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Labrador Retrievers Ranked America's Top Dog For 25th Consecutive Year

Feb 23, 2016 01:12 PM EST
Labrador Retriever
Labrador retrievers have reigned as the most popular dog breed in the U.S. for the last 25 years.
(Photo : Flickr: smerikal)

Labrador retrievers have for the 25th consecutive year been named the most popular purebred dog in the U.S., according to rankings recently released by the American Kennel Club (AKC). While Labs have held the top spot for longer than any other breed, their reign may soon come to an end, as the organization's report found French bulldogs are tailing closely behind. 

"The versatile, lovable Lab has firmly planted its paw print in AKC's history," AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo said in a statement. "But keep your eye on the French bulldog. The Frenchie has risen 32 spots over the past decade and shows no signs of stopping."

In only one year the French bulldog jumped up three spots, from ninth in 2014 to sixth in 2015. And a few other breeds have made noteworthly climbs, too. This includes the Cane Corso, an imposing Italian guard dog that rose from 47th in 2014 to 35th last year, and the Norwegian elkhound, a reliable hunting dog that's up from 100th to 88th.

Americans "like easy-to-care-for, fun family dogs," whether that means big, strong, protective animals or small pets with "big-dog personalities," DiNardo explained

Rounding out the top 10 for 2015, in order, are: German shepherds, golden retrievers, bulldogs, beagles, French bulldogs, Yorkshire terriers, poodles, Rottweilers and boxers.

The AKC's annual report of the nation's most popular breeds is based on the number of puppies and other newly registered dogs. Their ranking does not include any mix-breed or hybrid dogs, such as Labradoodles and maltipoos.

When and if another breed will have its time as top dog has yet to be determined, but since the AKC started counting in the 1880s there has been quite a bit of fluctuation: Dachshunds and shih tzus dropped out of the top 10 within the last five years, and some past top spot holders -- Boston terriers, cocker spaniels, and St. Bernards -- aren't even in the top 20 now. Furthermore, the winner of this year's Westminster Kennel Club dog show -- which carries an a lot of clout in the rankings -- was a German shorthaired pointer, which falls short of the top ten as the No. 11 most popular breed.

"Popularity rises and falls on many factors, and trends can be self-perpetuating -- the scarcer the breed, the fewer the puppies, and vice versa," DiNardo added, encouraging would-be dog owners to consider both rare and familiar breeds when adopting. "You may want to be one of those people who helps protect and preserve a breed."

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