The American Kennel Club released its rankings of the top dogs of 2016 Tuesday on “Fox & Friends” -- and for many breeds, the rankings should result in tail-wagging.
Labrador retrievers snagged the No. 1 spot for the 26th year in a row proving once again that “America loves their retrievers.” AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo says labs have plenty of energy and are very popular for homes.
But for those seeking more than a family pet, the breed has proved itself at everything from bomb-sniffing to guiding the blind.
At No. 8, the Rottweiler posted its highest ranking in almost 20 years. Renowned for their loyalty, confidence and protective instincts, Rotties were America's second-most-popular dog in 1997. Their popularity rating faded to 17th within a decade, as some small breeds became very desirable. But Rottweilers muscled their way back into the top 10 in 2015.
In addition to the Rottweilers’ eye-catching jump in the rankings, “beautiful” and “distinctive” bulldogs among several other breeds have made sizeable moves up the popularity ladder. Australian shepherds jumped from 34th to 16th place.
Some rarer breeds have not been so lucky with the AKC rankings, mostly because they haven’t had enough time to build a following. DiNardo encourages people to check out rarer breeds when looking for a dog. “Breeders are there, trying to preserve and protect those breeds.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and some other animal-rights activists disapprove of the search of purebreds, saying it fuels puppy mills and diverts people from adopting mixed-breed dogs.
Conscientious breeding helps owners predict what dog will be right for them to make a lasting match, AKC officials say. Whether purebred or mixed-breed, "there's a right dog for everyone," DiNardo added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.