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Favorite Dog Breeds in 2006

By Carol Stack

Every year the American Kennel Club releases the number of dogs registered for each dog breed, and that information is used to discover the favorite dog breeds in the United States for that year. Here are the AKC favorites for 2006:

* Labrador Retriever (137,867) * Golden Retriever (48,509) * Yorkshire Terrier (47,238) * German Shepherd Dog (45,014) * Beagle (42,592) * Dachshund (38,566) * Boxer (37,268) * Poodle (31,638) * Shih Tzu (28,087) * Miniature Schnauzer (24,144)

Compare this list with the top ten dogs from the United Kingdoms list:

* Labrador Retriever * English Cocker Spaniel * English Springer Spaniel * German Shepherd Dog * Staffordshire Bull Terrier * Cavalier King Charles Spaniel * Golden Retriever * West Highland Terrier * Boxer * Border Terrier

Interesting that there are several dog breeds in the U.K. top ten list that are not near the top ten in the United States.

In the United States the Labrador Retriever has been in the number one position for 16 years in a row. Meanwhile the Chihuahua slipped from 10th place to number 11th, replaced by the Miniature Schnauzer.

Its not surprising that the two most popular dog breeds in the United States and Canada are the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever. Both are such wonderful dogs to own with their easy-going nature and high intelligence.

These two dog breeds, along with the German Shepherd Dog, made the top ten dog list in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. The Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever make great dogs for families and are listed in a top ten list of dogs for children.

In the same list of "child-friendly dogs" are the Beagle, Poodle, French Bulldog, Pug, Cairn Terrier, Old English Sheepdog, King Charles Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel, several of which made the AKC top ten dog list.

Looking at the United States AKC top ten dog list the Yorkshire Terrier has moved up to third place, its highest point since it became recognized by the AKC in 1885. With their spirited, loving yet willful personality, they deserve to be among the top ten popular dog breeds. Their only drawback is the daily grooming required, but thats little inconvenience compared to the love they give.

While the Labrador Retriever has been number one since 1991, the breed that held the number one position the longest is the Cocker Spaniel, from 1936 to 1952 and again from 1983 to 1990 for a total of 23 years. Watch for the Labrador Retriever to beat that record.

The Poodle comes in a very close second for the number of years as Americas favorite breed; 1960 to 1982, a total of 22 years. It was in 1972 that the large breeds took over as Americas favorites when the Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers and Chow Chows rose in popularity throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

By comparison, small dogs held anywhere from one to four slots in the top ten at that time. However, as we entered into the new millennium small dogs have increased in popularity among Americans, perhaps due to their portability or perhaps because celebrities are making these smaller breeds more visible.

Notice all the small dogs that are in the list of the 11-20 most popular:

* Chihuahua (23,575) * Pug (22,064) * Bulldog (20,556) * Pomeranian (19,511) * Cocker Spaniel (16,343) * Rottweiler (15,916) * Boston Terrier (15,852) * Shetland Sheepdog (14,278) * Maltese (13,676) * German Shorthaired Pointer (13,273)

Four of these dogs are from the AKCs Toy group and another, the Boston Terrier, is a small dog from the Terrier group. Add the five small dogs from the top ten list and thats why the new millennium seems to belong to the small dog.

Whatever your favorite breed, we can all agree that dogs continue to hold a very special place in the hearts of millions of Americans, and this is a bond that needs no special breed at all.

Carol Stack has been working with dogs for over three decades. She and her daughter Christy have put up a web site to help others discover how to choose, care for and train their dogs:


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