Quiz: How Well Do You Know the American Kennel Club’s Top Dog Breeds?

Some of these facts on the most popular AKC breeds from 1880 to now might surprise you.


Do you tend to agree with most of the country when it comes to choosing a dog breed, or do you like to find a breed that’s a little offbeat? Where does your favorite breed fall in the American Kennel Club’s annual breed registration statistics?

But first, a quiz:

1. What three breeds have occupied the No. 1 spot for the longest times?

The Labrador Retriever is now in its 23rd year, tying the record for consecutive years with the Poodle. The Cocker Spaniel also held the top spot for 23 years, but that was not consecutive. The Lab looks like it has no intention of budging.

2. What breed is ascending in rankings the fastest?

The French Bulldog has risen by 323 percent in the past decade, up to 11th place — its highest ranking to date.

3. What’s the most popular breed in New York City?

NYC’s top dog is the Bulldog, followed by the French Bulldog, Lab, German Shepherd and Golden Retriever. Want to see what your city’s most popular breed is? Check out the AKC’s rankings here.

4. What’s the only giant breed to ever occupy the No. 1 spot?

The Saint Bernard was the top breed of the 1890s. It’s the only No. 1 breed to never reappear in the top 10 afterward.

5. What’s the only Made-in-the-USA breed to hold the No. 1 spot?

The Boston Terrier, a top-10 breed for six decades, reached the No. 1 spot twice, in the 1910s and 1930s.

6. What are growing in popularity more rapidly, little dogs or big dogs?

Surprisingly, big dogs are the ones making the biggest steps up the popularity ladder. Over the past decade, Doberman Pinschers moved from 22 to 12; Great Danes from 27 to 16; and Bernese Mountain Dogs from 47 to 32.

7. What No. 1 breed was probably greatly influenced by two movie star dogs?

Before there was Eddie, before there was Benji, before there was Lassie, there was Rin Tin Tin — and before him there was Strongheart. Strongheart and Rin Tin Tin, both German Shepherds, were the first animal superstars. So it’s no surprise that during and shortly after their stardom, German Shepherds became the top breed of the 1920s — until World War II negated their popularity. After the war they re-emerged as a favorite, always in the top four breeds since.

8. Name one once popular breed that has decreased in popularity in the last decade.

Among those breeds that have fallen are Dachshunds (from 5 to 10), Shih Tzu (from 9 to 15), Chihuahuas (from 10 to 22), Cocker Spaniels (from 14 to 29), Pugs (from 12 to 31), Miniature Pinschers (from 19 to 53) and Pekingese (from 37 to 77). Fear not: Popularity isn’t always a good thing. And breeds that fall often come back.

9. What was the most popular breed in the U.S. in the first decade that AKC kept records?

The English Setter ruled in the 1880s, perhaps fitting because the first AKC registered dog was an English Setter named Adonis.

10. Name the top 10 breeds of 2013. Bonus: in order!

1: Labrador Retriever
2: German Shepherd
3: Golden Retriever
4: Beagle
5: Bulldog
6: Yorkshire Terrier
7: Boxer
8: Poodle
9: Rottweiler
10. Dachshund

Where does your breed stand? For a complete listing, check out the AKC’s breed stats.

Learn more about dogs and breeds on Dogster:

About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier.

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