Attention dog lovers... We compiled a list of the most popular dog breeds in America. (Pick your favorite at end of the article)
With literally hundreds of dog breeds throughout the United States, it can be hard to narrow it down to a top 10. In fact, we couldn’t do it. As firm believers that dogs are Man’s Best Friend, it was hard enough whittling it down to 50.
We’ve based our picks on temperament, health, and just how friggin’ adorable these furry friends are. Let’s take it from the top!
Dog Breed Index
Dachsunds have been called “badger crawlers” and “badger warriors” for their ability to flush out badgers and other small borough-dwellers. First mentions date back to the 18th century. However, depictions go back much further to ancient Egyptian burial urns. Dachsunds are characterized by long bodies, short legs, and pointed noses. Small prey includes rabbits.
Temperament: Dachshunds are considered playful and stubborn, making them very difficult to train.
Health: The breed has a tendency to suffer from spinal problems with Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) being the most common affliction due to their long spinal column and short rib cage. The disease affects anywhere from one in four to one in five. Other potential problems include granulomatous meningeal encephalitis, epilepsy, Cushing's syndrome, thyroid/autoimmune problems, various allergies, atopies, and dental issues, as well as a number of eye conditions like glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, and cataracts. Everything-About-Dachsunds has a great primer on how to care for these little guys.
Rottweilers are large, mostly black and heavily muscled dogs, whose history can be traced to that of ancient Roman drover dogs. These mastiff-type dogs were dependable and rugged, highly intelligent, and skilled guard dogs. Much of that has continued to show up in the Rottweiler breed.
Temperament: The FCI Standard finds that most Rottweilers are good-natured and laid-back as well as devoted and obedient to their owners. Their size and power make them naturally great fighters. Unfortunately, that can also be a liability if the dog is not raised correctly. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Rottweilers and pit bull type dogs are together responsible for 67% of all fatalities resulting from dog attacks in the United States. From 1993 to 1996, Rottweilers were responsible for 50% of those numbers.
Health: As far as healthy dogs go, Rottweilers are right up at the top of the pack. Low percentages are susceptible to hip dysplasia and osteochondritis dissecans, the latter of which affects joints in the shoulders. The only drawback is that most Rottweilers live no longer than 10 years.
Poodles come in standard, medium, miniature, and toy. They also feature many different color coats. They are dogs that must be entertained. They are adept at obedience, tracking, herding, and agility, making them great breeds to have if involved in dog sports. You will often catch them at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as “Best In Show.” They are believed to have originated in Germany. Artists depicted them in their work as early as the 15th Century.
Temperament: Poodles are considered highly intelligent and energetic, social breeds.
Health: Though typically healthy dog breeds, poodles can be subject to health issues like Addison’s disease, which involves insufficient production of glucocorticoid and/or mineralocortoid in the adrenal cortex. If caught early, it can be treated through medication and not reduce the lifespan of the animal. Diagnosis is important, though, as the disease can prove fatal.
The most famous form of boxer is probably the red fawn, but there are other colors as well, such as brindle, reverse brindle, and white. Part of the Molosser dog breed, these were a mix of British bulldogs and a now extinct breed known as the Bullenbeisser in the mastiff line. Boxers as we know them today are traced to the late 19th Century.
Temperament: Loyal, playful, energetic, and incredibly intelligent, these are among the best of the larger dog breeds when it comes to a canine that is good with children. These muscular dogs can reach a max weight of 71 pounds, but they turn into giant fraidy cats whenever you get them anywhere near a vet’s office.
Health: Cancer, heart disease, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy, are among the leading health issues for boxers. They have life expectancies of nine to 10 years.
46. Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terriers are another relatively young dog breed, dating back to the 19th Century. They derive their names from the location of origin — Yorkshire, England. Their original purpose: to catch rats in clothing mills. At 7 to 15 pounds, though, they make better lap dogs.
Temperament: Yorkies are overprotective, attention-seeking, inquisitive, and highly active. This can be grating in the wee hours of morning, but it’s mostly endearing.
Health: Yorkshire Terriers can suffer from respiratory issues — mainly bronchitis — as well as cataracts and weak digestive systems. Frequent vomiting and diarrhea is not uncommon, so think twice before you feed them from the table. For more on how to care for these cuties, American Kennel Club has your hook-up.
