Top Ten Most Popular Registered Dogs of 2012

At the beginning of each year, the American Kennel Club takes a look at the dogs they registered over the course of the previous year, to come up with a ranking based on popularity. Of course, this doesn't account for the world's most popular dog, the mutt-i-gree, nor for those who purchase purebreds but fail to register them.

The biggest trend for 2012 is, well, big! Large dogs including Golden Retrievers, Bulldogs, and the Rottweilers all experienced a rise in popularity from the previous year. According to AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson, "Bigger breeds are making their move. The popularity of the pint-sized, portable pooch just gave way to a litter of larger breeds in the Top 10. These predictable, durable, steady breeds, like Labs and Goldens, are great with kids and offer the whole family more dog to love."

Without further ado, here's the 2012 list:

The Dachshund
The Dachshund, everyone's favorite wiener.

10. The Dachshund, everyone's favorite wiener, slipped from the number nine spot down to number ten this year. These dogs come in short-haired, long-haired, and wire-haired variety. There are also two sizes: standard and miniature. Members of the hound group, Dachshunds can be family pets, but they are most known for their hunting ability in finding and extracting badgers from their underground lairs.

9. Swapping places with the Dachshund, the Rottweiler moved up one slot this year. This hard-working member of the working group is very protective of his territory. Once shown that a stranger is welcome, the Rott will accept your visitors and entertain them with his clownish ways. They have short hair and require minimal grooming, but need lots of daily exercise. In addition to their guard dog capabilities, they also can help drive cattle.

The Poodle
The Poodle comes in three sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy.

8. The Poodle held its own at position number eight. These curly-haired, hypo-allergenic dogs come in three sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy. Although they are all the same dog with just a difference in height (over 15 inches, 10 - 15 inches, and under 10 inches, respectively) they belong to two different AKC groups. The Standard and Miniature Poodles compete in the non-sporting group, while the Toy belongs, of course, in the toy group. These dogs make excellent companions when they're not busy retrieving the hunter's prey from the water.

7. The Boxer stayed steady at position number seven. This breed was originally bred to literally stand up to fight large prey such as wild boar and bison. On his hind feet, the boxer looks amazingly like a human boxer. The breed is more well-known now for its gentle nature and its absolute need for human affection. Boxers are exceptionally good with children and are very protective of their family. Grooming requirements are minimal, but daily exercise is a must.

6. A terrier who competes in the toy group, the Yorkshire Terrier is high-maintenance but beautiful. They weigh just four to seven pounds and don't need a bunch of exercise, which is good because you'll be spending lots of time grooming that long, silky coat. The Yorkie makes a good companion and works part-time as a ratter.

5. Any fans of the University of Georgia? The number five entry on our list is a Bulldog, the mascot of many schools including UGA. A Bulldog is immediately recognizable by his pushed in nose and classic underbite. The shortened nose can make the breed susceptible to heat illnesses in the summer, so they don't do well in extremely hot climates. Although they were originally bred to bait bulls in the fighting ring, they have been tamed to the point where now they make excellent family companions. It's not uncommon to find a Bulldog forming very strong bonds with the children of the home.

The Beagle
The Beagle is perfectly happy to curl up on your lap when not hunting.

4. The Beagle slipped one spot, down from three last year to position four this year. This beautiful hunting dog comes in two sizes, 13-inches and 15-inches, measured from the shoulder to the floor. Beagles assist the hunter by chasing prey in circles until the hunter can take aim. Rabbits and squirrels are their favorite prey, and they will go to great lengths to join in the chase. A securely gated fence is a requirement to keep these little runners from dashing into the street. When not working, the Beagle is perfectly happy to curl up on your lap or under your covers and dream of the last hunt.

3. Moving up from number four to number three this year, the Golden Retriever wants nothing more than to please his family. The long golden hair, a hallmark of the breed, requires frequent grooming. Goldens are useful in a variety of capacities in addition to being an all-around good companion. Their intelligence makes them valuable in search-and-rescue. Their friendliness gives them the ability to work as therapy animals in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. And their fabulous work ethic makes them the go-to breed for hunting, as well as in the show ring and sporting events.

2. The German Shepherd Dog, holding onto the number two spot, is well-known as a guard dog, used by both police and the military. However, he does live up to the shepherd part of his name, making an excellent herder. The German Shepherd is a bundle of energy and requires frequent exercise. He is loyal to a fault, and makes an excellent family companion.

The Labrador Retriever
Whether you prefer the black, chocolate, or white variety, these dogs are hard to ignore.

1. Last but not least, hanging onto the number one spot for the 22nd consecutive year: the Labrador Retriever. Whether you prefer the black, chocolate, or white variety, these dogs are hard to ignore. They're playful, family-friendly, and hard workers in retrieving game. With their 22nd year under their belts, they have now tied with the Poodle for longest reign at the top. Labs excel at athletic competitions like dock diving and agility, and they love their families to a fault.

Adding to the family

The other big news out of the AKC is that they added two more breeds to their Stud Book: the Chinook and the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno.

The Chinook is a result of cross-breeding a Mastiff with a Greenland Husky, with a soupcon of German and Belgian Shepherds. They are known for the ability as sled dogs, and were once designated the rarest dog in the world. However, they are now growing in popularity due to their eager-to-please family friendly nature. They require moderate grooming, particularly in the spring and fall when they blow their coats. Chinooks need regular exercise, so it's good that they love children. They make a natural pair for working out by backpacking, jogging, and hiking.

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a small breed with erect ears and a wedge-shaped head. The coat may be smooth or wiry. They were bred to hunt rabbits in the thickets of Portugal. They have an unending supply of energy and require lots of exercise as well as mental stimulation. These dogs are easy to train and require very little grooming. Just like the Beagle, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno requires a securely fenced yard to prevent them escaping to chase the small prey of the neighborhood.

aped head. The coat may be smooth or wiry. They were bred to hunt rabbits in the thickets of Portugal. They have an unending supply of energy and require lots of exercise as well as mental stimulation. These dogs are easy to train and require very little grooming. Just like the Beagle, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno requires a securely fenced yard to prevent them escaping to chase the small prey of the neighborhood.

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