Read all about the most comprehensive analysis of the nation’s mixed-breed dog population and learn which breeds are found to most commonly found in our marvelous mutts.

Woof Report covers the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. each year as reported by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The AKC compiles the rankings annually based on the number of dogs registered each year with the AKC, and includes listings of top breeds within major U.S. cities too.

And thanks to Mars Veterinary’s first-ever National Mutt Census, we have insight into the most popular “breed” in the nation: the marvelous mutt!  At the time the study was conducted, mixed breed dogs represented around 53% (or 38 million) of all dogs that share our homes in the U.S. A google search today gives no further updated stats and sadly Mars has not published another Mutt Census. Read on to see why it would be interesting to revisit results from the 2011 study.

Mars Veterinary launched the first-ever National Mutt Census to generate the most comprehensive analysis of the nation’s mixed-breed dog population to date. The Mars Veterinary genetics research team collected DNA samples from more than 36,000 mixed breed dogs to determine the breed history of each dog, and combined it with survey results from 16,000 mixed breed dog owners.

Results from the Mutt Census were published in 2011, and the German Shepherd was officially named the most common breed identified in our nation’s mixed breed dogs. What’s particularly interesting about the data is that the most common breeds registered by the AKC were not necessarily those found most often in mixed breed dogs. For instance, the Chow Chow, a popular breed in the 1980’s and the third most common breed identified in mixed breed dogs although this was only the 63rd most popular purebred according the AKC. It’s interesting to note, Chow Chow lineage was commonly found at the grandparent or great-grandparent level in tested mixed breed dogs.

Angela Hughes, veterinary genetics research manager at Mars Veterinary, explains why there’s a discrepancy in common breeds found in mixed breed dogs and popular AKC registered dogs, “The results of this poll provide a vivid snapshot of past and present trends in mutts. The DNA of America’s mix-breed dogs tells a story of which breeds were popular in past decades. If a breed was trendy in the past but has fallen from popularity, it may still represent a large portion of the current mixed breed population.”

It would be fascinating to learn the most popular breed present in today’s mutts. Would it be American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier or maybe Chihuahua, or perhaps Lab or German Shepherd? One would have to think results are still a bit skewed considering the report is using data from folks that chose to use DNA tests on their dogs, a sub-set of owners. Still, results are interesting!

Top 10 most popular breeds found in the nation’s mutts along with the breed’s AKC ranking in terms of popularity.

  1. German Shepherd (No. 2 most popular AKC registered breed)
  2. Labrador Retriever (No. 1 for AKC)
  3. Chow Chow (No. 63 for AKC)
  4. Boxer (No. 6 for AKC)
  5. Rottweiler (No. 13 for AKC)
  6. Poodle (No. 9 for AKC)
  7. American Staffordshire Terrier (No. 70 for AKC)
  8. Golden Retriever (No. 4 for AKC)
  9. Cocker Spaniel (No. 23 for AKC)
  10. Siberian Husky (No. 22 for AKC)

View the Mutt Census detailed results at the link below, and in the meantime, check out the additional trends with regard to our mutts from Mars Veterinary:

  • Shelter Dogs Rule!: Shelters are the most frequently cited place (46 percent) where people obtain mixed breed dogs, followed by a friend/neighbor or relative (18 percent).
  • Mutts Nibble on Kibble: Dry dog food is the most popular feeding choice (65 percent), surpassing mixed food (wet and dry – 21 percent), wet food (5 percent) and raw food and scraps (9 percent).
  • Sleeps With Dogs: Nearly half of owners (48 percent) reported that their dog slept with them.
  • Small Dogs Rule: For most mixed-breed dog owners, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Breeds weighing more than 80 pounds represent less than 11 percent of all mixed breed dogs.
  • Population Control: Nearly nine out of 10 (89 percent) mixed breed dogs are neutered.

The Scoop:

Find a marvelous mutt on Petfinder. Search by breed to find mixed breed dogs with the breed of your choice.

Thank you to Sarah Mae Scott on flickr for the photo of Coco.

Originally published April 2011, reviewed and updated April 2017.