American Kennel Club – Dog Registration Statistics and Trends Review

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The AKC provides us annually with national/major city registration statistics regarding the rankings by dog breed. According to their mission statement, the club is dedicated to the “study, breeding, exhibiting, running and maintenance of purebred dogs.” Their registry maintenance and data collection is an important contribution to the study of the purebred in America.

Their most recent report (2011) has both familiar outcomes and interesting trends.

As could be predicted, the Labrador retriever once again is ranked the top breed in the country. The breed has occupied this heralded position for 21 years. This is an incredible accomplishment and a credit to the merits of the breed itself. The family favorite is smart, beautiful, loyal and a wonderful companion. You can expect that the Lab most probably will continue to oversee all remaining breeds from this lofty perch for some time to come. Although impressive, the Lab must remain in the first spot for one more year to tie the record holder for this position with 22 years. The owner of this distinction is the Poodle of course.

The German Shepherd, another beloved breed has maintained the #2 position for the past two years suggesting that it may be laying claim to its ownership of this number. Bred for their intelligence, the German Shepherd is loyal and generally bonds quickly to whomever it determines to be the alpha in the home. A popular breed to be sure.

The remaining breeds ranked in the top 10 according to the 2011 registration statistics are:

  • #3. Beagles
  • #4. Golden Retrievers
  • #5. Yorkshire Terriers
  • #6. Bulldogs
  • #7. Boxers
  • #8. Poodles
  • #9. Dachshunds
  • #10. Rottweilers

The rankings for breeds that we have recently highlighted via articles here follow:

  • #29. English Springer Spaniel
  • #34. Bernese Mountain Dog
  • #39. Bichons Frises
  • #52. Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier

Of particular note from our highlighted list is the significant change in registrations for the Bernese Mountain Dog. This breed moved up to #34 from #54, indicative of the positive trend upward in popularity of larger dogs, also evidenced by the considerable movement of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog from #101 to #82. This is further emphasized by the fact that of the top 10 breeds 6 are classified as large dogs.

This is somewhat surprising for a number of reasons. On the surface, larger dogs simply cost more to own. Depending on the quality of food you purchase, the monthly bill could range from $20 to $60 or more.

[By the way, please purchase the best, healthiest food you can afford. It truly makes an immediate difference. We owe it to our pets to feed them the best.]

Additionally, there are the costs associated with chew tools and trust me these are much cheaper than a new leg on the dining room table. Basically the bigger the dog, the bigger the chew tools or any toy for that matter. Even costs associated with Vet visits and medicines can reflect the size of your dog. But, based on these statistics, owners are opting to sidestep the cost issues and prefer to take advantage of the many benefits associated with larger dogs.

When we look at the numbers by major city, we see some very interesting, even surprising information.

In Boston, the Boston Terrier did not make the top ten. The wonderful residents of Boston did show their preference for smaller dogs though.

In Atlanta, dog lovers elevated the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel five spots to rank #4 in their local top ten list. This is somewhat surprising since this breed ranked #21 nationally. Nice going Atlanta!

In Honolulu, they dislodged the perennial favorite, the Lab with, of all breeds, the Chihuahua. There is obviously a different drummer at work on this beautiful island.

New York City also broke the first place trend by placing the Yorkshire Terrier in #1. This makes sense really, since the Yorkshire is easy to manage, portable and very resilient, a trait in great demand in NYC for both dogs and owners.

Beyond also ranking the Yorkshire #1, Tampa had the distinction of having both the #4 and #5 spots end in ties. At #4 is the Dachshund/Golden Retriever. At #5 we find the Bulldog/Chihuahua competing for the same spot. My money is on the Bulldog!

Well there you have it. A quick look at breeds based on their popularity. Where does your special friend rank on the list, not that it matters to any owner I know. We have found that ranking high on a national popularity list could have mixed blessings for the breed though; fodder for a future article no doubt.