most popular dogs in the United States -- and the top slot is no surprise. Labrador Retrievers once again led American registrations for the twenty-first year in a row, and German Shepherds held on in the number-two slot.The American Kennel Club has released its list of
But the top-ten list did see some interesting changes, including a move into third place by the Beagle (fourth last year); a drop down to fifth place for the Yorkshire Terrier, previously in third; and the Rottweiler clambered into the top ten, taking the spot held last year by a breed that seems like its complete opposite, the Shih Tzu.
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The Rottweiler is a somewhat controversial breed; what explains its ascendancy? Well, the Rottie's been hovering near the top ten for the last decade. Adds Gina DiNardo, Assistant Vice President of the American Kennel Club, "We don't have any specific reason why [the Rottweiler] itself has cracked into the top ten, but overall for this year, the trend is a lot of large pure breeds have gained in popularity, so this is just following that trend. While they are naturally protective of their homes and their owners, when they're properly socialized, like any dog, they can be great family pets."
The complete top ten AKC registered breeds in 2011:
1. Labrador Retriever
2. German Shepherd
4. Golden Retriever
5. Yorkshire Terrier
The Bulldog and the Boxer retained their rankings from 2010, while the Poodle and Dachshund switched spots since last year.
Other trends in breed popularity:
- Bigger is better over the past decade; as DiNardo noted, larger breeds have continued to increase in popularity. The Bernese Mountain Dog jumped from #54 to #34; the Rhodesian Ridgeback -- Westminster's most represented breed -- went from #57 to #44; and the Belgian Malinois moved from #94 to #74. That might seem strange, given the economy; larger breeds need more space and more food. But DiNardo has a theory: "Part of the reason that we thought small dogs were more popular [in the last ten years] is because they're portable, and people like to take them everywhere with them. But if people are staying home more due to the economy, they have time to stay home with a larger breed and they've always wanted a larger breed, that could be part of the reason."
- But even though Coonhounds tend to be large in size, their registrations showed a decline. The Black and Tan dropped from #91 to #109 and the Bluetick fell to #136 from #119. (The American English Coonhound, new to the organization last year, made an impressive debut at #33.)
- Terriers, meanwhile, showed overall gains. Several breeds reversed declines and advanced a few spots in the rankings, including the Bedlington Terrier (six spots up to #134), the Border Terrier (up three to #80), and the "Cosby dog," the Dandie Dinmont (up four spots to #160).
- Despite their popularity in Hollywood last year, Jack Russell registrations have declined steadily over the last ten years, from a 2001 ranking of #70 to a #97 last year. But will the popularity of Uggie and Cosmo mean an upward bounce for the Jack Russell in 2012? "It's possible," DiNardo says, but cautions, "It is a breed that requires a ton of time and exercise, and it's definitely not the breed for everyone. So I would hope that anyone who likes the breed because they saw it in a movie would at least make sure they are the right breed for them, because they are crazy full of energy."
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