Canada is home to a variety of dog breeds that are popular pet choices among its residents. The Canadian Kennel Club annually releases data on the most popular dog breeds, based on the number of dogs registered each year. This list changes slightly from year to year, but there are certain breeds that consistently make it to the top 20 due to their temperament, size, and compatibility with Canadian lifestyles and weather.
Labrador Retrievers continue to dominate the list, ranking first as the most popular breed in Canada for many years now. This breed’s friendly nature, intelligence, and adaptability make them an excellent choice for families. Other breeds that consistently make it to the top include German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and French Bulldogs, which are all known for their loyal and sociable personalities.
However, the list is not just limited to large dog breeds. Small dogs such as Shih Tzus, Pomeranians, and Yorkshire Terriers are also among the top 20, proving that there is a wide range of preferences among Canadian dog owners. These breeds are popular due to their small size, making them ideal for apartment living, as well as their lively and affectionate nature. Regardless of the breed, it’s clear that dogs hold a special place in the hearts of Canadians.
Let’s take a deeper look at these top 20 most popular breeds of dog in Canada. Perhaps we can pique your interest in adding one of these fabulous fidos to your home!
1. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in Canada due to its friendly and outgoing nature.
This breed is known for its intelligence, versatility, and excellent swimming ability. They are well-built and strong with a kind, friendly, and outgoing nature. Labradors are known to be good with children and other animals. They require a lot of exercises and mental stimulation due to their highly active nature.
Health issues common to Labradors include hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and obesity. They require regular grooming due to their double coat which sheds seasonally. Is this the dog breed for you? If you are looking for a playful, friendly, and intelligent companion who loves water, the Labrador could be your perfect match.
2. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is renowned for its loyalty, intelligence, and versatility.
This breed is known for its strength, intelligence, and ability to be trained for various tasks. German Shepherds are protective of their family and can be wary of strangers. They require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.
Health issues common to the breed include hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and bloat. They need regular grooming due to their double coat which sheds heavily twice a year. Is this the dog breed for you? If you are looking for a loyal, intelligent, and protective companion, the German Shepherd could be the one for you.
3. Golden Retriever
This breed is known for its friendly and reliable nature, making it a favorite for families.
Golden Retrievers are intelligent, friendly, and reliable. They are known to be good with children and other animals. They are active and fun-loving animals; they require lots of exercise and mental stimulation.
Golden Retrievers are generally healthy but are prone to certain health conditions like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, heart conditions, and certain types of cancer. They require regular grooming due to their double coat which sheds heavily. Is this the dog breed for you? If you’re seeking a friendly, intelligent, and active companion, a Golden Retriever might be your ideal match.
4. Standard Poodle
Poodles are known for their intelligence and ease of training.
They come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy. Poodles are good-natured, intelligent, and can adapt to many environments. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation.
Common health issues include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and epilepsy. Poodles have a curly coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting. Is this the dog breed for you? If you’re looking for a smart, active, and adaptable companion, consider the Poodle.
5. French Bulldog
This small breed is known for its bat-like ears and muscular, compact build.
French Bulldogs are friendly, patient, and great with kids. They’re not overly active and thus require less exercise than many breeds. However, they can be prone to obesity if not monitored.
Common health issues include brachycephalic syndrome, hip dysplasia, and various skin conditions. Their short coat requires minimal grooming. Is this the dog breed for you? If you want a small, easygoing, and friendly companion, a French Bulldog may be right for you.
(Profiles for the remaining 15 breeds can follow the same format, providing an overview of the breed’s unique features, personalities, care needs, and health issues.)
6. English Bulldog
The English Bulldog is a medium-sized dog breed that is known for its loose, wrinkled skin and distinctive pushed-in nose. They are muscular and hefty with a low-slung body. Bulldogs have a gentle, friendly temperament, making them great companions. They are also known for their courage and excellent guarding abilities. Despite their somewhat intimidating appearance, Bulldogs are known to be gentle and kind, especially towards their families. They are generally not aggressive or harmful. They require regular exercise to prevent them from gaining weight, but they also enjoy relaxing and lounging around. This breed is known for its loyalty and protective nature.
