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30 Most Popular Big Dog Breeds in America

© sgilsdorf / Wikimedia Commons

By Steven Peters, 24/7 Tempo

America loves dogs. More than 85 million families have chosen to take care of a four-legged furry friend. A lot goes into the decision of what dog to adopt. The perfect canine companion depends on the owner’s needs. Those who are active outdoors are better off with a bigger dog breed. Typically the bigger dogs love to exercise and roam outside, even though some enjoy to just snooze away much of the day inside with their owner. Bigger dogs also make for wonderful cuddles, making them a really great choice for kids

To identify the most popular small dogs in the United States, 24/7 Tempo used the 2018 ranking of the most popular breeds in the country, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), which currently registers 195 breeds. We took the 30 most popular big breeds from that list. Breeds that were considered for the big category are taller than 15 inches at the shoulder and weigh at least 40 to 50 pounds on average, according to AKC.


30. Bullmastiffs

© White_bcgrd / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 51 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 7-9 years

> Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, Brave

As the name suggests, the bullmastiff is the result of bulldog and mastiff crosses. It was bred to guard country estates and game preserves from poachers. It is large, tipping the scale at up to 130 pounds, and is powerful and intimidating. The bullmastiff requires careful training.


29. Portuguese Water Dogs

© suefeldberg / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 50 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 11-13 years

> Temperament: Affectionate, Adventurous, Athletic

Described as medium sized and robust by the AKC, this breed has an advantage above the other water-loving pups -- a waterproof coat. Easily the most well-known of the breed is former "first dog" Bo, who belongs to former President Barack Obama and his family. Malia, the president's daughter, is allergic to dogs, which led to Bo's "appointment."


28. Bloodhounds

© CaptureLight / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 49 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 10-12 years

> Temperament: Friendly, Independent, Inquisitive

The bloodhound is famous for its sense of smell and tracking ability. The breed is used by police forces around the world to find missing people and escaped prisoners. It is instantly recognizable because of its wrinkled face and large drooping ears.


27. St. Bernards

© swisshippo / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 48 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 8-10 years

> Temperament: Playful, Charming, Inquisitive

Named after a monk who aided pilgrims crossing the Alps on their way to Rome, the St. Bernard is famous as a rescue dog. It is very big -- males can weigh up to 180 pounds -- and very strong, but has a very gentle and winning expression. Unfortunately it has a relatively short life expectancy of 8 to 10 years.


26. Akitas

© Eduard_Mikrykov / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 47 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 10-13 years

> Temperament: Courageous, Dignified, Profoundly Loyal

The Akita is a large, powerful breed that originated in Japan. Two distinguishing features are its trademark curling tail and its alert expression. It is wary of strangers, has little tolerance for other animals, and is protective of its owners.


25. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

© ktatarka / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 45 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 10-13 years

> Temperament: Affectionate, Bright, Sensitive

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the official State Dog of Maryland, its home state. This family-oriented dog has a waterproof coat that's oily to the touch. It's protective of its owners and determined, making it a great watchdog.


24. Belgian Malinois

© RKSS / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 43 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 14-16 years

> Temperament: Confident, Smart, Hardworking

This dog was bred to herd livestock around the Belgian city of Malines. It is versatile and hard working and is also used as a military and police dog. It makes for a great pet but needs more exercise than most dogs. Belgian Malinois bears a resemblance to a German shepherd dog.


23. Rhodesian Ridgebacks

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> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 41 out of 195

> Life expectancy: ~10 years

> Temperament: Affectionate, Dignified, Even-Tempered

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is named for its land of origin, now Zimbabwe and Zambia, and for the distinctive ridge that runs along its back, which is formed by hair growing in the opposite direction from the rest of its coat. Bred to hunt lions, but not kill them, it's an imposing looking dog. They are devoted to family and affectionate toward children.


22. Newfoundlands

© SvetaElfimova / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 40 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 9-10 years

> Temperament: Sweet, Patient, Devoted

Newfoundlands were originally bred as working dogs for fishermen in the Canadian province after which they are named. Newfoundlands are big, strong, loyal, and excellent swimmers, with lifesaving instincts in the water. The breed is easy to train and eager to please. It is an excellent companion and is even referred to as "the nanny dog." Novelist J.M. Barrie specified that the beloved "Nana" in "Peter Pan" was a Newfoundland.


