The Most Popular Large Dog Breeds in the United States

girl hugging dog during fall
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America loves a big dog—after all, there's so much to like about these breeds. People adopt big canines because of their athleticism, temperament, the protection they offer, as well as their warm affection. What's more, well-trained large dogs have impressive self-control and are often patient—even when little ones try to climb on them or an overeager kitten begins playing with their tail. Large dogs are not for everyone, of course, but those who adopt a big pup find that their love and devotion is worth the extra effort.

The numbers prove it: The American Kennel Club has a running list of the "most popular dog breeds," based on registration statistics. Unsurprisingly, many types of big breeds rank at the top of the list, from Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds to Boxers and Poodles.

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Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever
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The Labrador Retriever ranks at number one across all dog breeds. This is due to their wonderful, friendly and versatile temperament. "It is a breed that can adapt to the situation at hand, learning to play gently with small kids while also being excellent companions for adults," says Gina DiNardo, executive secretary at the American Kennel Club. "They are companionable housemates who bond with the whole family, and they socialize well with neighbor dogs and humans alike."

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Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever in grass
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Why does the Golden Retriever rank second on the list of most popular dogs? "Golden Retrievers are very people-oriented, friendly, sociable, and trustworthy," says DiNardo, noting that they are also dedicated workers. Because of this, they serve as guides for the blind and excel in search-and-rescue operations. These gentle pups also get along particularly well with children and other pets.

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German Shepherd

German Shepherd Dog
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Next up is the German Shepherd. "They are considered to be one of the most intelligent breeds and have a great ability to ignore distractions and focus on the work at hand," says DiNardo. German Shepherds originally became popular in the United States in the early 1900s, but briefly fell out of popularity during World War II. Today, these dogs rank fourth as the most popular dog and are also used as K-9 workers in the military and police departments.

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Poodle sitting outdoors in grass
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It's no wonder why the Poodle is popular. Poodles come in three sizes—standard, miniature, and toy—and can reach 15 inches tall. And while they belong to the non-sporting group of dogs, these animals are sleek, muscular, and athletic. Poodles have a regal bearing and graceful movements, which is why they make great show dogs and wonderful companions.

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Rottweiler Dogs outdoors in grass field
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Rottweilers—or "Rottie," as they're often called—are powerful companions. "Rottweilers are intelligent, compassionate animals despite the outdated generalization that they are aggressive dogs," says DiNardo. "A well-bred and properly raised Rottweiler will be calm and confident, courageous, and a protector within the family circle."

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German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer
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The German Shorthaired Pointer is an athlete's ultimate companion. "Extremely intelligent and willing to please, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a versatile hunting dog for trailing, pointing, and retrieving on either land or water," says DiNardo. They love swimming, running, and competing in organized sports, which help them burn off their boundless energy. These dogs are also very trainable and build strong bonds with their families.

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Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd
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Australian Shepherds are familiar with the farm lifestyle, often working on ranches and herding cows. They're known for their high intelligence and desire to herd anything and everything, so people who adopt them should be prepared to be on the move. They are so smart—and have been known to outsmart their caretakers on more than one occasion.

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Although it was recognized by the AKC in 1904, the Boxer did not gain popularity in the United States until after World War II, when returning soldiers brought the dogs home with them from Europe. Boxers have a strong work ethic (which means they thrive on vigorous exercise) and are bright and alert, even sometimes silly.

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Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher
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The Doberman Pinscher is an iconic breed of guard dog. They are fast and muscular, and stand at an imposing height (24 to 28 inches). Dobermans, according to the American Kennel Club, are known as "royalty in the canine kingdom." It's easy to see why: Their regal countenance is enhanced by their dignified temperament.

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Great Dane

Great Dane dog puppy
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The Great Dane is the largest of dog breeds. Males can reach 32 inches in height and weigh up to 175 pounds, while females measure up to a height of 30 inches and can weigh between 110 and 140 pounds. While their size may be intimidating, these dogs make great family companions. They are sweet and loyal home guardians.

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Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog standing in a grass covered field
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The Bernese Mountain Dog could easily be described as a friendly giant. The Bernese love their humans and want to please them, but they will also have a favorite human who gets even more of their ultimate devotion. Cold weather is perfect for the Bernese Mountain Dog; they also love lots of space, so they have extra room to run.

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Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky
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Bred as a sled dog, the Siberian Husky is known for striking icy-blue eyes and colorful coats. Siberians love being part of the pack and enjoy the company of other dogs. They're very friendly and maybe not the best as a guard dog; however, they are very lovable and outgoing. They have lots of energy to work off, too.

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