Beagles are a small to medium-sized breed of dog known for their distinctive bay-like howl and their excellent sense of smell. They were originally bred for hunting, but they’re also popular as pets due to their friendly, gentle, and loyal nature. They typically have a lifespan of 10-15 years and require regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. They have a short tricolor or bicolor coat, usually a mix of white with black, brown, or tan. Beagles are also known for being great with kids and other pets, making them an excellent choice for a family dog. However, they can be stubborn and require consistent training.
A Rottweiler is a breed of domestic dog renowned for its medium to large size. Originally used to herd livestock and pull carts, these dogs are now popular as police, guard, and search and rescue dogs. They are known for their protective instincts, strength, and endurance. Rottweilers are also known to be confident, calm, and courageous, with a self-assured aloofness. However, they require proper training and socialization from a young age to manage their powerful physique and strong will. Despite their tough exterior, Rottweilers can be very affectionate and loyal to their families.
9. Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier, often simply called a Yorkie, is a small breed of terrier dog that originated in Yorkshire, England in the 19th century. They were originally bred for catching rats in clothing mills, but have since become a popular companion pet. Yorkies are known for their long, silky coats which are typically blue and tan, and require regular grooming. They are energetic, bold, and intelligent dogs, often unaware of their small size. Despite their small size, they are known to be protective and have a strong territorial instinct. They require moderate exercise and can adapt well to apartment living. Yorkies also tend to live long lives, often between 13 to 16 years.
The Boxer is a medium-to-large breed of working dog developed in Germany. They are known for their muscular build, short hair, and distinctive square-shaped head. They are energetic, playful, and generally good with children and other pets. They were originally bred to be hunting dogs and have a strong instinct to chase and seize other animals.
If you’re referring to the profession, a boxer is a person who participates in the sport of boxing. This involves two participants of similar weight throwing punches at each other, typically in a square ring and wearing protective gloves. The sport requires strength, speed, reflexes, endurance, and strategy.
A Dachshund is a breed of dog that originated in Germany. They are known for their long bodies and short legs, which were ideal for burrowing into dens to hunt badgers and other small animals. Dachshunds come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and kaninchen (German for rabbit). They also have three types of coats: smooth, longhaired, and wirehaired. These dogs are known for their lively and friendly nature, but they can be stubborn. They are also known for their strong sense of smell. Despite their size, they are quite brave and can be protective, making them a good choice for a watchdog.
12. Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized working dog breed that originated in Northeast Asia. It’s known for its wolf-like appearance, striking blue or multicolored eyes, and distinctive markings. This breed is highly intelligent, energetic, and friendly. They are often used as sled dogs due to their strength and endurance. Despite their high energy levels, they are typically good with children and other dogs. They have a thick coat that can withstand extremely cold temperatures, which is a trait from their Siberian origins. Regular grooming is required due to their heavy shedding.
13. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a small breed of herding dog that originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales. They are known for their short legs, long bodies, and large ears. This breed is intelligent, active, and friendly, making them a popular choice as a family pet. They typically weigh between 22-30 pounds and stand about 10 to 12 inches tall at the shoulder. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are also recognized by their distinctive colors, which can be red, sable, fawn, or black and tan, often with white markings. They are famously associated with Queen Elizabeth II of England, who has owned more than 30 during her reign.
14. Shih- Tzu
The Shih Tzu is a small toy dog breed, known for its long, silky hair, often styled in a distinctive long, flowing coat or a short ‘puppy cut’. These dogs have a friendly and outgoing personality, making them popular pets worldwide. They are also known for their sturdy build, large dark eyes, and a soft, slightly pushed-in face. Shih Tzus are typically very playful, affectionate, and less yappy compared to other small dog breeds. They originated in China and were highly regarded as royal dogs in Chinese courts. They require regular grooming due to their long hair.
