According to American Kennel Club® (AKC) 2009 registration statistics released today during a press conference at Grand Central Terminal in New York City, the German Shepherd Dog overtook the Yorkshire Terrier last year and is now ranked second most popular in the nation for the first time in more than three decades.
"Labs have been America's top dog for nearly two decades due to their loyal and gentle nature," said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "But the German Shepherd Dog has gained ground recently, quite possibly due to the increased attention they receive for their security efforts at home and abroad. Hailed as the world's leading police, guard and military dog, this energetic and fun-loving breed is a loyal family pet, ideal companion and dependable K-9 partner when duty calls."
2009 Most Popular Dogs in the U.S.
1. Labrador Retriever
2. German Shepherd Dog
3. Yorkshire Terrier
4. Golden Retriever
10. Shih Tzu
WORKING K-9s "SNIFF OUT" THE TOP 10 The German Shepherd Dog isn't the only breed Americans will spot at the airport or train terminal when they travel Labradors, Golden Retrievers and Beagles work throughout the country to keep the homeland safe. These breeds are used by law enforcement military and homeland security personnel for a variety of tasks ranging from border patrol, bomb and narcotics detection, to searching for missing persons and tracking down fugitives.
These four breeds were developed for various forms of hunting or herding, but the traits that made them so effective at these jobs, such as strong scenting ability of the Beagle, the eager-to-please attitude of the Golden Retriever and Labrador, and the bold nature of the German Shepherd, make them effective in their careers today.
"Despite advances in security technology, the canine and its unique abilities remain a valued resource for the military and law enforcement agencies that work to keep us safe," said Peterson. "The loyalty, intelligence and hardworking nature which make these breeds desirable as K-9 partners in the field also contribute to their status as valuable companions in the hearts of dog owners around the nation."
PET PREFERENCES: FIFTY OF THE LARGEST CITIES Top trends in 50 large cities in the U.S. include: