The Most Popular Dog Breed in Each U.S. State

New England loves golden retrievers. In other states across the country, you may be surprised which dog breed comes out on top.

Being this cute and well-liked takes a lot of work.
Being this cute and well-liked takes a lot of work. / Fernando Trabanco Fotografía, Moment Collection, Getty Images
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Dogs are beloved for a reason: they’re loyal, have tons of personality, and offer emotional support when you need it most. You treat a dog right and you’ll have a great companion through the good times and the bad for years to come.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, canines are the most common pets in the United States, as more than 49 million households have at least one pooch. Better still, around 38 percent of dog owners get their pups from an animal rescue or shelter. These furry family members don’t run cheap—pet parents spend anywhere from $1533 to $2524 annually on dog-related expenses like food, toys, and veterinary visits—but the cuddles and affection they provide on the regular more than make up for it.

With dog ownership on the rise, U.S. News & World Report’s 360 Reviews team recently took a deep dive into the most popular breeds in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia), and the results are pretty surprising. You probably wouldn’t expect it, but across 21 states—including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Texas, Oklahoma, and others—Chihuahuas are the top choice.

Not only that, but the team found that about 4 percent of all dogs in the U.S. are Chihuahuas, with the breed at its most populous in the state of New Mexico. They account for 7 percent of all the pets in the Land of Enchantment.

Inforgraphic of the most popular dog breed in each state.
Which states are the most obsessed with Chihuahuas? You'd be surprised. / Courtesy of U.S. News & World Report

To drill into the details, researchers analyzed more than 800,000 data points from a number of pet insurance companies, all dating from fall 2023. Beyond looking at specific and hybrid dog breeds, they also factored state residency and other details into their findings.

In so doing, they discovered which breed earns second place honors: the French bulldog. These pups are the most popular in California, Florida, and Hawaii (they were also a top five pick in 24 other states). The golden retriever is in the third spot, with 14 states—such as Connecticut, Illinois, and Massachusetts—preferring these happy, mellow canines. Vermont has the most golden retrievers in the country, with Maine and New Hampshire following after the Green Mountain State.

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The report also breaks down dog breed popularity by region. For example: The Chihuahua is widely favored in southern states, while much of New England and the Midwest prefer the golden retriever. However, western states vary when it comes to sought-after dog breeds. California digs the French bulldog while states like Idaho and Utah seem to be all about the goldendoodle. Comparatively, dog owners in Montana and Wyoming love German shepherds.

After German shepherds, shih tzu dogs round out the top five breeds in the nation, as they’re the dominant choice in New York, New Jersey, and Iowa. In terms of top 10 dog breeds, pit bulls and black Labrador retrievers make the cut, but rottweilers and miniature poodles didn’t even crack the top 20 rankings.

All of this reflects some big changes compared to last year’s most popular list, wherein the French bulldog, Labrador retriever, and poodle all made strong showings. To take a closer look yourself at this year’s tally, below are the most popular dog breeds across each state (plus the District of Columbia):

State

Most Popular Dog Breed

Alabama

Chihuahua

Alaska

German shepherd

Arizona

Chihuahua

Arkansas

Chihuahua

California

French bulldog

Colorado

Golden retriever

Connecticut

Golden retriever

Delaware

German shepherd

Florida

French bulldog

Georgia

Chihuahua

Hawaii

French bulldog

Idaho

Goldendoodle

Illinois

Golden retriever

Indiana

Chihuahua

Iowa

Shih tzu

Kansas

Chihuahua

Kentucky

Chihuahua

Louisiana

Chihuahua

Maine

Golden retriever

Maryland

Yorkshire terrier

Massachusetts

Golden retriever

Michigan

Golden retriever

Minnesota

Golden retriever

Mississippi

Chihuahua

Missouri

Chihuahua

Montana

German shepherd

Nebraska

Golden retriever

Nevada

Chihuahua

New Hampshire

Golden retriever

New Jersey

Shih tzu

New Mexico

Chihuahua

New York

Shih tzu

North Carolina

Chihuahua

North Dakota

Golden retriever

Ohio

Golden retriever

Oklahoma

Chihuahua

Oregon

Chihuahua

Pennsylvania

German shepherd

Rhode Island

Shih tzu

South Carolina

Chihuahua

South Dakota

Chihuahua

Tennessee

Chihuahua

Texas

Chihuahua

Utah

Goldendoodle

Vermont

Golden retriever

Virginia

Golden retriever

Washington

Chihuahua

Washington, D.C.

Yorkshire terrier

West Virginia

Chihuahua

Wisconsin

Golden retriever

Wyoming

German shepherd