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Sorry Labs, you’re no longer America’s favorite dog (here’s what replaced them)

The French bulldog is now America's favorite pure breed

A French bulldog wearing a white and red baseball T-shirt lies on their side in front of a yellow background

Every year, the American Kennel Club (AKC) releases a list of the most popular breeds in America. For 31 times in a row, the Labrador retriever stubbornly held onto the number one spot, like a dog with a chew toy. However, this breed has finally been ousted and slipped to number two while the adorable French bulldog secured the top. The 2022 most popular dog breeds shook things up, but why has this changed?

French bulldog playing with a ball

Why are Frenchies so popular?

The Lab continued to reign as number one for so long, likely because this breed is known for being friendly and versatile. What better pooch for a family? But as people, especially younger adults, continue to flock to cities, big family-oriented dogs might become less popular (though we should note that the top 10 still includes many large dogs).

Enter the beloved Frenchie! Cute and compact, these small-medium guys make perfect city or suburban pups. While on the littler side, they aren’t toy dogs and can play and enjoy exercise. Note: French bulldogs should not stay primarily in a tiny apartment or live a sedentary life — even Chihuahuas (which come in at number 34) need walks. If you do bring a happy French bulldog home, shoot for 60 minutes of exercise per day, but stick to short spans to avoid breathing problems (which this breed is known for).

Which other dogs made the list?

In addition to Frenchies and Labs, one and two respectively, the top five best buds are the golden retriever, German shepherd dog, and Poodle, all of which have been on the list for a while. Depending on your circumstances, any one of these amazing types of dogs might suit your specific needs.

Poodles, for example, often do well for people with allergies while shepherds are known for being intelligent and protective. Labs and goldens are different animals, but they both have big and lovable personalities, the ultimate dogs for kids and other pets alike.

A golden doodle stands in a kitchen, barking loudly

Which dogs aren’t on the list?

This is only one list, and it covers dogs that were registered in 2022 with the AKC. Remember, that means we’re talking about purebred pups from AKC-recognized breeds, so your beloved mutt or even your neighbor’s fancy golden doodle doesn’t count. Interestingly, when it comes to mutts, you’ll find some of the top pure breeds in the market again, meaning Lab and shepherd mixes are also popular.

When you’re out looking for your perfect companion, keep in mind, there really are no best dog breeds. The right pet for you is the one that fits with your family’s lifestyle. That means you should choose a dog that needs the amount of space you have in your place and requires the exercise that you typically want from walks in your daily life. Additionally, some pups love being with lots of people and others glom onto one individual and never let go. Think through all of these factors before you select the dog for you and look into local adoptable creatures in your area before turning to a breeder.

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Rebekkah Adams
Rebekkah’s been a writer and editor for more than 10 years, both in print and digital. In addition to writing about pets…
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