A beagle is a small hound similar to the foxhound. The breed has existed for approximately 2,500 years, with the most modern version dating to 1830s Great Britain. One of the most notable beagles of the 20th and 21st centuries is Snoopy from the Peanuts comic strip.
Temperament: Beagles are even-tempered and gentle dogs. They like to be around people and are good at making friends. Consequently, this can hurt their reputation as a guard dog.
Health: Beagles have generally longer lifespans than most dogs. However, at 12 to 15 years, they are pretty average for dogs of their size. The ideal weight for a beagle is between 20 and 25 pounds. As far as health conditions go, they are most susceptible to epilepsy and hypothyroidism.
44. Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher was first bred around 1890 by Carl Friedrich Lewis Doberman, a German tax collector. The dog would be relied upon as a service animal throughout the next several decades. Dobermans are commonly thought of as aggressive police dogs.
Temperament: The temperament of the Doberman Pinscher has eased up in recent years with much of the aggression bred out of them. That doesn't mean you should ignore the "Beware of Dog" signs in the yard of a Doberman owner. A test on canine aggression found the animal can still be significantly aggressive towards strangers, but more obedient and subdued with owners.
Health: While Doberman's have some of the longer life expectancies for larger dog breeds, they can also suffer from a number of health issues including dilated cardiomyopathy, cervical vertebral instability, and prostatic disease.
43. German Short-Haired Pointer
German Short-Haired Pointers are medium- to large-sized dog breeds developed in the 1800s circa Germany for the purpose of hunting. Coats and colors are short, flat, and chocolate, chestnut, or black.
Temperament: These dogs are highly intelligent and can often be bold, affectionate, and outgoing. They are also easy to train and good with children, with the caveat that they may be too playful for younger kids.
Health: These dogs are rugged and sturdy animals with a median lifespan of 9 to 12 years. That said, the longest recorded lifespan has been 17 years, making these exceptionally healthy dogs for larger breeds.
42. Great Dane
The Great Dane, also known as a German Mastiff, is a large dog – one of the biggest – that you may recognize from a little cartoon known as Scooby Doo. While not every Great Dane shares Scooby's coat color, they all share the enormous size and reputation for being gentle giants. The breed dates back to as early as the 14th century BC. They were used primarily as hunting dogs.
Temperament: Great Danes have a friendly and affectionate demeanor and earn their "gentle giant" nickname by constantly seeking the attention of their owners. Despite their enormous size, they are great dogs for children. The largest known Great Dane was Zeus, who measured 3'8" from paw to shoulder.
Health: Great Danes, like many large dogs, have slow metabolisms, less energy, and less appetite per pound than smaller dog breeds. Common health problems include dilated cardiomyopathy and congenital heart disease as well as hip dysplasia and bloating. Unfortunately, the average lifespan of a Great Dane is just 6 to 8 years.
41. Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature Schnauzer is part of a small breed that originated in Germany during the middle and latter half of the 19th century. They were bred from standard Schnauzers and smaller breeds like the Poodle.
Temperament: According to the American Kennel Club, the breed is a very alert one. It is highly intelligent and easy to train. While spirited, they are generally friendly and make great watchdogs.
Health: The UK Kennel Club notes that miniature schnauzers can live to be 12 years old or older. About one in five with longer than 15 years. They are among the healthiest of small dog breeds, but they can suffer from obesity, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and I problems, among other ailments.
40. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small dog breed that originated in the United Kingdom in the early part of the 18th century. The dogs were used as companions and as tracking dogs for hunters. John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, was known to have kept this breed for those very reasons.
Temperament: Playfulness, patience, and eagerness to please. They are also highly affectionate animals.
Health: Common health conditions can include heart failure, hip dysplasia, and certain vision and hearing problems. That said, many of these dogs can live to be 14 years or older.
39. Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu's, affectionately known as "chrysanthemum dogs," are toy dog breeds that usually top out at about 12 pounds. Their origins are unknown, but many believe they come from Tibet and China.
Temperament: Shih Tzus are loyal and alert dogs, and they are not afraid to let you know when something is out of the ordinary. They are also outgoing and affectionate and incredibly stubborn, making them somewhat hard to train.
