It goes without saying that in your house, your dog is the most popular. But what do the statistics say? The American Kennel Club has used registration data to compile the list of 2021’s most popular breeds. As always, the Labrador Retriever tops the list — this time for the 31st year!  The Lab’s temperament and versatility are just two of the traits that contribute to its perennial popularity.

Most notably, the Poodle has moved back into the top five for the first time since 1997. In general, most breeds are about as popular as they were in 2020, with a few exceptions. The Field Spaniel, for example, moved up 24 places to #136, while the Puli, with its unique corded coat, dropped 21 places to #164. A breed new to the list is the Biewer Terrier, debuting at #83. The AKC recognized the breed in January, 2021 and the Toy dog has already won hearts and minds.

At the bottom of the list is the intriguing Norwegian Lundehund, one of the rarest breeds of dogs, which ranks 197 of 197 breeds.  The Norwegian Lundehund – literally, “puffin dog” – would scale sheer-faced cliffs to raid puffin nests, bringing the still-live birds back to their masters.

In a time when there are more families with dogs than with children, it’s no surprise that the breeds vary widely, from large guard dogs, to agile herders, to tiny toy breeds and everything in between. Some breeds even increase in popularity based on TV shows and movies. The pandemic has been an especially favorable time for new dog owners to decide to bring home a puppy.

Using these statistics to compile an annual popularity list is a relatively minor benefit of dog registration. The American Kennel Club is the only purebred dog registry in the United States maintaining systematic inspections and investigations. The AKC conducts thousands of inspections each year to ensure compliance with standards that support the welfare, safety, and health of dogs throughout the country. Additionally, the American Kennel Club and its affiliates have donated over $38 million to canine health research and $7 million to pet disaster relief.