Labrador wins popularity contest

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 18, 2010

The results are in and the Labrador Retriever comes in as the breed with the most registrations according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) statistics.

Actually, the Lab has been at the top for 19 consecutive years due to their loyal and gentle nature.

The Lab has been an American favorite, but some of the under “dogs” of the past are inching their way to the top.

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The German Shepherd has risen to second place this year. The AKC credits the German Shepherd’s role in security, police, and military work as a main reason for their increased popularity.

From their role in rescue and recovery during the World Trade Center disaster to bomb detecting in airports, they make our country a safer place to live.

They were the number one breed in the 1920’s, but then slipped down in popularity until after World War II. German Shepherds are not only great police sidekicks, when properly trained and exercised, they make loyal family companions.

Of course, German Shepherds are not the only breed you will spot patrolling airport terminal.

Labrador Retrievers, beagles, and Golden Retrievers are also commonly used by law enforcement and homeland security personnel.

These breeds were developed for various hunting or herding tasks, but the traits that made them so effective at those jobs, such as the strong scenting ability of the beagle, the eager to please attitude of the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever, and the bold nature of the German Shepherd, make them effective in their security careers.

There are a few breeds that have made some big leaps in the past few years. For example, the bulldog has jumped from number 21 to number 7 since the year 2000. The French Bulldog has gone from the rank of 73 all the way to number 24.

Some other breeds used in law enforcement and the armed forces also have gained popularity.

The Belgian Malinois went from 95 to 81 and the Bloodhound came from the 51st spot up to number 43.

Not surprisingly the first dog, Bo- President Obama’s pooch, has increased the interest in the Portuguese Water Dog.

Currently, he comes in as the 60th most popular, but is almost certain to come up the ranks the next couple of years.

According to the AKC the top ten breeds are: 1. Labrador Retriever, 2. German Shepherd, 3. Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie), 4. Golden Retriever, 5. Beagle, 6. Boxer, 7. Bulldog, 9. Poodle, and 10. Shih Tzu.

It is important to note that this popularity list is from the number of registrations recorded by the American Kennel Club, not the actual number of these breeds in existence. Is your pooch on the list?

If they are, great. If they are not, it just means you’re different and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.

Remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony Barker, The BARKer Shop