21. Collies

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> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 38 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 12-14 years

> Temperament: Devoted, Graceful, Proud

Collies have tremendous herding abilities and protective instincts, as generations who have seen Lassie in films and on television know. They are strong, loyal, affectionate, and elegant dogs and respond well to training. Collies are a good fit for families with an active lifestyle, and they can thrive in the city as well as in the country.


20. Weimaraners

© Thinstock

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 36 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 10-13 years

> Temperament: Friendly, Fearless, Obedient

The Weimaraner is named after the German city of Weimar, where it was bred as a hunting and retrieving dog. It has distinctive silver-gray coloration and bright blue eyes. The Weimaraner is an excellent pet known for its friendliness and obedience, but needs to be kept active.


19. Border Collies

© Ocskaymark / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 35 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 12-15 years

> Temperament: Affectionate, Smart, Energetic

The border collie is widely considered to be the most intelligent dog breed. In fact, it was bred for its intelligence and obedience and has tremendous herding abilities. It is trainable and has protective instincts. However, it also needs more physical exercise and mental stimulation than many other breeds.


18. Cane Corso

© DevidDO / iStock

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 32 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 9-12 years

> Temperament: Affectionate, Intelligent, Majestic

Originating in Italy and bred as guard dogs, cane corso are described by the AKC as "peerless protectors." Notwithstanding their intimidating appearance -- they are among the biggest dogs in the world (100 pounds for males) -- cane corso are also intelligent, loyal, and docile in the company of their owners.


17. Vizslas

© Tomas Maracek / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 31 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 9-12 years

> Temperament: Affectionate, Intelligent, Majestic

Also referred to as the Hungarian Pointer, the Vizsla may date back over 1,000 years. There are depictions of the Vizsla being used as hunting dogs from the early 10th century, when Magyar tribes invaded Central Europe.


16. Mastiffs

© adogslifephoto / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 29 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 6-10 years

> Temperament: Courageous, Dignified, Good-Natured

Mastiffs weigh up to 160 pounds and are a massive breed developed to guard livestock from predators such as wolves. There are also accounts of them being used for entertainment as fighting dogs in ancient Roman arenas, where they were pitted against lions and tigers. Despite their fierce history, mastiffs are good-natured dogs and surprisingly docile.


15. English Springer Spaniels

© jonathansilverberg / Flickr

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 27 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 12-14 years

> Temperament: Friendly, Playful, Obedient

This breed is named for its hunting style -- it "springs" birds, flushing them into the air, and then points and retrieves them. As well as being a great hunter it is a friendly and playful pet and considered a hunting buddy of hunters. English Springer Spaniels are highly trainable and bred to work with humans.


14. Brittanys

© timalfordphoto / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 26 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 12-14 years

> Temperament: Bright, Fun-Loving, Upbeat

Brittanys gets their name from their native French province. According to the AKC, the Brittany didn't officially become recognized as a breed until 1907, when an orange and white colored pup named Boy in France was registered as the first Brittany Spaniel. Prior to this point, the breed was registered as one of many miscellaneous French Spaniels.


13. Bernese Mountain Dogs

© vetdoctor / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 22 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 7-10 years

> Temperament: Good-Natured, Calm, Strong

This breed originated in the Swiss Alps, where it was used as a working dog. It has a muscular build and can haul loads as heavy as 1,000 pounds. The Bernese is good for families -- it is gentle with children but may become attached to one person in particular.


12. Boston Terriers

© chuckcollier / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 21 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 11-13 years

> Temperament: Friendly, Bright, Amusing

Just as Boston is a historic city with a young population, this dog is a relatively old breed with a young heart. Nicknamed "The American Gentleman," it's compact and classy. It excels at canine sports and is eager to please and so is popular as a therapy dog.


11. Doberman Pinschers

© OlgaOvcharenko / Shutterstock.com

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 17 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 10-12 years

> Temperament: Loyal, Fearless, Alert

The Doberman pinscher was first bred in Germany in the mid-1800s by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a tax collector and night watchman. He wanted a dog to protect him in his sometimes dangerous line of work. As well as being one of the smartest breeds, the Doberman ranks high in obedience and trainability. This makes the animal popular with police and military forces around the world.


