwide.

7. Chihuahua

Chihuahua dog standing on grass
Image Credit: anetapics, Shutterstock
Origin: 1300s, Mexico
Lifespan: 14–16 years
Height: 5–8 inches

Chihuahuas didn’t live the most privileged life before settling into their niche as one of the canine world’s top accessory breeds. Descended from the Techichi, an extinct dog dating to 9th-century Toltec culture, the Chihuahua took shape during the Aztec empire.

While they eventually became a common companion, the Chihuahua was originally used in religious sacrifice, exchanged as currency, and even eaten as a delicacy.

Today’s Chihuahuas don’t have the unfortunate position of their forebears, though they’re still just as popular. As a fashionable companion for city life, the Chihuahua is among America’s favorite breeds and one of the most searched dogs online.

8. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever dog standing on grass
Image Credit: tanatat, Shutterstock
Origin: 1800s, England
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 21.5–24 inches

Although black hunting dogs were preferable at the time, the Golden Retriever defied the odds to become a distinguished gentleman’s hunting companion when they first arose in the mid-1800s. An aristocrat and avid dog breeder, Dudley Marjoribanks, discovered a golden-coated dog in 1865 and crossed them with the extinct Tweed Spaniel to give us the first Goldens.

Marjoribanks’s retrievers touched the hearts of anyone lucky enough to own one. Goldens entered the show ring in 1908 and earned AKC recognition in 1925. Today, they have a comfortable spot rounding out the top three breeds in America while enjoying their fair share of international popularity.

9. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier dog standing outdoor
Image Credit: Nneirda, Shutterstock
Origin: 1800s, England
Lifespan: 11–15 years
Height: 7–8 inches

While its shining, floor-sweeping coat may wow audiences on the show circuit, the Yorkshire Terrier originated as a genuine working breed and vermin-exterminating extraordinaire in their native England. They are supposedly the creation of Scottish weavers who used small-statured dogs to rid their mills of rats.

When the breed gained Kennel Club recognition in the late 1800s, Yorkies took on a new position as an attractive accessory, and their status hasn’t changed since. Though their popularity has fallen slightly over the past decade, the affectionate, spirited breed remains the 13th most popular dog in America and one of the top picks for urban residents worldwide.

10. Shih Tzu

Shih-tzu dog standing on tree trunk in forest
Image Credit: chaossart, Shutterstock
Origin: ~0–1,000 A.D., Tibet
Lifespan: 10–18 years
Height: 9–10.5 inches

Many believe the diminutive Shih Tzu developed from Lhasa Apso dogs in Tibet over a thousand years ago. Monks placed religious meaning on their dogs, often breeding them to resemble lions, a symbol of protection in Buddhism. As a traditional gift to neighboring Chinese royals, the breed was refined as a lap warmer for emperors.

Although Chinese royals often gifted dogs to foreign rulers, the Shih Tzu remained hidden from the rest of the world until the early 20th century. Once in the international realm, the breed’s renown grew by leaps and bounds. Today, the Shih Tzu sits among the top 20 American breeds and enjoys notable popularity in Asia and Brazil.

11. Bulldog

english bulldog standing on grass
Image Credit: WilleeCole Photography, Shutterstock
Origin: 1800s, England
Lifespan: 8–10 years

The squash-faced and stout Bulldog is an unmistakable canine wonder, sporting a kind, lovable demeanor to contrast their infamous origins. The modern variety descends from the Old English Bulldog, a breed used in vicious bull-baiting events since the 13th century.

Upon the sport’s outlaw in the mid-1800s, the Bulldog made a smooth transition to a show dog and family companion. They are currently the sixth most popular breed in America and among the top 10 most popular dogs worldwide.

12. Pit Bull

Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock
Origin: 1800s, England
Lifespan: 8–16 years
Height: 14–22 inches

Pit Bulls aren’t a breed but a group of five dogs: Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and American Bullies. The breeds originated with bull-and-terrier-type dogs in the 1800s that were used in bloodsports for the blue-collar class.

Though often subject to unjust discrimination due to their unsavory past, Pit Bulls are generally loyal, devoted, and gentle with their family. As a group, they are the most popular dogs in America and one of the most common across North and South America.

Unfortunately, they’re also the most represented group in American animal shelters because of the stigma surrounding them.

13. Dachshund

Dachshund dog standing on pathway
Image Credit: Utekhina Anna, Shutterstock
Origin: 1600s, Germany
Lifespan: 12–16 years
Height: 5–9 inches

Dachshunds may be adorable pets today, but their original work as badger-hunting dogs demanded a tenacious, fearless, and independent spirit. Hunters used tubular dogs for centuries, sending them into underground burrows to retrieve the dangerous critters. The breed expanded in the 1800s as fanciers developed more coat types and a miniature version.

The testy temperament that made Dachshunds expert hunters can make for a challenging ownership experience, but that hasn’t stopped fans from falling in love with these uniquely shaped pups. Dachshunds are a top 10 breed in America and one of the most searched-for dogs worldwide.

14. Beagle

beagle dog standing at the park
Image Credit: Vicky1981, Shutterstock
Origin: ~1300s–1500s, England
Lifespan: 10–15 years
Height: 13–15 inches

Beagles descended from hounds that English hunters used in small packs to hunt rabbits and other small game. Considered a “nose on paws,” the breed is as valued for their impressive tracking abilities as they are for their adorable looks. Beagles arrived in America in the 1800s, earning AKC recognition in 1885.

As a fun and outgoing breed, Beagles are irresistible in form and temperament, explaining their worldwide popularity. They have been one of the top 10 breeds in America for years while maintaining substantial representation in social media and online searches.

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Large or small, the world’s most popular dog breeds are understandably easy to live with. Though every region has its favorite, all the top varieties make exceptional family pets. Each dog has a unique spirit and talent that delights their loved ones. If you plan on adopting a dog, we hope our list has expanded your options.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Francine parent, Shutterstock

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