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10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in Washington State (2023 Update)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Red Merle Australian Shepherd

Canines are the top pets in the United States, and an estimated 76,811,305 dogs reside in the country, according to the American Medical Veterinary Association. The Labrador Retriever has held the top position of the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) most popular dog list for the past 30 years, and it’s also the favorite pet of Washington state.

You can find several “most popular dogs” lists online, but some are developed by examining Google searches. Searches will only tell you what people are curious about, but the AKC’s reports are based on dog registrations. We constructed a list of the most popular dogs in Washington and included another section with the top five dogs in Seattle.

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The 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in Washington State:

1. Labrador Retriever

labrador retriever standing on green meadow
Image Credit: fsHH, Pixabay
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Coat colors: Black, chocolate, yellow

Although its name suggests that the dog originated in Labrador, the Labrador Retriever is descended from a Newfoundland canine. Labs are classified as working dogs, but their friendly and playful nature makes them excellent family pets. They get along with pets and children, and the dogs love to play in the water and fetch. Labs are best known as family dogs, but they’re also skilled guard dogs, hunting companions, and service animals. Labs are active animals that need daily exercise to keep themselves from becoming overweight. According to PetMD, the breed’s most common health issue is obesity.

2. German Shepherd

german shepherd hackels up at training
Image Credit: muroPhotographer, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 7 – 10 years
Coat colors: Black, white, bi-color, blue, gray, liver, sable, black and cream, black and red, black and tan

German Shepherds have placed in the top ten on AKC’s lists for decades, and they’ve held the second-place spot for 10 years. They’re one of the world’s smartest breeds and consistently place first in obedience contests. Shepherds are often associated with guard dog duties, narcotics detection, and rescue operations, but they also make exceptional family dogs. They establish close bonds with their human family and are particularly fond of children. Although they’re friendly, they’re timid around strangers because of their protective nature and require socialization at an early age. If the dog is left on its own for long periods, it can be destructive. Daily exercise and fun games will keep the German Shepherd from becoming uncontrollable.

3. Golden Retriever

English Golden Retriever
Image Credit: Rob Wee, Pixabay
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Coat colors: Golden, dark golden, light golden

The Golden Retriever was initially used as a hunting dog in Scotland in the 19th century, and today’s Retrievers still possess their love of playing in the water and fetching games or toys. Golden Retrievers excel at outdoor games, but they also enjoy relaxing indoors. Unlike other breeds with stubborn streaks, Retrievers enjoy training and learning new tricks. They’re incredibly loyal to their families and behave better when they’re able to spend most of the day with their loved ones. As a duck hunting companion, the Retriever is a champ, but it’s become more famous for its loving personality.

4. French Bulldog

french bulldog looking back
Image Credit: icsilviu, Pixabay
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Coat colors: Cream, fawn, white, brindle, brindle and white, fawn and white, fawn brindle and white, white and brindle, white and fawn

With its bat-like ears, short legs, and expressive face, the French Bulldog has become one of the most cherished dogs in the United States. Toy-size Bulldogs were popular in England in the 19th century, but English lacemakers eventually bred the dogs when they migrated to northern France. French Bulldogs are perfect companions for city dwellers. They do not require much exercise, and the dogs adapt well to apartment living. If you travel frequently, be sure to take your French Bulldog with you. They can struggle with separation anxiety if they’re left alone.

5. Poodle

standard poodle standing on grass
Image Credit: Anna K Majer, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 10 – 18 years
Coat colors: Multiple colors including black, brown, silver, white, red, gray and white, blue and white, black and apricot

Although it’s the national dog of France, the Poodle originated in Germany as a water retriever for hunters. Duck hunters still depend on the Poodle’s skills, but Poodles are also used as service animals, therapy dogs, and family pets. Unlike other breeds, Poodles have hair that does not shed and keeps growing longer. Grooming is an essential duty of every Poodle owner, and most dogs need trimming at least once a month or more. They also require plenty of exercise. Poodles enjoy swimming, fetching, and jogging with their owners.