10. Great Danes

© RalfWeigel / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 16 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 7-10 years

> Temperament: Friendly, Patient, Dependable

The great Dane was developed in England and Germany as a boar hound, its long ears often left shredded by the sharp tusks of the wild boar. Today's great Danes lead much less hazardous lives and can make for great pets. They are dependable, patient, and friendly. But as their name implies, they are huge. Standing on its hind legs, a great Dane can be taller than its owner and weigh up to 200 pounds.


9. Australian Shepherds

© Ksuksa / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 15 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 12-15 years

> Temperament: Smart, Work-Oriented, Exuberant

The Australian Shepherd is a very cosmopolitan dog. It started out in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain, was brought to Australia to herd sheep, and then became popular with U.S. ranchers, who thought it originated down under -- hence the name. It is an intelligent breed with a strong herding instinct and work ethic. The Australian Shepherd is closely associated with the cowboy lifestyle.


8. Siberian Huskies

© SVPhilon / iStock

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 14 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 12-14 years

> Temperament: Loyal, Mischievous, Outgoing

Bred as a sled dog, the Siberian husky is known for its endurance. Huskies have a great work ethic and love to run, preferring that to walking. In fact, the husky is so energetic that it has to be kept leashed or it will run away. In 1925, a relay team of huskies and other sled dogs saved Nome, Alaska, from a diptheria epidemic by running for five days to bring medicine to the town.


7. Boxers

© Moires / Wikimedia Commons

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 11 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 10-12 years

> Temperament: Bright, Fun-Loving, Active

Although it was recognized by the AKC in 1904, the boxer did not really gain popularity in the U.S. until after World War II, when returning soldiers brought the dogs home with them from Europe. Its popularity may also have received a boost when actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were given one as a wedding present.


6. German Shorthaired Pointers

© haroldmeerveld / Flickr

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 9 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 10-12 years

> Temperament: Friendly, Smart, Willing to Please

The German shorthaired pointer is a great gundog and a great pet, although it likes a lot of exercise. It is a natural retriever on land and water, and is one of the finest swimming dogs, aided by webbed feet.


5. Rottweilers

© alberto clemares expósito / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 8 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 9-10 years

> Temperament: Loyal, Loving, Confident Guardian

The Rottweiler is one of the oldest working breeds and may have been herding livestock since the days of the Roman Empire. The breed combines intelligence, strength, and endurance. Unfortunately, the Rottweiler has sometimes been portrayed in the media as aggressive, but according to the AKC, it is "a calm, confident, and courageous dog."


4. Poodles

© akfoto / Flickr

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 7 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 10-18 years

> Temperament: Active, Proud, Very Smart

Poodles come in three sizes -- standard, miniature, and toy -- and a variety of solid colors. They are smart and eager to please. They are also energetic and are good runners and swimmers. They require regular clipping and grooming of their hypoallergenic coat.


3. Golden Retrievers

© jonathandavidsteele / Getty Images

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 3 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 10-12 years

> Temperament: Friendly, Intelligent, Devoted

Golden retrievers aren't just intelligent, they are hard workers, too. They are often used as guide dogs, in search and rescue, and – as their name suggests – for hunting. Their many other endearing characteristics, including patience and playfulness, make them great pets.


2. German Shepherd Dogs

© Legolin / iStock

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 2 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 7-10 years

> Temperament: Confident, Courageous, Smart

The German shepherd is the second most popular dog in the U.S., but is the first choice for many roles because of its intelligence, trainability, and obedience. German shepherds are used for disability assistance, search and rescue, and as police dogs.


1. Labrador Retrievers

© edumillo / Flickr

> Overall AKC rank in 2018: 1 out of 195

> Life expectancy: 10-12 years

> Temperament: Friendly, Active, Outgoing

The Labrador retriever has topped the AKC's list of most popular breeds in the U.S. since 1991. Labs are friendly, outgoing, and eager to please. They are also one of the most sought-after breeds for challenging work, whether as guide dogs or for search and rescue. When lives are in danger, you want a dog that is smart and dependable.

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