AKC Facts and Stats

AKC Registration Statistics

Fact Sheet


  • AKC registration statistics are compiled in January of each year and represent registrations from Jan. 1- December 31 of the previous year
  • AKC registration statistics were compiled approximately every five years from 1915-1940, however, the Boston Terrier Club of America’s records show that between 1905 and 1935 the Boston Terrier held the number one or two position consistently
  • In 1925, the German Shepherd Dog displaced the Boston Terrier, seizing the number one spot
  • Cocker Spaniels ranked number one from 1936-1952
  • Beagles took over the top spot in 1953 until 1959
  • Poodles enjoyed a long reign as the most popular dog for 23 years (1960–1982), the longest any breed has held that position consecutively
  • Cocker Spaniels made a comeback and were number one again from 1983-1990, making them the dog with the longest total reign in the top spot at 25 years.
  • In 1991, the Labrador Retriever took over and remains the leader of the pack today


  • The popularity of small dogs (under 20 lbs) has steadily risen over the past decade. Some of the biggest movers include:
    • French Bulldogs: 467% increase
    • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: 209% increase
    • Brussels Griffon: 73% increase
    • Norwich Terriers: 39%
    • Papillons: 37% increase
  • Of the breeds that have seen the highest decrease in registrations during the past decade, larger dogs are affected the most:
    • Dalmatians: 90% decrease
    • Chow Chows: 78% decrease
    • Rottweilers: 76% decrease
    • Akita: 74% Decrease


  • Though no dog is 100% hypoallergenic or non-shedding, several AKC breeds yield less dander, the real causes of allergies.  The following breeds have risen in popularity over the past ten years:
    • Portuguese Water Dog: 44% increase
    • Chinese Crested: 28% increase
    • Bedlington Terrier: 28% increase
    • Standard Schnauzer: 24% increase


  • Shortly after Rin Tin Tin was featured in the Warner Brothers film Man From Hell’s River (1922), the German Shepherd Dog was number one from 1925-1928
  • Lassie made her film debut in 1943 and the Collie’s popularity began to rise until ranking third in the nation from 1947-1949. In 2008 the Collie ranked 38th
  • Big Red (1962), a film based on a popular book about an Irish Setter, triggered a rise in popularity of the breed. The Irish Setter rose from 27th in 1960 to 21 in 1965 and peaked at the third spot in 1973. In 2008, the Irish Setter was 69th in the rankings.
  • Today, dogs are routinely featured in films, advertisement and all other forms of entertainment, making it difficult to track resulting trends. The abundance of small dogs on the silver screen such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Beagle in Underdog , Chihuahua in Legally Blonde and the Brussels Griffon in As Good As It Gets, combined with the bevy of jet-setting celebrities who tote their canine companions with them, appears to have fueled the popularity of the petite pooch.

The AKC looked at the Top 10 breeds in the nation’s 50 largest cities . Some highlights:

  • While the Bulldog continues to climb the national list, it’s really marking its territory in a number of western cities -- Las Vegas, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and San Diego – where it comes in 2nd, right after the Lab.
  • Only Honolulu, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Portland, Raleigh, and Salt Lake City snubbed the Bulldog — opting for a wide variety of other breeds in their Top 10.
  • Detroit and Miami are the only cities that do not have the Labrador Retriever in the top spot, both favoring the German Shepherd Dog. 
  • The Boxer is muscling its way to the top in a few cities, ranking second in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Des Moines, Louisville, Omaha and Kansas City. It’s 3rd in Atlanta, Cleveland, New Orleans, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and even Philadelphia -- where like its boxing brethren “Rocky” it’s still a literal underdog, but if movie plots are any indication, perhaps not for long.
  • Californians seem to love the Miniature Pinscher (ranked 32nd nationally). It came in 6th (up from 15 last year) in San Diego and also ranked 8th in Sacramento.
  • The Vizsla is tied for 10th with the Shih Tzu in Chicago.  Ranked 44th nationally, the Vizsla has long been a favorite in the Windy City, having made the local top 10 list in 2007 and 2003.
  • Unusual breeds on local top ten lists including the Great Dane (10th in St. Louis), the Mastiff (10th in Indianapolis), the Brittany (10th in Minneapolis), the Belgian Malinois (8th in Kansas City) and the Siberian Husky (9th in Long Beach).

Some of the most notable recent trends include:

  • The Bulldog (+69%) and four of its relatives are among the breeds that have increased most significantly over the last decade: Miniature Bull Terrier (+109%), Bull Terrier (+102%), Staffordshire Bull Terrier (+69%) and the Bullmastiff (+22%).
  • The French Bulldog (+467%), the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (+209%) and the Brussels Griffon (+73%) continue to be among the breeds with the largest increases, likely due to their popularity with urban dog owners who favor portable, apartment-sized dogs.
  • The Border Collie, often considered among the most intelligent and trainable breeds, and known for its mastery of the highly popular canine sport of agility, saw a significant increase (+50%).
  • Lesser known breeds that saw an increase include the Ibizan Hound (+74%), Norwich Terrier (+39%) and Bedlington Terrier (+28%).
  • Large dogs with notable increases are two Swiss breeds – the Bernese Mountain Dog (+78%) and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (+88%) – as well as the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (+117%), which hails from France.
  • Among breeds on the decline are the Lhasa Apso (-80%), Rottweiler (-76%), Schipperke (-75%) the Basset Hound (-66 %) and, despite its popularity in Sacramento and San Diego, the Miniature Pinscher (-75%).
  • Portuguese Water Dogs, in the news recently due to the Obama family’s interest in this mid-sized, hypoallergenic breed, is currently ranked 64th and has increased 44% in the past decade—especially appropriate considering Obama is our 44th president.
  • However another famous presidential pet – the American Foxhound (-75%) – is on the decline. George Washington is credited with developing the breed.
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