If you think you see a lot of Labrador retrievers when you’re out and about, you’re probably not mistaken.
The breed topped the American Kennel Club’s list of the most popular breeds in the United States for the 31st year in a row.
This year’s list is made up of more than 800,000 purebred puppies and older dogs who have joined the nation’s oldest and largest canine registry over the past year. The AKC recognizes 197 different breeds.
The top dogs on this year’s list include:
- Retrievers (Labradors)
- french bulldogs
- Retrievers (Golden)
- german shepherds
- Pointers (German Shorthair)
Why Labradors Are So Popular
It’s no surprise to find Labradors at the top of the list. First recognized by the AKC in 1917, they didn’t hit the top 10 until the 1970s. They hit No. 1 in 1991, and it’s a position they haven’t let go since. .
Judy Heim, a longtime breeder and trainer in California, told AKC that Labradors are popular because of their temperament and ability to be light-switch dogs.
“Turn them on, turn them off,” Heim said. “If I want to hike, run, swim, play ball or hunt, they are ready to go. However, if I want to stay home and eat a gallon of ice cream, watch the Super Bowl, or watch a movie, they’re happy to stay there too.
She also called them one of the most intuitive races, a quality that makes them excellent companions.
“I started in Labrador 49 years ago, I handled all the breeds and wondered if I would find a breed that I would prefer in Labrador,” she said. “I do not have.”
French Bulldogs have maintained their position at second place, while Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds have flip-flopped since the 2021 compilation.
Poodles were a new entry into the top five and include all purebred sizes of the breed. They had been number 1 on the list throughout the 1960s and 1970s until 1982 when their popularity began to wane.
Their entry into the top five is the first since 1997.
Page Hinds-Athan, a poodle owner and breeder from Georgia, told The Associated Press that poodles “have a reputation in some circles for just being frilly, but there’s definitely more to them.”
Poodles and breeds like Bichon Frize are great for many because of their allergy-friendly coats. They’re also some of the smartest dogs, but that can come with its own set of challenges, Hinds-Athan said.
“(In training), if you want to go after them, you better be really right,” she said. “Because if you’re not really fair with them, they remember it.”
In addition to French Bulldogs, which have gone from 71st 20 years ago to number 2 now, several other breeds have grown in popularity.
Over the past 10 years, the cane corso has fallen from 51st to 21st place.
Pembroke’s Welsh Corgis (#11) and Great Danes (#17) have also broken into the top 25 over the past two decades.
Not on the list are a number of mixed breeds the AKC does not recognize. These include Labradoodles, Maltipoos and others.
Brandi Hunter, spokesperson for the AKC, said articulating an ideal for the breed is one of the issues with their designation as a breed.
“Predictability is one of the things that draws people to purebred dogs,” Hunter said.
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