The American Kennel Club tells us the Labrador retriever is the most popular dog in America for the 20th straight year.
The German shepherd is ranked second, with the Yorkshire terrier third. Rounding out the top five are beagles and golden retrievers, respectively. See the whole list at www.akc.org.
Animal welfare advocates would be quick to note that as a result of their popularity, more breeding female Labs suffer in puppy mills than any other breed. The stress is particularly acute on large dogs that are forced to stand on wire in cramped hutches for their whole lives. Shelter operators would also point out that thousands of Labs and Lab mixes - those often overlooked "black dogs" that languish in so many shelters - are widely available for adoption. Check www.petfinder.com to find a homeless Lab near you.
The AKC also has added three dogs to its list of registered breeds.
They include an ancient Mexican breed, the Xoloitzcuintli (shoh-loh-eets-KWEEN'-tlee). The calm, pointy-eared dog – also called Xolo (SHOH'-loh), comes in three sizes. Some varieties are hairless.
The Norwegian Lundehund (LUN'-du-hun) is handsome, athletic and playful. The sure-footed dogs hunted Puffins on treacherous cliffs before the bird became a protected species.
The Entlebucher (ehnt-lu-boo-KAHR') Mountain Dog made its mark as a cattle herder in Switzerland. The floppy-eared breed is described as energetic, loyal and "persistent