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10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in Canada (2024 Update)

Chantelle Fowler

By Chantelle Fowler

golden retriever dog relax on the hay bale

While cats are the most common pet amongst Canadians, dogs come in at a close second. There are 7.7 million pet dogs throughout the country.1 Whether you’re Canadian or just a lover of data and statistics, you might be curious about which breeds were the most popular throughout the Great White North. Keep reading to find our list of the most commonly found breeds in Canada!

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The 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in Canada

1. Labrador Retriever

a Labrador Retriever dog standing outdoor
Image Credit: danielle828, Pixabay
Life Expectancy: 10–12 years
Height: 22.5–24.5 inches
Weight: 55–80 pounds
Temperament: Friendly & outgoing

Not only did Labrador Retrievers take the top spot on the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) most popular dog breed list in 2020, but they’ve snagged the top spot for the last 26 years. Labrador Retrievers are known for their easy-going and affectionate temperament.

They’re a great breed for families and get along well with other dogs, too. They are companionable pets who create bonds with the entire family. Labs are enthusiastic and athletic and need a lot of exercise and enrichment.

2. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever standing on the ground
Image Credit: Melanie Mai, Pixabay
Life Expectancy: 10–12 years
Height: 21.5–24 inches
Weight: 55–75 pounds
Temperament: Loyal and affectionate

While Golden and Labrador Retrievers have some similarities, there are stark differences between the two breeds. The Golden’s jaw tends to be narrower and leaner, and their tails are fluffy compared to Labrador Retrievers’ pointed tails.

Golden Retrievers are affectionate with their families and are great around children. They are trustworthy and very eager to please. They love to play and often maintain that playful demeanor well into adulthood. Goldens are hardworking and can often be found hunting, guiding the blind, and participating in search-and-rescue missions.

3. German Shepherd

red german shepherd
Image Credit: Callipso, Shutterstock
Life Expectancy: 7–10 years
Height: 22–26 inches
Weight: 50–90 pounds
Temperament: Loyal and gentle

The German Shepherd has been in the top three most popular dog breeds in Canada for many years. 2020 marked the first year they were knocked out of the second-place position since 2012.

German Shepherds are large and agile dogs known for their confidence and intelligence. They are excellent at learning various tasks and are so loyal that they put their lives on the line to defend their loved ones. It’s not unusual to find a German Shepherd guiding and assisting the handicapped or working alongside the police or military.

4. Standard Poodle

black standard poodle
Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay
Life Expectancy: 12–15 years
Height: 18–24 inches
Weight: 50–70 pounds
Temperament: Smart and playful

Standard Poodles are known to be athletic, full of energy, and playful. They are very motivated to learn and please their owners and seem to have a knack for reading the body language of their owners. They are quite intuitive and sensitive, which can sometimes lead to anxiety.

Standard Poodles love to run around and play when they’re young but mellow out as they age. They need a fair amount of exercise, so it’s important to take them out for walks and visits to the dog park if you don’t have a lot of space for them to roam in your yard.

5. French Bulldog

french bulldog with collar
Image Credit: speckfechta, Unsplash
Life Expectancy: 10–12 years
Height: 11–13 inches
Weight: 16–28 pounds
Temperament: Goofy and intelligent

French Bulldogs are certainly one-of-a-kind in terms of appearance. Their large, bat-like ears make them instantly recognizable in a sea of similar-looking canines. Frenchies are playful and adaptable, and they do well in households with other pets or children.

They’re very relaxed but still love to play. Frenchies make fantastic companions and are relatively easy to train—provided there are food rewards to be had. However, they don’t need much exercise. In fact, activity should be approached with care as Frenchies have narrow nostrils, which can make breathing difficult in the best of conditions.

6. Shetland Sheepdog

shetland sheepdog sitting on grass
Image Credit: JackieLou DL, Pixabay
Life Expectancy: 12–14 years
Height: 13–16 inches
Weight: 15–25 pounds
Temperament: Gentle and playful

Shetland Sheepdogs may look like Collies, but they’re their own distinct breed. Their history began when they were obedient herders in the remote Shetland Islands in Scotland. Shelties are extremely intelligent and affectionate. They’re also eager and easy to train.

It’s not unusual to see Shelties taking first place in world-class competitions in trials for obedience and agility. They are known for their sensitive and affectionate nature. These family-focused dogs are excellent with children and can get along with other animals, too. They are intuitive and always seem to know the mood of the household.

7. Australian Shepherd

a smiling Australian Shepherd dog walking outdoor
Image Credit: AlbanyColley, Pixabay
Life Expectancy: 12–15 years
Height: 18–23 inches
Weight: 40–65 pounds
Temperament: Friendly and outgoing

Australian Shepherds’ personalities and temperaments live up to their humble beginnings as herding and working dogs. They have a high prey drive and very strong herding instincts, which make them an ideal companion for families that understand how to channel their energy via training and exercise.

Daily exercise is not optional for Aussies. If they don’t have a way to get their energy out, they can get destructive. Aussies are very loyal and can be territorial at times. They may be shy around new people and prefer to hang out by their owner’s side at all times.

8. Havanese

havanese lying on grass
Image Credit: Dorottya Mathe, Shutterstock
Life Expectancy: 14–16 years
Height: 8.5–11 inches
Weight: 7–13 pounds
Temperament: Gentle and smart

Havanese dogs are extroverted, cheerful, smart, and easily trainable. Havanese are great family dogs since they get along quite well with children and other animals. They are a popular breed for therapy dogs and emotional support animals, too.

Despite their small size, Havanese dogs are very athletic and vocal. They excel at sports like agility and tracking and need daily exercise to burn off their excess energy. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Havanese dogs will be yappy because they’re a smaller breed.

Havanese are quiet dogs, but they can be vocal if left alone for too long.

9. Bernese Mountain Dog

bernese mountain dog
Image Credit: othmarsigrist, Pixabay
Life Expectancy: 7–10 years
Height: 23–27.5 inches
Weight: 70–115 pounds
Temperament: Playful and gentle

The Bernese Mountain Dog is built to do hard work. They’re a big and powerful breed originating in Switzerland, where they were put to work on farms pulling carts and guarding the field. As you might suspect from their hardworking personality, Bernese Mountain Dogs are eager to please their owners and easy to train.

They are fast learners and are faithful and loyal to their owners. The Bernese Mountain Dog is patient and is a great family pet (though they can be shy around new people). They’re loving and gentle and often attach themselves to one of their owners.

10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog standing on grass
Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock
Life Expectancy: 12–18 years
Height: 12–13 inches
Weight: 13–18 pounds
Temperament: Playful and gentle

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has his roots in Britain when King Charles I owned a Toy Spaniel that eventually was named after him. They are known for their sweet and gentle demeanor. Their affable personality makes them great lap dogs. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels love to play with kids and are very adaptable, making them fantastic family dogs.

They are happy to go outside and play with the kids but will be equally as happy to laze around the house if that’s what their owners want to do. They are so fiercely loyal and bonded to their owners that they do not do well when left alone for long periods.

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Regardless of the size or temperament you’re looking for, you have several options when examining the most popular canines in Canada. It’s always fascinating to see which breeds will make the list of Canada’s most popular dog breeds. The ten above may not make the cut on the CKC’s list next year, but they’ve certainly taken hold of Canadians’ hearts.

Check out our article on the most common dog breeds in the US, too.

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