The Labrador Retriever tops the American Kennel Club’s annual list of the most popular dog breeds

Each year, the AKC, a non-profit registry of purebred dogs in the United States, compiles a list of the most popular breeds based on its registry records. This year, the Lab was joined by the French bulldog, golden retriever and German shepherd in the top spots, with most dogs retaining their popularity as of 2020.

However, there were some shakes in the rankings. The poodle — a water dog known for its signature curly coat — slid into the top five for the first time since 1997, beating the bulldog. And the Field Spaniel, a medium-sized dog, shot up 24 places to reach No. 136.

The Biewer Terrier, a miniature long-haired dog first recognized by the AKC in 2021, debuted in the rankings at number 83.

Here are the most popular dog breeds of 2021:
  1. Labrador Retrievers
  2. French bulldog
  3. Golden retriever
  4. German shepherd dog
  5. poodle
  6. bulldog
  7. beagle
  8. rottweiler
  9. German Shorthaired Pointer
  10. dachshund
Last place out of 197 breeds was the Norwegian Lundehund, a rare dog breed that was threatened with extinction in the 1930s. The dog’s name literally means “puffin dog.” Historically, they were trained to scale rocky cliffs and hunt puffins in Lofoten, a remote archipelago in Norway.
The Labrador Retriever wasn’t always a typical pet, according to the AKC. The breed was first developed as a working dog in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador to help fishermen. Their penchant for retrieving ducks (or, more likely today, their favorite toys) gave them their name. In the early 1800s, British nobles visiting Canada discovered the Labs and brought some with them to England. The AKC registered its first lab in 1917, and the breed has led the popularity rankings since 1991.

According to the AKC, the dogs are in demand primarily for their versatility and easy-going temperament. Labs are also popular guide and rescue dogs because they can be easily trained to do a variety of jobs.

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