Some breeds, like Labrador Retrievers, have been popular pets for years, but other breeds (and popular mixed breeds) have moved steadily up the list over the past decade. For example, 10 years ago you might not have even heard of a Cane Corso, but these days you're likely to cross paths with at least one at your dog park or vet's office.
To determine which breeds and hybrids are truly the hottest ones, we searched Vetstreet's data and looked at how many places each breed climbed between 2002 and 2012. Did your favorite breed make the list?
1. Cane Corso (143rd in popularity in 2002, No. 73 in 2012) -- photo credit - Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com
The Cane Corso is an Italian Mastiff bred to hunt wild boar. While that's not normally the duty assigned to this large dog these days, he's still a good guard dog and known to be more athletic than other Mastiffs.
2. French Bulldog (No. 97 in 2002, No. 37 in 2012)
Affectionate and adaptable, the French Bulldog is one happy-go-lucky pup who can live with nearly anyone, in just about any home environment, so long as there's air conditioning. Between that and his small size, he's a popular pick for city folk.
3. Dogue de Bordeaux (No. 160 in 2002, No. 118 in 2012)
The wrinkled Dogue de Bordeaux can weigh up to 160 pounds, which means he's likely to turn heads, but he's calm and gentle (if a bit stubborn) enough to handle the attention. He's a great family pet, which is likely why he has jumped 42 places since 2002, but his drooling, snoring, shedding and sensitivity to temperature mean he's not right for every home.
4. Havanese (No. 84 in 2002, No. 43 in 2012) -- photo credit - Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com
The Havanese is a bright and lively little dog who's always ready to play, especially when it's a game he has created. He's trainable and loves to be pampered, and clearly, his people are happy to do so since he's No. 4 on this list.
5. Coton de Tulear (No. 130 in 2002, No. 93 in 2012)
The small, white, fluffy Coton de Tulear is very sociable and friendly but also makes a good watchdog. He's originally from Madagascar and has been portrayed on a postage stamp there, and considering he has risen 37 spots in the last decade, perhaps we'll be seeing a U.S. stamp devoted to him, too.
6. Mastiff (No. 61 in 2002, No. 35 in 2012)
He's a classic gentle giant, but the imposing Mastiff can also have a stubborn streak, which can be troublesome with a dog his size. He's a lover, not a fighter, but he will step in to protect his family if needed.
7. American Bulldog (No. 63 in 2002, No. 39 in 2012)
His origins as a farm utility dog don't deter the American Bulldog from being a devoted family pet. This is an alert and powerful breed that can also be a protective guard dog.
8. Bulldog (No. 38 in 2002, No. 14 in 2012) -- photo credit - Robin Burkett, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com
The Bulldog is a family favorite who makes friends with everyone he meets. His flat, wrinkled face and heavy build make him very sensitive to heat, though, so this is one dog who should be kept indoors.
9. Bernese Mountain Dog (No. 79 in 2002, No. 56 in 2012)
The Bernese Mountain Dog may have started out as a farm dog, but these days, he's mainly kept as a loving companion. He can weigh up to 120 pounds, but his calm temperament and generally moderate activity level make him a great family dog. The biggest downside: a heartbreakingly short lifespan.
10. Great Dane (No. 51 in 2002, No. 28 in 2012)
The Great Dane cuts a truly great figure with a potential weight of 190 pounds and height of 32 inches (or more!) at the shoulder. Like many of the other giant breeds on this list, his looks tend to be far more intimidating than his sweet disposition.
11. Anatolian Shepherd (No. 151 in 2002, No. 129 in 2012)
The Anatolian Shepherd is a giant breed originally used to guard livestock in Turkey. He's very protective, wary of strangers and aggressive toward unknown dogs, so while he's certainly big and beautiful, he's best matched with an experienced and prepared owner.