NEW YORK — The Labrador retriever was the nation’s most popular dog breed last year for a 23d 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 decadelong popularity spurt.
Surpassing the poodle’s 22-year reign some decades ago, the Lab has proliferated as a congenial, highly trainable dog that was developed to fetch game but has readily taken on other roles: search-and-rescue aid, therapy dog, competitor in canine sports, and all-around family pet.
The rankings reflect newly registered dogs, mostly puppies. The club doesn’t release exact numbers but estimates its registry has included more than 40 million purebred dogs over its history.