For the first time in more than 30 years, the Labrador is not the most popular dog breed in the U.S.
That crown goes to the French bulldog, The Associated Press reported. The breed was the second most popular in 2021, according to The American Kennel Club.
The AKC announced Wednesday that the Frenchie took over the lab’s coveted spot that it had held for a record 31 years.
The AKC used the registrations of about 716,000 puppies and other newly-registered dogs from last year and covers about 200 breeds, the AP reported. The list does not include mixed-breed dogs like Labradoodles, puggles, Morkies and other “designer” hybrids.
The French Bull Dog Club of America’s spokesperson, Patty Sosa, said it was because “They’re comical, friendly, loving little dogs.”
They are also city-friendly and have limited grooming and exercise needs. They are also good for apartments and small homes, the AKC said.
“They offer a lot in a small package,” Sosa added.
Twenty-five years ago the French bulldog wasn’t even on the radar of most popular dogs, but that has all changed.
Now they’re so popular that they’ve been the target of dognappers, including a deadly shooting of a 76-year-old breeder in South Carolina and the 2021 shooting of a dog walker in charge of Lady Gaga’s dogs.
The dogs also frequently have breathing spinal, eye and skin conditions with veterinarians worldwide saying that pet owners should not buy flat-faced breeds like Frenches.
In the Netherlands, the country has outlawed breeding them and other extremely short-snouted dogs and may go as far as making it illegal to own them, the AP reported.
Other vets suggest prospective Frenchie owners research the breed and know what they could be getting into because some health issues can be expensive to treat. But Dr. Carrie Stefaniak told the AP that “These dogs can be very fit, can be very active. They don’t have to be sedentary dogs that can’t breathe.”
The top 10 most popular dogs, according to the AKC, are as follows:
- French bulldog
- Labrador retrievers
- Golden retrievers
- German shepherds
- German shorthaired pointers
As for the least registered dog with the AKC, that honor goes to the English foxhounds.
To see the complete list, visit the AKC’s website.