Valued attributes in dog breeds include: looks, ease of training, suitability for families with children and ability to guard premises.
Today, dogs are more popular than ever and the number of breeds has increased significantly.
What makes breeds popular?
There’s no single factor that contributes to the popularity of dog breeds. And, sometimes, dogs are popular despite having some drawbacks.
Studies of dog choices reveal that the above attributes are not necessarily the only ones considered by people buying a dog. Breeds seem to be mostly chosen for size and looks - ‘cuteness’ and ‘fierceness’ are factors for different people - with little regard to other important characteristics of the breed.
Yet these three breeds have a dark side - behavioural problems that their owners possibly gave no thought to when choosing them. All three exhibit fear of strangers, fear of dogs, strong rivalry with other dogs and touch sensitivity. Both the Schnauzer and the Dachshund score high for dog aggression.
It’s not just about looks
But other, perhaps unexpected factors, also creep into the mix. Not least of all is films: popular movies can affect the popularity of breeds for up to 10 years after the film’s release.
Movies such as 1943’s Lassie Come Home led to a 40% increase in sales of collies while Disney’s The Shaggy Dog led to a hundred-fold increase in the popularity of Old English Sheepdogs.
And it’s no surprise that sales of Dalmatians rocketed after after 1985’s hit movie 101 Dalmatians.
The movie effect is less pronounced these days in the past - there’s more films coming out featuring dogs than before so the effect is weakened - but nevertheless humans buy with their eyes and if they like what they see on a movie then it affects their choice of dog.
But again we see that the breeds popularised by movies are not necessarily breeds that exhibit the most valuable traits. Overall, what we see is that breeds who exhibit better behaviour or who are healthier overall or who live longer show no marked popularity over other breeds at all.
Stranger still, some of the unhealthier breeds are also amongst the most popular.
The size of a country affects popularity too. If a dog breed is very popular in a country with a large population then that skews figures in that breed’s favour - even if the breed is relatively unknown outside that country.
So there are plenty of factors determining a breed’s popularity relative to others. However, the only statistic that actually measures breed popularity is the number of dog registrations per breed. So this tells us what is popular without explaining why it’s popular.
Below then are the top 50 dog breeds in the world. Enjoy!
Different dog groups
Breed groups bring together dogs that share some similar trait or traits. The groups are mainly used for dog shows where breeds are sorted by category and then judged.
Big and strong these dogs were bred as guard dogs, work dogs (pulling sleds for example) and as rescue dogs - especially in water environments.
Examples of dog breeds in this group include the Siberian Husky, Doberman Pinscher and Great Dane.
Their size and strength make them less suitable as pets for ordinary families - they need exercise, work and proper training.
Bred as hunting dogs sporting breeds include pointers, setters, retrievers and spaniels. They love field activities - especially in water or in woods. Breeds in this group require daily vigorous exercise so may not be suitable as pets for average families.
This group is very loosely defined and contains breeds that simply don’t fit neatly into any other. So in this group you find the Keeshond, the Chow Chow, the Dalmatian and the French Bulldog. Common breeds include the Lhasa Apso and the Poodle.
The dogs in this group share two particular features: size (small or very small) and delightful looks. Don’t be fooled by these looks though - many of these breed bark ferociously and they’re as tough as leather. Breeds in this group are often popular with city dwellers - they don’t require lots of space in order to get a decent amount of exercise.
Dogs in this group are instinctive herders and some, like the Corgi, will efficiently drive a whole herd of cows - many times bigger than itself - to a new field simply by barking and nipping at their heels. Whilst easy to train the herding instinct can’t be removed and it drives them to sometimes attempt to herd the children in their household!
Dog breeds in this group are hunters. They use a powerfully developed sense of smell to trail their quarry before applying their huge stamina to run that quarry down.Many hounds bay rather than bark - you might want to to hear it a couple of times before adding a hound to your family just in case it’s not to your liking.
Terriers have a personality all of their own: determined, energetic and generally intolerant of other dogs. They’re always up for an argument and are best owned by families able to keep up with their lively characters.
1. Labrador Retriever
A firm favourite in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia the Labrador Retriever are friendly, affectionate, good-natured dogs. They’re excellent family pets and love human company. The Retriever has an even temperament and responds enthusiastically to stroking, tummy rubs and all human attention. He’s very playful - so isn’t an ideal guard dog!
The Labrador Retriever is one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world. This means he learns commands quickly and so amongst the easiest of dog breeds to train.
More facts about the Labrador Retriever!
- This breed is Canadian. But from Newfoundland - not Labrador!
- The breed was taken to England - modern Labradors originated from English strains
- They’re the first dog to appear on a postage stamp (USA, in1959)
- Labradors come in three colours: yellow, black and, yummy chocolate!
- But there was a silver labrador - first seen in 1981
- They’ve got webbed toes - which makes them great swimmers!
- A Labrador called Bosco won the mayoralty of Sunol (California) in 1981 - beating two human candidates!
Lots of celebs love the Lab!
Prince Charles, Sylvester Stallone, Shannen Doherty, Keith Richards, Harrison Ford, Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Sinatra, Tom Cruise, Barbara Mandrell, Richard Pryor, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Kevin Costner, Sheryl Crowe, and Vladimir Putin.
2. German Shepherd
You’ll see this dog breed used by many police forces - and military institutions. Why? Because the German Shepherd is a strong, brave and loyal breed. Added to that, he’s very intelligent, he learns quickly and is physically active. Be careful though: his owner needs to establish boundaries and ensure his German Shepherd understands who is in charge - fail to do that and he’ll assume it’s him!
A very intelligent animal the German Shepherd will learn commands quickly making it one of the easier dog breeds to train.
Here’s some more German Shepherd facts!
- They shed lots of hair!
- They’re a new breed - bred mostly in the 20th century
- Don’t get bitten by one - their bite force is 238 pounds ( a human’s is 86 pounds!)
