Who's Philly's top dog? The Labrador Retriever

If the Labrador Retriever was a sports franchise it would be the Lakers, the Patriots or Duke men's hoops in their heyday.

This year, the lovable Labtook the top spot again in both the national ranking and Philadelphia-specific ranking of most popular dog breed. (See announcement and slideshow on NBC's Today Show here.

For the 22nd year the Lab reigns supreme in the American Kennel Club’s 2012 ranking of favoriteAKC-recognized dog breeds in the U.S.

And Philly is no exception.

“The City of Brotherly Love adores its large breeds -- eight of the top ten breeds are large dogs,” said AKC spokeswomanLisa Peterson. “This bigger breed trend mirrors what AKC has seen across the country.”


This year the Lab muscled out German Shepherds for first place, with the Yorkshire Terrier, Bulldog and Rottweiler rounding out Philly'stop five based on AKC registration.

(This list doesn't include the so-called "designer breeds" like Labradoodles or malti-poos, the myriad mixes that proliferate in Pennsylvania puppy mills and are not recognized by the AKC. Since mutts are paperless, we don't know how they figure in the ranking. We'd like to think pound puppies are tops!)

Philadelphia’s Most Popular Breeds 2012

1. Labrador Retriever

2. German Shepherd

3.Yorkshire Terrier

4. Bulldog

5. Rottweiler

Philadelphia's Most Popular Breeds 2011

1. German Shepherd Dog

2. Labrador Retriever

3. Rottweiler

4. Bulldog

5. Rottweiler

Other Philly facts:  

Philadelphia is one of few cities with the Boston Terrier and German Shorthaired Pointer in its top 10.

Despite its national rise, the Golden Retriever remained in 7th place in Philadelphia in 2012.

Other notable dog trends:

• Mastiff-type breeds have risen in rank, with the Mastiff going from 34 to 26 and the Bullmastiff from 47 to 39 over the past decade, and the Cane Corso (67 to 60), Neapolitan Mastiff (116 to 112), and Dogue de Bordeaux (69 to 67) all making gains since the year they became recognized.

• “Bully” breeds have pawed their way into people’s hearts over the past decade with the Bull Terrier (79 to 51), Staffordshire Bull Terrier (91 to 76), and Miniature Bull Terrier (132 to 126) all making strong gains.

• Dog owners are showing their love for Sporting Breeds over this past year as the Spinone Italiano (123 to 114), Boykin Spaniel (138 to 116), and Welsh Springer Spaniel (130 to 125) have all made their way up the list.

• Small dogs that are on the rise this year are the Havanese (31 to 28) and Affenpinscher (139 to 138), while the Chihuahua (14 to 18), Pomeranian (17 to 19), and Pug (26 to 30) seem to have fallen out of favor.