AKC releases most popular breeds for 2008 (and 1884)


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AKC releases most popular breeds for 2008 (and 1884)

Updated Jan 26, 2009

Black, yellow, or chocolate, the Labrador Retriever is the nation's most popular dog, according to the AKC
Black, yellow, or chocolate, the Labrador Retriever is the nation’s most popular dog, according to the AKC

The American Kennel Club’s top ten most popular breeds for 2008 shows the Labrador Retriever in the #1 spot for the 18th year in a row. There were twice as many Labs registered last year than any other breed making it a likely leader for many years to come. Docile and easy-going, it’s easy to see why people love them so much.

Last in the alphabet, but second in our hearts is the Yorkshire Terrier, or the Yorkie, as they are affectionately called. These little dogs jumped from #9 in 1998 and #6 in 2003 to the number 2 spot in 2007.  Third on the list is the German Shepherd dog, which has ranked in the #3 and #4 spot for the past 10 years.

What we love now though is not what we loved in 1884, when the AKC was founded. Even though the AKC only recognized 9 breeds then (they recognize 161 today), it’s interesting to note that not one of those popular breeds in 1884 is in the top ten list today. The Cocker Spaniel comes the closest, ranking #21 in 2008.

Top ten dog breeds for 2008

Most popular in 1884

1. Labrador Retriever

1. Pointer (2008 ranking, 111)

2. Yorkshire Terrier

2. Chesapeake Bay Retriever (48)

3. German Shepherd dog

3. English Setter (86)

4. Golden Retriever

4. Gordon Setter (92)

5. Beagle

5. Irish Setter (69)

6. Boxer

6. Clumber Spaniel (117)

7. Dachshund

7. Cocker Spaniel (21)

8. Bulldog

8. Irish Water Spaniel (144)

9. Poodle

9. Sussex Spaniel (147)

10. Shih Tzu


And where is the Portuguese Water Dog, one of the dogs being considered by President Obama and his family? They rank #64, but expect that ranking to change in 2009 if the breed becomes the nation’s first pet.

Click here for a listing of breeds and their popularity ranking for the past few years.

Click here for a listing of the most popular breeds in 50 U.S. cities.

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One thought on “AKC releases most popular breeds for 2008 (and 1884)

  1. I’m surprised.  I thought Golden Retrievers would be closer to number one.  I guess top four isn’t bad.  Retrievers make great dogs in general. 🙂

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Cathy Rosenthal, CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 25 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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