- The world’s first guide dogs were German Shepherds
- Their other name - Alsatian - came about after World War when Germany wasn’t too popular
- One of the most decorated people in world war 2 wasn’t a person! It was Chips, a German Shepherd who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Purple Heart and the Silver Star for acts of bravery
Celebrity owners of German Shepherds!
Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez, Kristen Stewart, Miley Cyrus, Bella Thorne, Claudia Schiffer, Jennifer Aniston
3. Poodle (all sizes)
Don’t be fooled by the poodle’s soft, cutesy appearance - this is a strong and energetic dog! He’s playful, loves to swim and mixes well with humans and other dogs alike.
Another intelligent dog breed the poodle learns quickly and so training him a straightforward.
And that’s not all - here’s some more poodle facts:
- ‘Poodle’ means ‘puddle’ in German - where they were first bred as water retrievers
- Although poodles are now the national dog of...France!
- They come in 3 sizes: standard, miniature and toy - but they’re considered all one breed
- Their fur never stops growing and will become like dreadlocks if they aren’t groomed regularly
- Poodles are great if you have allergies - their hair-like fur is considered almost hypoallergenic
Celebrities who love(d) poodles
Jackie Kennedy, Rihanna, Elizabeth Taylor, Walt Disney, Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand and Debbie Reynolds
A confident, quick-tempered dog the Chihuahua will take on anyone and anything - be it a stranger coming to your house or another dog five times his size. He responds well to human affection but will nip at you if he feels teased or harassed. Because he barks at everything he makes a great guard dog. And because he’s one of the smallest dogs around he can get plenty of play and exercise even in an apartment so he’s well suited to homes that have no garden or play space.
Self-assured and a little on the aggressive side the Chihuahua is not easy to train. He learns more slowly than other breeds so the key here is patience.
Bet you didn’t know this about chihuahuas:
- They were - apparently - brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus
- Chihuahuas are pretty much the smallest officially recognised breed of dog
- The smallest living dog (by length) was a Chihuahua - 6 inches long from nose to tail
- The shortest dog is also a Chihuahua - at 3.8 inches tall (the smallest cat is 5 inches tall!)
Chihuahuas with famous owners:
Demi Moore, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Hilary Duff, Marilyn Monroe, Ashton Kutcher, Alyssa Milano, Anne Heche
5. Golden Retriever
A loving, playful and outgoing dog the Golden Retriever gets along with everybody. And that includes other dogs! He has lots of patience, he’s difficult to irritate and so he’s an ideal dog if you have children. His high energy means he runs, swims and plays constantly - he loves being outdoors or going on the dog treadmill!
Despite his playfulness the Golden Retriever is a good learner, he picks up new commands quickly making it easy to train him.
Here’s some more about Golden Retrievers:
- Golden Retrievers originated from Scotland
- Golden Retrievers make bad guard dogs for one important reason - they’re too friendly!
- They will carry favourite items around in their mouths for days (which can make them slobbery!)
- Retrievers typically perform caring jobs as guide dogs, therapy dogs and rescue dogs
- Their fur darkens as they grow older
Famous owners of Golden Retrievers!
US Presidents Ford and Reagan (official White House dog), Jackie Chan, Dan Marino, Pamela Anderson, Oprah Winfrey, Ricky Martin, George Michael, Tom Cruise
6. Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier is a dog with personality! He’ll fight anyone and is scared of nothing. He’s alert, full of energy and playful. He takes well to humans - including strangers - but is wary and sometimes aggressive with other dogs.
Whilst not as easy to train as a Retriever or German Shepherd the Yorkshire Terrier does pick up new commands fairly easily so isn’t too difficult to train.
Some Yorkshire Terrier facts:
- This 19th century dog was bred to hunt rats in mines and textile mills
- They’re nicknamed ‘Yorkies’
- Although a Yorkshire (England) breed this Terrier is actually a mix of the Clydesdale, the Paisley and the Skye - all from Scotland
- Yorkies are the breed most likely to bolt - and get lost - if you let them off their leash. Consider a good retractable dog leash
- Their short attention span means they learn simple, one-word commands only
Look at the celebs who’ve owned a Yorkie
President Nixon, Whitney Houston, Heather Locklear, Miley Cyrus, Joan rivers, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Venus Williams, Tom Brady
The Dachshund is a hunting dog by temperament so will chase anything that runs away from him. He’s independent-minded and tends to bond more closely to an individual rather than a whole family. That said, he’s playful, will chase a ball and gets on well with children provided they don’t set out to provoke him.
The Dachshund’s independent nature means he is less susceptible to instruction; he does learn commands but takes a little longer than other, easier breeds.
- They come in 15 colours - mixes of black, cream, tan, blue, chocolate, blue, fawn, red
- Dachs is German for badger and Hund is German for dog - so Dachshunds are Badger Dogs
- The first ever Olympic Games mascot was Waldie - a Dachshund
- The Guinness Books of Records’ oldest dog was a Dachshund called Chanel - she lived to be 21
Queen Victoria, Clint Eastwood, Cole Porter, David Bowie, George Orwell, Billy Joel, Jack Black, Leonard Nimoy, Jennifer Aniston, Picasso
This breed is led by his nose! He’ll stop anything he’s doing if he picks up an interesting scent - and he’ll wander off to explore further if he’s unleashed. Despite being a territorial dog he’s playful and sensitive and is a loving companion to his human family.
The Beagle is one of the more difficult breeds to train and doesn’t pick up new commands especially quickly. Training him to any standard can take some time.
You might not know this about Beagles..!
- They’re an old breed - modern Beagles originate from Roman Britain...
- ... and they were tiny - 8 or 9 inches high!
- The world’s most famous Beagle is probably Snoopy from the cartoon ‘Peanuts’
- The US government employs Beagles trained to sniff out drugs at airports
- They’re one of the noisiest dogs ever - their baying sometimes drives people mad!
Celebrities who own (or owned) Beagles!
Queen Elizabeth I, President Lyndon Johnson (he had two named Him and Her), Barry Manilow, Frankie Muniz, Andy Cohen, Ronnie Wood
The Boxer is very lively, playful and energetic! He’s an affectionate dog and enjoys the attention of his human family. They’re notorious for knocking over ornaments, plants and even small children! But he’s fearless, he’s protective of his family and will guard them fiercely.