Health: Shih Tzus can often suffer from hereditary diseases like hypothyroidism, IVDD, breathing issues, visual impairment, and hip dysplasia. Even so, the Shih Tzu has one of the longer median lifespans at 13 years and two months, with many living to be 16 years or older.
38. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, or "dwarf dog," comes from Pembrokeshire, Wales, and dates back to as early as 1107 CE. These dogs were favorites of the Vikings and Flemish weavers. They were often used to herd sheep, ducks, geese, horses, and cattle, among other animals.
Temperament: Pembroke Welsh Corgis are highly affectionate and right at home in a family. Unlike many small dogs, they are easy to train making them good house pets. They are also warm towards children.
Health: These dogs possess a relatively long lifespan of 15 years. Common health issues may include monorchidism (a condition that occurs when only one testicle is inside the scrotum), hip dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy.
The Pomeranian, or "pom-pom," has been a favorite of royalty since the 18th Century. Queen Victoria was said to have owned one. The dogs likely originated out of Northern Poland and East Germany.
Temperament: Pomeranians are incredibly friendly creatures, though they can be the opposite to other dogs. They are playful with owners and humans in general, but somewhat territorial. They need lots of attention, but they're not very big on exercise.
Health: Common health issues the owners of Pomeranians may have to deal with include deafness, tracheal collapse, hair loss, and hypothyroidism. Still, you are likely to get many years of enjoyment out of these pom-poms as it is not uncommon for them to live 16 years or more.
36. Shetland Sheepdog
Shetland Sheepdogs, known by their adorably cute alternate name of "Sheltie," is another classic small herding dog that can reach sizes of 16 inches in height and 24 pounds in weight. Their history is somewhat obscure, with 1909 being the official year that the English Kennel Club recognized their existence. The American Kennel Club followed suit two years later.
Temperament: Shelties are incredibly smart dogs ranking number six out of 132 tested breeds, according to Dr. Stanley Coren, a leading researcher on animal intelligence. Their dispositions are generally up to the owner, as most are highly obedient creatures.
Health: Shelties are among the healthiest of dogs with an athletic spirit and few deficiencies, most of which are inherited and avoidable if you know what you're careful with breeding. Common health issues may include diseases of the eye, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and skin allergies.
There are somewhere around 25 breeds of mastiff. Each one is known for its large size and considerable strength. Some of the more popular forms include the Bull Mastiff, which can grow to between 25 and 27 inches tall and reach waits of up to 130 pounds. Mastiffs are commonly traced to the Molossus, a dog bred of Ancient Greece.
Temperament: Across-the-board. They are generally not thought of as aggressive dogs in any of their forms, but some are sweeter than others. For instance, the previously mentioned Great Dane is a giant teddy bear – more so than his 24 cousins.
Health: The health of a mastiff greatly depends on the specific breed. Common health issues, for instance, in the Tibetan mastiff include hypothyroidism, allergies, and Cushing's disease. These dogs can live anywhere from 8 to 14 years depending on the health of the breeding.
The Havanese is a little guy emanating from Cuba and the Mediterranean. Characterized by an incredibly soft double coat and a variety of colors, these dogs are awesome house pets. Details of their history are a bit sketchy. They were only officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1996.
Temperament: Great temperaments characterize these animals, which are often used as therapy dogs. They are smart and easily trained provided you get to them at a young age. They are happy when you are happy, so put a smile on your face whenever these cuties are around.
Health: Common issues aren't as common with these pooches as they are with other small dog breeds. A Havanese can live to be 16 years or older. Concerns may include liver disease, heart disease, and cataracts.
33. Brittany Dog
A Brittany dog, sometimes referred to as a Brittany Spaniel, were developed in the Brittany province of France. Though not officially recognized until the early 20th Century, they trace their roots back to the 1600s.
Temperament: Brittany dogs were bred as hunters; however, they are incredibly kindhearted animals. There is a shy streak in them that you will have to address while they are young, or they could be very standoffish towards strangers later in life.
Health: The median lifespan for Brittany dogs is an impressive 12.6 years. Many can live to be 15 years or older. Hip dysplasia is their most commonly found medical condition. They can also suffer from epilepsy, but are generally healthy dogs.
