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Top Dog Breeds of 2012 - Most Popular Dogs

By: PetPlace Staff

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This year the AKC celebrates its 129th anniversary and for the 22th year in a row, the Labrador retriever is once again America's favorite purebred dog, according to registration numbers tallied by the American Kennel Club. The AKC released the figures and, as in past years, the Labrador far outstrips the other dogs in the top 10.

Changes This Year

Big Dogs Rule this year. The biggest change this year is the large breeds bumped out several of the smaller dog breeds. Here is the rundown. The Bulldog has climbed his way in to #5 dog! – which bumped the Yorkshire terrier in to #6 spot. The Golden Retriever has also pushed himself into the #3 spot – overtaking the Beagle. The Rottweiler also climbed in to 9th place – displacing the Dachshund.

Here are the trends of the past few years:

In 2011, The Beagle jumped into 3rd place from fourth knocking out the Yorkshire Terrier to #5. The Golden Retriever also jumped into 4th place. The Shih Tzu was knocked off the top 10 list and a new breed was added – the Rottweiler.

In 2010, the biggest change was that the Beagle jumped into 4th place from fifth knocking out the Golden Retriever to 5th. The bulldog also jumped into 6th place knocking out the boxer.

In 2009, the biggest change was that the German Shepherd Dog came in at #2 knocking the Yorkshire Terrier down one notch to #2 dog. The was first time the German shepherd ranked #2 in over 30 years. In 2011, the German Shepherd Dog retains it's second place spot.

If you look at to 2008, it was the first time the bulldog made it into the top ten list since 1935 and has continued to increase and maintained his spot in 6th again this year.

Over the past several years, the top 10 list has been relatively stable. The biggest changes are that six years ago, in 2005, one new breed joined the top 10 list and one got bumped off. The Miniature Schnauzer came in at #10 displacing the Chihuahua into the #11 position. In 2007, the Miniature Schnauzer was dropped from the top 10 list. And in 2008, the Bulldog jumped on the top 10 list. In 2010, the Rottweiler jumped on the top 10 list bumping the Shih Tzu off the list.

Large Vs. Small Breeds

Six out of the top ten AKC registered breeds are large breed dogs! These include the Labrador retriever, German shepherd, golden retriever, Boxer, Rottweiler, and Bulldog. The rest are smaller breed dogs which includes the Yorkie, Beagle, Dachshund, and Poodle.

The Top 10 Breeds of 2012 are:
1. Labrador retrievers
2. German shepherds
3. Golden retrievers
4. Beagles
5. Bulldog
6. Yorkshire terriers
7. Boxers
8. Poodles
9. Rottweiler
10. Dachshunds

The Top 10 Breeds of 2011 were:
1. Labrador retrievers
2. German shepherds
3. Beagles
4. Golden retrievers
5. Yorkshire terriers
6. Bulldog
7. Boxers
8. Poodles
9. Dachshunds
10. Rottweiler

The Top 10 Breeds of 2010 were:
1. Labrador retrievers
2. German shepherds
3. Yorkshire terriers
4. Beagles
5. Golden retrievers
6. Bulldog
7. Boxers
8. Dachshunds
9. Poodles
10. Shih Tzus

AKC Categories

The AKC recognizes dogs in seven categories: sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting and herding. The largest breed registration in each group is as follows:

  • Sporting – e.g. Labrador retriever
  • Hound – e.g. beagle
  • Working – e.g. boxers
  • Terrier – e.g. miniature schnauzer
  • Toy – e.g. Yorkshire terrier
  • Non-sporting – e.g. poodles
  • Herding – e.g. German shepherd


    How Did YOUR Breed Score? Go to Top Dog Breeds of 2012 - Most Popular Dogs for the entire 2012 AKC ranking.

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