The Labrador retriever is top dog—literally. Every year, the American Kennel Club announces the top dog breeds and, this year, the Labs emerged as leaders of the pack. We’re pretty sure they already had their acceptance speeches prepared. They’ve been commanding the top spot for 26 years straight.
So what makes the Lab so lovable? They tend to have an eager-to-please temperament, the AKC says. They’ve also been know to save lives, as Mack, a usually quiet black Lab did. (He started barking and garnering attention when he noticed a neighbor was having a stroke.) Plus, Labs are pretty darn cute. And they’re very friendly, a great quality for man’s best friend.
“The Lab is such a versatile dog that it’s no wonder it makes a great companion for a variety of lifestyles,” AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo said in a press statement. “Keep your eye on the Rottweiler, though. It’s been quietly winning hearts over the past decade.”
Rottweilers have been rising up on the list over the past decade, jumping from No. 9 on the list in 2015 to No. 8 in 2016 and rising nine spots overall in the past 10 years. The Rottie’s instincts are to protect its loved ones, and they’re also intelligent dogs, the AKC says. Aww, who’s the good boy?
A few breeds are on the rise, chasing a spot on that Top 10 list like it’s a tennis ball. The Russell Terrier jumped from 104th to 90th, the Rat Terrier rose from 101st to 96th and the Dandie Dinmont Terrier rallied from 172nd to 167th.
The AKC also ranks the most popular dog breeds by city. So, while the Labs top the list in cities like Denver, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta, French Bulldogs are the most popular breed in New York City and San Francisco, while German Shepherds are the top dogs in Miami.
Here are the Top 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in 2016:
1. Labrador Retriever
2. German Shepherd Dog
3. Golden Retriever
6. French Bulldog
9. Yorkshire Terrier