Okay, America, I get it.  The Labrador Retriever is known to be cute, sweet, loyal, and super small when they’re puppies.  What I don’t get is how you continually make this breed #1 for over 25 years.

That’s right.  For the 26th year in a row, America’s favorite breed is the Labrador retriever.  Honestly, I can understand why labs dominate the annual American Kennel Club list year after year.  However, the rest of the list is far more confusing.

Before I jump into that, let me preface that I grew up around labs.  My neighbors down the road always had two labs (a black and a yellow) and they were, by far, the most behaved dogs on the street.  They never broke loose, knocked people over, nor tried to bite me if I strolled by their yard.  Yeah, I’m calling those English Springer spaniels and beagles OUT.

So, I get that they’re extremely easy-to-control and obedient.  They’re a decent size and offer invaluable protection should the wrong person enter your property.  Plus, they’re smart!  Training them is kinda a breeze compared to other breeds.   That’s what makes the Labrador Retriever such an attractive pet.

But being #1 for 26 years in a row?  Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

So, 2nd on the list is the German Shepherd.  Again, it’s a dog I have tons of experience with because I grew up around them.  My dad’s K-9 companion was the white GSD named Patton.  And, well, if you ask a CSP trooper that happened to be active in the 80’s about Patton, they’ll probably know exactly who you’re talking about.

Patton really loved his job, let’s say.

But besides Patton, my aunt owned (and still owns to this day) shepherds.  Also, my sister owns 2.

The fact of the matter is: German Shepherds are some of the hardest breeds to handle.  They’re wickedly smart, stubborn, and STRONG.  Not to mention, their size totally works in their favor.   I understand the allure of having a GSD at home because they’re the ultimate protector and are super loyal, but they’re not for everyone.  Let’s just say they’re not for beginners.  Kinda like how pit bulls are not for beginners.  They require a ton of attention and guidance to become their best selves.

Still, it’s nice that the breed has significantly recovered from their nasty reputation they garnered in the 80s.   If trained right (and I mean with A LOT of training) they make wonderful companions.   They are also a handsome breed that’s proven to win top honors at dog shows.

Would I ever own a German Shepherd?  Eh, probably not.  Their undying energy is definitely alluring since I’m a runner, but I see how much trouble these dogs love to get into.

Third this year is the Golden Retriever.  Honestly, it’s a no brainer.  They’re gorgeous dogs and pretty easy to train.  They’re also Hollywood’s favorite breed.  Air-Bud, Homeward Bound, Up, Full House, Punky Brewster… the list goes on.  They’re pretty easy to handle, too, if you enjoy endless games of fetch and chasing after them if they ever get loose.

Being in the top three is a huge honor in the AKC.  It reflects what America values in a dog and, the biggest common denominators I can see are loyalty, size, and intelligence.

However, small breeds are starting to make a comeback.

Surprisingly, though, so are Rottweilers.  Again, another breed that miraculously survived its “bully breed” reputation of the 90s.  These big loving marshmallows placed 8th this year.

Anyways, here’s the remainder of the top 10.

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepherd
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. Bulldog
  5. Beagle
  6. French Bulldog
  7. Poodle
  8. Rottweiler
  9. Yorkshire Terrier
  10. Boxer

While the top three share some consistency, the rest of the list is kinda all over the place in terms of size, grooming needs, and temperaments.   Then again, America is extremely diverse and people have different needs when picking a new member of the family.  Neighborhood size requirements have become a real pain lately, too.

Also, the top 10 is severely lacking the best dog of all: the collie.  How it placed 37th this year is utterly baffling to me.  They’re loving, loyal, gentle, excellent with kids, intelligent, and the ultimate sidekick.  The only downside I can think of is they take a long time to groom because of their double coat.  But, to me, it’s honestly worth it.

So, hope you enjoyed me prattling off about dogs.  What breed do you think deserves to be in the top 10?  What breed should be #1?  You know my answer, so I want to hear yours!


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