32. English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer Spaniel's ability to fetch and retrieve game makes it one of the most prominent gun dogs on this list or any other. The Kennel Club of England recognized them in 1902, so they are very young compared to some of the other dog breeds you will find on this list.
Temperament: This particular spaniel is eager to please and obey its owner. It is also very friendly once warmed up to humans. Some have a tendency to be hyperactive, and all are fond of children and family life.
Health: English Springer Spaniels have a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years. Hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy are common issues that they experience. Additionally, they might experience elbow dysplasia, which like its hip counterpart, involves joint abnormalities specifically related to the growth of cartilage or surrounding structures.
Believed to be a descendent of the Techichi, an extinct dog breed originating in Mexico, the Chihuahua is among the oldest of small dog breeds, though it is a little up in the air as to just how old these little guys are. The Techichi's roots may even date back to the BC era.
Temperament: Chihuahuas have a feisty disposition and can be easily provoked, thus making them poor choices to have around small children. However, single people – both individuals and couples – or families with older children can make great homes for these territorial pooches.
Health: Chihuahuas seldom grow larger than 10 inches and 6 pounds, making them small even as tiny dog breeds are concerned. Health issues may include hydrocephalus, hypoglycemia, or weak teeth, making quality dental care imperative to a happy and healthy pet.
30. American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel, like other Spaniel breeds, derives from a dog that was used for hunting Woodcock in Spain circa the 12th century. The American breed started to differentiate from the English breed in the 20th century.
Temperament: American Cocker Spaniels are outgoing dogs, but also know when to reel it in showing more discernment than most of their fellow small dog breeds. The dogs are also very sporting and easy to train, logging four "Best in Show" victories at the Westminster Dog Show throughout the 20th Century.
Health: Most American Cocker Spaniels have a lifespan of around 11 years, with cancer, immune-mediated disorders, and cardiac arrest being among the major health issues.
29. Rough Collie
The Rough Collie hails from Scotland, and first appeared in the 1800s. Albert Payson Terhune popularized these beautiful dogs through his novel Lassie, which was turned into a series of movies and television series throughout the 20th Century.
Temperament: Rough Collies were used for herding purposes in the Scottish Highlands. As such, they are incredibly disciplined and confident animals. They are great with children and other pets. Despite their somewhat large size -- males can weigh up to 75 pounds -- their calm demeanors make them good inside dogs.
Health: Rough Collies are generally healthy dogs. They are resilient in their immune systems, and can live for 15 years or longer making them among the most prolific large dog breeds. The few health issues that a Collie of this type may experience throughout its lifetime include blindness, progressive retinal atrophy, and hip dysplasia.
Maltese dogs were first mentioned in ancient Greece around 500 BC, making them one of the oldest dog breeds on this list. From the very beginning, they were considered companion animals and are believed to have originated in the central Mediterranean region around what is now known as Italy.
Temperament: Maltese can be needy and suffer from separation anxiety whenever they are away from their owners. They love people, though they can be a bit more standoffish with kids. Their levels of playfulness and affection stay strong and consistent throughout their lifespan.
Health: While most Maltese dogs can live to be older than 15, they can be susceptible to a few different health issues such as bladder stones, joint troubles, eye problems, and bad teeth.
27. Chinese Pug
Chinese Pugs originate in ancient times, going back thousands of years to the classic Chinese emperors. At some point, they crossed over to European culture and are depicted in paintings as early as 1572.
Temperament: Pugs are incredibly playful, strong-willed, personality-rich dogs. They are ideal for families with small children, and seriously don't have a mean bone in their bodies.
Health: The drawback of owning a Chinese Pug is that they can suffer from a number of health conditions, both minor and major. The most noticeable ailment is the breathing issue. They have elongated pallets, and when excited, this can cause them to go into a fit of "reverse sneezing." The phenomenon is not a harmful one, but it can be scary as it will seem like the Pug is having a seizure.
They also suffer from eye prolapse, which is a condition where the dogs eye will actually come out of the socket usually due to a trauma about the head or neck. They are also prone to obesity and life-threatening issues, such as Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE). That said, many pugs live to be 15 years or older.
