Dog fans across the US can all agree that our canine companions are a much-loved part of our lives, but good-natured disagreements are bound to break out when we start talking about whose is best.
Now obviously, my pup Blueberry is the sweetest and smartest dog in the world, but you’re entitled to your own opinion as well! This rivalry extends to breeds, too, with enthusiasts praising their preferred type and all of the positive qualities that each has.
Fortunately, we’ve got some hard numbers to add to the discussion, thanks to the American Kennel Club.
Each year, the AKC tracks America’s preferences for breeds and publishes the results. This year, there were some surprise changes, though long-standing favorites continued to hold their own.
The undisputed champ, 30 years running, is the dependable Labrador Retriever. Writing for the AKC, Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo notes, “they’re such versatile, family-friendly dogs that it’s no wonder they’ve been so popular for 30 years.”
Labs aren’t the only holdover from previous years: Bulldogs, Poodles, Beagles, Rottweilers, and German Shorthaired Pointers stayed at positions 5-9 on the list, though there were some changes as well. French Bulldogs rose from 4th to 2nd, shunting German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers down to 3rd and 4th, respectively. “The playful, adaptable Frenchie has become increasingly popular over the past decade and shows no signs of slowing down,” DiNardo continued in her post. Returning to round out the top 10 for the first time in 7 years was the well-loved Dachshund.
Other breeds gaining popularity according to the list include Dalmatians, Samoyeds, and German Wirehaired Pointers. The Boerboel and Coton de Tulear, by contrast, dropped around 50 spots each in the rankings.
So, what causes the list to change, year to year? Various factors play a part, such as a breed’s novelty and temperament. Health and longevity have also become more sought-after traits in recent years. However, the most dramatic impact on the list by far has been dubbed “The Lassie Effect.”
Researchers at the University of Bristol, Western Carolina University, and the City University of New York found, as reported by TIME, that a popular movie, even an animated one, can boost a breed’s desirability. After feature film successes like Lassie and 101 Dalmatians, the featured breeds experienced a decade-long bump in popularity, as tracked by AKC records.
Regardless of what the next trend in dogs is, pet lovers can continue to celebrate the species’ astounding diversity. Find out where your favorite breed landed by checking out the full list here!
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