A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

The 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2022

The American Kennel Club's list of the most popular dog breeds this year features your usual lovable suspects, as well as some cutie-pie surprises

Portrait of young woman kissing French bulldog
Westend61/Getty Images

The most popular dog breeds you’re about to become obsessed with

Each year, the American Kennel Club (AKC) releases a list of the most popular dog breeds recognized by the AKC. But how do they arrive at these results when they have 200 adorable breeds to choose from? The ranking is purely based on AKC registration statistics for the previous year, and not subjective categories like the most loyal dog breeds, calm dog breeds or best dogs for kids, although you’ll see representatives from those categories on the list, since those characteristics are a big reason the breeds are so popular. And 2022’s rundown is pawsitively fascinating, as there’s a new pooch topping the most popular dog breeds list for the first time in more than 30 years.

Did your faves make the list? Read on to find out if your furry friend is here—or to help you find the next adorable addition to your family!

Get Reader’s Digest’s Read Up newsletter for more pets, humor, cleaning, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.

Most popular dog breed in the U.S.: French bulldog

That’s right! The French bulldog dethroned the previous 31-year top dog, the Labrador retriever, to be named 2022’s most popular dog breed. And, to be fair, the French bulldog had us at salut (that’s “hello” in French), with its adorable little wrinkled face and bat-like ears. But there’s so much more to the Frenchie than its good looks: Frenchies are all-around lovers of their people, new people and other animals.

They’re also dogs of few words—or, more accurately, few barks. As an alert four-legged guard dog, a French bulldog will let you know if someone is at the door, but it will usually communicate with you nonverbally and show affection with licks and little shimmies. We love the Frenchie’s smooshed face, but short-nosed breeds need special care in the summer heat. And if you own one, you should be intimately familiar with these warning signs of heat stroke in dogs.

Smiling labrador dog in the city park
sanjagrujic/Getty Images

2. Labrador retriever

The Labrador retriever had a solid 31-year run as America’s favorite dog—but hey, taking the silver isn’t bad! You probably see Labs everywhere—in town, on the trail, at the beach and at the dog park—because they’re one of the most common dog breeds to own. You might even see them working as rescue, guide and therapy dogs, jobs that seem tailor-made for them. They’re happy and outgoing and love to retrieve balls, frisbees and just about anything you toss out—especially if it means jumping into a lake to retrieve it.

Labs often top these most-popular lists because of their great nature; they’re the family members who get along with everyone, and they’re some of the best dogs for first-time owners. They are blissfully content to cozy up to one family member or plop down in the middle of the kids sprawled out on the floor.

Golden retriever lying on light floor

3. Golden retriever

“Hopelessly devoted to you” is what the golden retriever’s profile might say if it had one. One of the best dogs to own, golden retrievers love humans of all ages and have reservoirs of empathy and compassion. They’re blissfully content in a family with young, energetic children, yet so adaptable that they are also one of the best dogs for seniors. That said, they like to be active and, like all dogs, need their exercise, but they’re open to just about anything—long walks or retrieving balls in the backyard. When you have a golden retriever, you have a furry member of the family that is notorious for being friendly, outgoing, goofy, relaxed, eager to please, playful and intelligent, to boot!

young purebreed German Shepard dog in park
diego_cervo/Getty Images

4. German shepherd

Words we associate with German shepherds: intelligent, protective, athletic, versatile and active. Now let’s add a few more you might not know about. For starters: scent-driven. German shepherds are highly valued K-9 members of the police force, and they detect drugs and bombs with their sniff-sleuthing skills. They’re wicked smart and easy to train. And another word that will be more relevant to your life: devoted. German shepherds are also one of the most popular dog breeds because they show 100% unconditional love to their human families and pet siblings. And did we mention how gorgeous they are? They’re especially one of the cutest dog breeds as puppies.

