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Reference Desk February 2012

American Kennel Club Announces Most Popular Dog Breeds

    NEW YORK, New York, February 28, 2012—Look out Lab, the American Kennel Club® (AKC) has announced that the Beagle has overtaken the beloved Yorkshire Terrier to become the third most popular dog breed in the U.S., according to AKC registration statistics released today. The Golden Retriever also made a strong push into the top ranks – advancing from the fifth to the fourth most popular dog breed – and the Rottweiler made news by unseating the Shih Tzu – which had been in the top 10 since 2000. But fans of the Labrador Retriever need not fear: the beloved Lab remains the champ – a spot it has now held for 21 consecutive years – thanks to its well-earned reputation for playfulness and loyalty and its use as a police and search-and-rescue dog.

    "While the Labrador Retriever has proven once again to be a family favorite, this year clearly belongs to the Beagle," said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson.  "The Beagle's merry personality combined with his love of outdoor activities make him such a wonderful family pet that I wouldn't be surprised to see this spunky breed sniff his way to the top of the list next year."

    2011 Most Popular Dogs in the U.S.

    1.     Labrador Retriever
    2.     German Shepherd
    3.     Beagle
    4.     Golden Retriever
    5.     Yorkshire Terrier
    6.     Bulldog
    7.     Boxer
    8.     Poodle
    9.     Dachshund
    10.   Rottweiler

    Most Notable Dog Trends in 2011 Include:

    • Larger dogs are moving up, with the Labrador Retriever (1), German Shepherd Dog (2), Golden Retriever (4), Boxer (7), and Rottweiler (10) all making this year's top ten.
    • It is the year of the Setters, with all four making big jumps over the past year – the English Setter (from 101 to 87), the Irish Setter (from 77 to 70), the Irish Red and White Setter (150 to 147), and the Gordon Setter (from 98 to 94).
    • Coonhounds made the largest tumble – the Black and Tan Coonhound (from 91 to 109) and the Bluetick Coonhound (from 119 to 136) had the biggest decrease in rankings this year. The Redbone Coonhound also dropped from 122 to 126.
    • Terriers are making a comeback! Closing the gap this year, a couple of breeds that had been on the decline over the past decade have risen up the ranks over the past year – Bedlington Terriers (from 140 to 134), Border Terriers (from 83 to 80), and Dandie Dinmont Terriers (from 164 to 160).
    • Among smaller dogs that rose in the rankings this year are the Brussels Griffon (from 80 to 77) and the Manchester Terrier (121 to 119).
    • This past decade has proven that bigger is better, with larger breeds continuing to increase in popularity. Among them: the Bernese Mountain Dog (from 54 to 34), the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (from 101 to 82), the Bullmastiff (from 49 to 40), the Rhodesian Ridgeback (from 57 to 44), the Irish Wolfhound (from 86 to 79), and the Belgian Malinois (from 94 to 74).

    A complete list of AKC's Most Popular Breeds, including statistics for 50 U.S. cities, is available on the AKC website at http://www.akc.org/reg/dogreg_stats.cfm.

    Source: American Kennel Club                           


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