Labrador retrievers No. 1 in Americans' hearts for 22nd straight year, AKC says
BY VERENA DOBNIK Associated Press
Thursday, January 31, 2013
1/31/13 at 5:06 AM
The American Kennel Club says the Labrador retriever is the nation's most popular dog for the 22nd straight year - for attributes that range from family-friendly pet to search-and-rescue nose.
The German Shepherd still commands the No. 2 spot, according to the AKC top 10 list released Wednesday.
And the golden retriever has nudged out the beagle for the No. 3 rung.
AKC spokeswoman Lisa Peterson said larger breeds dominate the "pint-sized, portable pooch." But there are still some lovable lightweights on the list.
The beagle is now fourth. The rest of the pack: bulldog, Yorkshire terrier, boxer, poodle, Rottweiler and dachshund.
Adult and puppy versions of the top five breeds appeared at a news conference at AKC national headquarters in a Madison Avenue building.
The invited purebred dogs came from the New York area. Several had reached champion status, and two of them also serve as therapy dogs, visiting residents of nursing homes or working with the disabled. They're taught to be comfortable when wheelchairs, walkers or canes approach, and to move aside and leave room for people using them.
Peterson said despite canine pedigrees that go back to the 1800s, the club encourages mixed breeds to compete in other events.
"We love all dogs, mixed or purebreds," the AKC spokeswoman said. "What kind of dog people get, and whether they adopt from a shelter, is each owner's choice."
The rankings are based on the number of AKC-recognized breeds registered with the club each year.
While the Labrador retriever has dominated the popularity contest, it wasn't always so.
For most of the 1920s, Peterson said, the German shepherd was at the top, its popularity inspired by the silver screen hero Rin Tin Tin.
Among qualities that keep the lab so popular now is the breed's versatility, Peterson said. "They do so many things so well: They're great company and a great family dog, but also work in law enforcement, bomb and narcotics detection, search and rescue, and as hunting dogs."
Original Print Headline: AKC: For U.S., Labs still No. 1
The most popular dogs in the United States:
1. Labrador retriever
2. German shepherd
3. Golden retriever
6. Yorkshire terrier
Source: American Kennel Club
A Labrador retriever named Shayna attends a news conference
at the American Kennel Club in New York on Wednesday. The
Labrador retriever remains the most popular dog for the 22nd
consecutive year. SETH WENIG/Associated Press