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The Most Popular Dog Breeds in Every State

Yes, we know you love your Labrador retrievers—it is, after all, the most popular dog breed in the United States for 26 years and running (followed by German shepherds and golden retrievers to round out the top three), according to the American Kennel Club. Of course, that's just the "popular vote." When you break it down state-by-state, a different story emerges.

labrador retriever dog walking in park
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The top three most popular dog breeds in Alabama are Labrador retriever, German shepherd, and…beagle, reports this interactive Time infographic, which is based on information from the American Kennel Club (AKC). According to alabama.com, Alabama’s love for beagles coincides with its people’s love for hunting. In fact, beagles are among the top three faves in a number of southern states where hunting is a popular activity.

labrador retriever dog runs in water


“Labs love water,” points out Anchorage Daily News, making Labs a lot less popular with owners trying to keep their homes clean come spring in Alaska. (Think mud, mud, and more mud.) However, they’re still number one in Alaska, followed by German shepherds, and golden retrievers, according to the AKC’s ranking. Fun fact: Unique to Alaska’s top 10 is their love for the Alaskan malamute, the official state dog.

A beautiful little kid is a black labrador (dog), sits, on a green background. Concept: parodist dogs, pedigree dogs, dog friend of man, animal love, true friends, rescuers, good scent, loving friends


Labs, German shepherds, and goldens make up the top three most popular dog breeds in Arizona. But in an unexpected twist, the Phoenix New Times points out that the pit bull, which isn’t an AKC-registered breed, makes up a large portion of the canine population in Maricopa County (the state’s most populous county). For comparison’s sake, the American Staffordshire terrier and the Staffordshire bull terrier, (both closely related to the pit bull), come in at 81st and 82nd in the nation, respectively.

Labrador puppy
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Labradors, German shepherds, and beagles hold the top three spots for dog breeds in Arkansas, reports the AKC. However, according to the Barkpost, Arkansans love their boxers most of all.

Labrador Retriever Pale Colors
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After Labs, the most popular dog breeds in California, are French bulldogs and German shepherds. San Francisco falls into line with the rest of the state with its city-wide love of the French Bulldog (often referred to as the “Frenchie”). But the bulldog reigns supreme in Los Angeles and San Diego, bringing these California cities more into line with the nation as a whole, according to the AKC. These are the first steps you need to take to train your puppy.

Labrador retriever
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Colorado’s unofficial dog breed isn’t a breed at all, shares the Barkpost: It’s the rescue dog! Rescue dogs tend to be mixed breeds (what used to be called “mutts”), and aren’t recognized by the AKC as an actual dog breed. Colorado’s favorite official dog breeds, according to the AKC are Labs, German shepherds, and goldens. Don’t miss these unbelievable facts you never knew about your dog.

Chocolate Labrador Retriever
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Labs, German shepherds, and golden retrievers are the top three most popular dog breeds in Connecticut, according to the AKC. In a surprising twist, the Australian shepherd came in at number one on the list of the ten most adorable dog breeds compiled by Connecticut Breeder, the largest pet store in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Time will tell if the state is onto something. If you’re more of an astrology person, learn about the zodiac signs as dogs and which one is best for you.

Chocolate labrador retriever dog sitting at the park with a flying disc in his mouth under a tree


The golden retriever became Delaware’s official state dog in 2016, despite being only the third most popular dog breed in the state, per the AKC. Number one and number two are (not surprisingly) the Labrador retriever and the German shepherd. That said, the golden’s official status was not a shock, considering the breed’s friendliness, devotion, and intelligence. Find out what the fastest dog breeds are in the world.

Closeup of a German shepherd dog, leaning on ground with sad face
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The German shepherd is the number one favorite dog breed in Florida, followed by the Labrador, and then the golden. Miami falls right into line with the rest of the state with its love for German shepherds, but it’s number two is the Frenchie, which happens to be the favorite dog of West Palm Beach, according to the AKC. Check out the superpowers you never knew your dog had.

Beautiful black labrador retriever
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Georgia’s top three most popular dog breeds, according to the AKC, are Labs, German shepherds, and beagles. That said, Georgia’s got some other breeds its quite fond of, including the bulldog, which was proposed as Georgia’s official state dog in 2016, as a nod, no doubt, to Uga, the mascot of the University of Georgia. Here’s how to keep your dog busy (and out of trouble) while you’re at work. Get to know everything about North Georgia highroads.

Brindle French Bulldog puppy in pink collar sitting on decking.
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Hawaii’s top dog breed is the Frenchie, followed by the Lab, which is then followed by the Rottweiler. The breed may look intimidating, but Rottweilers have a lot going for them, including their intelligence, their endurance, and willingness to work.

