According to the American Kennel Club, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in America. This fact could seem strange to those unfamiliar with the list, but to the initiated, it’s no surprise at all. The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog in America for almost 30 years now. Still, what’s most fascinating is the way historically less popular canine breeds are now vying for the American soul.
While there are only four states where the Labrador Retriever isn’t the most popular dog, a new Quartz videos hows, the increase of pet ownership in big, but compact, cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City is making smaller and more manageable breeds like the French Bulldog a popular option. Big cities often house large swathes of a state’s population, so it makes sense that trends that develop within them can have far-reaching statistical effects. New York City, for example, houses around 43 percent of the New York State population, which is a huge percentage for one city, so once a particular breed becomes popular there it can easily catapult that breed to the upper echelons of the list.
Frenchies moved up seven spots since 2013 and are now the fourth most popular dog in the country, kicking the Beagle out of the top five and moving past the traditional English Bulldog. Due to the advent of meme culture, the Shiba Inu, another formally obscure breed, has become way more popular in recent years. Still, despite the Shiba’s million dollar stare, the breed is still only 45 on the list of most popular dog breeds.
Even outside the big city, the popular breed depends a lot on where a person chooses to live. In a state like Kentucky which is composed of 120 counties, 85 of which are rural, the Beagle is still the number one dog. Unsurprisingly, Beagles are descendants of hound dogs, and require a great deal of exercise and time spent outside if owners don’t want them to become obese or develop health problems.
Despite the slowly changing guard of dog owners, German Shepards are still the country’s number two favorite overall, and Golden Retrievers round out the top three. If trends keep up, however, the Frenchie will crack the top three by this time next year.