Top 10 Dog Breeds list, AKC Breeds, 2012 Ranking

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Top 10 Dog Breeds
Most Popular AKC Dog Breeds 2012-2013

“This list only includes the top ten dog breeds as
recognized by the AKC. There are many more to choose from.”

Top 10 Dog BreedsFollowing is our List of the top 10 dog breeds according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) 2012 ranking. Includes dog breed pictures as well as detailed information on size, color, temperament, health, training and more.

If you need help choosing the
right dog to fit your lifestyle, visit our dog breeds page where you will find a list of questions to help with your decision.

For 23 years the Labrador Retriever has remained the most popular American dog breed, while the next 9 positions have been in constant motion.

All 10 of the top 10 breeds from 2011 remained on the list. Remember, this list only includes the top 10 dog breeds as recognized by the AKC in 2012.

Over the past few years, the Shih Tzu has moved on and off the top 10 list, making an appearance in 2002 and again 2007, but standing now at number 11.

The Rottweiler is another mover, having been on and off the list over the last 10 years, making appearances in 2002 and 2007. In 2011, Rotties made the list again and not only stayed their for 2012, but climbed a spot to number 9.

Beagles swapped spots again with the popular Golden Retriever, moving from 3rd to 4th and vice versa. Bulldogs also moved up a spot from 6th to 5th, having been in 10th and 18th in 2007 and 2002, respectively.

There are many more to choose from, including the complete list of 175 AKC dog breeds.

If you already know what you want or need, take a look at information here to learn more. Finding the right dog for your needs can be an exciting adventure. Get started today!

NOTE: For more information on any of these top 10 dog breeds, click the photo or the breed name.

Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever
  • AKC Popularity:  1
  • AKC Breed Group:  Sporting
  • Size of Male:  65-80 lbs., 22.5-24.5 in.
  • Size of Female:  55-70 lbs., 21.5-23.5 in.
  • Color:  Black, Chocolate, Yellow
  • Average Lifespan:  10-12 years
  • Breed Origin:  Canada/England
  • Purpose:  Retriever, Service Dog, Pet
German ShepherdGerman Shepherd 
  • AKC Popularity: 2
  • AKC Breed Group:  Herding
  • Size of Male:  24-26 in., 70-100 lbs
  • Size of Female:  22-24 in., 60-80 lbs
  • Color:  Black and Tan, Black and Cream, Solid Black, and Black and Silver
  • Average Lifespan:  12 years
  • Breed Origin:  Germany
  • Purpose:  Guard Dog, Herding, Police Dog, Search Dog, Contraband Detection
Golden RetrieverGolden Retriever
  • AKC Popularity:  3
  • AKC Breed Group:  Sporting
  • Size of Male:  23-24 in., 65-75 lbs
  • Size of Female:  21-23 in., 55-65 lbs
  • Color: Different Shades of Gold or Cream
  • Average Lifespan:  10-14 years
  • Breed Origin:  England
  • Purpose:  Assistance, Retrieving, Pet
  • AKC Popularity: 4
  • AKC Breed Group: Hound
  • Size of Male: 18-30 lbs., 13-15 in.
  • Size of Female: 18-30 lbs., 13-15 in.
  • Color: Black, Tan & White, Lemon & White, Blue Shading, Red & White
  • Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Breed Origin: England
  • Purpose: Field Trials, Trailing Rabbits, Pet
BulldogBulldog (English)
  • AKC Popularity:  5
  • AKC Breed Group:  Non-Sporting
  • Size of Male:  12-15 in., 45-50 lbs
  • Size of Female:  12-15 in., 35-40 lbs
  • Color:  Solid White, Fawn or Red, Brindle, or any of these colors on White
  • Average Lifespan:  8-10 years
  • Breed Origin:  England
  • Purpose:  Companion
  • NOTE: The Bulldog made the top 10 dog breeds list in 2007, going from 23rd in 1998 to 10th in 2007 and from 7th to 6th in 2010. The popular Bulldog moved to 5th in 2012.
Yorkshire TerrierYorkshire Terrier
  • AKC Popularity:  6
  • AKC Breed Group:  Toy
  • Size of Male:  5-7lbs., 8-9 in.
  • Size of Female:  5-7lbs., 8-9 in.
  • Color:  Blue and Tan
  • Average Lifespan:  12-15 years
  • Breed Origin:  Great Britain
  • Purpose:  Companion
Boxer DogsBoxer
  • AKC Popularity:  7
  • AKC Breed Group:  Working
  • Size of Male:  65-80 lbs., 22.5-25 in.
  • Size of Female:  50-65 lbs., 21-23.5 in.
  • Color:  Fawn or brindle with white markings
  • Average Lifespan:  8-12 years
  • Breed Origin:  Germany
  • Purpose:  Guardian, Hunter of Large Game, Companion Pet
  • NOTE: The Boxer dog moved up to the top 10 dog breeds list in 2003, going from 12th to 7th in 2008, 6th in 2009 and back to 7th in 2010.
  • AKC Popularity:  8
  • AKC Breed Group:  Non-Sporting
  • Size of Male:  15-21 in., 45-65 lbs
  • Size of Female:  15-21 in., 45-65 lbs
  • Color:  Solid Black, White, Brown, Blue, Grey or Apricot
  • Average Lifespan:  10-13 years
  • Breed Origin:  Germany and Central Europe
  • Purpose:  Companion
  • AKC Popularity:  9
  • AKC Breed Group:  Working
  • Size of Male:  85-135 lbs., 24-27 in.
  • Size of Female:  80-100 lbs., 22-25 in.
  • Color:  Black/Tan
  • Average Lifespan:  9-10 years
  • Breed Origin:  Germany
  • Purpose:  Security, Schutzhund, Herding

*Moved up the Top 10 Dog Breeds List from 10th to 9th in 2012.

  • AKC Popularity:  10
  • AKC Breed Group:  Hound
  • Size of Male:  8-9 in., 11-32 lbs
  • Size of Female:  8-9 in., 11-32 lbs
  • Color:  Chocolate and Tan, Black and Tan, Solid Red, Fawn and Tan, Sable
  • Average Lifespan:  12-15 years
  • Breed Origin:  Germany
  • Purpose:  Earth Dog Trials, Field Trials and Family Pet

If you are looking for hypoallergenic dogs (like a Poodle or Yorkshire Terrier) or other specialty breeds, visit our information pages dedicated exclusively to those breeds.

You can also choose from designer dog breeds like the Labradoodle, Goldendoodle or Yorkipoo, other popular mixed breeds or breeds listed through the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service®, i.e., purebred breeds not currently registrable with the American Kennel Club.

Go to list of 175 AKC Dog Breeds ranked by Popularity

Go to Alphabetical List of Dog Breeds – 175 AKC Purebred Dogs

Return from Top 10 Dog Breeds to Dog Breeds information page

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