NEW YORK – It’s puppy love for the record books: The Labrador retriever was the nation’s most popular dog breed last year for a 23rd year in a row, the American Kennel Club announced Friday.
That’s the longest any breed has been top dog since the organization’s 1884 founding.
German shepherds, golden retrievers, beagles and bulldogs are holding steady in the top-five pack, with Yorkshire terriers, boxers, poodles, Rottweilers and dachshunds continuing to round out the leading 10, which mirrors last year. But the comical French bulldog is newly on their heels after a decade-long popularity spurt.
Surpassing the poodle’s 22-year reign, the Lab has proliferated as a congenial, highly trainable dog that was developed to fetch game but has taken other roles in stride.
“It does so many different things really well – it excels as a family companion, it’s an awesome hunting dog, and it also has a great presence as a service and law-enforcement search-and-rescue dog,” AKC spokeswoman Lisa Peterson said.