26. American Pitbull Terrier
The American Pit Bull Terrier, or APBT, was bred from the same lineage as the Staffordshire Terrier. They were created by breeding Old English Bulldogs with Old English Terriers. They arrived from England sometime in the 19th century and developed from there.
Temperament: American Pit Bull Terriers often have an unfair reputation as being extremely dangerous. While it is true that these dogs are capable of doing a lot of harm through their size and strength, most are eager to please their owners and prove to be great family pets. Whether an APBT is a danger will ultimately depend on upbringing, so it is important for the owner to carefully socialize the dog at a young age and obedience train as soon as possible.
Health: The most common health issue among American Pit Bull Terriers is hip dysplasia. They can also suffer from thyroid dysfunction and congenital heart defects. The lifespan of an APBT runs anywhere from 8 to 15 years.
25. American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire Terrier was first bred in the 1800s. Contrary to popular belief -- and what its name would indicate -- it was not bred in Staffordshire, but Birmingham, West Midlands. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in the 1930s.
Temperament: American Staffordshire Terriers are friendly and purposeful animals that blossom when they have stuff to do. They are intensely devoted to their owners, but not so much to strangers. Given their musculature, one should be careful when it comes to allowing these dogs to interact with guests and visitors.
Health: American Staffordshire Terriers can be vulnerable to urinary tract infections (UTI), skin allergies, and autoimmune diseases. Spinal/skeletal issues like spondylosis and osteoarthritis are common ailments of elderly dogs.
Dog Breed Index - Part 2
24. Boston Terrier
The Boston Terrier is a dog breed originating in the US. Considered an "American gentleman," the dog was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1893, and the organization lists it as the 23rd most popular purebred dog breed in the US.
Temperament: Unlike the Staffordshire Terriers, this dog runs quite small with an average maximum weight of 25 pounds in males and 22 pounds in females. They have a gentle disposition to go with their relatively diminutive size. They are all about their owners, and training is a breeze. That said, they do have a protective streak that can manifest in aggressive behaviors towards strangers and other pets.
Health: Boston Terriers are susceptible to cataracts, deafness, heart murmur, allergies, and mast cell tumors. Despite the laundry list of ailments, these pooches can live past the age of 13.
23. American Bulldog
The roots of the American Bulldog are hidden in that of the Old English Bulldog and the ancient war dog mastiffs. There are records of dogs similar to the American Bulldog as we know him today going back to the early 19th century.
Temperament: American Bulldogs are social and active and comfortable in their own skin. They can be highly emotional and bond closely to their owners. Their jumping ability and size may mean that you have to watch them around little ones, but they are typically right at home in a family setting.
Health: For a big dog, the American bulldog has longevity on its side. They've been known to live 16 years or more! That doesn't mean they are without health concerns. Some problems include kidney and thyroid disorders, ACL tears, hip/elbow dysplasia, and bone cancer.
22. Alaskan Malamute
The Alaskan Malamute is descended from a group of dogs in upper western Alaska. They were used for working, hunting, and living alongside their human counterparts. Their hunting prowess made them necessities for bear hunters. It is not known for certain when the first modern Malamutes emerged, but there is mention of their existence as early as the 19th Century.
Temperament: Alaskan Malamutes are commonly used as sled dogs, making them high-performance animals. They have a lot of endurance and are somewhat easy to train. While at home in colder climates, they make great family dogs, but not the best of watchdogs as they seldom meet a stranger.
Health: The median lifespan of an Alaskan Malamute is 10.7 years, though the longest lifespans reach up to 15 years. Older dogs are susceptible to cancer, hip dysplasia, cataracts, and congenital heart problems.
21. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a larger dog type, a skilled gun dog, and an excellent hunter. Historically, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can trace their lineage to Maryland 1807.
Temperament: These dogs are cheerful and intelligent. They are affectionate and protective towards their owners, and very outspoken. When socialized correctly, they make for terrific family dogs.
Health: The most common health issues that a Chesapeake Bay Retriever could face include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, and alopecia. Many dogs can live to be as old as 13. Unfortunately, around 20% do not live past the age of five, according to a US breed club survey.
