If you're wild about your Labrador Retriever, you're not alone. In recent years, the breed has topped the American Kennel Club's list of registered canines. And Labs are nearly three times more popular than the breed in the second position, Golden Retrievers.
It's easy to understand America's love affair with Labs. Patient and playful, devoted and energetic, Labrador Retrievers are ideal family pets that get along well with children. Need a stick chaser? Your Lab's the one. Want to go for a swim? Take your water-loving Labrador along. Setting out on the trail? Labs need lots of exercise and are great hiking companions.
A hard-working breed
Labs are not just #1 with America's families, they're also the top dogs in search-and-rescue missions—and the first choice for seeing-eye work, too. In fact, with their gentle disposition and initiative, Labs make up approximately 60–70% of the U.S. guide dog population.
Possessing keen noses, agile running ability, and unmatched swimming skills (aided by their otter tail, sleek coats and strong legs), Labradors are also the ultimate retriever and a hunter's best friend.
Top of the canine world for a dozen years
According to experts in American dog-ownership trends, individual breeds enjoy dominance for approximately 25 years. Labrador Retrievers have been leading the AKC popularity contest for about twelve years, which means your favorite breed could remain in the top spot for quite awhile.
Trend experts believe that when American homes started to become super-sized in the 1970s—the same period when families started having fewer children—there was more room in the house for bigger dogs. So Cockers and Poodles took a back seat to the stockier, fun-loving Labradors.
No one knows how much longer Labs will keep the AKC's #1 spot, but among devoted Lab owners this delightful breed will always be top dog.