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Spotting trends in the AKC’s breed count

lg_havanese10In the process of tallying the numbers of purebred dogs in America — or at least those that are registered — the American Kennel Club detected some interesting trends, such as how the nation’s most popular dog, the Labrador retriever, is losing ground in some towns.

The fastest climbing breed, meanwhile, in terms of popularity, is the Havanese.

According to the AKC figures, more U.S. cities featured a breed other than the Labrador Retriever in the top spot this year than in 2008.

The German shepherd took over as No. 1 in Columbus, Detroit, Honolulu, Memphis, Miami, Providence and West Palm Beach.

The Yorkshire terrier bumped the Lab in Oakland, Tampa, New York City and Philadelphia.

And the bulldog became top dog in Los Angeles (despite other surveys that say Chihuahuas are the most predominant breed there). The AKC says celebrity bulldog owners — Adam Sandler, Kelly Osborne and John Legend among them — might be a reason behind the bulldog’s rise.

In what strikes me as a particularly odd tidbit, the bull terrier — 57th nationally — is the most popular breed in Newark, N.J. (Please feel free to explain that to me if you know the story behind it.)

To find out where your dog ranks nationally (keeping in mind the nation’s most popular dog isn’t a breed at all, but the mutt), click here.

There was only one city in America where the Labrador retriever didn’t factor into the Top 5 — Providence, R.I. In 2008, the Lab was No. 2 in Providence.

Over the past 10 years, the AKC says, the fastest growing breed nationally is the Havanese, having risen from 92nd to 32nd. Also rising quickly in national popularity have been the bulldog (from 21st to 7th); the French bulldog (from 73rd to 24th); and the Cavalier King Charles spaniel (from 58th to 25th).

Working K-9 breeds favored by law enforcement and the military have shown modest gains as pets over the same period, with the Belgian Malinois seeing its popularity rise from 95th to 81st, the border collie going from 71st to 52nd, the bloodhound rising from 51st to 43rd, and the Doberman pinscher climbing 23rd to 15th.

The AKC suspects easy-to-groom breeds are becoming more popular, as evidenced by the mastiff climbing from 39th to 27th and the Rhodesian ridgeback going from 56th to 48th. Higher maintenance breeds, meanwhile, such as the  Komondor, the Puli, the Irish terrier and the Sealyham terrier, have all seen their AKC popularity ranking drop in the past 10 years.

Even pre-Bo, the AKC, the Portuguese water dog was on the rise in popularity. The breed chosen by the First Family ranked 80th a decade ago and climbed to 60th in 2009.

(Photo: The Havanese, America’s fastest growing breed/Courtesy of AKC)


Comment from 2pugsinapod
Time January 28, 2010 at 10:56 am

The thing about this survey is that the AKC only counts registered, pure-bred dogs. I own two pugs but chose not to register them with the AKC. So dogs that are not registered with the AKC are not counted. Very inaccurate way of measuring dog popularity, in my opinion.

Comment from lea
Time January 28, 2010 at 5:35 pm

What 2pugs said. And the AKC doesn’t recognize a lot of popular breeds in the first place. The American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Bulldog, for example.

Really, their data is extremely limited, and is really only of interest in a very narrow sense. That is, if you want to know what kinds of breeds are most popular with the kinds of people who purchase AKC registered dogs (even purebred shelter dogs don’t have AKC registration, so it really is pretty much limited to dog buyers), then this is of interest.

If you want to know what the most popular dogs are, though, this is pretty much worthless.

Comment from Eighteenpaws
Time January 28, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Hmmm…When I start to see some stats on “mutts,” maybe categorized by size and/or age (??), then I will be interested. Nothing against purebreeds, registered or not, because I love ’em all, but man, just about everyone I know has an adopted mixed breed, or two, or three. That counts for nothing? When folks ask me “What kinds of dogs do you have?” my reply is usually “Big and goofy.”