It seems nothing can bump the beloved Labrador retriever from its role as America’s favorite dog. The pooch has held the No. 1 spot for a record 25 years.
And the only dog that could possibly oust the Labrador retriever from its high horse is the French bulldog, the American Kennel Club reported. The canine is a favorite among urbanites in New York, Miami, San Francisco, and Honolulu, and rose three spots, from ninth to sixth.
Despite the Labrador’s popularity nationwide, the Frenchie was the number one fave in those cities.
The AKC has been ranking the country’s favorite pooches for 100 years, Reuters reported. In a century, only four breeds have been the most popular: the Labrador retriever, poodle, beagle, and cocker spaniel.
But the lab’s reign has been the longest ever at 25 years and going strong.
“The versatile, lovable Lab has firmly planted its paw print in AKC’s history,” AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo said.
Despite being the favorite for 25 years, the Labrador retriever has never won Best in Show at Westminster since it began in 1877, which goes to show that prestige doesn’t matter when it comes to picking out man’s best friend.
German short-haired pointer C.J. earned the title this year, and didn’t make the top 10 on AKC’s list. The pretty pooch came ranked at only 11.
But plenty of other adorable companions made the top 10 most popular: the German shepherd, golden retriever, bulldog, beagle, Frenchie, Yorkshire terrier, poodle, Rottweiler, and boxer. The bulldog ousted the beagle for fourth place, United Press International reported.
Of these, several breeds have earned Best in Show. The poodle and boxer have won four times each, the bulldog twice, and the beagle, German shepherd, and Yorkshire terrier won once each. Along with the Labrador, the golden retriever, French bulldog, and Rottweiler have never won.
So what about the lab has made the breed No. 1 for 25 years? DiNardo said the dog’s loping gait and easy-going personality, plus its reputation as a family pet, are its best features.
“The Lab checks all the boxes. 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.”
The hunting breed originally comes from Canada and is considered “gentle, intelligent and family-friendly,” and loves to please his master. Therefore, the dogs are often sees as guide dogs, working as search-and-rescue teams, and with law enforcement to sniff out drugs (and one actually helped take down Subway pitchman Jared Fogle).
And those who’ve owned Labrador retrievers laud their loving and loyal nature. In fact, in response to the news that the dog has been number one in America for 25 years, the Guardian asked some readers to reflect on their experiences.
“I’ve known skittish, yappy, excitable, bouncy dogs with short attention spans and know that the solid presence of a slightly-overweight lab brings a type of faithful calm that says: I’m here. I’m here.,” said Lucy Clark. “This is the real appeal of the breed – for unbroken meaningful eye contact between the species, labradors are unbeatable.”
Paul Daley also lauded the pet’s loving eye contact, and its winning personality.
“Think about your favourite people. Now condense their finest traits: gentleness; tendency to observe and listen; sensory delight in the world around; unmitigated joy at communion with nature and intuition for the way you feel. Look into a labrador’s eyes. Love comes back.”
What do you think? Should another pooch take over now? Do you agree with the AKC’s choice?
[Photo by c.byatt-norman/Shutterstock]