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What are the most popular purebred dog breeds? Here is a comparison of the breed lists from Britain and the USA. They are as follows:
1.) Labrador Retriever
2.) Cocker Spaniel
3.) English Springer Spaniel
4.) German Shepherd
5.) Staffordshire Bull Terrier
6.) Border Terrier
7.) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
8.) Golden Retriever
1.) Labrador Retriever
2.) German Shepherd Dog
3.) Yorkshire Terrier
4.) Golden Retriever
10.) Shih Tzu
I always find these lists interesting. I figure what you are seeing is a reflection of the breeds that the marketplace is defining as the best companion dogs, on average, at any particular time. Obviously, what’s omitted from this list are those breeds that are not registered by the kennel clubs (such as pit bulls), and mixed bred dogs.
It’s probably a good idea to examine each of these breeds if you are considering getting a purebred dog. Competition for buyers will be high for these breeds, and a good number of breeders will be out there for you to compare. As with anything available for sale, some breeders and some dogs will be better than others. You do have to do your research and verify that you are dealing with reputable breeders that are offering to you a well bred dog.
When examining these breeds, I sort these lists into a few different groups.
Big and Friendly
The first group are dogs that are larger, affectionate, friendly, playful and easy to manage. These would be the Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever. These two breeds are easy to own, and can do most of what people want out of any dog. It is easy to find a well bred dog with good temperament. Labs are one of the easiest breeds to own and train. Goldens are also easy to own and train, but they are a bit more defiant, so they take a bit more diligence in terms of supervision and training. Both turn out to be fantastic dogs if you do what you’re supposed to do with a dog: love, supervise, socialize, and train them. These dogs are also known for being good with kids. And you can find ones that are likely to live a long time and be healthy most of their lives.
Medium Sized, Soft and Friendly
This group is comprised of affectionate, friendly, playful, medium sized dogs that are good family dogs. These would be the Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, and Beagle. This group requires a bit more understanding when it comes to buying and owning a dog. I wouldn’t suggest getting these without doing some research, and without getting very familiar with the breed traits. I’d also do some self examination to determine if these breeds would work well for your personality. The spaniels are typically high energy dogs, but require a soft but diligent touch. Spaniels are soft dogs, emotional and easily upset. Poorly bred ones will be overly sensitive and defiant… a very tough combination of traits. Spaniel trainers do best when they are light hearted and take their time building their dog’s trust and respect. Spaniels also require a lot of exercise every day, and they aren’t going to do well, especially as young dogs, being expected to be calm couch potatoes. Beagles are in many ways similar to Spaniels, in that they can be sensitive and defiant. There’s no way you should get any of these breeds without also investing in professional dog training. Beagles can also panic when stressed, are very scent and food motivated, and likely to nip to defend themselves from rough handling by adults or kids. All dogs in this group can become dangerously aggressive if mistreated. Angry, easily frustrated people should not get these breeds. It is also very important to get pet insurance if you own these breeds, since they can be susceptible to health problems. You really need to do some in depth background research on the breeder’s dogs before you decide to make a purchase.
Determined and Active
This group is affectionate, active, friendly, playful, very strong willed dogs. These would be the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Pug, Boxer, and Bulldog. Bull breeds are known for being pugnacious, meaning combative. But, that really doesn’t describe them properly. What you’ll find is that they like to play and wrestle, which is a result of their bulldog backgrounds. Breeders have toned down the bull breeds over the years, breeding out their tendencies to fight. What’s left over are dogs that play rough. Staffordshire Bull Terriers still retain the ability to fight, however, so it is important to not put them in situations where they feel the need to defend themselves. I see people get these breeds, yet complain why they tend to jump up on you, pull hard on a leash walk, play too rough, and become defiant to commands. Hey, wake up! You have a bull dog breed. I like all the bull breeds, but it is important to follow some simple rules when owning them. First, you need to do all the normal things you do with any dog: socialize, train and supervise. That’s a given. Second, you don’t want to encourage behaviors that later on, when the dog is older, won’t be so fun. So, you need to start out early by being a good leader with these dogs. I wouldn’t recommend these breeds for young children, passive people, or the elderly. Children can’t properly exercise leadership with these breeds, and the dogs will often bully them. Passive people won’t assert leadership continually with these dogs, so life will be miserable as the dogs gain status from misbehaving. Elderly people, at some point, are not going to be active or attentive enough for these breeds. That might not be a politically correct thing to say, but it’s true. There’s a time to recognize that you are no longer willing or able to keep up with certain dog breeds. It’s no different from the rationale why people over the age of 40 are reluctant to have or adopt kids. They don’t want to be chasing a toddler around the house. This might seem strange of me to say regarding Pugs, but I’ve seen how Pugs can cause havoc in houses with people who aren’t prepared to raise them properly. I love Pugs and have trained lots of them. They are very intelligent dogs that tend to defy commands. Only energetic, attentive, strong willed, patient owners do well with all these breeds.
