Madison's Most Popular Dog Breeds Show Surprising Variation

Top Four Are Popular Nationwide, But City Otherwise Differs
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Drethelin (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Madison is home to a wide variety of dogs, reflecting the myriad shapes and sizes these canine companions can take.

A total of 162 specific dog breeds were registered in Madison in 2016 — that's about 85 percent of the total number recognized by the American Kennel Club. An analysis by the University of Wisconsin Applied Population Laboratory of dog licensing data of Wisconsin's second largest city examined where the most popular breeds are more likely to be found, but there's a lot more detail about people's pups that can be unpacked.

Many different breeds of dogs are popular in Madison, not counting those listed as "mixed breed" and "other." In fact, mutts and other non-specific types of dogs are the two most common types of canines in the city, at least based on the licensing data. The following figure provides an interactive view of all licensed dogs that are listed as a specific breed. Hover over the pieces of the pie chart to learn every breed's relative popularity.

Licensed Madison dogs by breed in 2016

This chart shows the number of dogs by individual breed registered in the city of Madison in 2016. Of all licensed dogs in the city, 35 percent are mixed breed, which are not listed here. Hover over each segment of the chart to view the breed name and license count.



The most popular breed of dog in Madison is the Labrador retriever, which numbers over 1,300, followed by golden retrievers at 541, German shepherds at 282 and so on down the line. The least common dog breed in Madison is a tie. In terms of 2016 licenses, the city was home just one apiece of these 13 unusual breeds: Afghan, affenpinscher, Beauceron, briard, cane corso, Kerry blue terrier, kuvasz, Lakeland terrier, Manchester terrier, miniature bull terrier, Norfolk terrier, Presa Canario (included in the AKC Foundation Stock Service), and Sussex spaniel.

How do these stack up to national figures? Hover over the names in the following to view a comparison between the most popular breeds in Madison and AKC national rankings.

How do Madison dog breeds compare nationally?

This chart shows the relative popularity of dog breeds in Madison versus those across the United States as tracked by the American Kennel Club. Hover of the dog breed name to show a comparison between its popularity in the city and at the national level in 2016.

Breed Madison National
Labrador Retriever 1
Golden Retriever 2
German Shepherd 3
Beagle 4
Border Collie 5
Australian Shepherd 6
Shih Tzu 7
Chihuahua 8
Siberian Husky 9
Boxer 10


Labs are the most common breed both in Madison and nationwide. In fact, the top four dog breeds in Madison are also very popular nationally. However, things start to deviate thereafter. Border collies are Madison's fifth most-popular breed, but rank only 38th in the nation!

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