Nationwide Trends: 5 Most Popular Dog Breeds & Names by State

Did you ever wonder if your furry friend’s breed or name is part of a bigger trend in your area? It turns out that Americans’ choices of dogs vary widely across states. Reflecting a fascinating mixture of breed preferences and naming conventions.

From coast to coast, dog lovers show affection by choosing breeds that match their lifestyles and names that resonate with their tastes. Here’s the most popular dog breeds and names sweeping the nation, state by state.

1. Labrador Retriever: America’s Top Pick

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Labrador Retrievers claim the top spot in states like Iowa, Maine, Maryland, and several others, showcasing their status as America’s favorite dog breed¹. They were also ranked as the AKC’s number one medium-sized breed.

Known for their friendly nature and versatility, Labs excel in various roles, from family pets to service dogs. Their popularity is a testament to their adaptable personality and enduring charm.

In places like New Hampshire, Virginia, and Washington, Labrador Retrievers are not just pets but part of the family. Their ability to mesh well with children and other animals makes them an ideal choice for many households.

Unsurprisingly, this breed’s loyal and loving demeanor has won the hearts of so many across different states.

2. German Shepherd: The Protector

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German Shepherds are popular in Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, and several other states¹. They are cherished for their intelligence and protective nature. These dogs are loyal companions and serve in various roles, including police and service dogs.

Their courage and loyalty make them a top choice for families seeking a pet and a protector.

States like Georgia, South Dakota, and Vermont prefer German Shepherds for their versatility and trainability. This breed’s combination of strength, intelligence, and obedience has cemented its position as a favorite among dog owners who appreciate a pet capable of companionship and protection.

3. Golden Retriever: The Friendly Companion

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Golden Retrievers are preferred in Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, and multiple other states, beloved for their gentle temperament and friendly nature¹.

These dogs are the quintessential family pet, known for their patience and affectionate behavior. Their love for interaction makes them excellent companions for both adults and children alike.

In states such as Washington, Massachusetts, and Ohio, Golden Retrievers are valued for their adaptability and eagerness to please. They thrive in active households and enjoy participating in various family activities. Their unwavering loyalty and cheerful disposition make them one of the most popular breeds in the U.S.

4. Chihuahua: Small but Mighty

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In states like Alabama and Arizona, Chihuahuas are preferred among those looking for a smaller companion¹.

Despite their diminutive size, Chihuahuas possess a bold and confident personality. They are fiercely loyal to their owners and can be quite protective, making them excellent pets for those living in smaller spaces.

Chihuahuas are especially popular in urban areas where living spaces are limited. Their small size allows them to fit comfortably in apartments and small homes. Their spirited and lively nature makes them entertaining companions, proving that great things come in small packages.

5. French Bulldog: The Urban Favorite

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In bustling states like New York, Oklahoma, and Florida, French Bulldogs have captured the hearts of city dwellers¹. Their compact size and low exercise needs make them perfect for urban living.

Frenchies are known for their affectionate and easy-going nature, making them ideal pets for those with a busy lifestyle.

In addition to their adaptability, French Bulldogs are cherished for their unique personalities. They can be playful and calm, fitting seamlessly into various household dynamics. Their distinctive looks and charming demeanor have propelled them into the spotlight in states favoring compact, charismatic breeds.

5 Most Popular Dog Names

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Gina DiNardo, the Executive Secretary of the American Kennel Club said “People pour a lot of thought into picking out their pet’s name, and it’s always a delightful moment to see whether the chosen name matches the pup’s personality,” .

It’s clear that the process is much more than just tagging a name; it’s about capturing the essence of our furry companions’ characters.

Bella: The Nation’s Favorite

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Across the United States, Bella is the most beloved dog name (ref). This name transcends breed and state preferences, with one in every 100 dogs responding to this call (ref).

The name’s popularity reflects a nationwide trend of choosing short, easily recognizable names for our canine companions.

Luna, Max, Charlie & Coco: The Runners Up

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Names like Luna, Max, Charlie, and Coco follow closely (ref). These names share a common trait with Bella—simplicity and warmth. Dog owners nationwide seem to prefer names that offer a personal touch and reflect the pet’s personality, moving away from traditional names.

The top breeds and names reveal much about regional preferences and lifestyles. It reflects the diverse landscape of dog ownership in the United States.


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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.