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Beagles Rise to Third Most Popular Breed in 2011

Posted: Feb. 28, 2012, 6:15 p.m. EST

Beagles Rise to Third Most Popular Breed in 2011The beagle and the golden retriever surpassed the Yorkshire terrier among popular breeds in the United States in 2011 compared with the previous year, but the Labrador retriever remained America’s favorite, the American Kennel Club reported today.

The beagle was the third most popular dog breed, according to the AKC's annual registration statistics, followed by the golden retriever. The Yorkshire terrier, previously No. 3, was fifth most popular in 2011.

“While the Labrador retriever has proven once again to be a family favorite, this year clearly belongs to the beagle,” AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson said. “The beagle’s merry personality combined with his love of outdoor activities make him such a wonderful family pet that I wouldn’t be surprised to see this spunky breed sniff his way to the top of the list next year.”

The shih tzu dropped out of the top 10, falling to No. 11 in 2011, with the Rottweiler replacing it at No. 10. The Rottweiler’s popularity boost is part of a decade-long trend among large dog owners, according to the AKC. Since 2001, the Bernese mountain dog moved from the 54th most popular breed to No. 34, and other large breeds followed suit, including the Greater Swiss mountain dog (from 101 to 82), bullmastiff (49 to 40), Rhodesian ridgeback (57 to 44), Irish wolfhound (86 to 79) and Belgian Malinois (94 to 74).

Along with the Labrador retriever and golden retriever, the top 10 breeds in 2011 included the German shepherd (2) and boxer (7).

All four setter breeds became more popular in 2011, led by the English setter (from 101 to 87), Irish setter (77 to 70), Irish red and white setter (150 to 147) and Gordon setter (98 to 94).

Meanwhile, three coonhound breeds declined in popularity from 2010 to 2011, including the black and tan coonhound (from 91 to 109), Bluetick coonhound (119 to 136) and redbone coonhound (122 to 126). Coonhound fans received some good news, however, as the newly recognized American English coonhound debuted at No. 33 on the registration ranking.

The complete list is available online through the AKC’s website.

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