The American Kennel Club once again released its list of the most popular dog breeds in America. Where does your state stack up? This is the list of the most popular dog breeds in every state in the Union, as recognized by the AKC.
The United States
The American Kennel Club made a shocking change in 2022 when they named the French Bulldog the most popular dog breed in America. That marks a change for the first time in 31 years in which the Labrador Retriever reigned supreme. The rest of the top five remained largely unchanged. You can read the methodology and see the full list from the AKC here.
Alabama is a Gulf Coast state with a strong love for hunting. That is why retrievers and the Beagle are the most popular dogs in the state. People own and breed Beagles as hunting companions in Alabama. The other two breeds, Labs and Goldens, are a common feature in every state.
Alaska is home to some very iconic dogs. Unfortunately, these iconic dogs like Huskies and Malamutes do not make the top three (though they do appear in the top 10). The Alaskan Malamute is the official state dog of Alaska.
Arizona values the German Shepherd more than some other states, as it comes in second statewide. Interestingly enough, internal surveys in the Phoenix area claim that Pit Bulls are one of the most popular and populous dog breeds. Unfortunately, the Pit Bull is not an officially recognized breed, so it does not appear on this list.
Arkansas is another state that prizes Beagles more than other places. This is due to the state’s affinity and history for hunting. The beagle is a common dog breed in the South because hunting is such a widespread and popular pastime in these places.
California is the first state (alphabetically) to feature 2022’s newest top dog, the French Bulldog, or Frenchie for short, in the top three. Californians love their French Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs love the warm climate and active lifestyle of the typical California family.
Colorado claims that its favorite dog breed is the rescue dog. Obviously, that is not an official dog breed, but if it was, Colorado would put it in their number one spot. Coloradans love to rescue dogs and raise unique mutts rather than go with purebred dogs from breeders. However, the AKC lists the Lab, German Shepherd, and Golden as the top three “official” dogs found in Colorado. Sorry rescue dogs!
Connecticut enjoys a standard list of the most popular dogs. But the people of Connecticut do not find their favorite dogs particularly cute. According to Connecticut Breeder, the cutest dogs in Connecticut are Aussies, Frenchies, and Beagles. Maybe one day, these dogs will overtake the entrenched favorites at the top of the list.
The Golden Retriever comes in a strong third in the state of Delaware, but much to the chagrin of the Lab and German Shepherd, the Golden Retriever was named the official state dog as of 2016. Making the Golden Retriever the official state dog hasn’t seemed to help its overall state ranking, but it is not hard to see why you would want to make the adorable Golden your mascot.
Florida is the first state on this list to prize the German Shepherd more than any other dog breed. If you look at Florida’s richest and most urban areas (think Miami, West Palm Beach, and Boca Raton), the French Bulldog makes a strong showing as the number one or two most popular dog breed. So far, the love of the Frenchie hasn’t spread to the rest of Florida’s more rural areas, leaving them out of the official top three list.
Georgia is known for one type of dog in particular, the English Bulldog. Uga, the beloved mascot of the University of Georgia, makes a strong appearance in the state, especially during college football season. However, the English Bulldog is not one of the most popular dogs in the state of Georgia. Those types of dogs don’t tend to do well during long stretches of hot and humid weather, which Georgia is known for during the summer and early autumn.
Hawaii is the first state to feature the new number one dog as its favorite breed. The French Bulldog loves to hang by the beach and can even go surfing, so it is no surprise that this breed feels right at home in the island state. Interestingly enough, Hawaii residents also favor the Rottweiler over other more common dogs, which is a change of pace. Hawaii residents seem to do things their way, and that shows when it comes to their choice of dog breed.
At first glance, Idaho has a typical list of favorite dogs. But if you go just a little deeper, you can see some of Idaho’s geography shine through. Just below German Shepherds come herding and ranching dogs such as the Border Collie, which thrives in Idaho’s open spaces and meagerly populated farmland.
Many Illini that live downstate will quickly point out that Illinois is not Chicago, and that is true when it comes to the most popular dog breeds in the state. Illinois follows the overall national trend in that department. However, if you just look at Chicago, the list looks completely different. Chicagoans like French Bulldogs, Rottweilers, and Siberian Huskies. Even the Doberman Pinscher shows up as one of the most popular dog breeds in Chicago.