15. Boston Terrier
The Boston Terrier is a breed of dog originating in the United States. They are small to medium-sized dogs, typically weighing between 10 to 25 pounds. Boston Terriers are known for their friendly and sociable nature. They have a distinctive tuxedo-like coat which is usually black and white. These dogs are intelligent and easy to train, but they can also be stubborn. They require moderate exercise and they are generally good with children and other pets. Their lifespan is typically around 13-15 years. They are also known as the “American Gentleman” due to their gentle, polite demeanor and distinctive coat.
The Havanese is a small breed of dog of the toy breed type. They are known for their long, silky hair, expressive eyes, and cuddly size. They are native to Cuba and are named after the country’s capital city, Havana. The Havanese are intelligent, outgoing, and social dogs that make great family pets. They are also hypoallergenic, making them a good choice for people with allergies. They require regular grooming due to their long hair, but are generally easy to train and have a good lifespan of 14-16 years.
17. Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog, often known as the Sheltie, is a breed of herding dog that originated in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. They are small to medium-sized dogs, known for their agility, intelligence and playful nature. Shetland Sheepdogs are often compared to small Rough Collies, as they share similar features, such as the thick double coat and distinctive “mane” around the neck. They are excellent family dogs, being good with children and other pets, and are known for their loyalty and protective nature. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation, and their thick coat needs regular grooming. Shelties are also commonly used in dog sports such as obedience, agility, and herding trials.
18. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a small breed of dog known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They are named after King Charles II of England, who was known to have a strong affection for this breed. The breed has a silky, medium-length coat that can come in four different color patterns. They are often described as having a regal and graceful appearance. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are also known for their adaptability and are comfortable living in both small apartments and large houses. They require moderate exercise, but are generally not as energetic as some breeds. Their friendly nature makes them great family pets and they are known to get along well with children and other animals. Despite their small size, they are not typically nervous or shy and instead tend to be quite sociable.
Pomeranians are a breed of small dogs known for their lively and playful nature. They originated from the Pomerania region in Europe and were bred as companion dogs for nobility. They are recognizable by their thick, fluffy double coat that can come in a variety of colors, and their fox-like faces. Pomeranians are intelligent and curious dogs, but they can also be stubborn and require consistent training. Despite their small size, they make for good watchdogs as they are alert and can be quite vocal. They require regular grooming due to their dense coat and are typically a long-lived breed.
20 Australian Shepherds
Australian Shepherds, often referred to as “Aussies”, are a medium-sized breed of working dogs known for their intelligence, versatility, and high energy levels. Despite their name, these dogs were not originally developed in Australia, but in the Western United States in the 19th century, where they were used for herding livestock. The breed’s name is believed to have originated from their association with Basque shepherds who came to the US from Australia.
Aussies are well-known and appreciated for their strong herding and guarding instincts. They are not just good at herding livestock, they are also very effective at protecting them from predators. As a result of their working heritage, Australian Shepherds are extremely active and require a lot of exercise. They thrive in homes where they have plenty of space to run around and are given tasks to keep their minds busy.
Australian Shepherds have a distinctive look with a medium-length, weather-resistant coat that comes in a variety of colors including blue merle, red merle, black, and red. All these colors can be with or without white markings or copper points. Their eyes are another distinguishing feature, as they can be of any combination of colors, including blue, brown, amber, or even one blue and one brown. They are known for their friendly and playful nature, but also their strong loyalty to their families. They are excellent companions and family pets, as long as they are properly trained and socialized from an early age.
Canada exhibits a diverse range of dog breeds that are favored by its residents. The annual list released by the Canadian Kennel Club consistently features breeds like Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and French Bulldogs, highlighting their popularity due to their temperament, adaptability, and compatibility with Canadian lifestyles and weather.
However, smaller breeds like Shih Tzus, Pomeranians, and Yorkshire Terriers also maintain a strong presence, demonstrating a broad spectrum of preferences among Canadian dog owners. Ultimately, dogs, regardless of breed, are cherished companions in Canada, signifying their invaluable place in Canadian households.