6. Rottweiler

rottweiler standing
Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 9 – 10 years
Coat colors: Black and rust, black and tan, black and mahogany

As a descendent of the Mastiffs used by Roman soldiers, the Rottweiler is a powerful working breed that’s very protective of its human owners. However, the dogs are lovable clowns to their families. They’re playful and loyal but not fond of meeting strangers. Early training and socialization are vital to tempering their behavior towards new humans. Rottweilers are easy to please and love interacting with their owners, but they have to be taught who is in charge to prevent behavioral problems. Daily exercise will help them burn off energy and stay fit, and the dogs love swimming, jogging, and playing fetch.

7. Bulldog

french bulldog looking back
Image Credit: icsilviu, Pixabay
Lifespan: 8 – 10 years
Coat colors: White, fallow, red, red brindle, fawn, brindle, fawn and brindle, fawn and white, red and white, red brindle and white

English Bulldogs are calm, loyal pets, but they’re descended from “bull baiting” dogs that did not have the same relaxed attitude. The dog’s famous wrinkled skin was not a trait that was developed to give them character but was necessary to prevent blood from getting into their eyes when herding bulls. Bulldogs have short muzzles that make it difficult to breathe in hot, humid conditions. They need moderate exercise, but owners must keep them indoors during the hottest part of the day to prevent breathing complications. Bulldogs enjoy human companionship, but they require adequate training before interacting with children or other pets.

8. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Image credit: ElfinFox, Pixabay
Lifespan: 12 – 13 years
Coat colors: Red, sable, fawn, black, and tan

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi acts like a large canine in a small dog’s body. They were initially raised to herd cattle, and their fearless nature and loud bark also make them excellent guard dogs. Corgis are playful and loyal to their owners, but they enjoy time alone and do not suffer from separation anxiety like other small dogs. They require moderate exercise, but their stubby legs prevent them from following a bike rider or fast jogger. Although they have an independent streak, Corgis respond well to training due to their high intelligence.

9. Boxer

boxer on grass
Image Credit: Dmitry Kalinovsky, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Coat colors: Fawn, white, brindle

Boxers are descendants of an extinct breed, Bullenbeissers, that were used to guard livestock and take down big game in Germany. Although some have suggested that their name came from their tendency to box with their front paws, others speculate that it’s only a variation of Bullenbeisser. Boxers are energetic dogs that require a significant amount of daily exercise, and they enjoy playing games with their family. They’re patient with small children but also highly protective. Boxers can be goofy and hyper, but early training will help keep their behavior in check. Boxer owners must be prepared to endure the dog’s loud snoring and clean up large pools of drool on the floor.

10. Australian Shepherd

Blue Merle Australian Shepherd
Image Credit: Vera Reva, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12­ – 15 years
Coat colors: Red, blue merle, red merle, black

The Australian Shepherd was developed by Australian breeders living in California, but the dog’s heritage comes from Europe. In the west, Australian Shepherds are used for herding cattle and performing in rodeos. They behave well around children, but they must be supervised around toddlers to prevent them from trying to herd the youngsters. They’re smart but require significant training to keep their endless energy from getting out of control. Dog lovers who enjoy relaxing indoors most of the time will not get along with an Australian Shepherd. The breed is accustomed to spending most of the day outside, and owners with ranches or farms are the ideal pet parents.

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Most Popular Dog Breeds in Seattle

AKC does not publish lists for every city in the United States, but it recently posted a list of the most popular canines in 14 U.S. cities. The results in Seattle were similar to ones for the entire state, but Seattle residents seemed to prefer the Corgi and Australian Shepherd more than other dog owners in the state.

  1. Golden Retriever
  2. Labrador Retriever
  3. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  4. French Bulldog
  5. Australian Shepherd

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Dog lovers in Washington state like many of the same breeds as AKC’s national list of the most popular dog breeds of 2020, with a few exceptions. Beagles and Pointers are in the top ten of the country’s most popular canines, but pet parents in Seattle seem to prefer the Corgi and Australian Shepherd. As no surprise, the Golden Retriever and Labrador are still top canines in Seattle and the rest of the state.


Featured Image Credit: Eve Photography, Shutterstock

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