The Boxer is relatively easy to train - he’s not the quickest but with a little patience he picks things up fairly easily.
Some Boxer fun facts!
- They often snore when they sleep!
- This German dog comes in different colours - brindle, fawn and white being most common
- Called ‘Boxers’ because they often stand on hind legs and ‘box’ with their front paws
- The longest dog tongue in the world was owned by a Boxer - it was 17 inches long!
Famous Boxer owners
Hugh Jackman, Cameron Diaz, Luke Perry, Kim Kardashian, Matthew Goode, Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez, Jessica Biel, Babe Ruth
10. Miniature Schnauzer
With its scrappy, exuberant personality the Miniature Schnauzer will fight any dog regardless of its size. He’s got lots of heart and lots of energy. He learns quickly and loves to play - but he will react sharply if he’s provoked or teased. The Schnauzer is territorial and will bark at the slightest sign of an intruder - which makes it an ideal guard dog.
This intelligent breed quickly picks up new commands so training him is straightforward.
You want more? Some facts about the Miniature Schnauzer!
- ‘Schnauzer’ is German for ‘snout’ or ‘beard’
- The Miniature’s ancestors are the German Standard Schnauzer - first seen in the Middle Ages
- The first Miniature Schnauzer was called Findel!
- Mini Schnauzers are the most popular terrier in the USA
Celebrities who love the Miniature Schnauzer include
Paul Newman, Bob Dole, Rob Lowe, Steve McQueen, Janet Jackson, Katherine Heigl, Mary Tyler Moore, Bruce Lee, Sugar Ray Leonard, Avril Lavigne and Amy Grant.
11. Shih Tzu
This sociable breed is affectionate at home and very accepting of strangers. He’s ideal for apartment living too - he’s small enough to get all his exercise scampering about indoors.
One of the more difficult breeds to train he doesn’t learn new commands particularly well. You will achieve only limited success in your attempts.
- One of the oldest breeds - probably two thousand years old!
- They started in Tibet, then went to China before traveling across the world to England
- They almost became extinct - all today’s Shih Tzus originate from just 14 dogs
- Shih Tzu means ‘Little Lion’ in Mandarin
Mariah Carey, Bill Gates, Geri Halliwell, Beyonce, Queen Elizabeth II, Nicole Richie, Jerry Lewis, Ashley Benson, Sharon Osbourne, Christopher Walken
The bulldog knows its own mind and makes its own decisions! He’ll obey your commands - if he wants to. This home-loving breed will happily sleep all day. He’s a good family pet though - loving and loyal.
The bulldog is slow to pick up new commands - or, maybe, he just chooses to ignore them? Either way, training him can take a while and he won’t usually reach levels of obedience achieved by other breeds.
A couple of things you didn’t know about Bulldogs
- They’re a 16th century English dog - but there are now popular American and French varieties
- Having been bred with such large heads most Bulldogs have to be born by Caesarean section
- They cannot swim! And they may drown trying...
- And they’re heat sensitive so keep them in the shade
Celebs who own(ed) Bulldogs
President Warren G Harding, Leonardo DiCaprio, Zac Effron, Martha Stewart, Adam Sandler, Olivia Wilde, Winston Churchill, Michael Phelps
13. Finnish Spitz
Courageous and eager this breed is also lively and energetic and loves nothing more than to run and play. They’re athletic and love to explore. The Finnish Spitz is very loyal to its human family and is good with children. Hed eos need supervision with other dogs though.
The Finnish Spitz learns quickly and trains well.
- They’re another very old breed - more than 2 thousand years old to be precise!
- The Finnish Spitz is the national dog of... yes, Finland!
- They share ancestry with the Taimyr Wolf which itself has been extinct for thousands of years
- Their coats are mostly black when born but turn to a beautiful fox-red as they mature
14. English Cocker Spaniel
Full of energy and vigour the English Springer Spaniel will run, jump, swim and play all day. They are very social and require constant attention. They suffer if left unattended for too long.
Springer Spaniels are obedient and quick to learn. They are amongst the easier breeds to train.
Fun facts about the English Cocker Spaniel
- English Cocker Spaniels and American Cocker Spaniels are regarded as separate breeds
- In England you can only dock this Spaniel’s tail if you can prove it will be used for hunting
- The most famous cocker spaniel is Lady, from Disney’s 1955 Lady and the Tramp
- The Cocker Spaniel’s name comes from the woodcock - a bird it was especially trained to hunt
English Cocker Spaniels and their famous owners!
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – William and Kate, George Clooney, Victoria Beckham, Elton John, Lucille Ball, Jacqueline Kennedy
15. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Highly sociable this breed dotes on its human family. He is both intelligent and very playful and is accepting of strangers and other dogs.
The King Charles Spaniel is one of the easier breeds to train; he is intelligent and will pick up new commands fairly easily.
- The breed originates from the United Kingdom
- King Charles decreed this breed must never be refused entry to any building - including the Houses of Parliament
- They used to be brought to bed so they’d attract fleas and prevent their owners from being bitten!
- They’re so keen to chase things they even chase cars!
Diane Sawyer, Courteney Cox, Kristin Davis, Jaclyn Smith, Teri Hatcher, Princess Margaret, Coco Chanel, Liv Tyler, Hugh Heffner
16. French Bulldog
Good-natured and loving this breed is especially loyal to its human master. Their personalities vary - some will bark if a stranger approaches the front door, others will not. The French Bulldog is prone to bursts of activity but will sleep or lounge most of the day - so he’s quite comfortable living in an apartment environment.
His slightly stubborn nature makes the French Bulldog a little more difficult to train than some breeds - but he will get there in the end if you are patient.