20. Miniature Australian Shepherd
The Miniature Australian Shepherd was an outgrowth of breeding smaller Australian Shepherds down to their desired size. Therefore, it is an incomplete picture of the dog's history to simply go back to 1978 when the first ones appeared in California. A far more telling display of just how old this breed is would have to trace the lineage of the traditional Australian Shepherd, which goes back to at least Victorian times.
Temperament: Miniature Australian Shepherds are among the easiest to train animals that you will find. That's because these dogs long for your approval. Their herding background is especially useful when it comes to keeping up with small children.
Health: Eye defects, such as cataracts and Iris Colobomas -- a cleft of the iris -- are common problems. That said, a healthy Miniature Australian Shepherd can live anywhere from 12 to 15 years on average.
19. Rat Terrier
References to Rat Terriers can be traced in popular culture to as early as 1545. The dog gets its name from a unique ability to control the pest population. It is considered a great "rat catching dog," which is exactly what it sounds like. The animals were rare for a time, though recent years have seen a resurgence. In the US, they were very popular on farms in the 1920s and 1930s.
Temperament: Rat Terriers are somewhat less aggressive than their Jack Russell counterparts. They are active and personality-rich, but they also have a homebody side where they like to lay around and do nothing. The Rat is also adaptive to its owners' moods.
Health: The Rat Terrier dog breed is one of the healthier that you will come across, though they can be susceptible to cardiac issues and hip dysplasia. Most healthy Rats can live from 16 to 19 years.
18. Olde English Bulldogge
The current OEB is a recreation of the working Bulldogs that existed in England of the early 1800s. David Leavitt is credited with bringing back this dog through a cross of English Bulldog, Pitbull, Bull Mastiff, and American Bulldog. The result is an animal that looks very similar to what was depicted in artwork as early as 1820.
Temperament: OEBs have a friendly and outgoing demeanor. They are great family dogs, but can make for poor watchdogs for the same reasons that American Pit Bull Terriers do. They just have a fondness for everyone, strangers included!
Health: This entry on our dog breeds list is considerably healthier due in part to their purity; however, that does not grant them immunity to many of the same health disorders that other bulldog breeds experience. Life expectancy runs from nine to 14 years.
17. Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds originate in Spain of all places! It is believed that they get the misnomer of Australian from their migration to the West Coast of the United States via the Land Down Under. Most of what is known about their history can be traced back to the 19th Century.
Temperament: Like their miniature counterparts, Australian Shepherds are excellent watchdogs. They are energetic and love exercise and attention, making them loyal family pets. They are also intelligent and have a herd dog mentality, so you never have to worry about how they will act around children.
Health: The most common health concern that you are likely to experience with an Australian Shepherd is ocular, or having to do with the eye. Cataracts are especially common. That said, they can live very long lives especially for a large dog with some making it past the age of 15.
16. American Foxhound
The American Foxhound, cousin to the English Foxhound, was bred to hunt foxes by their scent. Believed to be descended from a group of hounds in 1650, the American Foxhound turned up in pictures as early as 1915.
Temperament: These are high-energy, highly active dog breeds. They are easy to train and follow a scent better than most hunting dogs. As companions go, they would rather be outside burning off their energy, but they are devoted to their owners and make great watchdogs.
Health: Pretty much free from genetic disorders, their only real health issue is the tendency to overeat which places them at risk for obesity and diseases associated to that condition. The average lifespan is around 12 years.
15. Black and Tan Coonhound
The Black and Tan Coonhound descends from the Talbot Hound of medieval England sometime post-11th Century. It also descends from the Bloodhound and Foxhound. It became one of six current varieties recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1945.
Temperament: These dogs are friendly, calm, and tend to keep to themselves. As an outdoor companion, they are stubbornly strong and independent.
Health: The breed is one of the healthier medium-sized dogs in existence. They live 10 to 12 years on average. Major health issues include hip dysplasia, some cancers, and eye problems.
14. American Water Spaniel
The American Water Spaniel originated in the United States during the 19th century. They are the state dog of Wisconsin because that is the area where breeding first took place. They fulfilled the need of hunters who required dogs that worked well in both land- and water-based environments.