Closeup and soft focused picture of a male Labrador Retriever at home. Labrador retriever with his toy, looking sad.
Pritha Photography/Shutterstock


Labradors, goldens, and German shepherds top the AKC’s Idaho rankings of most popular dog breeds. But VetStreet takes note of a trend in Idaho, as well as several other states where the wide, open, countryside is abundant: border collies. They’re also a natural fit for the state’s many ranches. This is how to determine your dog’s energy level.

labrador retriever looking like use the eye appeal to his owner .it naughty dog playing sandy. Selective focus on eye dog. color retro style


Labradors, German shepherds, and goldens top the AKC list in Illinois, but if Chicago is any indication, Frenchies and “Rotties” are quickly gaining ground, as are Siberian huskies and Doberman pinschers (both of which made it into Chicago’s top 10 by AKC’s most recent count). For even more adorable pups, check out these flat-faced dogs that are just too precious.

German shepherd dog posing in the beach.
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German shepherds edge out Labs in the Hoosier State, where the golden retriever is the third most popular dog breed. But of the over 1,000 pets up for adoption at mega-adoption event that took place at the Indiana Fair Grounds, as many as half were pit bulls breeds, the Indianapolis Star estimates. After pit bulls, the most popular rescue dog breeds in Indiana are Labrador retrievers German Shepherds, boxers, bulldogs, and beagles.

Chocolate Labrador Puppy Resting on Wood Floor
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Iowa’s most popular dog breeds are Labs, German shepherds, and golden retrievers. Although that makes Iowa stand in lock-step with the AKC’s national rankings, Iowa is a pretty special place to take your canine best buddy, with all of these dog-friendly places you can visit.

Chocolate Labrador dog
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“I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too,” screamed the Wicked Witch of the West in the original Wizard of Oz film about Dorothy’s adorable Cairn terrier, Toto. While not in the top three most popular dog breeds (that honor goes to Labs, German shepherds, and bulldogs), the people of Kansas have a special love for their Cairn terriers, and in 2006, a bill was introduced into the state congress that sought to make the Cairn Kansas’s official dog. Although the bill was tabled in 2012, the Cairn will always be the state’s unofficial favorite. If you’re looking for a pup that will be totally devoted to your comfort, read up on the best emotional support dogs that will stand by you.

Beagle dog face


The Kentucky Humane Society calls its latest campaign “Beaglemania” for a reason, obviously, since the Bluegrass state’s number one favorite dog breed is the beagle, according to the AKC. Find out all the major health benefits dog owners reap.

Happy Black and White Dog Looking at Camera
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The Catahoula leopard dog is “king” in the Bayou State, according to the Barkpost, Notably, the Catahoula Leopard Dog is believed to be the first breed developed in North America, and it’s been Louisiana’s state official state dog since 1979.

Chocolate Labrador Retriever girl - reflection of human silhouette in her eyes
Mikayla E/Shutterstock


Maine loves its dogs so much that it holds a Dog Kissing Contest, according to the Bangor Daily News. But even the AKC, which counts Labs, goldens, and German shepherds as the state’s most popular dog breeds, acknowledges that Maine may be more of a “cat state” than a “dog state.” Its official state cat is the Maine Coon, America’s native longhair, which was bred to survive the hostile New England winters.

Golden Labrador dog


Labradors, German shepherds, and goldens top the AKC’s favorite dog breed list for Maryland, but Maryland remains loyal to the Chesapeake Bay retriever. It became the state dog of Maryland in 1964, making Maryland the first state to designate an official state dog. According to the AKC, Chesapeake Bays are good at hunting and retrieving and do best with active, outdoor-loving families.

Swimming labrador retriever
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Labradors, goldens, and German Shepherds top the AKC’s favorite dog breed list for Massachusetts. But the enduring popularity of Massachusetts’s capital’s namesake, the Boston terrier, remains a force to be reckoned with. The first purebred dog in the entire United States, the Boston terrier became Massachusetts’ official state dog in 1979. Bostons are lively, intelligent, and gentle and known to have an infectious smile.

Labrador puppy cute
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Labradors, German shepherds, and goldens top the AKC’s list of favorite Michigan dog breeds. Considering Michigan gets so cold, it’s interesting that not one of these breeds is listed in Outdoor Online’s 20 Best Cold-Weather Dogs. That said, the Siberian husky, which does appear on the list, cracks the AKC’s top five for Michigan. Makes sense—who doesn’t love looking at adorable husky pictures?

close up on brown dog
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Minnesota’s top three most popular dog breeds are Labs, goldens, and German shepherds. Beyond these top three, however, Minnesota’s list of top ten faves is notably different from the nation’s, with a few that are popular in Minnesota not even making the national list. These include the English springer spaniel and the German shorthaired pointer.