- They’re known as ‘frog dogs’ because of how they straighten their back legs out behind them
- They’re not French! They’re an English breed but were exported to France where they became very popular
- Overheating is a real danger with this breed - owners must limit their physical activity to avoid heat stroke
- The French Bulldog is the most popular breed in New York
Carrie Fisher, Eva Longoria, Hilary Duff, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Rachel Bilson, Jack Osbourne, Christina Perri, Nicola Peltz
Pugs are excellent companion dogs and will stick to their owner like glue. They are playful and affectionate, good with children and other dogs and do not like to be on their own. Their flat noses mean that if they over-exercise they can experience breathing difficulties so take care.
Pugs aren’t the easiest breeds to train; you’ll only get so far with them and that will take some time.
- The first known owners of the Pug were Buddhist monks in ancient China - in 400 BCE
- Ancient Chinese emperors sometimes gave their lucky Pugs their own palaces and guards!
- A group of Pugs is called a grumble
- Their squashed noses give them breathing difficulties if they get too active
- A Pug called Chester got an MBA! (The university that issued it was fake, however...)
- A double-curl in a Pug’s tail is the sign of a perfect Pug
Napoleon, Queen Victoria, Prince William of Orange, Dennis Quaid, Jessica Alba, Gerard James Butler, Hugh Laurie, Andy Warhol, Paul Smith, Norman Mailer,
A strong dog with power and endurance the Rottweiler is, nevertheless, a calm breed. He’s an ideal guard dog and very protective of his family and his territory. He doesn’t play well with other dogs and takes time to warm to strangers.
This independent -minded breed is also a highly intelligent one; Rottweilers are amongst the easiest of all breeds to train and will learn a variety of new commands quickly.
More fun facts about the Rottweiler
- Ancient Romans used Rottweilers to drive cattle and pull carts
- The cattlemen kept their money safe in a purse tied around a Rottweiler’s neck
- Rottweilers became popular in 1901 when it got its own club in Germany
- They’re thought of as dangerous dogs but Rottweilers are actually calm and affectionate
- Rottweilers snore in their sleep!
Rottweilers’ famous owners include
Bruno Mars, Hayden Panettiere, Miley Cyrus, Tulisa Contostavlos, Robbie Williams
19. English Setter
Referred to as ‘the gentleman of the dog world’ the English setter is a calm and agreeable chap. They’re also friendly but quite boisterous when playing or working - so some care is needed when there are children about. Supervise your English Setter if he’s with other dogs.
This intelligent and eager breed learns quickly and trains well.
Friendly, affectionate and gentle this breed wants to be stroked and picked up all the time. They get on well with children and other dogs. That said, they are fearless so if they get into a fight you will need to step in to protect them.
Whilst not the easiest breed to train the Maltese isn’t the most difficult either. Take your time and he will eventually pick up all the basic commands.
More facts about the Maltese
- It’s likely this breed comes from Malta - but it’s not proven
- The breed is 3000 years old and has been a lapdog for ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians
- The Maltese has hair - not fur - so doesn’t shed
- There’s been a Maltese millionaire! The pooch was left $12 million when her owner died in 2007
Famous Maltese owners
Publius (1st century governor of Rome), Queen Elizabeth I, Bette Davis, Halle Berry, Elizabeth Taylor, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Eva Longoria
21. English Springer Spaniel
A fun and affectionate breed this dog loves its family and is a loyal member of the family. They are obedient and social but they require plenty of exercise - walking, running and even swimming. They thrive best in active families.
A quick learner this intelligent dog learns new commands quickly making the English Springer Spaniel one of the easier breeds to train.
Springer Spaniel facts!
- They were originally used to flush out - ‘spring’ - game by hunters
- In the UK they’re always in the top 3 of most popular dogs
- They love to retrieve things - throw them a ball and they’ll bring it back to you all day long!
- Some police forces use the English Springer Spaniel as drug sniffers
- They love water and will take any opportunity to jump in and swim!
Spaniels and their famous owners
Kate Middleton, President Bush, Bing Crosby, Princess Grace, Tilda Swinton, Prince Harry, Luke Bryan, Anderson Cooper, George Brent
22. German Short-haired Pointing Dog
A highly energetic and very intelligent dog the German Short-haired Pointing (GSP for short) is a natural hunter. He needs to hunt and if living with a non-hunting family he must be given a daily outlet for his instincts. That must include lots of exercise that involves running, jumping and swimming. The Pointing dog is good with other pets and children and protects his territory vigilantly.
A quick learner the German Short-haired Pointing dog is very much an easy-to-train breed.
Fun facts about the German Short-Haired Pointing Dog!
- He’s the best hunting dog ever - they hunt, point out game to the hunter, retrieve killed game and track wounded game
- To achieve all this the GSP is a mix of breeds - including the Spanish Pointer, the English Pointer, the Dalmatian, the Weimaraner and the Vizsla.
- They mature slowly though and are still puppy-like until two years of age!
- They have a nose for explosives and are used by various air forces for security work
Some famous owners of GSPs
Bradley Cooper, Tim McGraw, Ben Stein, Rachel Hunter, Robert Parker, Mike Nesmith, Clark Gable, Andy Williams, Andy Williams
23. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
A little on the small side - although sturdy and packing a bit of weight despite that - these courageous dogs are intelligent and love to play. And they need to play daily - coop them up or restrict their movements and they can be destructive. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is fine with children but requires supervision with other dogs.
A little stubborn, this breed needs some time and patience but will learn commands eventually.
More facts about the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- They’ve gained a bad reputation due to irresponsible owners and wild media stories
- Staffies are actually fun-loving and loyal!
- In fact, they’re nicknamed ‘The Nanny Dog’ because they’re so good with children
- The Staffie is a top 3 most popular dog in the UK and Australia
Staffie celebrity owners
Linda Blair, Rebecca Cory, Rachel Bilson, Jon Bernthal, Kaley Cuoco, Adrian Grenier, Liam Hemsworth, Miranda Lambert
24. Border Collie
Very intelligent and very active you have to keep a Border Collie mentally and physically engaged all day. A bored or unexercised Collie will become destructive - meaning he’ll chew and damage household items.Natural herders, if they don’t have an outlet for this instinct they’ll try to find it for themselves - which means they’ll even try to herd cars, joggers and children! The reward for properly looking after this breed is that you have an affectionate and devoted pet.