The Hoosier state is not big on purebred dogs—many Hoosiers like to rescue dogs and raise mutts, which the AKC does not recognize. If you take rescues into account, Indiana boasts a large number of Pit Bulls as well as Boxer mixes and Lab mixes. But since those dogs cannot be featured on the official registers kept by the AKC, the list looks rather similar to other states. Indiana does put the German Shepherd first by a slim margin over the ever-popular Labrador Retriever.
Iowa doesn’t rock the boat when it comes to its favorite dog breeds. That is not surprising. Iowa rarely rocks the boat in general. If you bring your dog to some of the most popular haunts during election season, they might get pets from the future president of the United States! Petting dogs should be the new kissing babies for politicians looking to make a name for themselves.
No dog is perhaps more connected to the essence of Kansas than Toto, the adorable dog featured in the iconic Wizard of Oz film released in 1939. Toto was a Cairn Terrier, and ever since, the people of Kansas have had a strong affinity for that little dog. However, Cairn Terriers are fairly rare, and they do not make the top three in this state. The Bulldog, however, does surprisingly squeak into the top three pushing the Golden Retriever out into the cold.
No, that is not a typo. In Kentucky’s fervent desire to express their love for the Beagle, they submitted the Beagle, and only the Beagle, to the AKC for their favorite dog breed. While we are not sure if that is within the spirit of the list’s rules, the AKC allowed it, and if you look up the official popular dog breed registers for Kentucky, you will only see the Beagle. The Beagle reigns supreme in the Bluegrass State and apparently reigns alone.
Some lists have the Catahoula Leopard Dog as the most popular dog in Louisiana, but that is not entirely accurate. The Catahoula Leopard Dog is the official state dog of Louisiana and has been since 1979. It is also believed to be one of the first purebred breeds to be developed solely in the United States for Americans. However, when it comes to sheer numbers, the Catahoula Leopard Dog doesn’t stack up against heavyweight favorites like the Lab and the German Shepherd.
Look away, dog lovers! While Maine has a very typical top three when it comes to favorite dog breeds, many people in the region consider Maine to be more of a cat state than a dog state. That is not surprising, considering Maine has an extremely famous breed of cat named after it, the Maine Coon. Maybe cats are more suitable for those long, cold, and dark winters that Maine is famous for. If you live near the coast, you can add foggy and damp to the list of things you will likely experience during a Maine winter. Brrr!
Maryland was the first state to appoint an official state dog, and they did so in 1964. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the official state dog of Maryland, and it has a special place in the hearts of people who live in the region. Despite that, even the Chesapeake Bay Retriever cannot dethrone the almighty triumvirate of the Lab, German Shepherd, and Golden.
Massachusetts follows the AKC lists when it comes to the most popular dog breeds in the state. However, Boston has its own breed of dog that makes a splash—the Boston Terrier. The Boston Terrier was bred in Boston as a pub fighting dog, and it has evolved into one of the cutest and friendliest breeds in the United States. Boston University’s official mascot is the Boston Terrier which is fantastic.
Michigan is another state that loves its Labs, Shepherds, and Goldens. Not featured in the top three, but lurking just outside of it, is the Siberian Husky. Michigan is one of the only states that features the Husky in its official top five most popular dog breeds. The Husky is a great outdoor dog that can withstand Michigan’s brutally long and cold winters, so that makes sense.
Minnesota’s most popular dog breeds may not deviate from the norm, but numbers four through ten certainly do. It is worth taking the time to expand on this list just a little bit when it comes to the people of Minnesota.
Neither one of these two dogs is anywhere near the top of the list nationally for popularity, yet they are incredibly popular in Minnesota. Weird. You do you, Minnesota. You do you.
Mississippi wisely put the Beagle second on their list. Beagles again make a strong showing in the South. Or perhaps Mississippi didn’t want to break ranks with its closest neighbors, Alabama and Louisiana, which both also have the Beagle in their top three. These states tend to stick together except when it comes to college football.
Another Frenchie sighting! America’s most popular dog, the French Bulldog, is not showing up on individual state lists as much as one would expect. Suspicious. Did French Bulldogs bribe their way to the top of the list? It wouldn’t take much bribery. French Bulldogs are friendly, adorable, and an absolute blast to be around.
