For the 18th consecutive year, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular purebred dog in America, according to 2008 registration statistics released today by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
While more than twice as many Labs were registered last year than any other breed – making it the likely leader for many years to come – the Bulldog continues to amble its way up the list.
The breed made news last year by returning to the AKC’s Top 10 for the first time in more than 70 years, and now has jumped 6 percent, advancing two spots to land in eighth place.
“The playful Lab may still reign supreme, but the docile and adaptive nature of the Bulldog is gaining ground as a family favorite,” said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “It’s no surprise to learn that this devoted family companion is still growing in popularity.”
According to AKC, these are the most popular breeds in the U.S.:
1. Labrador Retriever
2. Yorkshire Terrier
3. German Shepherd Dog
4. Golden Retriever
10. Shih Tzu
Pet Preferences: Top 50 Cities
While time periods are indicators for the popularity of certain pets, so is geography. Each year, AKC looks at the most popular breeds in each of the 50 largest cities in the U.S.
While the Bulldog continues to climb the national list, it’s really marking its territory in a number of western cities — Las Vegas, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and San Diego, where it comes in second, right after the Lab.
Only Honolulu, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Portland, Raleigh, and Salt Lake City snubbed the Bulldog, opting for a wide variety of other breeds in their top 10.
Detroit and Miami are the only cities that do not have the Labrador Retriever in the top spot, both favoring the German Shepherd Dog.
The Boxer is muscling its way to the top in a few cities, ranking second in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Des Moines, Louisville, Omaha and Kansas City. It is third in Atlanta, Cleveland, New Orleans, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and even Philadelphia — where like its boxing brethren “Rocky,” it’s still a literal underdog, but if movie plots are any indication, perhaps not for long.
Californians seem to love the Miniature Pinscher (ranked 32nd nationally). It came in sixth (up from 15th last year) in San Diego and ranked eighth in Sacramento.
The Vizsla is tied for 10th place with the Shih Tzu in Chicago. Ranked 44th nationally, the Vizsla has long been a favorite in the Windy City, having made the local top 10 list in 2007 and 2003.
Unusual breeds on local top ten lists including the Great Dane (10th in St. Louis), Mastiff (10th in Indianapolis), the Brittany Spaniel (10th in Minneapolis), Belgian Malinois (8th in Kansas City) and Siberian Husky (9th in Long Beach, California).
Pet Preferences: 1998-2008
Some of the most notable recent trends in the past decade include:
The Bulldog (+69 percent) and four of its relatives are among the breeds that have increased most significantly over the last decade: Miniature Bull Terrier (+109 percent), Bull Terrier (+102 percent), Staffordshire Bull Terrier (+69 percent) and the Bullmastiff (+22 percent).
The French Bulldog (+467 percent), Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (+209 percent) and Brussels Griffon (+73 percent) continue to be among the breeds with the largest increases, likely due to their popularity with urban dog owners who favor portable, apartment-sized dogs.
The Border Collie, often considered among the most intelligent and trainable breeds, and known for its mastery of the highly popular canine sport of agility, saw a significant increase (+50 percent).
Lesser-known breeds that saw an increase include the Ibizan Hound (+74 percent), Norwich Terrier (+39 percent) and Bedlington Terrier (+28 percent).
Large dogs with notable increases are two Swiss breeds — the Bernese Mountain Dog (+78 percent) and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (+88 percent) — as well as the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (+117 percent), which hails from France.
Among breeds on the decline are the Lhasa Apso (-80 percent), Rottweiler (-76 percent), Schipperke (-75 percent) Basset Hound (-66 percent) and, despite its popularity in Sacramento and San Diego, the Miniature Pinscher (-75 percent).
Interest in Portuguese Water Dogs, in the news recently due to the Obama family, has increased 44 percent in the past decade – which is especially appropriate considering Obama is our 44th president.
However, another famous presidential pet – the American Foxhound (-75 percent) – is on the decline. George Washington is credited with developing the breed.