Everyone loves a Lab
Family- friendly Labrador Retriever still reigns as America's top dog.
THE Labrador Retriever held onto the title of America's most popular dog breed for the 25th year in a row, even as the upstart French bulldog stole the limelight in New York and other big US cities, the American Kennel Club said recently.
The chunky Lab, known for its loping gait and easy- going nature, owes its enduring popularity to its well- deserved reputation as a family pet, AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo.
“The Lab checks all the boxes,” DiNardo said. “It comes in three different colours. Athletic people can play with it, run with it and swim with it. They are family- friendly and get along with others.” But being beloved is not necessarily a springboard to elite honours. A Labrador has never won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club's annual dog show since the prestigious event began in 1877.
By the same token, being an international superstar – like the German shorthaired pointer who won Westminster last week – doesn't automatically translate into being America's dream dog.
The German short- haired pointer did not make the top 10 most popular breeds in US homes last year, trailing the pack at No. 11, DiNardo said.
In addition to the Labrador Retriever, the top 10 list includes the German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Bulldog, Beagle, French Bulldog, Yorkshire Terrier, Poodle, Rottweiler and Boxer.
Several of those most popular breeds have won Westminster’s top honour, awarded four times each to the Poodle and the Boxer, two times each to the Bulldog and the Beagle and once each to the German Shepherd and the Yorkshire Terrier. But the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever, the French Bulldog and the Rottweiler have never won Westminster’s top honour, according to Westminster spokeswoman Lisa Peterson.
In the century that AKC has been tallying the most popular dogs, only four breeds have held the top spot: the Labrador, Poodle, Beagle and Cocker Spaniel, DiNardo said. The Labrador boasts the longest reign on top, holding on for 25 consecutive years. But the French Bulldog, with its cute mug and bat- shaped ears, is gaining traction, especially among urbanites in New York, Miami, San Francisco and Honolulu, where the breed ranked higher than the Labrador last year.
“French bulldogs are smaller in size, so very portable and good for apartment living, and they don't require lots of exercise so they fit into a more relaxed lifestyle,” DiNardo said.
1 The Labrador retriever has endeared itself to the American people and is the most popular dog breed in AKC history.
2 The Bulldog comes in fourth among America’s top dog breeds.
— Photos: AFP