All dogs are good dogs, but that doesn’t stop Americans from having favorites. YouGov has surveyed everything from America's cutest character and favorite state — but Labrador Retrievers fetch the title for America's top dog in a recent poll on the country's favorite breeds.
To discover which breeds of dogs Americans like most, YouGov asked people to choose the better of two dogs in a series of head-to-head matchups, which included the breed’s name and a picture. The dogs are rated based on their “win percentage”, that is: how often that canine won its head-to-head matchup when it was one of the two dogs that panelists were asked to choose between. There were 193 dogs breeds shown, all sourced from the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) list of purebred breeds (apologies to lovers of hybrids and mutts).
Labrador Retrievers take the top spot, winning 83% of their matchups against other dogs. This beloved breed is well-known as a family-friendly canine with a playful demeanor, and it is also on a 30-year streak as the American Kennel Club’s most-registered dog. The Labrador Retriever is followed by its cousin, the Golden Retriever, which won 78% of its contests.
The Alaskan Malamute (popularized by its participation in dog sled races) lands in third place, winning 75% of its head-to-heads. Following the Alaskan pup is another cold-weather breed, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog (72%). Rounding out the top five is the Shetland Sheepdog (72%), often called “Sheltie” for short.
Other intelligent herding breeds dominate the top ten, including Border Collies (71%) in sixth place. They are followed by Miniature American Shepherds (71%). The Samoyed, which is well-recognized for its fluffy all-white coat, landed in eighth place by emerging victorious in 70% of its matchups. The Australian Shepherd follows behind in ninth (70%), just marginally less successful than its smaller counterpart. The fluffy Icelandic Sheepdog took tenth place, also with a win percentage of 70%.
Other commonly owned dogs in America earn competitive spots in the top 20: Beagles (15th place with a 69% win-rate) and German Shepherds (19th place, 68% win-rate). The AKC’s second-most-popular dog, the French Bulldog, won about half of its contests (53%) and landed in the 80th spot out of 193 dogs.
What breeds do women and men disagree on?
Women are more likely than men to think certain small dogs are best, with the Shih Tzu being the one that women (44%) are much more likely than men (22%) to like. The fluffy Pomeranian is also 20-percentage points more likely to be considered the best dog by women (55%) than men (35%). The third dog that women were most likely to favor compared to men is the Bichon Frise, which won 63% of the time with women and 43% with men.
Men are much more likely than women to like the Belgian Malinois (65% win-rate among men, 43% among women), a popular military and police dog in the United States. Men are also more likely to prefer the English Foxhound (62% vs 43%) and Beauceron (60% vs 42%). While neither gender is particularly fond of the Mexican Hairless dog, men (42%) are more likely than women (25%) to have picked it as the best dog in a head-to-head contest.
America’s least favorite dogs
Americans put the Chinese Crested Dog — a small, hairless breed — in last place with a win rate of just 17%. Second to last is the Borzoi (21%), a slender Russian dog. The slim Azawakh slightly eked out a spot ahead of the Borzoi (25%), landing at 191 out of 193 breeds.
Despite recently taking home a victory at the Best in Show at Westminster Dog Show, the Pekingese breed was placed fourth-to-last with a win percentage of 26%. Barely ahead was the Puli dog (26%), which is recognized for its unusual, corded coat. Other low rankers included the Komondor (26%), Afghan Hound (27%), Sloughi (28%), Lowchen (28%), and Ibizan Hound (28%). You can find the dog you are curious about by searching or scrolling though the complete list of results below.
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Methodology: 2,541 US adults were asked to choose which dog they liked better from a list of the 193 American Kennel Club’s most popular breeds in a series of head-to-head match-ups. The poll's introductory text stated, "On each of the next few pages, you will see the names of two dog breeds, along with pictures to remind you what each breed looks like. On each page, we would like you to select the dog breed that you like better. Please base your choice on what you think about the dog breed—not the quality of the image. You will see 10 different match-ups between dogs.” Each respondent saw 10 match-ups, and no respondent saw a dog twice. Data was weighted to be nationally representative of all US Adults, 18+. The survey was conducted between May 28 - 30, 2021.