four labrador retriever dogs in the grass

Dogs are frequently at the top of most lists as the most popular pets around the world. It’s no wonder! They love us unconditionally and provide us with companionship, laughs, and devotion.

Here, we focus on the most popular dog breeds in Canada. Also, quite a few amazing dogs have originated from the Great White North!

The 10 Most Popular Dogs in Canada

1. Labrador Retriever

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Labrador Retrievers are Canadian born and Canadian favourites! In fact, the Lab is considered the top dog in most countries around the world, including the United States, where the American Kennel Club has listed the Lab as number one for about 31 years!

Labs are favourites for a reason. They are outgoing, energetic, and lovable dogs that get along with practically everyone they meet. They make strong bonds with everyone in the family. But they need plenty of exercise!

2. Golden Retriever

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The Golden Retriever originally came from Scotland and is immensely popular around the world.

They are highly intelligent and seemingly forever happy and enjoy meeting just about anyone who crosses their path. They make amazing family dogs and maintain a puppyish attitude well into adulthood.

3. German Shepherd

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The love of German Shepherds (GSDs) in Canada is in line with that of many other countries. They are known for their steadfast devotion and work as police and guard dogs. In fact, the top three dogs on this list all excel as service dogs!

GSDs are highly intelligent, loyal, and courageous and make wonderful family pets, but they tend to be slightly more aloof than Goldens and Labs. Still, they are quite loving and gentle with their loved ones and won’t hesitate to protect their families, even at the risk of their own lives.

4. Standard Poodle

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The Standard Poodle (not Miniature or Toy) is Canada’s fourth most popular dog breed. While they seem to be associated with France, they actually come from Germany.

Poodles are known for their intelligence and hypoallergenic coats. These dogs are not fastidious and fragile (another myth) but are highly energetic, athletic, and people oriented.

5. French Bulldog

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The French Bulldog is becoming one of the most popular small breeds, not just in Canada but in many other countries. They make excellent city dogs because of their small size and charming personalities.

They aren’t known for being barkers, and they are playful, adaptable, and affectionate. Since they are so easygoing, Frenchies make great dogs for single people or families. They get along with other animals and most people and don’t need much outdoor exercise.

6. Shetland Sheepdog

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Shetland Sheepdogs originated in Scotland and look just like Collies, just smaller. Since they are sheepdogs, they tend to be barkers and can be a bit aloof with strangers, but they make excellent watchdogs.

Shelties are smart, bright, sensitive, and affectionate. They are easily trained and are exceptional at agility, obedience, and herding trials. They also make excellent family pets and are sensitive to the moods and goings on within the household.

7. Australian Shepherd

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Australian Shepherds are not from Down Under but are all American. They are known to work with cowboys because they are excellent herding dogs with plenty of energy.

They are highly intelligent and active, so they need a great deal of exercise. They make excellent family pets — as long as your children don’t mind being herded at times — and they do best with active owners.

8. Havanese

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As the only dog breed native to Cuba, Havanese are cute, small dogs that are quite charming and friendly. Their long, silky coats need regular brushing, but they can also be kept clipped or even corded, like the Puli.

Havanese are great dogs for people living in a city because of their size and sociable natures. They are also quite intelligent and adaptable, and while they aren’t barkers, they won’t hesitate to alert you to anything unusual.

9. Bernese Mountain Dog

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Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, gorgeous dogs that hail from Switzerland. They are excellent working dogs that do well in cold weather and are distinguishable from other breeds due to their size and black, white, and rust coloring.

Berners are sweet and calm dogs that are quite smart and good-natured. They are gentle with children and make fabulous family dogs, but they tend to bond strongly with one person. While they are never exactly threatening, they are fairly aloof with strangers.

10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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The gentle Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small dog that originated in England. Their name showcases their history with royalty, and given how beautiful these little dogs are inside and out, it’s no surprise.

They are athletic, gentle, and quite even-tempered. Cavaliers are also adaptable and can do equally well with homebodies and active owners. Cavaliers get along well with children and other dogs and enjoy a lively play session as much as lounging on the couch with their owners.

The 6 Dog Breeds That Originated in Canada

Four dog breeds originated in Canada, along with two other breeds that are now extinct.

Labrador Retriever

One of the world’s most popular dog breeds comes from Canada! Labs worked alongside fishermen and as retrievers in Newfoundland and were discovered by British nobles visiting Canada. Labs were eventually standardized and refined by British breeders.

The Labs’ short, dense, waterproof coats were perfect for dogs going in and out of water during Newfoundland winters, since long hair would become heavy with ice.

No one really knows why these dogs were given the name “Labrador,” as that’s a separate province, but the name stuck, nonetheless.


The Newfoundland dog is a well-known dog that hails from the beautiful province of Newfoundland. Like the Lab, Newfs were used on ships to aid fishermen hauling in fish in nets and to act as rescue dogs. They still can be trained as water rescue dogs to this day.

Some list the Landseer as a separate breed, but this is actually just a different colouration of the Newfoundland breed. Traditional Newfs are black, sometimes with white markings on the chest, tail, or toes. The Landseer is predominantly white with black markings.

These dogs are large and shaggy, and while their size is imposing, they are sweet and gentle. They are wonderful with children and have been called “nanny dogs” for this reason.

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Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a beautiful small retriever, with its origins in the Maritimes of Canada. They excel at “tolling” waterfowl, particularly ducks, by luring the birds to hunters by playing and running along the shoreline.

Tollers are quite intelligent and eager to please but are whirlwinds of energy. They are affectionate dogs but need an outlet to release all that energy, so they do best with active owners willing to exercise and play with them frequently.

Canadian Inuit Dog

The Canadian Inuit Dog is sometimes called the Canadian Eskimo Dog. But the Nunavut government only calls this breed the Canadian Inuit dog, particularly since the term “Eskimo” is no longer used in Canada. The Inuit used them as sled dogs, and today, they are Nunavut’s official animal.

Unfortunately, from the 1950s to the 1970s, the R.C.M.P. and other government officials slaughtered thousands of the Inuit’s sled dogs. They nearly went extinct, but a revitalization program brought them back, though they are still fairly rare.

This breed’s ancestors go back at least 1,000 years. They were used as sled dogs by the Thule, the ancestors of the Inuit.

They come from the spitz family of dogs and have a Husky dog appearance but with a thick and bushy coat and the characteristic tail that curls over their back. They are devoted, intelligent, and reliable dogs that are hard to find but make excellent family pets.

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Two Extinct Breeds

There are two breeds of Canadian dogs that are extinct. The Tahltan Bear Dog was kept by several First Nations tribes in Northwestern British Columbia. The breed was used for hunting but went extinct in the 1970s or 1980s.

The Salish Woolly Dog was found around the southern part of Vancouver Island and along the Strait of Georgia and Washington State. They were small dogs, and their hair was used to weave blankets and clothes. They went extinct in the early 1900s.

Final Thoughts

The favourite dogs of Canadians are somewhat in line with those of countries in other parts of the world. The Labrador Retriever is the only dog with Canadian origins that made the list. But all these dogs are smart and loving breeds, and it’s hard to go wrong when you bring a new dog home.

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