California is known as a place of sun, fun, Hollywood glamour, and tech industry heavy-hitters. However, it’s also a state full of dog lovers and outdoor space for them to enjoy with their pups. Which dog breeds reign supreme in the Golden State? In this article, we’ll list the top 14 most popular dog breeds in California in 2023.
The 14 Most Popular Dog Breeds in California
1. French Bulldog
|Weight:||under 28 pounds|
French bulldogs have shot up the popularity charts nationwide in recent years, and California is no exception. The flat-faced cuties are the most popular breed in the city of Los Angeles, according to AKC rankings. They’re charming, friendly, adorable, and well-suited for crowded urban environments. Unfortunately, with popularity comes an unfortunate tendency toward inherited medical conditions. Potential California Frenchie owners should use caution when selecting a breeder. The breed is often the target of thieves in Los Angeles due to its popularity and value.
2. English Bulldog
Californians love their flat-faced pups like the English bulldog. Bulldogs are one of the most recognizable breeds in the world and one of the most popular. Their faces are unforgettable, and their personalities are laid back and fun-loving. They’re the perfect breed for the mellow California beach life. Some bulldogs even learn to skate and surf! However, the dog is prone to many health issues and can easily get overheated in the warm California climate.
3. Labrador Retriever
Labrador retrievers have been the most popular dog in America for decades, and Californians adore the breed. Labs are the favorite species in San Francisco, according to the AKC. The friendly, energetic pups are a great match for a state full of outdoor enthusiasts who lead active lives. Be prepared to devote a lot of time to exercising a Labrador retriever, especially if you live in tight quarters in one of California’s big cities.
4. German Shepherd
As the most famous working dog in the world, German shepherds are popular pets for Californians as well. The breed is smart, trainable, protective, and devoted to their humans. They make loyal family pets and willing adventurous partners. Because of their natural protective instincts and suspicion of strangers, German shepherds require a firm commitment to training and socialization to ensure they remain well-behaved canine citizens. One of the most famous canine actors of early Hollywood, Rin Tin Tin, was a German Shepherd, and the breed has long been a star in the state.
5. Golden Retriever
Is it any surprise that the Golden State would be in love with a golden dog? Especially when these perpetually beach-blond retrievers are also among the sweetest, most loving dogs you could ever hope to find. Golden retrievers love to be active but tend to be more mellow than high-energy Labradors. They’re the ideal family dog, always ready for playtime with the kids. Most of them have never met a stranger and are always ready to make new friends, which is a good trait to have in one of the most heavily populated states in the country!
|Height:||less than 10 inches (Toy), 10-15 inches (Mini), over 15 inches (Standard)|
|Weight:||4–6 pounds (Toy), 10-15 pounds (Mini), 40-70 pounds (Standard)|
Poodles come in all sizes, from purse dogs to jogging buddies, and are famously allergy-friendly, thanks to their low shedding coat. With their often lavish haircuts and occasionally high-strung personalities, poodles are a fine fit for the glamorous L.A. lifestyle. They’re also excellent pets overall—friendly, playful, and extremely smart. Smaller poodles are especially well-suited to the often cramped living situations found in the urban centers of California. Poodles need plenty of attention and mental stimulation to keep them busy.
Any strong-jawed, big-headed, muscle-bound dog tends to be labeled a pitbull, no matter their actual parentage. The American pitbull terrier is the only dog that deserves the name, but whatever you call them, these dogs are popular in California. Pitbulls often have an unfortunate reputation due to their well-publicized bad behavior, but the pups also make affectionate pets. They crave human interaction and bond closely with their owners. When they’re deprived of the chance to form these connections, pitbulls can develop behavioral issues, which is often the culprit behind tragic incidents involving the breed.
|Weight:||less than 6 pounds|
Considering that California borders their native Mexico, it’s no surprise that the Chihuahua is one of the most popular breeds in the state. The tiny pups come in long and short-haired varieties. They’re well-known for having strong personalities, but this is often the result of owners neglecting socialization and training due to their small, easily managed size. Chihuahuas don’t take up much space, and they can live basically anywhere. They aren’t the best choice for families with small children since they can be easily injured.
|Height:||under 13 inches, 13–15 inches|
|Weight:||under 20 pounds, 20–30 pounds|
As mischievous, friendly, and notorious food lovers, beagles are another popular breed in California. The pint-sized hounds will follow their noses wherever they lead, even into California’s constantly crowded roadways. Keeping a beagle contained is essential, which is no small feat since they’re talented escape artists. Beagles are talented rabbit hunters, making them a good choice for California residents in or near rural areas. Hounds are not the quietest dogs, and beagles are no exception, so they may not make the best neighbors in crowded urban settings.
Native to Cuba, the Havanese is also a popular breed in California, thanks to their compact size and allergy-friendly coat. The little dogs are friendly, outgoing, intelligent, and easily trained. They are especially fond of learning tricks to ensure they remain the center of attention! Although Havanese don’t shed much, their flowing coats require a lot of upkeep. Havanese fit nicely into a social California city lifestyle but are sturdy enough to enjoy life as a family dog as well.
The whippet is a smaller version of the more well-known Greyhound. Like their larger relatives, whippets are speedy pups that dash away if something catches their eye. While Whippets can run like a coastal California gale wind, they aren’t a high-energy breed overall. After a nice exercise session, they’re more than happy to snooze on the couch all day. Because of this, they don’t require a fenced yard, making them a good fit for the tight urban living spaces. Whippets are not barkers either, another plus for city life.
12. German Short-haired Pointer
Although they’re bred as hunting dogs, German short-haired pointers are popular pets in California. The dogs thrive on outdoor exercise, making them an excellent fit for a state full of active people. Even California’s busy cities are full of parks and trails, and vast wilderness areas are only a short drive away. The German short-haired pointer is up for any adventure! They are friendly pups that develop strong connections with their people. If you don’t have a yard for them to run in, be prepared to spend a lot of time helping your German shorthair burn off energy!
13. Doberman Pinscher
As true athletes and watchful protectors, Doberman pinschers have long been one of the most popular breeds in the country. They’re highly intelligent and always intimidating but make loving pets and family dogs. You’ll need to be diligent about training and socializing a Doberman, and the dog also needs plenty of exercise. Dobermans are world-famous working dogs often used in police and military roles.
14. Mixed Breed
Last but certainly not least, one of the most popular breeds in California is a dog of mixed origin. These include the increasingly popular hybrid or designer breeds, such as the Cockapoo, Labradoodle, and countless other deliberately hybrid canines. This category also covers the mutt off the street whose heritage is a complete and total mystery. Mixed breeds come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and personalities. For a state full of diversity, mutts are the perfect dog!
Whether you live in California or anywhere else, try not to select your next dog based on whether you think they’re cute. Not every breed is a good match for your specific lifestyle and family situation. These 14 breeds may be popular in California, but that doesn’t mean they will be in your house. Before welcoming a dog into your family, take your time and research all your options.
See also: Top 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in Florida
Featured Image Credit: Tina Rencelj, Shutterstock