The Collie is intelligent and a quick learner. You cannot train his herding instinct out of him but otherwise he’s very easy to train.
More facts about the Border Collie
- The first ever Border Collie was Old Hemp, born in 1893. He fathered over 200 pups!
- Their name comes from their area of origin - the English-Scottish border
- Their trademark catlike crouch is the result of a unique bone structure around their shoulder blades - it allows them to almost slither along the ground
- The cleverest dog ever is a Border Collie called Chaser - she learnt the specific names of more than 1000 unique toys!
Celebrity owners of the Border Collie
Princess Mary of Denmark, James Dean, Dierks Bentley, Jon Bon Jovi, Jeff Bridges, Tiger Woods, Anna Paquin, Dave Lee Roth, Paul McCartney, Ethan Hawke
25. Shetland Sheepdog
Affectionate, responsive and gentle this breed is a great family dog. Shelties, as they’re known, play well with children and are very loyal. They need constant stimulation - stroking, running, jumping and playing. Shelties will bark if a stranger approaches the house so they have guard dog qualities too.
Shelties are easy to train - they pick up new commands quickly and are obedient.
Fun facts about the Shetland Sheepdog
- Their origins are unclear - it’s not known how this breed came about!
- If they live inside they shed a lot less than if they live outside
- They have a strong herding instinct and will even herd your kids!
- Shetland Sheepdogs shed fur profusely so need lots of regular brushing
- Keep them mentally stimulated! They become destructive when bored..
Look who owns/owned a Shetland Sheepdog!
Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Elton John, Tom Hanks, Chris Pratt, Katie Holmes, Pierce Brosnan, Harrison Ford
Dobermanns are a protective breed and will take great care of their human family and their home. They are obedient, loving and stable. They are physically and mentally active - both these traits need to be engaged every day for the Dobermann to not become restless.
The Dobermann is easy to train - he’s intelligent and obedient by nature.
More Dobermann facts
- They’re a fairly new breed - they originated in Germany in the late 19th century!
- The breed was developed by Karl Louis Dobermann who wanted a dog to protect him in his job as a tax collector
- His new breed consisted of lots of other breeds - including the Weimaraner, Rottweiler, Beauceron, Black and Tan Terrier, Great Dane, German Shorthaired Pointer, Manchester Terrier and Greyhound!
- Dobermanns have been used as guard dogs, search and rescue dogs and other police work.
- Today, Dobermanns are being bred with gentler qualities too so they make very good house pets - so long as they are properly trained and cared for
Celebs who own(ed) Dobermanns
Nicolas Cage, Victoria Principal, William Shatner, Jean Marie le Pen, Kevin Hart, Hunter S Thompson, John F Kennedy, Bela Lugosi
27. West Highland White Terrier
Like others terriers this breed is energetic, stubborn, brave and feisty. They’ll fight any dog of any size and even at home their owners have to ensure this dog understands who is in charge. Being a more independent breed than others he isn’t so tactile with his human family - he’s happiest outside playing, running, chasing small animals and even swimming. He might not be ideal company for other small animals and is best suited to families with older children.
The West Highland White Terrier has an independent mind; he will learn new commands but not quite as quickly as some of the easier to train breeds.
Fun facts about West Highland White Terriers
- With a name that long you’d hope there’s a short version of it. There is! We call them ‘Westies’...
- King James I of England was the first owner of a Westie
- Don’t be fooled by appearances - Westies are dyed-in-the-wool hunters and will catch rodents anywhere
- Westies are used to promote brands - the Juicy Couture company and the Black and White Whiskey company’s logos feature Westies!
Famous people who own(ed) Westies
Alfred Hitchcock, Barbara Woodhouse, Robert Carlyle, Lulu, Rob Schneider, Kate Beckinsale, Scarlett Johannson, Cary Grant
28. Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs are loyal, protective family dogs - usually especially loyal to one particular family member. They’re active so require daily exercise. They live well with children and will bark at strangers approaching the door so they make good watchdogs too.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are quick learners which makes them easy to train.
More facts about the Bernese Mountain Dog
- Their predecessor was a mastiff brought to Switzerland by the Romans some 200o years ago!
- They’re called ‘Bernese’ because they originate from the Bern Canton in Switzerland
- They were bred with strong legs so they could work in rocky mountain areas
- They used to pull carts in Switzerland; now, there are Bernese Mountain Dog cart-pulling contests!
- They mature more slowly than other breeds and require a bit more time and patience to train
Celebrity owners of the Bernese Mountain Dog
Hilary Duff, Eliza Dushku, Sarah Michelle Geller, Robbie Williams, Mark Harmon, Stephen Tyler, William Macy, Freddie Prinz
29. Great Dane
Despite his large size this somewhat fearsome-looking dog is a gentle, docile, devoted family dog. They require daily exercise although nothing too rigorous is needed - a long walk is sufficient. They’re gentle with children although their size makes them a little hazardous to younger toddlers!
Not especially difficult to train the Great Dane will gradually pick up a range of commands.
Fun facts about the Great Dane
- It actually has no connection with Denmark! The breed actually originates from Germany...
- They were bred to hunt boar and were once called the German Boarhound
- Zeus the Great Dane was the tallest dog in the world - 44 inches tall, over 7 feet when standing on his hind legs!
- To give the Great Dane height, muscle mass and speed this dog was bred with Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs and Greyhounds respectively
- Fictional Great Danes include Marmaduke, Scooby Doo and Astro (from the Jetson’s)
Look who owns - or owned - a Great Dane!
Cameron Diaz, Greg Louganis, Harold Lloyd, Adam West, Kendall Jenner, Lauryn Williams, Jayne Mansfield, Norma Jeane, Vanessa Williams, Randolph Scott
30. Brittany Spaniel
Another breed that was originally a hunting dog the Brittany Spaniel also needs physical and mental stimulation if it is to be happy in your home. This breed has a number of personalities but they are generally friendly, tactile and affectionate.
The Brittany Spaniel is a quick learner so is easy to train.
