What are L.A.’s most popular dog breeds?

Los Angeles has more than 100,000 licensed dogs. Which one of these six breeds is L.A.’s most popular?

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What do L.A.'s top dogs say about our city? Los Angeles tracks licensed dogs for 100 ZIP Codes and tracks partial data for 28 more. A complete list of areas serviced by the city, including Beverly Hills, since 2009, can be found here.

Although licensing pet dogs is required by L.A. city law, not all owners do. Licensing also does not guarantee the breed of a dog. For all we know, the Chihuahuas registered in Los Angeles could very well be a crowd of dalmatians.

Total population of dogs in this zipcode:

Source: 2016 registration data for ZIP codes within the city of Los Angeles.

These 6 breeds make up 47% of L.A.'s dogs

Out of 121,198 registrations in 2016, here is the breakdown of the top six breeds.
Do these pooches reflect L.A.?

1. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas make up 15.6% of dogs in Los Angeles

Population of Chuhuahuas (% of total)

The Chihuahua is the top registered dog in Los Angeles with 18,849 registrations in 2016. For this ranking, we are including both long-haired and short-haired Chihuahuas.

Chihuahuas are perhaps the most iconic dogs in Hollywood. The breed experienced popularity in the 2000s thanks to their growing reputation as “purse” dogs. The population is still growing, nearly doubling in size since 2010. Unfortunately, our numbers do not show the homeless dogs in Los Angeles that would most likely show a growing trend of abandoned Chihuahuas. Managing the Chihuahua population along the West Coast has become so cumbersome that rescue organizations have previously flown their Chihuahuas east in order to give them a better chance at adoption.

2. German Shepherd

German shepherds make up 7.7% of dogs in Los Angeles

Population of German shepherds (% of total)

The German shepherd ranks as the second-most-favored dog in Los Angeles with 9,378 registrations in 2016. That is about half the number of Chihuahuas in Los Angeles.

German shepherds were more popular in 2006, when there were about as many German shepherds as there were Chihuahuas. In recent years, their numbers grew somewhat. German shepherds are smart and active and are regarded as steady all-purpose dogs, although they were originally bred to herd.

3. Labrador retriever

Labrador retrievers make up 7.5% of dogs in Los Angeles

Population of Labrador retrievers (% of total)

The Labrador retriever is the third-most-registered dog in Los Angeles with 9,116 registrations in 2016. It lags behind the German shepherd by only 262 dogs.

The Labrador retriever, while perhaps not as iconic a dog in Los Angeles as the Chihuahua, is certainly the most iconic dog in America, thanks to its reputation as an all-around family dog. They are known as a friendly breed, are outgoing and energetic, and come in a variety of colors. Despite their wholesome reputation, Labrador retrievers’ registration has declined since 2010.

4. Terrier mix

Terrier mixes make up 6.2% of dogs in Los Angeles

Population of Terrier mixes (% of total)

Terrier mixes are the fourth-most-registered dog in Los Angeles with 7,471 registrations in 2016. The terrier mix is not a breed, but enough dogs were registered as a terrier mix for it to become the fourth-most-popular dog in Los Angeles.

The ranking bolsters the idea that Los Angeles has a soft spot for mutts. This is a hard group to categorize, since mixed breeds are melting pots of their ancestors’ traits and features. Each dog is unique. They've showed the fastest growth of any dog on our list.

5. Poodle

Poodles make up 5.9% of dogs in Los Angeles

Population of poodles (% of total)

Poodles are the fifth-most-registered dog in Los Angeles with 7,114 registrations in 2016. For this list, we are including toy, miniature and standard poodles.

Poodles are perhaps the best representation of Los Angeles. Their traditional coiffure is as iconic as L.A.'s image as the entertainment capital of the world. Perhaps this is the reason poodles are so popular (although their numbers are still dwarfed by the population of Chihuahuas in Los Angeles.) The poodle comes in three sizes: toy, standard and miniature. Of these sizes, the miniature poodle is the most popular with 4,929 registrations, making up more than half the poodle population in Los Angeles. One could assume that these smaller companions make better pets in a city as populated as Los Angeles.

6. Pit Bull

Pit bulls make up 4.3% of dogs in Los Angeles

Population of pit bulls (% of total)

The pit bull is the sixth-most-registered dog in Los Angeles with 5,152 registrations in 2016. Many breeds can be classified as pit bull. For this ranking, we are only looking at dogs registered as pit bull.

Pit bulls are nothing new in Los Angeles. If we include the American Staffordshire terrier, a breed generally recognized as a pit bull, in the total, the pit bull would be the second-most-popular dog in Los Angeles. Similar to the Chihuahua, shelters in Los Angeles find themselves overcrowded with these dogs. This is in part because of their reputation as aggressive from being used in dog fights. Many dog-friendly places are not necessarily pit-bull-friendly. It is common for apartments and boarding facilities to charge extra for pit bulls or forbid them altogether. Nonetheless, the pit bull remains a top dog in Los Angeles.

Sources: Los Angeles City

Credits: Additional programming by Anthony Pesce