NEW YORK (AP) – Could the French Bulldog become America’s Favorite Purebred Pooch?
After gaining popularity with a rocket ship over the past quarter of a century, the French ranked second in the American Kennel Club’s latest ranking, due to be released Wednesday, after Labrador Retrievers, who have led the way for 30 years in a row. They reflect the relative numbers of purebred animals, mostly puppies, that were added to the oldest U.S. canine registry last year.
Chunky and scruffy French Bulldogs have their charm – at least in the eyes of the fans – but also their limits.
“They’re not the kind of dog that will go hiking with you,” says AKC spokesman Brandi Hunter, “but if you want a dog that snuggles up to you, be cute, adaptable, minimal grooming … that is the.” some kind of race for you. “
After Labrador Retrievers and French Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Bulldogs, Poodles, Beagles, Rottweilers, and German Shorthaired Pointers are among the top 10 breeds. Dachshunds made the top 10 for the first time since 2013.
Labs was valued as a carefree and capable dog years ago and has broken the record for longest number one run. They are still very popular with many. More than 98,300 labs joined the AKC registry last year, compared to about 66,500 French Bulldogs.
Among the breeds on the move is the Cane Corso, a heavy watchdog that has broken into the top 25. It was 51st only a decade ago.
When Labrador Retrievers first topped the table in 1991, French Bulldogs finished a distant 82nd place. But the French rose in the rankings in the late 1990s and reached 4th place by 2017.
Prominent owners from Martha Stewart to Lady Gaga to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have made the breed known. And its compact size, moderate training requirements, uncomplicated coat and rather strange demeanor have met with great approval from many dog seekers.
“They snore and fart little love machines,” says Nicole Denny, a professional dog handler who, after 20 years with Doberman pinschers, has been breeding French bulldogs for 15 years.
She sees the popularity of the Frenchies as a “blessing and a curse”.
“I would feel selfish in a way if other people couldn’t enjoy the breed because they are just so wonderful,” says Denny of Pleasant Plain, Ohio. But “it has produced a lot of people who don’t breed wisely.”
French Bulldog lovers need to be aware that the breed can be prone to overheating, difficulty breathing, and back problems. Other breeds are also prone to various conditions, and mixed breeds are not necessarily free from them, notes AKC chief veterinarian Dr. Jerry Klein, firmly.
“There is no dog, whether purebred or mixed breed, that is 100% guaranteed to be completely without problems,” he said. “You should know what you are getting and the possibilities.”
WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT AND WHO’S NEW?
The popularity scale is limited to the more than 190 AKC-recognized breeds – no doodles or other “designer” hybrids, let alone everyday mixes and mutts.
The rarest breed is the Norwegian Lundehund. The humble, nimble dogs may be little known in the United States, but they have fascinating differences, including six-toed feet, unusual flexibility, a spirit of climbing, and a history of puffin hunting.
THE DEBATE ABOUT DOG BREEDING
Animal rights activists complain that the interest in purebred dogs is fueling the puppy mills and leaving other puppies stuck in animal shelters. The AKC counters that scrupulous breeding produces dogs who are well versed in such jobs as sniffing bombs, and allows pet owners to choose a breed that is appropriate for – or lack of – the activities they have in mind.
Still, the AKC believes that pupularity sometimes spurs people to acquire a breed they haven’t researched.
“Don’t let popularity rule it,” Hunter said. “Let your lifestyle decide.”
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