Today’s Most Popular Australian Dog Breeds – and Why We Love Them

18 Sep, 2019 by Sylvia

Here’s a roundup of the most popular dog breeds in Australia today. You’ll learn where they’re from, why they’re so beloved, and best of all, why you might want one of your very own! With no further ado, let’s dive in.

If you ask the average Aussie what kind of pet they have at home, there’s a good chance they’ll tell you they own a dog. That makes sense because there are an estimated 20 pet dogs per 100 people here. In fact, the relationship between Aussies and their dogs goes back to the beginnings of the country.

From the cattle and sheepdogs that tended to ranchers’ herds to the domestic breeds we know today, it’s fair to say that the Australia we know today couldn’t exist without our trusted canine companions. Even now, when the majority of dogs are kept as pets, the bond between Australians and their dogs remains as strong as ever.

That’s probably why you’ll find so many different opinions out there as to which dog breed is king in Australia. To answer that question, we’re taking a look at the Google search data to find out which breed is generating the most interest from Australian internet users. It’s an imperfect measure, but since there’s no hard data available about specific dog breed ownership in the country, this is the next best thing.

We started by finding searches related to the breeds on this Wikipedia list, which was the most complete one we could find. To eliminate confusion, we then filtered out searches related to pet products (dog foods, grooming services, etc.) and brand names to hone in on searches that were looking for specific breed information only.

With that data set, we compiled a list that should present a good snapshot of the most popular dog breeds in Australia. You’ll learn where they’re from, why they’re so beloved, and best of all, why you might want one of your very own! With no further ado, let’s dive in.

1. Greyhound

greyhound dog portrait in a park
Photo: Bianca / Adobe Stock

When we first went through the data, there were some obvious breeds we expected to find. As it turns out, the breed that came in at number one wasn’t one of them: the Greyhound. The well-known racing dogs seem to be getting their fair share of attention throughout Australia, so we did some digging to try and figure out why.

It seems that there’s a growing movement here to find homes for all of the animals who retire from the racetrack. That’s no small task. Some estimates claim that 20,000 of them are bred each year for racing here, and they retire at the age of 5. There are so many greyhounds in need of loving homes that the organizations looking to place them even have a national adoption day each year to aid the cause.

2. Border Collie

Dog border collie closeup on nature day
Photo: annaav / Adobe Stock

As proof that Australians prefer smart dogs, the next breed on our list is the Border Collie. Named for the border between England and Scotland where they’re from, they’re some of the most intelligent domesticated dogs in the world. That intelligence allowed them to become working dogs that are expert livestock herders, which is why they came to Australia in the first place.

Today, you’ll find Border Collies as pets all around the country. They’re playful and full of energy, so they’re great for families with children. They’re also great for people with plenty of open space for them to roam. Be aware, though, that you have to train them at an early age or they’ll get into all kinds of mischief!

3. Golden Retriever

Beauty Golden Retriever dog relax on the hay bale
Photo: SasaStock / Adobe Stock

The next breed on our list is the ever-popular Golden Retriever. These smart, gentle dogs are just as much as home playing outdoor games with their owners as they are acting as seeing-eye dogs for the blind. They’re one of the most versatile dog breeds in the world, which has led them to be one of the most highly-regarded kinds of pets for families around the world.

Here in Australia, Golden Retrievers are especially popular. There’s even an entire organisation dedicated to breed that unites owners, breeders, and anyone else that loves these amazing dogs. Like their cousin the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retrievers love the water and will seek it out every chance they get. They’re easy to train, eager to please, and playful throughout their lives. In short, they’re as close to being the perfect pet breed as you will ever find, and that’s why Australians love them.

4. French Bulldog

French bulldog laying on the pavement outdoor. Canine portrait shot in natural light and landscape mode
Photo: Atharia / Adobe Stock

Coming in at number four is the French Bulldog. That’s not too much of a surprise because they’re a breed with a long history here in Australia. Once considered on the verge of extinction, the popular breed came over from Europe in the late 1800s and has been a mainstay here ever since. The same is true all around the world, with the breed now routinely climbing the ranks of most popular dog types just about everywhere you look.

From their very origins in England, and then through their cross-breedings in France, French Bulldogs were bred specifically to be companion animals. For that reason, they’re quite content sitting in their owners’ lap, or playing fetch in wide-open fields. They do, however, need plenty of attention, and can suffer from anxiety if left alone for too long. The good news is that they’ll be happy with another dog around, making them the perfect addition to any multi-pet Australian household.

5. Pomeranian

pomeranian spitz smiling watch the evening sun.
Photo: pattarawat / Adobe Stock

It should come as no surprise that the number five dog breed in Australia is the Pomeranian. They’re small, friendly, cute, and don’t require that much living space. That means they’re equally at home in busy city environments as they are in the vast expanses of the Australian interior. That’s probably why you’ll encounter them wherever you travel here.

Pomeranians are known for being playful, and they always want to be the center of attention. They’re very high-energy, and so they need plenty of regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. They don’t need much in the way of grooming, except for regular brushing to keep them from shedding excessively. Their only downside is that they can be stubborn, so early training is essential to get them to understand and obey commands – especially if you want to stand any chance of stopping them from barking incessantly.

6. Rottweiler

Rottweiler dog outdoor portrait
Photo: everydoghasastory / Adobe Stock

Coming in after the tiny French Bulldog and Pomeranian is the big, intimidating Rottweiler. Known for being tough and fiercely loyal to their owners, they’ve had something of a negative reputation as pets. Don’t tell that to their owners, though. That’s because Rottweilers are nothing but loving and pleasant to anyone that’s not a threat to their family.

Rottweilers need plenty of room, not just because of their imposing stature, but because they love to move around. If they can’t burn off their excess energy, they have a habit of chewing anything they can get their mouths on, which isn’t ideal in most households. Still, they make a wonderful pet for those with the space and time to keep them engaged and happy. Plus, if a stranger comes around, they will be sure to move along with great haste.

7. Shiba Inu

Portrait of a dog breed Shiba inu in autumn Park.
Photo: Евгения Шихалеева / Adobe Stock

The only thing surprising about the seventh dog breed on our list is that it didn’t rank higher than it did. Why? Because it’s the Shiba Inu – the Japanese hunting dog that rose to worldwide internet fame as the star of the ubiquitous doge meme a few years back. On the strength of that alone, however, the Shiba Inu has become popular everywhere in the world almost overnight, and Australia is no exception.

Unlike the other dogs on our list, though, Shiba Inus have a reputation for being difficult that’s well-earned. In fact, it’s common for people that love the breed to compare them to cats. That’s because they have the same tendencies toward independence and standoffishness as their feline analogs. Still, if you can get them used to being around you, they are amazing dogs. Smart, clever, and loyal, a Shiba Inu will never cease to amaze you – as long as you’ve got plenty of patience.

The Dogs Australians Love

Australian Shepherd in Tall Grass
Photo: Lisa H / Adobe Stock

It’s only fair to note that our list is by no means exhaustive. There are so many beloved dog breeds in Australia that we couldn’t hope to list them all. Honourable mention also goes to:

  • Australian Shepherd
  • Beagle
  • Pug
  • Chihuahua
  • Dachshund

The bottom line is that Australians love their dogs. No matter the breed, no matter the territory, they’re an important part of the fabric of Australian life – and deservedly so. Which one is your favourite?


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