The Five Top Dog Breeds

In the United States there is one dog to every five people so those who say that America is going to the dogs are right. Most of these dogs are the good old mutt but some people prefer certain breeds. The following are the most popular breeds according to American Kennel Club statistics released in January of 2005.

1. Labrador Retriever
2. Golden Retriever
3. German Shepherd
4. Beagle
5. Yorkshire Terrier

If you wish to buy a specific breed, it is important to get the dog from a reputable breeder and buy directly from the breeder, not a pet store. Many of these breeds also have rescue services where you can adopt a dog where some history and behavior is already known. To find a breeder, ask your vet, your local AKA, or a club devoted to the breed. Dogs bred in puppy mills are often plagued with health and behavior problems.


Canadian legend says that the Lab is a cross between a Nordic dog and an otter. This dog loves the water and its ancestors were trained in Canada to jump into icy water and haul fishing nets back to shore.

The Labrador Retriever is a stable, sweet, and quiet dog who is very fond of families and craves human attention. It has even taken on some human traits like the development of a sweet tooth. These dogs are intelligent and easy to train. They make good watchdogs but don’t have the temperament to be guard dogs. They are very obedient and work well as guide dogs, police dogs, or bird dogs.

These stocky dogs stand about 21 to 24 inches high and weigh around 55 to 70 pounds. Their life expectancy is from 10 to 12 years.


These dogs are well mannered, smart, and easily trained. Their gentle and patient nature makes them very good dogs for children. Like the Labrador, the Golden Retriever is a good watchdog but poor guard dog. Golden Retrievers are very social and need to be around people. They are used for hunting and tracking, for drug detection, and as guide dogs and companion dogs. They need a lot of exercise.

They can have some health problems. They are prone to hip dysplasia and congenital eye defects. Skin allergies are common and need to be seen by a vet right away.

Golden Retriever range in height from 20 to 24 inches and in weight from 55 to 80 pounds. Life expectancy is form 10 to 12 years.


This is a very sensitive dog, patient and good with children. It is very important that it be of sound temperament. These dogs have been over bred and some of them become unstable and over aggressive. It is especially important to find a good breeder when buying a German Shepherd. They don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves but they are very loyal to their family. They need very firm training and lots of exercise. Because they have a longer than usual puppy hood, they need firm but patient owners.

German Shepherds sometimes develop hip dysplasia.

Life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.


Beagles are very restless and lively. They like children and are usually friendly to all humans and other dogs. Their one drawback is that they tend to bark too much. They have a strong personality so they need firm training and must be walked on a leash at all times because their hunting instincts may kick in and they can dash off. They do well as couch potatoes but they do need lots of exercise.

Some lines have heart disease, epilepsy, eye, and back problems. They can have warped front legs.

They don’t like being alone, so only those people who can spend some time with them should buy one.

Their height is 13 to 16 inches and their weight is from 20 to 25 pounds. Life expectancy is 12 to 15 years.


The Yorkie does not know he is a little dog and struts around with great self-confidence. They are stubborn and hard to housebreak so they need firm and consistent training. They can be aggressive to strange dogs and small children, but they are fine with older children. They make good watchdogs, as they will set up rapid fire barking whenever anyone approaches the house.

They are small enough that they can get their exercise if played with at home. If walked, they must be on a leash because they were bred to hunt out small animals and this instinct can kick in at any time.

Yorkshire Terriers are prone to bronchitis, early tooth decay, and herniated disks.

Height is 6 to 7 inches and weight is about 7 pounds. Life expectancy is 12 to 15 years.

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