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For the first time, people have decided that they love German Shepherds more than Yorkshire Terriers, according to The American Kennel Club (AKC). The organization recently released a list of the top 10 most popular dogs in the U.S., in 2009. The rankings were based on registration statistics maintained by the AKC. German Shepherds first became popular in America when Rin Tin Tin debuted as a dog star during the early 20th century. However, the public's affection for the breed gradually waned until the years after the Second World War. For more than 20 years, the Labrador Retriever has been America's favorite dog, partially because of their gentle ways and loyalty to their owners, but the increased spotlight German Shepherds are gaining for their work in providing security assistance both in the U.S. and overseas may be enough to catapult them into first place. With concerns about security continuing to increase, it's not surprising to find that four of the top 10 dogs on the list are considered working breeds. German Shepherds, Beagles and Golden and Labrador Retrievers were originally bred for some type of hunting or herding work, but now people are taking advantage of other useful traits, such as: the beagle's excellent sense of smell, the German Shepherd's courage and tenacity, and the cooperative nature of the Retrievers in a variety of security related tasks. Both law enforcement agencies and military personnel frequently make use of these dogs' talents in border patrols, locating wanted persons, and drug and bomb searches. The popularity status quo is also being shaken up in the cities, statistics show, with the loyal and loveable Labs being slowly replaced by other breeds. In Columbus, Detroit, Honolulu and Memphis, residents were trading in their preference for Labs for the second ranked German Shepherds, while the Yorkshire terrier was winning hearts in Oakland, Tampa, New York City and Philadelphia. Bulldogs were the top dogs in Los Angeles, and their popularity is on the rise throughout California, due in part to high profile celebrity owners like Adam Sandler and Kelly Osborne. The floppy skinned fur balls are also in demand with San Diego residents, who ranked it as their second favorite breed. In Newark, New Jersey, Bull Terriers were ranked as the favorite breed, while South Floridians made the German shepherd their dog of choice, ranking it first in both West Palm Beach and Miami. Shepherds have held this spot since the AKC began tracking registration statistics by city


in 2002. Unusual breeds that made it into the local top 5 rankings include Newark, New Jersey's first place Bull Terrier, Des Moines, Iowa's 4th ranked Mastiff, The Miniature Pincher at 3rd place, the Shetland Sheep dog in 5th position courtesy of Richmond, Virginia and the Chihuahua thanks to Honolulu, Hawaii. In the last 10 years, one of the largest shifts in popularity was made by the bulldog, who used its stubby legs to climb all the way from 21st place to the 7th spot. However, the greatest advance came from the Havanese, which bounded all the way from 92 on the list to become the 32nd most popular registered breed. Other significant gains were made by the French bulldog, moving up to 24th place from his 74th ranking, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which went from 58th place to the bottom of the first quarter of the list at 25th place. Previously hard working dogs such as the Belgian Malimois and the Border Collie found new positions as family pets, with the Malimois moving up from 95th place to 81st in popularity. Meanwhile, the Border Collie rounded up enough affection to move from 71st place to mid-list in the 52nd position. People also began the move toward low-maintenance dogs, which resulted in dogs like the Mastiff moving up to 27th place in popularity from 29th on the list, and the Rhodesian Ridgeback gained 8 standings, increasing his popularity from 56th place up to the 48th spot. Finally, an increase in interest in good-sized allergen-free dogs, led the Portuguese Water Dog to an increase in the standings, even before it became the First Dog, thanks to the Obama family. In the last 10 years, the dog has moved from being the 80th most popular breed up to the 64th spot. It gained four more rungs following the Obama family selection, and is now the 60th most popular breed in the country.

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Top Dogs in America