Every dog has its day, and for the top 10 most popular dog breeds, those days are often! We already featured the most popular cat breeds, but when it comes to celebrating popular dog breeds, there’s no day bigger than Thanksgiving, when the National Dog Show gives purebred dogs the chance to bask in the glory of the show ring.
The American Kennel Club sanctions the National Dog Show, and also puts out a list of the 10 most “popular” dogs in the U.S., which for 2011 is as follows:
1. Labrador Retriever (20 years in a row!)
2. German Shepherd
3. Yorkshire Terrier
5. Golden Retriever
10. Shih Tzu
The list contains a wide range of dogs, from small to large, and from fancy to not-so-fancy. Keep in mind that many purebred dogs are more prone to genetic diseases than mixed breed dogs, but choosing a breeder who practices responsible breeding will greatly decrease your chance of buying a problem-prone pooch (that is, if you must buy rather than adopt).
Large breeds like the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever and German Shepherd are more frequently affected by hip dysplasia. In hip dysplasia, the ball and socket parts of the hip joint do not fit well, and this can cause pain and lead to osteoarthritis.
Small breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier and Shih Tzu have patellar luxations on their list of potential orthopedic problems. Patellar luxations, or trick knees, occur when the knee cap slides out of place, causing intermittent lameness and pain.
The Bulldog edged out the Boxer in popularity this year, but they both share a propensity towards atopy, or allergic skin disease. They can also come with genetic diseases ranging from elbow dysplasia and cherry eyes in the Bulldog to cardiomyopathy (heart disease) and mast cell tumors in the Boxer.
Purebred dogs are great family pets, as are mixed-breed dogs. If you are set on getting a purebred dog, check your local shelter first. Purebred dogs are abandoned or lost every day. Also check with a rescue organization specific to your desired breed, such as the numerous ones set up to find homes for retired racing Greyhounds. These organizations work diligently to place unwanted or abandoned purebred dogs with loving, caring owners.
If you’ve looked into rescue options and come up empty-handed, you can always seek out a reputable breeder. Ask your two-legged friends at the dog park who they recommend!