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The Most Common Dog in France is The Australian Shepherd

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A blue merle Australian Shepherd with tan and white trim

The Australian Shepherd is soaring in popularity, both nationally and internationally. In France, the most common dog breed is surprisingly not the French Bulldog. It is rather the Australian Shepherd, which, despite its name, is an all-American dog breed. On Dec 19, 2023, the Statista Research Department estimated the number of dogs owned by the French population to be 7.6 million.
In January 2020, Connexion France reported that the Australian Shepherd had become the French public’s favorite dog for the third year in a row. As per the outlet, the ranking came from the Société Centrale Canine (SCC), a French kennel club founded in 1881.

The SCC registered more than 15,000 Australian Shepherds in 2019, according to Connexion France. The German Shepherd reigned supreme from 1946 to 2015, from which year the Belgian Shepherd took the lead to 2017. The Australian Shepherd took first place in France in 2017 and has stayed there since. In 2024, the Australian Shepherd population in France reached 20,449, as reported by the Dogster Team. As of April 2024, here are the top 10 most popular dog breeds in France according to Dogster:
  1. Australian Shepherd - 20,449
  2. Golden Retriever - 14,444
  3. Belgian Shepherd - 13,542
  4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier - 13,324
  5. German Shepherd - 10,486
  6. Labrador Retriever - 9,086
  7. American Staffordshire Terrier - 8,167
  8. Cavalier King Charles - 7,644
  9. English Setter - 6,927
  10. Beagle - 6,613
The French Bulldog is ranked by Dogster as the 12th most popular breed of dog in France. Known as "Le Berger Australien" in French, the Australian Shepherd is currently winning hearts in France. But nevertheless, La SPA France reported on Jan 23, 2019, that Australian Shepherds were "victims of their own success" in France. The French Society of Animal Protection wrote in an X post that Aussies "are too often abandoned by owners" who jump on this trend without any knowledge about the high-energy breed's exercise and mental stimulation needs.

Australian Shepherds' Exercise and Training Needs

As a member of the herding group, the Australian Shepherd is one of the most energetic dog breeds in the world. As such, they need a great deal of exercise daily to be healthy and happy, otherwise they can become bored and resort to acting aggressively or destructively. If you aren't using your Aussie for herding, the AKC recommends that you have, at minimum, a large, fenced-in yard for your dog to run around in for at least an hour or two daily. Australian Shepherds also love accompanying their owners on long walks or, better yet, hikes. They also require interactive dog toys for mental enrichment. There are also other ways to keep your Australian Shepherd busy.

Most Australian Shepherds retain a strong herding instinct, albeit the modern breed is, for the most part, bred for pets. That said, it is common for pet Aussies to try to herd children or other pets by nipping them, which is one of the reasons they end up in shelters. The curb this instinctual behavior, the AKC recommends both early socialization and obedience training as musts for the Australian Shepherd.

The Australian Shepherd is one of the popular dog breeds in the United States

In 2024, Forbes ranked the Australian Shepherd as the 12th most popular breed of dog in the United States. The French bulldog takes the first place followed by the Labrador retriever. However, a 2023 survey by Forbes Advisor found that the top America's favorite dog breed was the Australian Shepherd. The Aussie ranked as the most favored breed of dog in ten states and the second favorite dog breed in nine states. It’s estimated that there are around 88 million dogs in the United States.

The Australian Shepherd is also a common breed in Canada

A red merle Australian Shepherd lying down on the floor

In 2023, the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), Canada’s primary registry for purebred dogs, ranked the Australian Shepherd as the 6th most popular dog breeds in Canada. The 10 most popular dog breeds in Canada in 2024, according to Dogster, include:
  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. Golden Retriever
  3. German Shepherd Dog
  4. Standard Poodle
  5. French Bulldog
  6. Sheltie
  7. Australian Shepherd
  8. Havanese
  9. Bernese Mountain Dog
  10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
From 2016-2022, dogs kept soaring in population in Canada, increasing from 7.6 million to 7.9 million.


Australian Shepherds are beloved for their cuteness, smartness, and affectionate nature. However, due to their high energy, they are not pets for everyone. If you suddenly plan to bring an Aussie home, here are five things to know beforehand.


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