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Tag: large

Supersize me: Americans turning to big dogs

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Big dogs — not that they ever left — are coming back.

In its annual report on breed popularity in the U.S., the American Kennel Club notes that, while the Labrador retriever is again the most popular dog breed, other large breeds are quickly moving up the list, including Dobermans, giant schnauzers and Great Danes.

According to the AKC, it could be a sign of an improving economy.

“Owning bigger breeds – an economic indicator of sorts – has been on the rise during the past five years,” said Lisa Peterson, AKC spokeswoman. “As the economy has improved, people are turning back to the big dogs they love, which cost more to feed and care for than the smaller breeds that saw a rise in popularity in 2007 and 2008.”

Labs took the top spot for the 23rd straight year, the longest consecutive reign of any dog in the annual ranking. The rankings are based on the number of AKC dog registrations across the country.

Here are the top 10, with links to their AKC profiles:

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

Comparing those rankings to the 2009 list, there’s evidence of a decline in small dog popularity — Yorkies dropped three places, from third, dachshunds dropped two, from eighth, and shih tzus fell out of the top 10 entirely.

Some smaller breeds saw a gain in popularity, like the French bulldog (now 11th). But far greater gains were made by greatly sized dogs: Doberman Pinschers rose from 22 to 12; Great Danes from 27 to 16; and Bernese Mountain Dogs from 47 to 32.

The AKC announced its rankings Friday, in advance of the upcoming Westminster Kennel Club dog show at Madison Square Garden.

Three new breeds will compete this year: rat terriers, Chinooks, and Portuguese Podengo Pequenos.

(Photo: Ash, a lab, or perhaps a lab mix (we didn’t ask for his papers), at play; by John Woestendiek)

Bionic Ozzie is ready to step into a home

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The kindness of strangers has gotten Ozzie a long way. Now the Great Pyrenees — abandoned as a pup — is ready for his next big step.

Ozzie was one of three pups abandoned by a breeder. For five months, they wandered North Carolina’s coast,  until a stranger coralled them and called Carolina Great Pyrenees Rescue.

The rescue’s president Martha Rehmeyer, of Winston-Salem, took the three brothers in.

The dogs were dirty and emaciated, didn’t trust people, and had never worn collars. They were also big — the gentle breed commonly surpasses the 100-pound mark.

Rehmeyer and other volunteers spent months training and socializing the pets and, once that was accomplished, Ozzie’s brothers, Big Um and Titan, quickly found adoptive homes.

But Ozzie didn’t, mainly because he walked funny – like a duck, Rehmeyer explained to the  Winston-Salem Journal. His back paws splayed out at 90-degree angles. X-rays showed that the knee ligaments in his back legs weren’t properly developed. Ozzie underwent surgery on his right leg, to insert a pin that would hold his knee in place, and thereby straighten out one of his paws. A few months later he had the same surgery on his left leg. He’s now staying temporarily in Greensboro with a foster mom, Susan Tanzer,  who calls him a “bionic” dog. The rescue organization is seeking a forever home for him.

Carolina Great Pyrenees Rescue charges a $250 adoption fee for each dog, an amount meant to cover the cost of spaying or neutering, as well as house training and socializing the animals for adoption.

Rehmeyer wouldn’t divulge how much Ozzie’s surgeries cost, saying that wasn’t important. “We do it for the love of the breed, for the love of the dogs.”

To learn about Ozzie and the rescue’s other dogs, visit its website.

(Photo courtesy of Carolina Great Pyrenees Rescue)