Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, with different varieties of fur, colors, temperaments, personalities, and needs. Although all dogs are great, certain breeds have managed to become more in-demand than others. So which are the most popular dog breeds? And what earns them the top spots?
The Most Popular Breeds
According to the American Kennel Club, in 2010 the most popular breed was the Labrador Retriever, followed in a close second by the German Shepherd. The trend can be attributed to both breeds' intelligence as well as many other positive attributes. Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds alike have long been celebrated for their trainable and obedient natures, which have led to their popularity as service dogs as well as family pets; Labs are often used as helper dogs for the physically disabled, and German Shepherds contribute to police forces. Rounding out the top 10 list of the AKC's most popular dogs for 2010 are the Yorkshire Terrier, Beagle, Golden Retriever, Bulldog, Boxer, Dachshund, Poodle, and Shih Tzu.
Common Characteristics among Popular Breeds
What do these breeds have in common, besides being so lovable? To be honest, not much. The dogs differ in size, group, history, appearance, and trainability. The AKC has organized each dog breed into one of seven different groups: herding, hounds, sporting, non-sporting, terrier, toy, and working. The dog's size, purpose, and main characteristics are some of the qualifying factors for the group in which they can be found. Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers alike fall within the sporting group because they have high energy and love to be active, and have a sweet disposition and friendly, gentle nature. Given these characteristics, their high popularity isn't surprising.
German Shepherds belong to the herding group, and are known--aside from their high intelligence--for their tough work ethic, instinct to herd, and aggressive-sounding bark. While their protective nature makes them excellent watchdogs, it is important to allow them a good amount of exercise. With the correct training, the very devoted German Shepherd can be a great addition to any family.
Yorkshire Terriers (from the terrier group, of course) are feisty, fiery, and work well for apartment living due to their small size. However, because they are delicate and can tend to nip, Yorkies are better off in homes without small children.
Residing in the hound group are the Beagle and Dachshund, whose keen noses and loving temperaments make them stand out as both good hunters and good family pets. Hounds, however, can also be stubborn and somewhat difficult to train.
You can find Bulldogs and Poodles in the non-sporting group due to their lack of criteria for any of the other six groups. The active poodle is perhaps one of the most trainable dogs, while the Bulldog is sturdy and enjoys a more sedentary lifestyle. Poodles are also often chosen as pets for families who may have allergies.
Often mistaken for Pitbulls, the Boxer is a working dog. These beautiful, powerful dogs can become hard to handle without the right training, but are as loyal and loving as they come.
Last but not least, the adorable Shih Tzu is categorized in the toy group because of their small stature. Providing great companionship and often quick to learn tricks, these little guys were originally bred in China as adored lapdogs. With long silky fur, regular brushing and grooming is a must.
Drawbacks of Popular Breeds
While popular breeds are very enticing to potential dog owners because of their myriad of potential attributes, it is important to note that popularity has in many cases unfortunately led to over-breeding and sometimes even inbreeding. This has led to genetic defects such as hip dysplasia in larger breeds such as the German Shepherd as well as different cancers, respiratory issues, and so forth. It is important to only buy dogs from responsible breeders. When selecting a dog, checking out the breeder, the parent dogs, and the overall condition of the environment is crucial. A routine check-up by a vet can ensure that your new best friend is in good health!
The Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Yorkshire Terrier, Beagle, Golden Retriever, Bulldog, Boxer, Dachshund, Poodle, and Shih Tzu all enjoy the prestigious position of being in the top 10 most popular dog breeds for 2010. While these individual breeds don't have much in common with each other, one thing is for certain: they're all totally lovable!
More on Choosing a Dog
The Best Dog Breeds for Older People
The Best Dog Breeds for Children
The Best City Dog Breeds