It may be no surprise that we are living in the age of the Labrador Retriever. These popular pups have topped the most popular breed list for nearly two decades. But what about the other breeds? And what about hybrids and mixed breeds?
We decided to look into those too. By looking into the birth years of dogs in the Trupanion database born between 2001 and 2016 across North America, Trupanion’s data team was able to identify trends in dog breed popularity over the past 15 years.
Similar to what popular breeds the AKC has seen, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds frequently rank toward the top of the list. Knocking the Lab out of the top spot, mixed breeds ranked as top dog every year for the past 15 years.
Other popular breeds include the Yorkie, Shih Tzu, and Chihuahua.
Up-and-Coming Dog Breeds
Our data showed a few up-and-comers that you may have seen around your neighborhood. This includes the Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, French Bulldog, English Bulldog, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Doodles and Frenchies didn’t even appear in the top 50 breeds until about 10 years ago, in 2005, but quickly rose to the top 10.
Keep a close eye on Miniature Australian Shepherds—they reached the top 50 in 2013 and are quickly climbing to the top 20. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 2015. Not seen on these graphs, Portuguese Water Dogs have also climbed near the top 50 since the Obama family adopted Bo in 2008.
A few breeds have been losing steam over the past 15 years. This includes the Cocker Spaniel, Jack Russel Terrier, and Dachshund. This doesn’t mean they won’t make a comeback in the next decade.
Pop Culture influences of Popular Breeds
When looking at the data, we noticed a few interesting trends and coincidences.
The Chihuahua, while it has always been popular, seemed to be at its peak between 2001 and 2010. These also happened to be the years Legally Blonde came out—with Bruiser the Chihuahua—and Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, was getting national attention on the Simple Life, between 2003-2007.
Jack Russell Terriers may have also seen the influence of movies and pop culture. The breed was popular until about 2005 and then their rank dropped off—which happened to be soon after the last episode of Frasier aired in 2004, which featured Eddie the Jack Russell, also referred to the “Lassie of the 90’s.” The breed started the millennium strong on the tailcoats of Wishbone and release of My Dog Skip in 2000.
Is your favorite breed a top dog, up-and-comer, old favorite, or still under the radar?