After it had been the most registered dog breed in the U.S. for 31 years in a row, the Labrador Retriever has fallen to rank 2 in the annual ranking of the nation's most popular canines by the American Kennel Club. The new top dog in the U.S. as of 2022 is the French Bulldog. The trendy pooch has climbed the ranks in record speed - from coming in sixth in 2015 and only 26th in 2008 - despite animal activist having called the dog overbred and its myriad of health problems cruel.
The French Bulldog is, however, just the latest in a string of dog-related trends that have surged and ebbed throughout the years. In the 2000s, another lifestyle breed, the Yorkshire Terrier, climbed up the ranks and clawed on to the top-2 position between 2006 and 2008. The trend was short-lived and the breed was out of the top ten by 2019. The Rottweiler was America's second-favorite dog throughout much of the 1990s, then fell out of favor and in the 2000s and only recently made a resurgence, ranking seventh last year.
The Cocker Spaniel is the only dog that rose to the number one spot twice - in the 1940s, the breed stayed on the top of the list for several years, but was dethroned by the Beagle as the 1950s rolled around, possible aided in its rise by a new cartoon gaining popularity at the same time: Snoopy. In the 1980, the Spaniel was back on top, ending the reign of the Poodle as the most adored dog in the 1960s and 70s. Both the Beagle and the Poodle remain in the top 10 of the most popular breeds today.
Finally, the Labrador Retriever has had the most prolonged stint out of all of America's favorite dogs, lasting from 1991 to 2021. Its success run of three decades has been credited to the breed's ability to hold many jobs, from bomb-sniffer to service dog and hunter as well as to their popularity as a family pet.