The American Kennel Club released its annual breed rankings on Monday, February 22, and for the 25th consecutive year, the Labrador Retriever was named the most popular purebred dog in the United States.
According to the 2015 AKC registration data, the Labrador Retriever has had the longest reign of any one breed since the AKC started keeping track of the 189 purebred breeds in the 1880s.
Although the Labrador Retriever has remained in the top spot for quite some time, there are several breeds that may knock the family-favorite breed out of the lead. One of those breeds is the French Bulldog, which has jumped three spots in the past year- from ninth in 2014 to sixth in 2015, replacing the Beagle. The French Bulldog, which was ranked number 11 in 2013, has already become the predominant purebred breed in Miami, San Francisco and New York City.
#1 most popular dog breed: Labrador Retriever pic.twitter.com/AvstMe1beJ
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 22, 2016
“The versatile, lovable Lab has firmly planted its paw print in AKC’s history,” AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo said. “But keep your eye on the French Bulldog. The Frenchie has risen 32 spots over the past decade and shows no signs of stopping.”
“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 added.
— NY1 News (@NY1) February 22, 2016
Labrador Retrievers have remained a popular family-friendly pet for years. They are generally laid back with a gentle temperament, making them ideal for a family pet. They are medium-sized with high amounts of energy, and they typically get along well with other dogs and humans.
“The Lab checks all the boxes,” DiNardo said. “It comes in three different colors. Athletic people can play with it, run with it and swim with it. They are family-friendly and get along with others.”
According to DogTime, the Labrador Retriever was originally bred to be both a companion and a working dog breed in the 1700s. Historically, the Labrador Retrievers would help fishermen by “hauling nets, fetching ropes, and retrieving fish from the chilly North Atlantic.” The breed first originated on the island of Newfoundland, and was originally called the St. John’s dog, after the capital city. After realizing the breed’s usefulness, several Labrador Retrievers were imported to England to server as hunting retrievers. The third Earl of Malmesbury was the first person to refer to the dogs as Labradors instead of the St. John’ s dog.
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) February 22, 2016
According to The Labrador Club, the most “distinguishing characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense, weather resistant coat; an “otter” tail; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful jaws; and its “kind” friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence and good temperament.” The average height at the withers of a male dog ranges from 22.5 to 24.5 inches and 21.5 to 23.5 inches for a female. Male dogs typically weigh 65 to 80 pounds, while females average 55 to 70 pounds.
“Above all, a Labrador Retriever must be well balanced, enabling it to move in the show ring or work in the field with little or no effort,” the site reads. “The typical Labrador possesses style and quality without over refinement, and substance without lumber or cloddiness. The Labrador is bred primarily as a working gun dog; structure and soundness are of great importance.”
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) February 22, 2016
Rounding out the top 10, in order, are German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Bulldogs, Beagles, French Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, Poodles, Rottweilers and Boxers.
[Photo by Carl Court/ Getty Images]