The American Kennel Club has a very understandable interest in the popularity of dog breeds. As it turned out, the list of the most popular dog breeds in 2019 was very similar to the list of the most popular dog breeds in 2018, as shown by how Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, golden retrievers, French bulldogs, and bulldogs managed to hold on to the first five positions. However, there were still some changes, with an excellent example being how Pembroke Welsh corgis have managed to break into the top ten.
In any case, Labrador retrievers being at the top of the list of most popular dog breeds is very unsurprising. This is because they have managed to hold the position for 29 years, which is a record that speaks volumes about the enduring nature of their popularity. Having said that, there are still some things that interested individuals should keep in mind to provide this with some extra context. For instance, the list of the most popular dog breeds counts purebred dogs and nothing but purebred dogs. As a result, mixes such as labradoodles and puggles are not counted, which is rather important when one realizes that these make up a huge proportion of the pet dogs that can be found in the United States. Still, the Labrador retriever’s position at the top of the list is very impressive, particularly since it seems as though it will be capable of claiming a 30th year as well.
What Is the Labrador Retriever?
Regardless, the Labrador retriever has what one might call a very informative name. First, the roots of the dog breed can be traced to England. After all, the dog breed wasn’t native to North America but instead brought over the Atlantic Ocean by English settlers. Having said that, it is important to note that while Labrador retrievers are named for the Labrador region, they came into existence in Newfoundland, which would be the island that can be found off of the continental section called Labrador. The people who lived there were fishermen, so it should come as no surprise to learn that the dog breed started out as fishing dogs before expanding into other niches as well . In time, interested individuals brought Labrador retrievers with them to other regions, with the result that they received recognition from the Kennel Club in 1903.
Second, a retriever is a dog breed meant for retrieving game. As it turned out, the characteristics that made Labrador retrievers useful for retrieving fish, nets, and rope made them useful for retrieving other things as well, particularly when dog breeders started developing those characteristics further. Nowadays, Labrador retrievers occupy an even wider range of roles, but the effects of their heritage are still very much in evidence.
What Makes the Labrador Retriever So Popular?
In any case, there are a number of reasons why Labrador retrievers are so popular:
- Friendliness – Labrador retrievers are famous for their friendliness, which is combined with an even-tempered nature. As a result, they can get along very well with not just humans but also other animals, thus making them well-suited for a wide range of people with a wide range of circumstances. In particular, Labrador retrievers can take children’s occasional prodding in stride, which makes them an excellent choice for families as well. Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that this dog breed is so popular. After all, while there are some dog owners who choose aggressive dog breeds because of either misguided pride or some other cause, most dog owners prefer a less volatile dog breed to make matters easier for themselves.
- Physicality – There are some dog breeds out there that are very lazy. However, there are a lot of dog owners who prefer more active dog breeds, whether because they think that makes for a more interesting companion or some other reason. Whatever the case, Labrador retrievers are an excellent choice for dog owners who want a very energetic dog that can keep up with them as needed. If anything, this dog breed can be a bit too bold and a bit too boisterous, which is why proper training is so important. In any case, there is a very practical aspect to this as well. Simply put, Labrador retrievers have the strength and the stamina needed for labor, as shown by how many of them are still in service as work dogs of one kind or another. For example, they are still one of the most popular hunting dog breeds. Likewise, Labrador retrievers are a very popular choice for guide dogs as well as other roles in the provision of healthcare.
- Intelligence – Speaking of which, physicality is far from being the sole reason that Labrador retrievers can excel in a wide range of roles. Simply put, they are also one of the smartest dog breeds out there, thus enabling them to master a wide range of tasks in good time. Of course, this means that Labrador retrievers need plenty of stimulation, as shown by how bored members of the dog breed have a reputation for turning into excellent escape artists. However, when they are fully engaged, their intelligence can be turned into an incredible asset for their dog owner. This is particularly true because Labrador retrievers are actually quite good at maintaining focus, which is another valuable trait when it comes to learning anything more complicated.
- Eagerness to Please – Just because an animal is intelligent, it doesn’t necessarily mean that said animal is willing to listen. Fortunately, Labrador retrievers aren’t just intelligent but also quite eager to please, which is a combination that makes them much more trainable than otherwise possible. As such, it makes perfect sense why so many people choose to entrust the dog breed with critical tasks such as day-to-day assistance as well as search and rescue. In fact, it should be mentioned that Labrador retrievers see a lot of use in rescuing lives in the water.
- Appearance – This one is very much reliant on personal opinion. However, a lot of people see Labrador retrievers as very pleasant-looking dogs, thus making them that much more popular to own. Yes, the popularity of Labrador retrievers makes them very conventional-looking, but it is exactly that conventional-looking nature that makes them suitable for a wide range of people with a wide range of preferences when it comes to how their canine companion should look.