Labrador retriever
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Mississippi’s top three favorite dog breeds are Labradors, beagles, and German shepherds, according to the AKC. But Biloxi-based-TV-station, WLOX notes that the Newfoundland is a natural search and rescue dog. They also drool a lot, but that’s a small price to pay for having a dog that could possibly be a real help in an emergency. On a lighter note, don’t miss these hilarious dog jokes.

Yellow labrador retriever is waiting at home.
Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock


Labs, German shepherds, and Frenchies top the AKC list of Missouri’s most popular dog breeds, but anecdotal evidence suggests Australian cattle dogs, and Cavalier King Charles spaniels are also top in the “Show Me” state. Find out how much it would cost to own a dog.

Dog running on the field
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Labs, goldens, and German shepherds round out Montana’s top three favorite dog breeds, according to the AKC. All of these dogs tend to love the outdoors, which makes them a slam-dunk for Big Sky Country.

Brown dog stood and wait over the cage


Labs, German shepherds, and goldens top Nebraska’s list of most popular dog breeds, according to the AKC. Since all of these breeds love being active, it’s interesting to note that Nebraska has some of the fattest pets in the nation. Take, for example, Whopper, an Akita who weighed in at 185 pounds before he was put on a serious trim-down-diet. Here’s how to help your pooch maintain a healthy weight.

dog portrait
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In Nevada, Labs come in first in favorite dog breeds (like they do in most states), but bulldogs come second, and German shepherds take third place. Meanwhile, goldens don’t even crack the top three. What are the odds of that?

The dog is lying on the carpet
Miroslava Levina/Shutterstock

New Hampshire

Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, and golden retrievers are the top three most popular dog breeds in New Hampshire, but when it came time to choose its official state dog, New Hampshire went with the Chinook, a rare breed of sled dog. That designation is due in part to the hard work of elementary school students from Bedford, New Hampshire, who campaigned for this twinkly-eyed, stouthearted sweetheart to represent their state.

Labrador Retriever in the interior

New Jersey

Labs, German shepherds, and goldens top the AKC list, but the Garden State also loves its Yorkshire terriers, poodles, boxers, Rotties, bulldogs, and Frenchies, which all also appear in the top ten, according to newjersey.com.

Dog Breed Labrador dog with a nose to smell good.

New Mexico

New Mexico’s top three most popular dog breeds are the Labrador, the golden, and the bulldog. But when it came to choosing a state dog, New Mexico remembered that good things come in small packages. New Mexico’s official state dog is the Chihuahua, which isn’t surprising considering New Mexico shares a border with the Mexican state of Chihuahua, for which the dog breed was named. These are the quietest dog breeds that won’t bark too much.

Adopted black labrador retriever napping on a white leather chair
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New York

When you think of New York City, you might think of teacup-sized canines peering out of designer purses. And you’d be right in the sense that the Frenchie is number one in New York City. But finding its way into NYC’s top ten this year was also the Shiba Inu, a decidedly NOT purse-sized pup. As a state, however, New York goes the way of the nation with its top most popular dog breeds: Labs, German shepherds, and goldens (in that order), according to the AKC.

labrador retriever on nature

North Carolina

Labradors, German shepherds, and beagles take the top three spots on the AKC’s list of favorite dog breeds, but the Tar Heel state’s state dog is a breed you may have never heard of, at least until now: the Plott Hound, which was bred in North Carolina for the purpose of hunting boar, according to the Barkpost. Here are the best dog-friendly national parks to explore with your pup.

Hungry labrador with empty bowl is waiting for feeding.
Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock

North Dakota

Milk is the official state beverage of North Dakota, but they haven’t named an official dog just yet. If they do, how much do you want to bet it will be one of the state’s top three most popular dog breeds: Labrador retriever, golden retriever, and German shepherd? If you already have a kitty at home, check out these dogs that are good with cats.

Labrador retriever jumping in the water.
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Labs, German shepherds, and goldens top the AKC’s list of Ohio’s favorite dog breeds. But if you call out for “Buddy” or “Max” (the most popular dog names in Ohio), there’s a far better chance you’re going to find a mixed breed running toward you for a treat, at least in Cleveland. These are the things your veterinarian wishes you knew.

sad-eyed white dog lying


Oklahoma loves its bulldogs almost as much as its Labradors and German shepherds, according to the AKC. Yet, apparently, if you’re in Oklahoma City, you’re far more likely to run into an Australian cattle dog, Chihuahua, or a pit bull.