Finally, a list that makes some sense. All of these dogs are large, athletic, and have decent coats, which are all perfect things for Montana. Montana is home to wide open spaces, big skies, and cold winters. One could pretend that these dogs are popular in this state for a reason instead of simply being on the trendy list that most states subscribe to.
Nebraska is primarily known for two things – corn and cornhuskers. They are also known for having the second fattest pets in the United States. It seems like even dogs can’t find much to do outside in Nebraska. Or they are overfed by the loving owners. The odds say that Nebraska is full to bursting with overweight Labs.
Nevada is best known for being the home of Sin City, Las Vegas. But now you can also associate Nevada with the Bulldog, which is the second most popular dog in the state. The people of Nevada were also some of the few that had enough guts to knock the Golden Retriever out of their top three.
The state dog of New Hampshire is the Chinook. No, not the helicopter. The dog breed. Chinooks are rare breeds of sled dogs that were voted as the state symbol in the 20th century. The decision to choose the Chinook as the state dog was the idea of children from Bedford. Chinooks were first bred in New Hampshire in 1917. But as far as the most popular dogs go, the top three are largely the same as most other states.
New Jersey has a bar standard top three popular dogs, but the rest of their top ten is, thankfully, a bit more interesting. New Jersey also lists the Yorkshire Terrier, the Frenchie, and the Boxer in their top ten. Did you know that the largest city in New Jersey has just 300,000 people in it? That is surprising for a state that lives in such proximity to The Big Apple.
The official state dog of New Mexico is the Chihuahua, and honestly, it is about time someone gave the Chihuahua the recognition it deserves. Chihuahua is the name of a state in Mexico where the dog breed also gets its name. New Mexico borders the Mexican state of Chihuahua and shares a name with Mexico. In this state, all signs point to the Chihuahua except for the top three most popular dogs, which include the Bulldog but not the Chihuahua. Puzzling.
You would think that a diverse state like New York would have a more diverse list of popular dog breeds. Alas, that is not the case. The only thing that stood out from New York’s profile is the fact that the Shiba Inu has clawed its way into the top ten most popular dog breeds in New York City. That is interesting because Shibas are kind of big and kind of aggressive, two things you wouldn’t think would mix with 200-square-foot apartments.
Have you ever heard of the Plott Hound? If you said no, you are not alone. Yet, the Plott Hound is the official state dog of North Carolina. The Plott Hound was bred to hunt hogs, and if you’ve ever been to the more rural and remote places in the low country of North Carolina, you know that having a hog hunting dog might come in handy.
North Dakota has over 20 different official state symbols, including the state dance (square dancin’), state grass (Western Wheat), and even a state horse (Nokota), but they do not have an official state dog which is weird. It is no surprise that the state that named plain white milk their official state drink (gross, by the way) has one of the plainest lists of most popular dog breeds in the United States.
Ohio, as a state, has a much higher number of mixed breeds than other states. Mixed breeds could potentially outstrip the Lab or German Shepherd as the top dog if they were recognized by the AKC. Ohio residents love their Goldendoodles, Shipoos, and other designer mixed breeds. They also love calling their dogs Buddy for some reason. How many Labrador Retrievers named Buddy do you think live in the state of Ohio? Answers on a postcard.
Oklahoma is only home to 4 million people, and 17% of all Oklahomans live in Oklahoma City. While Oklahoma as a whole’s list looks pretty average, Oklahoma City’s list of the most popular dogs looks a little different. Some of the most popular dog breeds in Oklahoma City are Australian Cattle Dogs, Chihuahuas, and Pit Bulls. That is a much more interesting and diverse list!
Oregon has a pretty standard top three list of popular dog breeds. But this list does not tell the whole story. Oregon is really into designer mixed breeds which the AKC does not recognize. Some popular mixed breeds in Oregon include the Goldendoodle, the Schnoodle, and the Bernedoodle. You are likely to see any one of these mixes while walking the streets of Portland, but the AKC will not put any of them onto their official rolls.
The official state dog of Pennsylvania is the Great Dane. That is an interesting choice since while the Great Dane has a small group of devoted followers, it rarely sniffs the top ten of any popular dog list. The Great Dane is known for their enormous size and is easily bigger than Pennsylvania’s three most popular dog breeds.
Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States, but Rhode Islanders do not like small dogs. All of the dogs on their favorites list are pretty large. Maybe they’re compensating for something. If you’ve never visited Rhode Island before, grab your pup and make the trip. Newport is lovely in the summer, and Providence is pretty cool too.
The official state dog of South Carolina is the Boykin Spaniel. The Boykin Spaniel was bred in South Carolina as a hunting dog with enough stamina to last all day out in the field. While the Boykin Spaniel does not feature as one of South Carolina’s most popular dogs, the Beagle does, which is a good stand-in for hunting dogs everywhere.
If South Dakota had a Mount Rushmore of dogs, it would look a lot like the AKC’s Mount Rushmore of dogs: Labs, Goldens, Shepherds. In case you didn’t know, South Dakota is home to Mount Rushmore, which is worth seeing at least once (don’t say it’s smaller than you expected, though). It is also home to the growing trend of Border Collies becoming more and more popular in rural areas of the United States. Maybe one of these days, the Collie will show up closer to the top of one of these lists.
The official state dog of Tennessee is the Bluetick Coonhound. The University of Tennessee sports a live mascot named Smokey, and Smokey is a Bluetick Coonhound. Despite official love from the state of Tennessee, Bluetick Coonhounds do not crack the top three. The Beagle, however, does, and it proudly represents Tennessee’s love of hunting.
Texas is the largest state in the Lower 48 and is home to two of America’s largest cities in Dallas and Houston. However, these large urban centers have not rocketed the French Bulldog to the top of the list. In fact, Texas has a pretty standard list of most popular dog breeds other than the regular Bulldog, which sneaks in at number three and pushes the Golden Retriever off the list.
Utah is known for many interesting things, including the Great Salt Lake, “Little Hollywood” of Kanab, where Western movies were filmed en masse, and epic skiing locations. What they are not known for is being adventurous with their choice of dog breeds. Utah is pretty much in lockstep with the AKC and the rest of America when it comes to their favorite pooches.
Vermont is an interesting one. The Beagle makes an appearance in a state that is not a Southern state. Vermont also has the highest number of pet owners per capita in the entire nation. Many of those pet owners must be feline friendly because Vermont is also rated as the number one state for cat lovers. Cats, Beagles, and a boatload of pet owners make Vermont one of the odder entries on this list.
Would you own a dog breed that George Washington owned? How about a dog breed that George Washington (allegedly) invented? If you eagerly answered yes, you would want to get your hands on an American Foxhound, which was bred to hunt foxes. The American Foxhound is one of the oldest breeds recognized by the AKC and has been Virginia’s official state dog since 1966. However, their large size and relative rarity keep them away from the top three most popular breeds in the state.
Washington advanced a bill in their state house to name the Siberian Husky as their official state dog. The motion failed, but it shows how much Washington residents love their Huskies, which feature in the top five most popular dog breeds in the state. Huskies would be right at home in Washington’s various different climates, and Washington is the closest state to Alaska, where they are the most comfortable.
West Virginia is home to America’s newest National Park as well as one of the highest populations of dog owners per capita in the nation. West Virginia continues the trend of Southern and Appalachian States favoring the Beagle over other breeds of dog. The Beagle is right at home in the mountainous forests of this region and makes a great hunting companion and alert dog.
Wisconsin’s official state dog does not make the top three most popular breeds in the state, and that is a shame. Wisconsin is home to the American Water Spaniel, which is a versatile hunting dog bred to help hunt from boats. It is the only dog breed thought to be native to Wisconsin. That is pretty neat. But it hasn’t stopped Wisconsinites from choosing the Lab and the Golden over their state mascot.
Wyoming is a huge state for ranching and public land. So, it is a little surprising that no cattle dogs or herding dogs make the top three. The Border Collie creeps into the top five due to its affinity for wide-open outdoor spaces and herding, which is not surprising at all. We guess Labs, Shepherds, and Goldens must like ranch life as much as the next dog.
Most states in the United States have a very similar list of the most popular dog breeds. There are some interesting trends emerging that could shake up this list in the future. French Bulldogs, standard Bulldogs, Border Collies, and Beagles are all making solid inroads to the domination being wrought by the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, and German Shepherd. Only time will tell if the top three in most states are in any real danger of crumbling.
Featured Image Credit: idahoharleydude, Pixabay