Brittany Spaniel facts
- Possibly the result of crossing the Orange and White Setter with an unknown French breed - but nobody is actually sure..!
- It originated in the French province of Brittany - hence its name
- They suffer separation anxiety - so don’t leave them alone for too long!
- And they don’t like hot weather either - they prefer winter...
Brittany Spaniels and their celebrity owners
Lauren Bacall, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Simon Baker, Johnny Depp, Jane Fonda, Charlize Theron, Meryl Streep
31. Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is outgoing, friendly and loyal. He is well-known as a very willing, high-endurance worker. He is good with other dogs and with children but he needs a daily outlet for all his energy.
Responds well, learns fairly quickly.
Some more about the Siberian Husky
Famous owners of the Siberian Husky
Rita Ora, Ben Stiller, Ashlan Gorse, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Russell Westbrook, Taylor Lautner, Quincy Pondexter, Danica Sue Patrick
32. Australian Shepherd
Very outgoing and highly intelligent this breed needs plenty of activity and some meaningful work in order to be happy and content with life. He’s very energetic and gets on well with children. With other dogs he may need some supervision.
This breed knows its own mind; they pick up commands but do require some patience.
Fun facts about the Australian Shepherd
- They’re not Australian! they started off in the Basque region of Spain...
- The breed was perfected in the US as a result of interbreeding
- Their crystal blue eyes are... eye-catching! The eerie colouring led Native Americans to nickname them the ghost-eye dog...
- Although some Aussie Shepherds have different colours - hazel, green, amber or brown - and some have an eye of each colour!
- They’re another breed whose instinct to herd is so powerful they’ll sometimes herd anything that comes to hand - including kids!
Famous owners of the Australian Shepherd
Amanda Seyfried, Mel Gibson, James Brolin, Paul Bettany & Jennifer Connelly, Steven Spielberg, Alyssa Milano, Devin O'Branagan, Jay Sisler, Trace Adkins
33. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
An alert and intelligent dog he is also gentle and affectionate. Despite his size he is an energetic worker and wants always to be active. He can be fine with children and other dogs but some supervision is recommended.
This intelligent breed learns quite quickly and is one of the easier breed to train.
More about the Pembroke Welsh Corgi!
- They are over a thousand years old - possibly brought to Pembroke (in Wales) by the Vikings
- According to Welsh legend this breed served fairies - pulling their coaches, working their cattle and even serving as the steed for fairy warriors!
- Despite being expert herders they’re also the smallest herder breed - they’re just a foot tall!
- They’ve always been herding experts and even today compete in herding competitions
- The meaning of the word ‘corgi’ isn’t clear but ‘cor’ might be Welsh for ‘dwarf’ while ‘gi’ means dog - so ‘corgi’ possibly means ‘dwarf dog’
Famous owners of Pembroke Welsh Corgis
Queen Elizabeth II, Jerry Brown, Ava Gardner, Betty White, Selma Blair, Stephen King, Tallulah Willis, Kirsty Allie, Alton Brown, Kiefer Sutherland.
34. Boston Terrier
A fun-loving dog he is bright and enthusiastic. Boston terriers are good with children - although a little more wary with other dogs.
This terrier is eager to please: he learns quickly making him one of the easier breeds to train.
More about the Boston Terrier!
- They are the first dog to have been bred in the United States. We’ll leave you to guess which city they originated from..!
- The Boston terrier has been designated the state dog of Massachusetts.
- They were originally bred as fighting dogs although later versions of the breed are smaller, only half the weight and less aggressive
- They look like they’re dress up in a tuxedo - hence their nickname ‘the American gentleman’!
- They pass wind - a lot!
Celebrity owners of the Boston Terrier
Helen Keller, Louis Armstrong, Joan Rivers, President Gerald R Ford, Jake Gyllenhall, Denise Richards, Robin Williams, Hank Snow, Princess Caroline of Monaco
Very outgoing, cocky even - this bold, lively breed is both active and a willing lapdog. They are okay with children and other dogs but some supervision is advisable.
The Pomeranian responds well, learning commands quite quickly.
More about the Pomeranian!
- They’re nicknamed Poms because Pomeranian is a bit of a mouthful...!
- Poms originate in the Pomeranian area of northern Europe
- This small dog actually originates from much larger sled dogs - so they shrunk!
- Part of the reduction in size was carried out by Queen Victoria who bred smaller versions of the dog
- Despite being little they’ll take on other breeds of any size. They need supervising when with other dogs!
- Mozart dedicated an aria to his Pom, while Michelangelo’s pom was by his side as he painted the Sistine Chapel!
Famous people who own(ed) a Pomeranian
Queen Victoria, Martin Luther, Mozart, Michelangelo, Gwen Stefani, Fran Drescher, LeAnn Rimes, Nicole Richie
This dog is happy, sociable and outgoing; they enjoy play and exercise although they have no particular exercise requirements. They’re fine with children although best supervised in the presence of other dogs.
Havanese learn quickly and are eager to please making them quite easy to train.
More fun facts about the Havanese!
- He’s Cuban! In fact, he’s the only native Cuban breed
- They do some wildly different jobs: herding ducks (!), sniffing out termites and mold - even working in circuses!
- They have freckled skin
- The breed was almost extinct in the 1960s; it was saved by a couple of Cuban families in the US who built it up again - from just 11 dogs!
- They’re nicknamed the ‘Havana Silk Dog’ because of the fine silkiness of their coats
- But tyere also known as ‘the Velcro dog’ for their tendency to stick by their owners’ sides!
Famous owners of Havanese dogs
Barbara Walters, Jane Fonda, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Venus Williams, Daniel Tosh, Daily Lowe, Joan Rivers, Seal, Heidi Klum, Queen Anne, Queen Victoria,
37. English Mastiff
Despite being large and heavy the English Mastiff is dignified, good-natured and docile. They are energetic but are satisfied with long walks and some play. Mastiffs are fine with children but require some supervision with other dogs.
Mastiffs learn well and are easy to train.
