The Labrador Retriever has been named the most popular dog for 28th straight year! Based on the registry list created by the American Kennel Club, no other breed has even come close.
The list hasn’t changed much from last year: Labrador Retriever at first place, followed by the German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retriever, French Bulldog, and Bulldog. After these breeds, we see the Beagle, Poodle, Rottweiler, German Shorthaired Pointer, and finally, the Yorkshire Terrier. Other than the final two in the list, which changed places, all other breeds remained in their respective spots.
For the German Shorthaired Pointer, breaking its way into the top 10 is a great accomplishment. Over the past few years, this breed has been slowly gaining ground- this year, it has reached its highest rank since it was first recognized in 1930. On the other hand, the Yorkshire Terrier has been steadily dropping. In 2008, it was number 2!
Though Labrador Retrievers don’t hold the top spot in every major city, they are still the most popular and can be found throughout the country. Ever since this breed entered the top 10 in 1970, it has stayed there and climbed the ranks to become the most popular dog in the United States.
Since we’re bringing up numbers, here are a few more! The top breed in the 1940s, the Cocker Spaniel, was the previous record holder. In the 1980s, it clawed its way back into the top spot and held it for another 8 years (1983-1990), making for a total of 23 grand prize wins, more than any other breed at that time. In 1991, the Labrador Retriever usurped its position and has remained there ever since.
But why? We gathered the opinions of a few experienced breeders; Linda Maffett of Bellingham, Washington, Judy Heim of Turlock, California, and Erin Henlon-Hall of Villa Ridge, Missouri. According to these breeders, the Labrador Retriever has a few important qualities that make it so popular. Among them: Friendliness, athleticism, ease of training, and calm temperament.
Despite its popularity, however, the Labrador Retriever has yet to win a “Best in Show” award in the most prestigious dog shows (Westminster, The National Dog Show, the AKC Championship). It appears that being popular is not enough when it comes to competing in front of judges.
The top three breeds in the list are no newcomers, and have remained popular for many years. The Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd Dog, and Golden Retriever continue to sit in their near-permanent spots without much risk of being replaced. On the other hand, the French Bulldog has made some astounding strides. The breed entered the top 10 in 2014, and has only increased its ranking since. In fact, in many cities in the United States, it has become the most popular dog!
Some other breeds that have advanced significantly are the Pembroke Welsh Corgi (13th from 24th), Siberian Husky (14th from 23rd), Australian Shepherd (15th from 29th), Bernese Mountain Dog (22nd from 40th), and the Havanese (24th from 36th).
And as one of the most shocking success stories, we can see the Miniature American Shepherd. Despite being introduced to the Herding Group in 2015, it has already reached 34th place! This is a position unmatched by other new breeds, that tend to take far longer to climb up the ladder.
Many of the rarer breeds saw change, as well. The Pumik went from number 162 to 151, Ibizan Hounds from 165 to 152, and Finnish Lapphunds from 173 to 161. Four kinds of terriers also saw a jump in rating after several years of falling down the ladder: Rat Terriers climbed from 97 to 86, Border Terriers from 92 to 88, Bedlington Terriers from 151 to 141, and Dandie Dinmont Terriers from 181-176.
Those who are interested in further developments can always examine the updated American Kennel Club rankings!