Temperament: The American Water Spaniel is a skilled retrieval animal, making it a worthy companion when hunting small game. They tend to bond with one family and one individual in particular within that family. They have stubbornness particularly when it comes to their food. The only time you may see one get aggressive is if you get close to the food dish, so keep a close watch on curious small children.
Health: Health issues common to the AWS breed include cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and hypothyroidism. Dogs typically live to the age of 13, and a healthy maximum weight for both males and females is around 40 pounds (minimum 25 pounds).
13. American English Coonhound
The American English Coonhound is a type of Coonhound commonly found in the southern part of the US. The breed's ancestry can be traced to the Foxhounds brought to the US by settlers from Europe around the 17th Century.
Temperament: English Coonhounds are quiet dogs that live for routine exercise. While gentle creatures with humans, they do have a tendency to tap in to their inner hunters whenever small game are around. They are loyal and enjoy the presence of children, and they have a curious streak that can sometimes get them into trouble.
Health: A generally healthy dog, they do have temperature control issues when on an extended outdoor hunt. Their lifespan is similar to Black and Tan, Redbone, and Bluetick Coonhound's -- 11 to 12 years.
The Akita dog is believed to be a descendent of the Matagi, a large dog breed type from Japan.
Temperament: Considered "fighting dogs," the Akita can be territorial and reserved especially with people they don't know. It is a large and powerful animal and not recommended for first-time dog owners. That said, they do seem to be fond of children.
Health: Unfortunately, these dogs can be subject to a number of autoimmune and immune-mediated endocrine diseases as well as glaucoma, hip dysplasia, and gastric dilation. Particularly healthy animals can live to be 15 years old.
11. American Eskimo Dog
The American Eskimo Dog originates from Germany. They were originally bred as guard dogs for both people and property. Records exist of these animals going back to the 1700s. The first arrived on US soil in the early 1900s.
Temperament: American Eskimo Dogs are highly intelligent and aware of their surroundings. While they can be conservative with affection, they often open the floodgates once they have properly bonded with a human being, making them one of the more loving dog breeds around.
Health: American Eskimos can come in a variety of sizes, from 6 pounds for a toy to 25 pounds for a standard-sized. They have a life expectancy of around 15 years. Health issues may include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, or diabetes.
10. Silken Windhound
The Silken Windhound is perhaps the youngest breed on our entire list (don't quote us). Developed in the late 20th Century by experienced breeder Francie Stull, The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1999.
Temperament: Silken Windhound's are as active as they are lazy. These dogs are up for anything! They are affectionate towards their families -- children especially -- though they tend to drop the ball as reliable guard dogs due to their overt friendliness.
Health: Great news for those of you who like a little bigger dog with a longer than usual life expectancy. Some of this breed have been known to live as long as 20 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia, deafness, and cataracts.
9. Treeing Walker Coonhound
Descended from the English Foxhound, the Treeing Walker Coonhound was first recognized as a separate breed in 1945. However, it took the American Kennel Club until January 2012 before offering that same recognition.
Temperament: Treeing Walker Coonhounds are terrific hunting dogs, but make equally adept pets. They are loving, affectionate, and genuinely enjoy the presence of human beings. This makes them great for families with small children.
Health: The average Treeing Walker Coonhound lives to be around 13 years old. A healthy weight is between 50 and 70 pounds for both males and females. Common health issues that may occur include some of the common ones like hip dysplasia and eye disease. Overall, it is a generally healthy breed.
8. Bluetick Coonhound
Another relatively new dog breed, the Bluetick Coonhound was developed in Louisiana and first recognized as a separate breed by the United Kennel Club in 1946. The dog is a classic coon hunting hound with one of the more distinguishing coats.
Temperament: The temperament of the Bluetick Coonhound is one of devotion, intelligence, and tenacity. The dogs are virtually fearless, but also charming and personable with families.
Health: Bluetick Coonhounds require a lot of exercise. Provided they get it, you can expect a very healthy dog for most of its 12-or-so-year lifespan.
7. Catahoula Cur
The Catahoula Cur became the state dog of Louisiana, its origin place, in 1979. The dog's history can be traced back a little further than that to around the 19th Century.
Temperament: These dogs are fueled on energy and intelligence. They like to assert themselves, but fall short of being aggressive. They have somewhat of an even-tempered demeanor with females being more laid-back. They are great family pets, but do not respond well to isolation. They tend to look at human children as their own.
