Europe’s most popular dog breeds

Pets: dog breeds

As we all know, man’s dog is his best friend, regardless of nationality.

Wherever you go in the world, you will find people who keep dogs as pets and develop a relationship with them. Europe or otherwise; the only thing that changes in this regard is the question of the most common and popular dog breed.

In this article, we take a look at the most popular breeds in Europe and find out why certain dogs have a particularly strong appeal to Europeans.

The most popular European dogs

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever

The Labrador is an incredibly sought after dog breed no matter where you look in the world. Both in the USA and here in Europe, the Labrador is by far one of the most sought-after breeds and has a lot of fans. There are many reasons for this.

Not only is he known for his friendly character, the Labrador also responds particularly well to training and loves to play. He has good health and few recurring problems compared to other breeds. Its average size makes it well suited as a family dog, while smaller dogs can get kicked.

The Golden Retriever

While the Golden Retriever is less common in the USA, it is almost as popular as the Labrador in Europe. Similar in size and temperament, the Golden Retriever is distinguished by its golden and shiny coat, which is very appealing. In the USA, the Golden Retriever was first accepted for registration by the Kennel Club of England, yet it took another 14 years for the breed to finally make its way to the States – one possible reason why the breed is so popular, especially in Europe.

German Shepherd Dog

As the name suggests, the German Shepherd originally came from Germany, as part of the shepherding group. It is a relatively modern breed of dog (bred in 1899) and is still used for rounding up and guarding sheep. The same skills that make the sheepdog suitable for herding (such as trainability, strength, obedience and intelligence) also make it useful in other areas: from tracking and rescue to police work and even acting. Because of its gentle nature, the German Shepherd also has a reputation for being particularly reliable.


The Poodle is a popular European dog with France as its country of origin. Originally used as a water and hunting dog, it is now also a sought-after show dog with hairstyles that have given it that certain “pom pom” look. Poodles are also very intelligent, highly lively and good-natured, making them popular pets in Europe. One advantage over other dog breeds is that the Poodle does not shed – less work for those who want to keep a clean house and especially of great benefit to those who have pet hair allergies.

Shetland Sheepdog

The large areas of farmland in Europe made Sheepdogs generally popular. The Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie, is a small to medium sized dog that traditionally comes in tri-colour or other variation of shades. It is known for its loudness and vitality, which makes it naturally suited to herding work and a fun pet. Its descent from the Scottish Collie further emphasises its European origins.

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier is another dog whose name reveals its origin. It actually originated in Yorkshire, England, and was once used to get rid of rats in clothing factories. It is a small dog that tends to weigh no more than seven pounds and wears a grey, black and tan coat. Often referred to simply as the “Yorkie”, the Yorkshire Terrier is enveloped in a cloud of importance in keeping with his English heritage.

Miniature Schnauzer

The Schnauzer is another German dog with a very German name. It came about through the breeding of Standard Schnauzers and other small dog breeds, such as Miniature Poodles, and eventually even surpassed those in popularity. Again, Miniature Schnauzers were primarily bred as herding dogs, but quickly found their way into the family.


While boxers are mostly thought of as American dogs (and they are a touch more desirable there), they are also popular here in Europe and originated in Germany (even though they originated as a breed of the English Bulldog). They have strong jaws and a powerful bite to really snap at prey. They were originally bred for dog shows in Munich.


The Shih-Tzu is a popular dog breed in Europe, even though it originated in China. They are instantly recognisable, especially because of their long silky hair and small size. They are an “ancient” dog breed, with similar genes to those of the wolf, even if their appearance would lead one to believe otherwise.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is another German dog breed whose name refers to its exact place of origin: the canton of Bern in Switzerland. Also a “working dog”, it was used as a farm dog and for pulling carts. Like many other European dog breeds, however, the Bernese Mountain Dog has made the transformation from working animal to family dog.

Photos: BR Archive
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