Without a doubt dogs are the greatest human companion ever! While it is true that everyone’s dog is the best dog in the world, the American Kennel Club continues to release their list of the 10 most popular dog breeds. The Labrador Retriever, known for their intelligence, family friendliness and great trainability, holds on to the number one spot for a record-breaking 26th consecutive year. The Lab’s eager to please temperament is just one of many reasons why this ideal family dog takes top honors year after year. The German Shepherd secured its spot as the second most popular breed. This smart, confident and courageous breed is known as a superior working therapy and guard dog. Also keep in mind some recent popularity may have helped the “German Shepard” take home Best in Show at this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Somewhat surprising to me, the Rottweiler has been slowly but surely rising up the list over the past decade. The confident, loyal and loving Rottie was actually this past years eighth most popular breed, it’s highest ranking since landing at number two in 1997. The Rottweiler has risen nine spots over the past decade and is poised for a comeback. The Rottie has strong instincts to protects its loved ones, is intelligent and has a strong willingness to work. What some folks might not know is that they’re especially impressive when it comes to herding. If you are in the market – check out the 10 most popular breeds below with links to further explore. I have also included a link that includes 189 dog breeds with their current and previous rankings. To access the list Click HERE (Source: akc.org)
1. Labrador Retriever – Early in the 1800s, some of the multipurpose dogs used in North America – mostly Canada – by hunters were shipped back to England. Many of these “water dogs” were of the Newfoundland type, but the smaller ones were often designated “St John’s” dogs. In England, the breed was developed and refined – probably with some flat-coated retriever input – into the breed we recognize today.
2. German Shepard – In Europe during the 1850s, attempts were being made to standardize breeds. The dogs were bred to preserve traits that assisted in their job of herding sheep and protecting flocks from predators. In Germany this was practiced within local communities, where shepherds selected and bred dogs that they believed had the skills necessary for herding sheep, such as intelligence, speed, strength, and keen senses of smell. The results were dogs that were able to do such things, but that differed significantly, both in appearance and ability, from one locality to another.
3. Golden Retriever – The Golden Retriever was originally bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century. At that time, wildfowl hunting was a popular sport for the wealthy Scottish elite, but the existing retriever breeds were inadequate for retrieving downed game from both water and land. Retrieving from both land and water was necessary because the hunting grounds of the time were pocketed with marshy ponds and rivers. Consequently, the best water spaniels were crossed with the existing retrievers, resulting in the establishment of the breed today known as the Golden Retrievers.
4. Bulldog – The designation “bull” was applied because of the dog’s use in the sport of bull baiting. This entailed the setting of dogs – after placing wagers on the dogs – onto a tethered bull. The dog that grabbed the bull by the nose and pinned it to the ground would be the victor. It was common for a bull to maim or kill several dogs at such an event, either by goring, tossing, or trampling. Over the centuries, dogs used for bull-baiting developed the stocky bodies and massive heads and jaws that typify the breed as well as a ferocious and savage temperament. Bull-baiting, along with bear-baiting, reached the peak of its popularity in England in the early 1800s until they were both made illegal by the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835.
5. Beagle – General Richard Rowett from Illinois, USA imported some dogs from England and began breeding. Rowett’s Beagles are believed to be the models for the first American standard. The Beagle was accepted as a breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1884. In the 20th century the breed has spread worldwide as a very popular dog. Now, the Beagle was not just used for hunting; the Beagle became a family pet.
6. French Bulldog – French bulldogs’ origins are murky, but most sources trace their roots to English bulldogs. Lace makers in England were drawn to the toy version of the dog and would use the smaller pups as lap warmers while they worked. When the lace industry moved to France, they took their dogs with them. There, the English bulldogs probably bred with terriers to create bouledogues français, or French bulldogs.
7. Poodle – The poodle is a group of formal dog breeds, the Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle and Toy Poodle. The origins of the poodles are still discussed with a dispute over whether the poodle descends from the old French Barbet breed or from Germany as a type of water dog. Ranked second most intelligent dog breed just behind the Border Collie, the poodle is skillful in many dog sports and activities, including agility, obedience, tracking to herding, circus performers or assistance dogs. Poodles have taken top honors in many conformation shows, including “Best in Show” at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1991 and 2002 .
8. Rottweiler – The Rottweiler is a breed of domestic dog, regarded as medium-to-large or large. The dogs were known in German as Rottweiler Metzgerhund, meaning Rottweil butchers’ dogs, because one of their uses was to herd livestock and pull carts laden with butchered meat to market. This continued until the mid-19th century when railways caused droving to be replaced with herding. Rottweilers are now used as search and rescue dogs, as guide dogs for the blind, as guard dogs and police dogs.
9. Yorkshire Terrier – The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog breed of terrier type, developed during the 19th century in Yorkshire, England, to catch rats in clothing mills. The defining feature of the breed is its maximum size of 7 pounds, although some may exceed this and grow up to 15 pounds.
10. Boxer – The Boxer was bred from the Old English Bulldog and the now extinct Bullenbeisser which became extinct by crossbreeding rather than by a decadence of the breed. The purpose of the crossbreeding was the wish to eliminate the excessive white color of the breed, and the necessity of producing thousands of dogs for one of the most popular breeds in the world. The Boxer is part of the Molosser group. This group is a category of solidly built, large dog breeds that all descend from the same common ancestor, the large shepherd dog known as a Molossus.
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