Health: The two major health issues that these animals possess are deafness and hip dysplasia. They can healthily reach weights of up to 82 pounds. The typical Cur may live anywhere from 10 to 14 years.
The Chinook are a somewhat rare addition to this list of dog breeds. They are considered New Hampshire's official state dog and have the reputation of being great sled dogs. Their development as a breed is credited to Arthur Treadwell Walden, a New Hampshire native, who is said to have developed the breed around 1917.
Temperament: The Chinook is friendly and affectionate with a special affinity for children. They are easy to train and versatile in what they can do as a work dog. Unlike many breeds, they also work well together with other dogs.
Health: Major health issues are hereditary in nature and include epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and atopy. That said, it is not uncommon for a Chinook to live 15 years or more.
5. Chow Chow
The Chow chow, or "Chow," breed comes from northern China. There, it is appropriately known as "fluffy lion dog." Artwork dating back to 150 BC (Han Dynasty) depicts a dog quite similar in look to the Chow. There are later records from 1200 CE describing Chow-type dogs. One particularly unusual legend surrounding the Chow is that the teddy bear was modeled after Queen Victoria's Chow puppy.
Temperament: Chows make great pets and are sometimes overprotective of their human family members. The dog is somewhat reserved and suspicious of strangers. They do require daily exercise to relieve restlessness.
Health: Common health issues for Chows include glaucoma, cataracts, lymph,, and gastric cancer. They are also at a high risk for autoimmune disease and skin melanoma. Life expectancies can range from nine years on the low-end to 15 years on the high.
4. Wire-haired Pointing Griffon
The Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon is a handsome canine breed originating out of the Netherlands. Earliest lineage can be traced to the 1870s.
Temperament: The Griffon is intelligent and eager to please. They close themselves off to harsh training techniques. You will need a softer touch, in other words, to help these dogs reach their full potential.
Health: A healthy weight range is around 20 to 24 pounds. Generally free of major diseases, these dogs can be susceptible to hip dysplasia. They have an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years.
3. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is a favorite of the large dog breeds pretty much universally. They are good at hunting, detection, and search-and-rescue. They were originally bred in Scotland around the mid-19th Century.
Temperament: Known for a sweet disposition, Golden Retrievers are often made family pets. While they are a little too trusting to be a good guard dog, they have the perfect temperament for children of all ages and are more low risk for aggressive behavior than most any of the dog breeds listed above.
Health: Common health problems for Golden Retrievers include cancer, cataracts, and cardiomyopathy. The average dog in this breed can live anywhere from 10 to 12 years.
2. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever shares much in common with its Golden Retriever cousin, particularly the sweet disposition and playfulness. This particular dog breed has been photographed and written about since the 1800s.
Temperament: Labrador Retrievers make for better watchdogs than Golden Retrievers, but they share the ideal disposition for family life. They are loyal, energetic, and a little more boisterous in all their forms -- black, chocolate, white, etc.
Health: Labrador Retrievers are subject to many of the same health conditions of Golden Retrievers. They also live equally as long on average (10 to 12 years).
1. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd seems so familiar at this point that you would think the breed has been around since the dawn of time. However, this shepherd dog, which originated in Germany, is pretty new. Their origin dates back to just 1899. Their primary purpose was as a work dog that helped to herd sheep.
Temperament: German Shepherds have a reputation for being highly intelligent animals -- among the most intelligent of the canine species. They are also very strong animals with a reputation for being safe provided they receive proper training. If you anger a German Shepherd, however, get ready because there will be heck to pay. Case in point, National Geographic notes that the force of a German Shepherd bite is greater than that of a pitbull and only slightly less than that of a Rottweiler. They are typically in better control of their temperament, though. Their trainability is why many law-enforcement agencies enlist their services.
Health: Common health issues can include both hip and elbow dysplasia, arthritis, and the neurological disease of degenerative myelopathy. However, German Shepherds are usually among the healthiest large dog breeds you can find. They have an average life expectancy of between nine and 13 years.
So there you have it — our top 50. Which picks did you agree with, and which dog breeds should have been included on the list, but weren’t? Sound off in the comments section!