Cool facts about the English Mastiff
- Mastiffs similar to the English Mastiff are known to have lived in Babylonia over 4500 years ago!
- They were used to hunt.... lions!
- The modern mastiff was bred in Britain after its predecessor was taken there by the Romans
- Hannibal had dozens of Mastiffs with him when he crossed the Alps
- Zorba the Mastiff was the largest dog in the world! In 1989 he was 37 inches high, 8 feet 3 inches from nose to tip of the tail and weighed in at 343 pounds!
- Two English Mastiffs sailed to America on the Mayflower
- English Mastiffs have the biggest litters - typically 10 - 12 puppies but they also hold the record for most pups in one litter - 24!
Celebrity owners of the English Mastiff!
Gayle King, Marlon Brando, Kirstie Alley, Larry Wolfe, Wayne Scot Lukas, George C Scott, Amitabh Bachchan, Jon Bon Jovi, Bob Dylan
The Vizsla is a hunting dog, strong and energetic, who requires hard exercise on a daily basis. This affectionate breed is good with children although might need some supervision with other dogs.
Very eager to please you will find the Vizsla learns new commands easily and can be trained quite quickly.
Some more facts about the Vizsla
- Vizslas are Hungarian!
- The breed started there in the 9th century - so at 1300 years old they’re a well-established breed
- They were expert at delivering messages during the two world wars - although they were almost wiped out as a breed at that time
- They stick to their owners like glue. Hungarians say of the Vizsla: “If you own a Vizsla you’ll never go to the bathroom alone again!”
- Vizslas don’t smell! If you don’t like doggy smells then this is the breed for you....
Celebrity owners of the Vizsla
Kate Moss, Dana Perino, Drew Lynch, Gary Dell'Abate
An athletic and strong dog this breed is both energetic and a fast runner. He’s fearless so makes a good guard dog and friendly and obedient so is good with children.
Another quick learner, the Weimaraner is naturally obedient so is easy to train.
More facts about the Weimaraner
- The Weimaraner originates from 1800s Germany!
- They began as hunting dogs for German nobles
- They’re now often ‘gun dogs’ - they retrieve game after their owners have shot it
- The Weimaraner is a mix of setter, pointer and hound!
- Their slick grey coats have earnt them the nickname, ‘the Grey Ghost’
- Weimaraner puppies have stripes! They disappear in time, of course..
- They’ll chase small animals - and small humans! So they’re not considered safe around toddlers...
Celebs who own(ed) Weimaraner
President Eisenhower, President Giscard d'Estaing, Brad Pitt, William Wegman, Brian Wilson, Trent Reznor, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
40. Miniature American Shepherd
A good-natured and friendly breed, he’s loyal to his human family and good with both children and other dogs. He’s energetic, eager to please and intelligent.
This intelligent, obedient and eager to please breed picks up commands quickly and is easy to train.
More fun facts about the Miniature American Shepherd
- Created using smaller versions of the Australian Miniature Shepherd
- They’re 13 - 18 inches tall!
- They’re a very young breed - originates from 1970s California
- They’re herding dogs - their intelligence makes them expert herders
- A Miniature American Shepherd might have eyes of different colours
Famous people who own(ed) a Miniature American Shepherd
Amanda Seyfried, Nikki Reed
41. Basset Hound
Very patient although sometimes stubborn; the Basset Hound is one of the less energetic breeds although he still requires daily walks in order to stay healthy. They’re good with children and other dogs.
The Basset learns quickly and trains easily.
More facts about the Basset Hound
- First - the name: bas is French for ‘low’ or ‘short’!
- But they’re solid dogs - only 14 inches tall but they weigh in at a crunching 50-60 pounds!
- French aristocrats used the Basset for tracking rabbits and hares
- They have one of the most developed dog senses of smell and can pick up a range of smells and track them for miles
- A Basset was mayor of Ontario! She shared the mayoralty with Nelson, the Great Dane...
- Their close-to-the-ground build means the Basset gets dirty quicker than the average dog!
Celebs who love Bassets!
Ronnie Wood, Elvis, Marilyn Monro, Betty White, Jennifer Lawrence, Brigitte Bardot, Clint Eastwood, Shakira, Doris Day, David Arquette, Joshua Jackson
42. Cane Corso
This large, heavy and fearsome-looking breed make ideal guard-dogs. Assertive and confident by nature Cane Corsos are actually docile and loyal animals in the home. They’re best supervised if children or other dogs are present.
Responds well to training and picks up new commands quite quickly.
More Cane Corso facts!
- The Cane Corso is Italian!
- It was used to protect farms and hunt large animals
- ‘Cohors’ is Latin for bodyguard, ‘Cane’ is Latin for dog - so the Cane Corso is named after one of its main uses as a body (or property) guard
- They see cats and even small dogs as prey - so beware!
- The Cane Corso is super bossy so you have train him and treat him fairly but firmly
Famous owners of the Cane Corso
43. Rhodesian Ridgeback
Originally bred to hunt lions this large, muscular breed has an even temperament and is loving towards his human family. He’s athletic so needs plenty of exercise. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are good with children but require some supervision with other dogs.
He responds well to training and learns commands quickly.
More fun facts about the Rhodesian Ridgeback!
- He’s a lion hunter! Hence he’s also known as the African Lion Hound...
- The ‘Ridgeback’ in his name refers to ridge of hair running down his back
- The Mastiff, Bloodhound, Greyhound and Terrier bred with native African breeds to produce the Rhodesian Ridgeback
- One of those native breeds - the Hottentot - has the same distinctive hair ridge as the Rhodesian Ridgeback
- They like cats - if they’re raised with them they’ll be lifelong friends!
- They’re one of the healthiest dogs with relatively few hereditary health problems
Famous Rhodesian Ridgeback owners
Ani Phyo, Patrick Swayze, Isaiah Mustafa, Errol Flynn, Blake Griffin
44. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
This strong and powerful breed is also loving and family-oriented. The love the outdoors and will run, play and swim all day long.
These Retrievers are easy to train, they respond well to instruction and pick up new commands quickly.
Fun Chesapeake Bay Retriever facts!
