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Labrador retriever tops AKC's list of popular breeds; bulldog comes in No. 1 in Los Angeles

February 1, 2011 |  4:43 pm

Bulldog LAb

For the 20th year in a row, the Labrador retriever is America's most popular dog breed, according to registration statistics released last week by the American Kennel Club.

The Lab was followed by the German shepherd, Yorkshire terrier, beagle, golden retriever, bulldog, boxer, dachshund, poodle and shih-tzu on the AKC's annual top 10 list. The same 10 breeds made the list in 2009, but four of them changed positions within the list. The beagle edged out the golden retriever for the fourth spot in 2010, a reversal from the prior year, and the bulldog's popularity rank increased from seventh to sixth, moving the boxer down one position.

Here in Los Angeles, the Labrador's popularity actually appears to be waning somewhat; the breed ranked third when the AKC's registration statistics were filtered to include only L.A. ZIP Codes. Leading the list in L.A. was the bulldog, followed by the German shepherd in second place. The Yorkie ranked fourth and the golden retriever rounded out the top 5.

The bulldog's popularity has increased substantially over the past decade; in 2000, the breed ranked 21st on the AKC's registration statistics list. Over the same time period, the French bulldog's rank skyrocketed from 71st to 21st; the Cavalier King Charles spaniel's increased from 54th to 23rd; and the Havanese's increased from 86th to 31st. Such quick gains in popularity are troubling to many in the animal welfare community, who worry that irresponsible or unscrupulous breeders will jump on a breed's bandwagon in order to sell puppies for large sums without regard for their longterm health.

The AKC also noted a large increase in the number of registrations of so-called "bully breeds" over the past decade; the bull terrier's rank jumped from 78th in 2000 to 53rd in 2010, and the Staffordshire bull terrier's rose from 97th to 74th. The AKC does not recognize another popular "bully breed," the American pit bull terrier.

It's important to note that the AKC's statistics don't include all purebred dogs, only those that are registered with the organization. And of course, the AKC's top 10 list doesn't include what we suspect is the most common type of dog in the country: the good old all-American mutt.

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-- Lindsay Barnett

Left photo: Harvey Mushman the bulldog. Credit: Hep / Your Scene. Right photo: Beignet the Labrador retriever. Credit: Jack Friday / Your Scene

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