A reporter holds up a French Bulldog puppy at the American Kennel Club AKC in New York on Jan 31, 2014. - Photos Reuters
Doberman pinschers and Great Danes may be popular pups in America, but Labrador retrievers and French bulldogs are the top dogs.
The Labrador retriever is the most popular dog breed in the US for the 23rd straight year, but the French bulldog has gained ground by leaps and bounds, says the American Kennel Club. Labrador retrievers enjoy the longest consecutive reign of any dog in the annual ranking compiled by the AKC, which bases its list of the most popular breeds on the number of dog registrations across the US.
The German shepherd took second place, followed by the golden retriever and the beagle. Breeds pulling ahead in the pack included the Doberman pinscher, which scurried past 20 other breeds to 12th place and the Great Dane, which made an 11-place jump to 16th. In a testament to their growing popularity, large breeds dominated the list.
“Owning bigger breeds – an economic indicator of sorts – has been on the rise during the past five years,” says Lisa Peterson, a spokeswoman for the AKC. “As the economy has improved, people are turning back to the big dogs they love, which cost more to feed and care for than the smaller breeds that saw a rise in popularity in 2007 and 2008”, during the financial crisis.
The English bulldog is the most popular breed in New York City, while the French bulldog rose three spots to No. 11 on the national list, its highest ranking. “That’s a big jump. I haven’t seen anything like that in any breed,” says Peterson. The breed has seen a 323% leap in registrations since 2003, according to the AKC.
French bulldogs require minimal grooming and exercise, making them an ideal choice for owners in apartments and suburbs. “It’s a wash-and-wear, easy to care for companion dog,” says Peterson.
After a decade in decline, rare breeds made a comeback. Giant schnauzers, the largest of the schnauzer breeds, climbed 13 places in the rankings. The keeshond, a medium-size dog with a plush silver and black coat, scrambled up 17 places.
The AKC announced its rankings in advance of this month’s Westminster Kennel Club dog show. The US’s most prestigious dog competition culminates with the “best in show” award at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Three new breeds will compete this year: rat terriers, Chinooks and Portuguese Podengo Pequenos.
2013 Most Popular Dogs In The US
1. Labrador Retriever
2. German Shepherd
3. Golden Retriever
6. Yorkshire Terrier