Ev­ery­one loves a Lab

Fam­ily- friendly Labrador Re­triever still reigns as Amer­ica's top dog.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - PETS - By BAR­BARA GOLD­BERG

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

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