The Labrador Retriever, the dog known best for its happy-go-lucky, fun-loving demeanor, is the most popular purebred dog in America for the 18th consecutive year, but the Bulldog continues to fetch more interest from dog lovers.
The American Kennel Club, which has released its list of the 10 most popular purebred dogs for 2008 based upon the organization's registration statistics, says the Bulldog placed eighth after making the top 10 in 2007 for the first time in 70 years.
"The playful Lab may still reign supreme, but the docile and adaptive nature of the Bulldog is gaining ground as a family favorite," AKC spokeswoman Lisa Peterson states in a media release. "It’s no surprise to learn that this devoted family companion is still growing in popularity."
The other dogs rounding out the top 10 are: German Shepherd, third; Golden Retriever, fourth; Beagle, fifth; Boxer, sixth; Dachshund, seventh; Poodle, ninth; Shih Tzu, 10th. The AKC, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, registered only nine breeds in 1884 at the time of the organization’s founding. Today, it recognizes 161.
According to the AKC, breeds that have gained in popularity in the decade from 1998 to 2008 include:
- Bulldog, which has gained 69 percent; and four of its relatives, Miniature Bull Terrier, up 109 percent; Bull Terrier, up 102 percent, Stafford shire Bull Terrier, up 69 percent, and the Bull mastiff, up 22 percent.
- Border Collie, known for its mastery of the highly popular canine sport of agility, gained 50 percent.
- Smaller, apartment-sized dogs that are popular with urban dog parents such as the French Bulldog, up 467 percent, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, up 209 percent, and the Brussels Griffon, up 73 percent.
- Lesser-known breeds such as the Ibizan Hound, up 74 percent, Norwich Terrier, up 39 percent, and Bedlington Terrier, up 28 percent.
- Large dogs such as the Bernese Mountain Dog, up 78 percent, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, up 88 percent, and the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, up 117 percent.
For the sixth consecutive year, Max is the the most popular name that dog parents choose for their pets.
A survey by Veterinary Pet Insurance found that Baily is the second most popular name given to dogs listed in the Brea, Calif., company's 2008 database.
VPI's database of insured dogs indicates traditional pet names, such as Fido, have taken a back seat to people names like Max, Bella, Chloe and Sophie and Bailey - which also rank among the Social Security Administration's most popular baby names.
"Pets are often viewed as members of the family, treated like members of the family and, as a result, named like members of the family," VPI spokesman Curtis Steinhoff states in a media release. "Max may sleep on his owner's bed, eat gourmet food and wear clothes to go out on the town. Rover probably does not. Max is short, yet easy to distinguish from common commands, so it is easy to understand why it's such a popular pet name."
The report also found that Max has many variations, such as Maximum Max, Max Power, Max Avalanche, Maximus Gladius Spartacus, Minimax, Sergeant Maxwell T. Steel, Max the Moose, Max Crime Fighter, Cherokee Max, Peanut Max, T.J. Maxx, Duramax, Fatmax, Maxmax, Maxator Midnight and Mad Max McNaughty.
Rounding out the top 10 most popular names are Bella, Molly, Lucy, Buddy, Maggie, Daisy, Sophie and Chloe.
Sophie and Chloe replaced Jake and Rocky on the top 10 list. (January 14, 2009)