German Shepherd Dogs
This breed deserves it’s own category. “GSD’s” come in a wide variety of types, from pets, to service dogs, to sport dogs, to police dogs. Each sub group is almost a separate breed. The pet versions can range from the perfect family dog or a health and temperament monstrosity. I remember a GSD that had rear legs that looked like they belonged to a giant jackrabbit; sickly dogs; dogs with terrible allergies; hip dysplasia; and even pigeon toed dogs. I’ve seen GSD’s that would ignore any corrections; extremely aggressive GSD’s; extremely fearful dogs; dogs that are dangerous with kids; and dogs that were so insecure they barked all the time at every small thing. The German Shepherd Dog breed has almost been destroyed by popularity and stupid breeding. I’ve seen pet bred GSD’s that were so sick, so poorly bred, so timid and weird, that it made me sad for the dog, disgusted with the owner for not doing their homework in advance, and furious with the breeder who created such a thing. I’ve also seen some pet versions that were perfect home companions, everything you’d want in such a dog. The service bred ones you’ll not be able to purchase because they are already taken for such work. The sport bred dogs will have the same problems as the pet bred dogs, can be just a unhealthy and unstable, or be great dogs. The sport bred dogs will be much more intense retrievers, more playful… and come with stories concocted by kennel blind breeders who will claim their dogs are without fault. You’d think that dogs bred for competition would be better, but oftentimes they aren’t. Lastly, there are the police bred GSD’s. These dogs are NOT companion dogs. They are working dogs, aggressive, strong, determined, intelligent, healthy, and active. When you hear a GSD has “Czech” lines, you might be dealing with such a dog. If you find your dog is half police / half pet or sport bred dog, don’t buy it. You’ll get an overly sensitive and overly aggressive dog. A properly bred dog is a package of complementary traits that work together for a purpose. Mixing one type with another usually just makes for a dog you can’t safely have around friends, strangers or take for a walk in public. There is no breed I know of where you have to do more homework, and verification of credentials, than with a German Shepherd Dog. These dogs require early and ongoing socialization, an active life with something to learn and do, exercise, and wise ownership.
This breed group is for folks who want a small companion dog. These would include Border Terriers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Yorkshire Terrier, Dachshund, Poodle, and Shih Tzu. There are some commonalities you need to observe with small dogs. First thing to consider is your family. Not everyone is going to be kind and thoughtful of a small dog. Small kids are often too rough on small dogs. Some adults are disrespectful to small dogs, playing too rough or not liking small dogs. Next is socialization. People tend to coddle small dogs too much. The dogs are often not properly socialized or led. I’ve seen way too many fearful small dogs which weren’t taken anywhere as puppies to meet strangers and other dogs. I’ve also met way too many snarly, yappy and nasty small dogs who are babied by their owners. Dogs aren’t babies, folks, And way too many of these dogs are not housetrained, well mannered or trained. Border Terriers are terrific dogs, smart and affectionate, trainable and easy to care for. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very much like their bigger spaniel cousins, yet typically gentler a bit more defiant and not as active, requiring patience and thoughtful training. Yorkshire Terriers are going to be what you make of them, either a pain in the neck to own or terrific dogs; it’s your choice. Dachshunds are one of my favorites, but they need diligent owners to put in the effort for them to turn out well. Poodles are affectionate and fun, but often I see them looking sickly from being fed garbage treats, bratty from poor leadership, poorly groomed because of lazy owners, mischievous because of a lack of training and enforced manners, and not housetrained so they are soiling the home every day. Shih Tzus are full of themselves, affectionate, fun dogs. But, I’ve seen a number of them treated too roughly, so they’ve become biters. Shih Tzu’s often suffer from the same problems as Poodles because of their goofy owners. All these dogs deserve better, and when you do your homework and give them lessons, they all can become excellent companions.
Mixed Bred Dogs
Lots of mixed bred dogs have one or more of the above breeds in them. When choosing a mixed bred dog, consider the positives and potential negatives, which usually will depend on how you treat them.
Pit bull dogs are probably as popular as any one of these “top 10”, but don’t appear on these lists because they aren’t considered purebreds. They are great dogs and worth considering as pets. The same considerations apply for them as any dog.
What To Do?
I’m not into getting a dog because it is popular, I’m interested in matching the right dog with the right owner. That’s the most important thing.