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How Many of the World’s Most Popular Breeds are Sporting Dogs?

How many of the popular dog breeds fall under the sporting dogs category? The answer may surprise you.

There are so many different breeds of dogs in the world today. Countless dogs live amongst the human population, and the variety of breeds is almost overwhelming.

As sportsmen and women, we tend to favor sporting dogs that can assist us in our outdoor pursuits, namely hunting. Though many dogs were bred for hunting or tracking skills, some have been left by the wayside. But just how well is the sporting dog group represented in the top breeds in the world rankings? Let’s find out.

The top ten most popular dog breeds are:

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepard
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. Beagle
  5. Bulldog
  6. Yorkshire Terrier
  7. Boxer
  8. Poodle
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Dachshunds

Surprisingly, only two of these top ten breeds are categorized as sporting dogs. Both found in the top three, the Labrador retriever and the Golden retriever are probably the most iconic sporting dogs there are.

Other dogs on the top ten most popular dogs list can also be used as hunting dogs, such as poodles, but as for the ones categorized as sporting dogs, Labradors and Golden retrievers are the only two. They are both very athletic and extremely devoted making them a great companion to take with you hunting.

Here’s some more information on both breeds.

Labrador Retriever

A Labrador retriever is a medium size dog with an average weight ranging from 55 pounds to 75 pounds. They are very energetic and highly intelligent, making them great hunting dogs. They are very outgoing, friendly, and devoted to their master. Overall they’re a strong, athletic, and a well-balanced breed.

Their great qualities not only make them a great hunting dog, but they are the number one most popular dog breed because they make for great family dogs, seeing-eye dogs, and also Diabetic Alert Dogs.

American Kennel Club


Labs are amazing hunting dogs because of their ancestral history. They were developed in Newfoundland from the now-extinct St. John’s Water Dog breed. The original duty for St. John’s Water Dogs was to retrieve nets and fish from the Atlantic.

The St. John’s Water Dog was crossbred with setters, spaniels, and other retrievers at the time, which led to our modern day Labrador retriever. Their purpose was shifted from retrieving nets and fish to retrieving and delivering wild game such as waterfowl, upland birds, and rabbits.

Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers are very similar to labs in size, personality, and even some looks. They are medium to large size dogs with an average weight ranging from 55 pounds to 75 pounds. They have medium energy, although still require daily exercise, and are extremely devoted to their master.

Golden retrievers are great for hunting because it’s the activity they were originally bred for. They love the water, are powerful, have profound noses, and have an eager, alert, and self-confident personality. Their shorter legs allow for less clumsiness while hunting. Although primarily hunting dogs, their laid-back temperament also make them great family pets.

American Kennel Club


Golden retrievers were originally bred in Scotland. There were dogs during that era that could retrieve from either land or water, but hunters needed a dog that could do both. They crossbred water spaniels with retrievers and they developed what we know today as the Golden retriever.

Clearly these two breeds have what it takes to capture the world’s dog owning heart and deliver the sporting dog personality and capability that we look for.

What kind of sporting dog is your favorite?

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How Many of the World’s Most Popular Breeds are Sporting Dogs?