Of the thousands of dogs inhabiting Wake County, have you ever wondered which breeds are the most and the least popular?
The American Kennel Club placed the Labrador Retriever as the top dog for 2014 in Wake County. Rounding out the top ten in order are the German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Beagle, Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Boxer, Rottweiler, Shetland Sheepdog and Bulldog.
As for the breeds most unlikely to be found here, the AKC points to the Gordon Setter, Shiba Inu, American Water Spaniel and the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.
“Shake-ups and surprises were evident throughout Raleigh’s ranking,” said AKC Vice President Gina Di Nardo. “Both the Yorkshire Terrier and Shetland Sheepdog fell one spot, landing at number six and seven respectively. Raleigh’s love for Labs remained strong, but the Poodle made quite a jump in 2014. This smart, active breed is quietly creeping up the list and is poised for a takeover.”
AKC’s nationwide rankings were almost identical to Wake’s with the exception of a couple of placing shifts.
“The Lab, an intelligent, family breed, holds to the number one spot for the 24th consecutive year, continuing the longest reign as the nation’s top dog in AKC history,” Di Nardo said.
She pointed out that the Bulldog in 2014 landed at number four nationally for the first time, the highest ranking in the breed’s history.
“Meanwhile, the popular French Bulldog continues its quest for the number one spot, breaking into the top ten in 2014 at number nine, its highest position in nearly 100 years,” DiNardo said. “The Dachshund was knocked out of the top ten this year for the first time since 1985, landing at number 11.”
America’s top five breeds are the Lab, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Bulldog and Beagle.
The Beagle, which went best of show at this year’s Westminster Dog Show, has maintained a lofty ranking in AKC annals for many years.
“The Beagle is the only breed to rank in the top ten breeds every decade since the founding of the AKC,” Di Nardo said. “It was the nation’s top breed in the 1950s.”
Popular movies, TV shows, novels and current events are among reasons cited for propelling a breed to the top of the charts.
“We could certainly surmise the reason, but there is no way to be definitive,” said Jessica Rice D’Amato, AKC’s public relations manager. “The Beagle is a good example. Not coincidentally, Charles Schulz’s pet Beagle, Snoopy, made his illustrious first appearance in national newspapers on Oct. 4, 1950, and swiftly became a pop phenomenon. The Beagle reigned as number one from 1953 to 1959. The German Shepherd also could attribute its popularity to Rin Tin Tin.”
Looking back to the AKC’s foundation in 1884, here is a look at the top breed each decade:
English Setter, 1880s; Saint Bernard, 1890s; Collie, 1900s; Boston Terrier, 1910s; German Shepherd, 1920s; Boston Terrier, 1930s; Cocker Spaniel (American and English) 1940s; Beagle, 1950s; Poodles, 1960s and 1970s; Cocker Spaniel, 1980s; and Labs, 1990s to the present.
Since the AKC started gathering data 13 decades ago, the Sporting Group has ranked first in popularity, placing dogs in the top 10 rankings 32 times. Sporting dogs include Pointers, Setters, Retrievers and Spaniels.
The hound and terrier groups tied for second, each placing 21 dogs in the top 10. Rounding out the AKC recognized groups are herding, 17; non sporting, 16; working, 13; and toys, 10.