The American Kennel Club's list of the most popular dog breeds is out and -- no surprise -- the Labrador Retriever is No. 1 again -- for the 24th time.
No breed has held the top position longer than the Lab. Labs hit the top 10 in 1970 and haven't left since. It's no wonder -- Labs are affectionate, more than kind, smart, great with kids and they love water. They were bred to fetch game but give them a ball or two maybe three and they will continuously bring them all back again over and over.
They really can play any canine role -- from search and rescue to therapy dog and of course sporting dog. I am a Lab owner so I have a little bias.
“The Lab truly is America’s dog,” said AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo, “but the lovable Bulldog breeds are clamoring to dominate. Watch out for an upset next year.”
The Bulldog is inching its way up in the ranks, coming in at number 4 this year, the highest ranking in the breed's history. Bulldogs make excellent family companions with a natural tendency to form strong bonds with children, an easy-to-care-for coat, and minimal exercise requirements.
"They just have such character," says Bulldog Club of America communications chairwoman Annette Noble. The breed is known for being gentle but resolute – given direction, a bulldog may well want "to think about it first and decide whether it's worth it," as Noble puts it.
Breaking into the top 10 for the first time is the French Bulldog, coming in at the ninth spot, upsetting the noble Dachshund which has held that position since 1985.
The French Bulldog is not a sporting breed but a dog that can easily adapt to apartment life, it doesn't need a ton of grooming and doesn't require a great deal of exercise. The little dogs, which resemble Pugs as much as they do Bulldogs, are smart and eager to please.
The full list of 2014's top ten breeds:
1. Labrador Retriever
2. German Shepherd
3. Golden Retriever
6. Yorkshire Terrier
9. French Bulldog
All of these dogs are wonderful but remember there are many dogs that are loving and smart and terrific with kids that need a home that are sitting inside of your local animal shelter.
There are also rescue groups for nearly every breed. If you are in the market for a new dog check out the rescue organizations before you go to a breeder.