10 most popular dog breeds in New Zealand

New Zealanders love dogs, but which dogs do they love the most? Here’s a list of the ten most popular dog breeds in New Zealand.

10 most popular dog breeds in New Zealand

There are some dog breeds in New Zealand which consistently rank among the most popular dogs owned by Kiwis, whereas other breeds rise and fall in popularity, mostly due to social influence. If you're pet sitting, you'd be lucky to look after any of the fantastic breeds below!

It’s a very difficult choice of trying to decide what breed of dog you should adopt. The perfect fit for you will depend on factors such as where you live, how much space you have, other pets you own, and what kind of personality you desire in a companion. We have provided you with a list of the top 10 most popular dog breeds in New Zealand and some information about each to help you find the breed that’s perfect for you.

Labrador Retriever

Friendly, playful, intelligent and great with other dogs and young families, it comes as no surprise that the 

Labrador Retriever is the most common dog in New Zealand, and consistently one of the most common year after year. Their kind and gentle nature make them a perfect family dog, just make sure you have enough spare time to provide them with the exercise they need.


Your first introduction to the Huntaway may have come on a road trip, driving past the ‘Huntaway Capital of the World’ sign in Hunterville, but as they are the second most common breed in New Zealand, it’s likely your next will be in person! Extremely intelligent, loyal, and hard-working dogs, New Zealand bred Huntaway requires an active lifestyle and enjoys being put to work, using its signature loud bark to help herd sheep.

Border Collie

Another breed that is adept at life on the farm, the Border Collie is highly intelligent and also very trainable. A common breed choice amongst farmers, the Border Collie is also greatly increasing in popularity amongst families due to their friendly nature and love of people. This has resulted in the Border Collie being known as both a fantastic herding dog, but also loyal and loving family dog too. 

New Zealand Heading Dog

Another popular working dog in New Zealand, the Heading Dog is a very intelligent breed and are fantastic herders. They are most at home on lifestyle blocks and farms and are certainly out of place in a townhouse, as even long walks aren’t enough to satisfy their huge energy requirements.

Jack Russell Terrier

The most common small dog breed in New Zealand, the very vocal Jack Russell Terrier is a breed that requires a lot of exercise despite their small stature. As they were bred to hunt foxes, they have a natural inclination to explore and can often develop a tendency to escape from their homes, so it only pays to adopt one if you can keep up with their energy level!

Golden Retriever

Sharing many personality traits with the Labrador, the Golden Retriever is a super-friendly, affectionate, and intelligent breed that is consistently one of the most popular breeds the world over. They love to play and greet every new person or dog as a potential friend. Fantastic with children and other dogs, the only downside to owning a Golden Retriever may be the amount of vacuuming that's required when you own one!

German Shepherd

Always a popular breed in New Zealand, most well known for being very intelligent and courageous, the German Shepherd also possesses a very affectionate side that is often overlooked due to their bold exterior. They are known for being great family dogs as they are fiercely loyal and are a great guard dog as they’ll do anything for their owners. Gentle and kind at heart, the German Shepherd is a breed more prone to separation anxiety than many others.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

More commonly known as a ‘Staffy’, what this small, stocky breed lacks in stature is most certainly made up for by huge character. The staffy has received an unfitting reputation by some as an aggressive dog, but Staffy owners will be the first to tell you how kind and well behaved this breed is. Ranking as one of the best family dog options, the Staffy is a very sweet breed that loves affection and is very trainable.

English Bulldog

One of the more recognisable breeds in the world, the English Bulldog is a loveable character that as a breed, doesn’t require huge amounts of exercise due to their low stamina. This also makes them prone to weight gain. Great with children and other dogs, if the English Bulldog isn’t playing or looking for a good scratch, they are most likely having a snooze, as they do enjoy lounging.

French Bulldog

A breed that has only recently made its way into the top 10 in New Zealand, the French Bulldog is smaller than its English relative but is just as kind and affectionate. A great lap dog that loves attention, although friendly with small children, the ‘Frenchie’ may be better suited to a home without young ones, as they are prone to getting jealous if they aren’t fussed over.

Further reading:

How to choose a dog groomer

How to choose a vet

NZ Herald Popular Dog Breeds in 2017

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