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The guide to the 5 most common dog breeds in New York

Here's your unofficial (but kind of official) quick guide to the 5 most common dog breeds in New York: quick facts, their trademark physical features, personality traits and things to keep in mind when raising that breed
The guide to the 5 most common dog breeds in New York

Here's your unofficial (but kind of official) quick guide to the 5 most common dog breeds in New York: quick facts, their trademark physical features, personality traits and things to keep in mind when raising that breed. What are the 5 most common breeds in New York? French Bulldogs, American or English Bulldogs, Lab Retrievers, German Sheperds and Yorkshire Terriers. With that in mind, let's get into it.

French Bulldog

Quick facts:

  • Life Span: 10-13 years
  • Height: 11-13 inches
  • Weight: Under 28 pounds
  • Coat: Smooth coat

Trademark physical features:

We love them for those perked up ears that are the breed's trademark feature, along with their stocky build, large heads, flattened snout and heavy wrinkles. They're muscular, compact and insanely adorable.


French Bulldogs are warm, affectionate and love people. They do well in a variety of environments - with singles, couples, families and they do particularly well in cities because they don't need too much exercise. They are wildly good natured and easy to be around if you can get over some loud breathing and general laziness from time to time.

Things to keep in mind when raising a French Bulldog:

  • Frenchies are smart and willing to learn, especially when there's food involved, so keep that in mind if you're trying to train them.
  • They're not exactly jogging partners, so keep them to moderate exercise because the breed is prone to overheating and having trouble breathing if the workout is too strenuous.
  • French bulldogs are not barky dogs, so they do particularly well in apartments. But they are also social dogs, so be careful not to leave them along for too long of stretches and to make sure they are properly socialized
  • Some Frenchies are prone to skin issues, so regular baths, ear cleaning and making sure to clean between their folds can help prevent surface issues. Another preventative measure is a clean and balanced diet that keeps their coat and hair healthy.


Quick facts:

  • Life Span: 8-11 years
  • Height: 20-28 inches
  • Weight: 60-120 pounds
  • Coat: Smooth, short coat

Trademark physical features (American)

With a large and wide head, broad muzzle, prominent cheek muscles and a powrful jaw, American bulldogs do carry an intimidation factor. Their legs are strong, straight and they walk with a rather powerful strut.

Trademark physical features (English)

The jowls, loose folds, the stocky compact body ... all of those are the attributes that make English bulldogs one of a kind. These dogs look like they almost don't have a neck and have a short, stocky build with powerful legs.


These dogs are gentle and mellow, but have protective instincts that kick in when they're needed. The breed is family-oriented and does really well with children, but occasionally has trouble with strangers if they feel suspicious. They need exercise or solid training because they don't always understand their strength, which can get them into trouble.

Things to keep in mind when raising a Bulldog:

  • Ensure that you guys get in regular exercise with good walks, playtime and solid socialization to prevent boredom and the destructive behavior that ensues.
  • Be sure to get basic training down. Bulldogs are naturally protective (sometimes too protective), but if you show them the way, they're quick to learn.
  • Bulldogs commonly have overactive immune systems that create allergies, so it may be helpful to get allergy tests done, but it's especially important to feed an appropriate diet.
  • They are also prone to elbow or hip dysplasia, which can be mitigated and prevented with a healthy diet or adding in vitamins that support joint health.

Labrador Retriever

Quick facts:

  • Life Span: 10-12 years
  • Height: 22-24 inches
  • Weight: 55-80 pounds
  • Coat: Short-haired, double coat

Trademark physical features:

They're athletic, energetic and love swimming. They have those big alert, warm eyes that make them one of the happiest breeds out there.


Labs are known for being smart, people pleasers and really wonderful companions. A lot of people describe their labs as sweet and outgoing. These are the qualities that make labs great for families. They do well in busy neighborhoods with other people and dogs around because they are inherently social dogs who have abundant energy for social interactions.

Things to keep in mind when raising a Lab Retriever:

  • Labs do best in homes that are active - these dogs need plenty of exercise, training and attention.
  • They can develop behavioral problems from a lack of exercise and mental stimulation. When they feel understimulated, they can begin to lash out via aggression and destructrive behavior, so it's important to ensure that their physical and mental health needs are met.
  • Of all health issues, labs are most prone to hip and joint problems such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, which predisposes them to early onset arthritis.
  • It's also important to actively portion your dog's food because Labradors are known for overeating and putting on weight. They're highly food motivated, so be careful with feeding schedules, type of food you feed and maintaining a healthy weight for them.

German Shepard

Quick facts:

  • Life Span: 8-11 years
  • Height: 22-26 inches
  • Weight: 50-90 pounds
  • Coat: Medium-length double coat

Trademark physical features:

You have to start with those trademark pointed ears that start to stand up between 16 and 20 weeks. German Shepards are rather stately and have a long, pointed muzzle. You can’t mistake the German Shepherd with their powerful and intimidating build.


German Shepards are almost unmatched in intelligence and are amazing problem solvers. They're confident thinkers and are known for being corageoous. They're amazing companions and though they seem distant around strangers, they bond so well with their person and with families. They are wildly loyal.

Things to keep in mind when raising a German Shepard:

  • German Shepards are both smart and active, so you want to be sure you guys fit in a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. A lot of people focus exclusively on exercise, but mental exercise is just as important.
  • Because they're so smart, they love to learn and so it's best to begin your training regiment when they are a puppy.
  • Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are common among German Shepards, which predisposes them to early onset arthritis. A lot of joint dysplasia is inherited from your dog's parents, but can be mitigated with exercise and proper nutrition.

Yorkshire Terrier

Quick facts:

  • Life Span: 13-16 years
  • Height: 8 to 9 inches
  • Weight: 5-7 pounds
  • Coat: Long, straight, and silky coat

Trademark physical features:

Their long, silky hair is one of the ultimate trademarks of the Yorkshire Terrier. They're ratther petite dogs who are compact and pretty proportionate. Also, let's face it, they do have an air of arrogance, but that's absolutely a part of their charm.


The breed is known for being stubborn and vocal from time to time, so it's important to stick to early training and socialization that keeps behavioral issues from getting out of hand. Proper training will make it easier to introduce your Yorkie to other dogs, especially big dogs, because they will try to display dominance around bigger dogs, which can sometimes put them in danger. Again, training is a great way to minimize risks on that front.

Things to keep in mind when raising a Yorkshire Terrier:

  • A Yorkie won't do well in a household where they're left alone for most of the day. They love being near their person, so they're prone to separation anxiety.
  • Yorkies obviously do well in apartments due to their small size, but they are still active dogs who need regular exercise, so daily walks are important.
  • The breed is also known for their stubbornness, so house breaking might be an ordeal. Potty pads will be your friend in that transition period.
  • One hereditary health condition to be aware of is patellar luxation, which is a looseness of the kneecap that can result is dislocation. The knee often pops back into place, but there may be cases where surgery is required.