- The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a mix of two Newfoundland puppies (that were shipwrecked at Chesapeake Bay) and local retrievers
- The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a gun dog - he will retrieve animals or game shot by his owner
- They’re great swimmers - they love swimming but they’re quick and adept at changing direction
- They shed fur heavily!
- This isn’t a dog for beginners - the Chesapeake Bay Retriever requires proper training and socialisation and needs an attentive owner to maintain discipline
Famous Chesapeake Bay Retriever owners
President Theodore Roosevelt
45. Shiba Inu
Active and muscular Shiba Inu are confident dogs, always alert and very active. They need long daily walks and are good with children.
Fun facts about the Shiba Inu!
- The Shiba Inu is Japanese! And they’re extremely popular there...
- It’s also one of the oldest known breeds - in fact, they are very close genetically to wolves
- The meaning of the name Shiba Inu is a bit of a mystery but it possibly means ‘brushwood dog’ in Japanese
- They’re hunters and they will go after birds, boars - even bears!
- The Shiba Inu is very clean and will groom itself - even licking its own paws like a cat!
Famous owners of the Shiba Inu
Kelly Osbourne, Ryan Seacrest, Roberta Flack, Daniel Dae Kim, Dustin Hoffman
46. Bichon Frise
Non Sporting Group
Cheerful, playful and with a sense of curiosity this breed gets on with everyone - adults, children, other dogs. Your Bichon Frise has a lot of energy but a regular, daily walk is enough to satisfy his exercise requirements.
These small dogs respond well to training and will pick up new commands quickly.
Some Bichon Frise fun facts!
- The breed originates in the Mediterranean and was a favourite with Italian and Spanish sailors
- You pronounce the name like this: bee-shon free-zay
- ‘Frise’ means ‘curly’ - a reference to the breed’s curly locks!
- They’re nearly hypoallergenic - which means allergy sufferers may have few or no symptoms in their company
Celebrity owners of Bichon Frise
King Henry III, Sadie Frost, Emma Watson, Ewan McGregor, Martha Stewart, Elvis, Elizabeth Taylor
These big, courageous dogs love their human owners and are deeply loyal. They enjoy regular exercise but they’re not overly energetic. Best not left with children unsupervised - and they don’t much get along with other dogs.
Akitas are eager to please so respond well to training and learn quickly.
More facts about Akitas!
- Akita is a snowy, mountainous area of Japan from which this breed originates
- They have webbed toes!
- In the past in Japan only the Imperial Family was allowed to own Akitas
- Akitas are clean and groom themselves like cats!
- The Akita’s signature feature is its tail which curls so much it touches his back!
Famous Akita owners
Helen Keller, Evander Holyfield, Sonny Rollins, Henry Cavill, Cher, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Dan Aykroyd, John Kruk, Pia Zadora, Amanda Bearse
48. Belgian Malinois
Tall and strong Belgian Malinois are hardworking, self-assured dogs who are very loyal to their human families. They’re very energetic and need lots of exercise. They get on well enough with children and other dogs but supervision is recommended.
The Belgian Malinois is eager to please - he picks up commands quickly so is pretty easy to train.
Some interesting facts about the Belgian Malinois!
- Malinois is pronounced ‘mal - in - wa’
- They’re named after the city of their origin - Malines
- The breed is a popular choice of police forces
- Cairo is a Belgian Malinois who accompanied the US Seals when they found Osama Bin Laden
Celebs who own(ed) a Belgian Malinois!
Eva Mendes, Jean-Claude van Damme, Gerard Depardieu, Charlie Sheen, Michael Schumacher, Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson
49. St Bernard
A large, imposing breed the St Bernard is actually a patient, friendly dog. He’s very good with children, less so with other dogs.
St Bernard’s pick up commands well and are easy to train.
Fun facts about the St Bernard!
- The St Bernard came about when Hannibal’s Mastiffs bred with local dogs in the Alps!
- They can smell a person under 20 feet of snow - which is how they became rescue dogs
- St Bernards took a pack of food and water to trapped mountaineers - not the barrel of brandy often shown in paintings
- They grow from very light - 1.5 pounds at birth - to very large - up to 180 pounds as adult!
- They drool - a lot! Carry a rag with you if you take your St Bernard to someone’s home...
- The most famous St Bernard - called Barry - rescued more than 50 people!
Celeb owners of St Bernards
Betty White, Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Justin Timberlake
50. Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier
A friendly, cheerful breed, the Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier is devoted to his human family and fine with slightly older children.
Despite some stubbornness this breed’s desire to please ensures they learn quickly and are easily trained.
Fun facts about the Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier!
- This breed is native to Ireland!
- They’re versatile farm workers - they herd, kill vermin, guard property and act as gun dogs
- Although the adults are wheaten in colour they start life as dark brown puppies!
- You have to groom their head hair daily - it will cover their eyes if you don’t! And make sure you have a vacuum for dog hair at home to help you clean up
There are many more dog breeds but these 50 represent some of the most popular in the world. The prospect of getting a new dog is exciting but the commitment is a lifetime one. If you’re thinking about getting a dog you should consider all these points before you do:
- Is your home safe and secure; will it provide the space and facilities (eg sleeping area) for your new family member? Are you ready to invest in an invisible dog fence to protect your dog?
- Does everybody in your home actually want a dog? Will they share some of the exercising and grooming tasks - especially if you’re away or ill? Your dog wants to be welcomed by all and not ignored by individuals who wish he wasn’t there.
- Do you know how much time will be required to exercise and groom your new dog? Can you estimate it in hours per day? Do you have that time - every day, 7 days per week?
- You’re legally responsible for anything your dog does: will you spend the time necessary for his training and socialisation?
- Dogs can be expensive! Can you afford not only his daily dog food bills but grooming costs, vet bills and the regular vaccinations and worming that will keep him happy? And what about kennel fees for when you go away on holiday?
Look at the size of the breed you’re considering; look at its temperament, its exercise requirements, its ability to get on with children and other dogs. All these factors matter. Don’t buy a breed simply because it looks good!