The list of the most popular dogs/pups registered has revealed a shift towards larger breeds. It would be nice to think this means Americans are planning to be more fit, more active, more outdoorsy, but labs have been the top registered breed with the AKC for the past 22 years. So sorry guys, you probably are just going to turn out to be fat family cushions and not the sporting dog you were meant to be.
Note that this is a registered summary from the American Kennel Club, which is the largest registry in the U.S. (http://www.wonderpuppy.net/kc.htm site has a good article/summary of what dog registries do and don’t do – hm when I just tried using this link it didn’t work although I was just there with a google search). There has been a large, determined push to get mixed breeds from the many shelters to be the dogs of choice for Americans and certainly the ‘designer’ dog people have cashed in on the mutt craze, of course they bred puppies to do it, oops. So much cuter and easier to get than running the gambit, filling in pages of forms from the paranoid, you could be the next dog abuser, shelter people.
1. Labrador Retriever (has been in this top spot for 22 years, definitely Wisconsin’s most common reg. breed and goes well with camo or orange clothing). AKC recognizes three colors: black, yellow and chocolate, so all you red, silver and whatever colors – who’s the registry for that and what are they doing to make sure the breed standard is upheld? The breed standard for an adult lab is to weigh in the 60-75 pound range. Labs and lab crosses are probably the most common pups I see in my kindergarten classes, they’re easy to train, but very active, mouthy pups and later, not much later often get overfed/overweight. The “I’ve got a large-boned 120 pound lab,” yeah right…just put your teenager in a wet suit and have them fetch the ducks, it’ll be just as easy getting them in and out of the boat.
2. German Shepherd (more GS in my puppy kindergartens over the last couple of years, and they need lots of socialization – as do all puppies, but really important here because they worry about things and you know it when they’re worried because they are ‘I could bite you’ barking from one foot away. The comments I hear from women are that they remember the good free roaming, but stick close family dog they had as children and want the protection a GS offers, but then they get overwhelmed by the neediness and responsibility because free roaming isn’t an option any more). I haven’t seen anyone practicing obedience or agility or anything in public with a German Shepherd lately, maybe they’re all in hiding just planning the next foray. The average homeowners claim because of a dog bite is around $24,000 and too many insurance companies have them on the won’t insure list. Better get active complaining to insurance companies. see AKC’s site for more info: http://www.akc.org/insurance/homeowners_inscenter.cfm
3. Golden Retriever – friendly, pretty and will stop traffic with people wanting to come say hi to the dog – “I love these dogs, oh it doesn’t matter if he jumps on me.” (oddly enough people think this breed doesn’t need training mostly because it’s generally well-tempered, which is unfortunate because they are an active dog that does best with a purpose. A near-by Golden Retriever breeder gave the families he sold his pups to a discount coupon for puppy kindergarten, only one called me and she decided she didn’t have time to take the six-week class. So, was there time enough to raise a puppy?).
4. Beagle (my first dog I trained myself as a 14-year old, was Spicy, a beagle, she taught me a bunch about hounds and about listening to baying when she went hunting without me).
6. Yorkshire Terrier – the only toy breed on the list most people clip the coat (other toys, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians and small dog – Pugs declined in popularity). If you have a number 5 you need a number 6 to wake him up if there’s an intruder, but watch out if they try to play together, bulldogs do this body slam flop play that could squish anything little.
7. Boxer (lots of energy here). Another brachycephalic dog, ‘I can run, but I can’t breathe so well, let me catch my breath.’ Short faced dogs have eyes that can do a better job of facial discrimination, TV watching, as opposed to long nosed dogs who can see distant movement and have better night vision. Also frequently on insurance companies don’t insure lists.
8. Poodle (prior to the lab, poodles had the longest reign at the top of the popularity list with 22 years also, this reign definitely degraded the quality esp. of toy and miniatures). The first dog I trained for someone else (35 years ago) was a coffee au lait standard poodle, she was an incredibly quick learner and very willing to comply to requests. This was also the first time I understood that people would sometimes use the training the dog knew to punish them…come here you bad dog. The breeder ended up getting her back, thank goodness. Poodles tend to be very compliant, that’s why they mostly don’t do well as seeing eye dogs, who need to disobey in cases of danger.
9. Rottweiler- another large protective, needs lots of socialization, only second to pit bulls in jaw strength dog. So are we feeling we need protection? This is another, top of the list breed that insurers don’t want to insure.
10 Dachshund – the second hound in the top 10. Makes lots of noise, wiggly, definitely a hound and follows that nose, good vacuum cleaner. People love those weiner dogs, but that long back (ouch) and well tendency towards fat, oh dear.
According to the AKC the mastiff type breeds did the largest popularity shift upwards; mastiff, bull mastiff, cane corso, dogue du Bordeaux, mastiff Neopolitano. Also the bully breeds; Staffordshire terrier, bull terrier, miniature bull terrier. Many of these same breeds are the ones that insurance companies and locals are legislating against and not covering in policies, so I’m expecting some active lobbying? or more lying about what kind of dog is that? Some of these have quite the reputation, founded and unfounded both. And when they’re the right weight, they’re very high volume dogs, just think what the fat ones will weigh. Oh he’s a large boned mastiff…400 pounder? Can’t get him in the car, had to buy a horse trailer. Somehow I’m not thinking there will be much socialization going on, too hard to move all the kids seats out of the way to get the dog in.
So are you one with the popular breeds, or thinking about getting that popular dog? Have you thought about whether you will be able to insure your home? Are you willing to get politically active to support the dog breed you chose or are you planning on moving or lying? And what are you doing to make sure your dog can make good choices, because if he/she bites someone…