Cute Poodle Sitting On The Sofa
urbazon/Getty Images

5. Poodle

One reason people love poodles? Their cute, curly locks of hair. Yep, hair. Poodles have hair, not fur, which may help lower allergic reactions in some people. We’re not going to sugar-coat it for you—those curlicues aren’t without maintenance. Poodles require brushing and combing every other day and a clipping every six weeks. But they are one of the sharpest breeds on the block, as well as eager to please, playful and loving. They also come in three sizes: standard, miniature and toy. But if you’ve always dreamed of having puppies that look like teddy bears, you might want to choose the miniature or toy size, so you can easily scoop them up and carry them around.

Portrait of English Bulldog on white sofa looking quizzically into camera.
Philary/Getty Images

6. Bulldog

There are plenty of different dog breeds of bulldogs, but we’re specifically talking about the “English” bulldog that originated in the British Isles. Like many other distinctive flat-faced dog breeds, they’re immediately recognizable by their adorable wrinkles, “sour mug” and stout bodies. Temperament-wise, bulldogs have a chill vibe going for them. They’re undeniably sweet, predictable and dependable. They’re fond of loafing around but enjoy short, brisk walks, as long as it’s not too hot or cold outside. Bulldogs easily overheat, have trouble breathing in hot weather and get chilled in cold weather. They’re people-oriented and seek attention, but they won’t bark to get it. As heavy breathers and snorers, they’ll always make their presence known.

Rottweiler dog sits on the beach against the backdrop of the sea
YouraPechkin/Getty Images

7. Rottweiler

At first glance, these guard dog breeds hardly give off a warm and fuzzy vibe, yet in reality they are exceptionally chummy and loyal with their human family. They’re often aloof with strangers, but that’s because they’re dedicated to their family and want to protect them. Continuous socialization and slow introductions to new people help a rottweiler makes new friends. As one of the smartest dog breeds, they’re not content to rest on their hindquarters. They need a job to do, whether that’s training exercises, playtime in the backyard or keeping a watchful eye on the kids.

Beautiful young dog beagle breed in the room
Maryna Terletska/Getty Images

8. Beagle

Originally bred to hunt in packs, the beagle has always loved to be around other dogs: a win-win for hanging out with the other most popular dog breeds on this list. Today, they love to be around people just as much, which makes them ideal family pets. Beagles are playful and have a nose for fun and adventure—literally. Once they get a whiff of something interesting, they take off after it and will likely ignore your calls to come back. They also tend to be vocal and bark, howl or bay frequently. Why do dogs howl? There are many reasons, like they miss you or aren’t feeling well, but beagles are often vocal because they’re sniffing out a “story” and alerting everyone to what they find.

Dachshund in the garden
Vsevolod Vlasenko/getty images

9. Dachshund

Besides being one of the most popular dog breeds, the peppy and headstrong dachshund has a tail-wagging honor that you might not know about. According to the AKC, a dachshund named Waldi was the first official mascot of the Olympics, in 1972. Even more fascinating, the Olympic marathon route was in the shape of a dachshund! While these lovable dogs with short legs will never run a marathon (or even run down the block, for that matter), they do love to hunt and dig. As far as companions go, you get a lot of bark for your buck, as they are one of the cheapest dog breeds and tend to be a one-person kind of dog.

German Short-haired Pointer in the woods with a blue bell on his collar
echo1/Getty Images

10. German shorthaired pointer

If you love the great outdoors and running on the trails, the German shorthaired pointer (GSP) is the most faithful sidekick you could ever hope for. GSPs are striking, with their toned bodies and distinctive coloring and ticking, also known as “fur freckles.” As you can imagine, this athletic breed needs to move. They don’t know the meaning of “couch potato”—at least not until the end of the day, when they chill with their humans. The daytime routine must include a substantial dose of daily exercise and wide-open spaces to run and play. GSPs can live 12 to 14 years and have a lower risk for illness, making them one of the healthiest dog breeds.


Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, Family Handyman and Taste of Home, among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center.