Iaroslav Bulatov/Shutterstock


Labradors, German shepherds, and goldens top the AKC’s list of favorite dog breeds in Oregon. But there’s a trend in Oregon toward designer mixed breeds, with the Labradoodle (a mix of Labrador retriever and poodle) making its floppy, Muppet-y way into Oregonian hearts.

Dog Breed Labrador dog with a nose to smell good.


Since 1965, the state dog of Pennsylvania has been the Great Dane, which can grow to nearly three feet tall, according to the Barkpost. Standing on all fours, the Great Dane towers over Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, and golden retrievers, Pennsylvania’s three most popular dog breeds, according to the AKC. Standing on their hind legs, a Great Dane may well tower over…you (well, me, for sure).

Black Labrador Retriever dog running through blue water carrying tennis ball

Rhode Island

Labs, German shepherds, and goldens top the list of Rhode Island’s favorite dog breeds, according to the AKC. Find out the 13 secrets your dog knows about you.

A puppy of labrador retriever in a grass
Martin Maun/Shutterstock

South Carolina

South Carolina’s favorite dog breeds are Labs, german shepherds, and beagles, says the AKC. But the state dog of South Carolina is the Boykin spaniel, which originated in South Carolina and was bred to work with hunters all day long, making them a perfect fit for active families.

Close up of a cute yellow labrador puppy playing with a green tennis ball in the grass outdoors. Shallow depth of field.
ARENA Creative/Shutterstock

South Dakota

Labradors, goldens, and German shepherds top the list of South Dakota’s most popular dog breeds, according to the AKC. But like other ranch-heavy states, South Dakota is at the center of the burgeoning border collie trend.

big black dog labrador retriever adult purebred lab in spring summer green park on the grass in sunshine
Natalia Fedosova/Shutterstock


Labs, German shepherds, and beagles are Tennessee’s top three favorite dog breeds, according to the AKC, which also notes that Labs top the list in Nashville, stealing the spot from German shepherds.

sad labrador lying on the ground
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The official state dog of Texas is the Blue Lacy. Developed in the mid-19th century, it took until 2005 for the state Senate to give this breed its due recognition, according to the Barkpost. Meanwhile, Labs, German shepherds, and bulldogs top Texas’s favorite breeds, per the AKC. Here are 13 simple ways to tell if your dog is smart.

Labrador retriever with leash is waiting for walk.
Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock


“Utah tends to align with most of the nation when it comes to its most popular dog breed,” notes Utah’s The Desert News. Indeed, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, and golden retrievers are Utah’s favorites, according to the AKC.

Sad look of the old dog. Sick (or tired) labrador retriever lying on wooden floor at home.
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Labs, beagles, and golden retrievers make up the top three favorite dog breeds in Vermont, which is the number one state for…cat lovers, according to the U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, as reported by Dogtime. Vermont is also the state with the highest percentage of pet owners per capita.

Closeup of a beautiful Black Labrador puppy lying on the sand at the lake shore, panting to catch his breath after play
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Said to be developed by none other than George Washington himself, the American foxhound was first recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1886 and has been Virginia’s official state dog since 1966. One of the rarest of America’s native breeds, the American Foxhound was originally bred for foxhunting, as its name suggests, though the breed is known to be friendly and good with children. According to the AKC Labs, German shepherds, and beagles top Virginia’s list of favorite dog breeds.

dog portrait
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Labs, German shepherds, and goldens are at the top of Washington State’s list of favorite dog breeds, according to the AKC, but the Siberian husky is beloved in Washington too. In 2004, the husky was proposed as official state dog, according to the Barkpost. The campaign fell through, but certainly not for lack of husky love. Here are 15 weird dog laws you didn’t know existed in America.

german shepherd
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West Virginia

According to the AKC, German shepherds, beagles, and labs are tops in West Virginia, which just happens to be one of the five states with the highest percentage of dog owners, per capita. Check out these 30 things your dog wishes you knew.

White Labrador retriever puppy on snow
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Labs, goldens, and German shepherds top the AKC’s list of most popular dog breeds in Wisconsin. Nevertheless, Wisconsin’s heart belongs to the American water spaniel, the official state dog and the only dog breed native to Wisconsin. It was originally bred as an all-around hunter that could retrieve from boats, according to the AKC, but it’s also an excellent, energetic, highly trainable, family-pleasing dog.

Labrador retriever with bone is waiting at home.
Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock


Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, and golden retrievers top the AKC’s Wyoming rankings. But as in Idaho, VetStreet takes note of the border collie trend that seems logical based on Wyoming’s ample open spaces in which orders can cavort about, gaze intensely, and do the work they were born to do: herd animals. Don’t miss the 50 secrets your pet won’t tell you.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York–based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest and in a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction, and her first full-length manuscript, "The Trust Game," was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.