French bulldogs topple Labradors as most popular pup in the US

Labs had claimed the title for 31 years straight

The American Kennel Club describes French bulldogs as 'famously friendly'. AFP
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The loveable Labrador retriever is no longer the most popular dog breed in the US, as French bulldogs take over the top spot, the American Kennel Club announced on Wednesday.

Labs, which the New York-based registry describes as “famously friendly” and “an enthusiastic athlete”, had been the most popular dog breed for 31 years before 2022.

But Frenchies had “been quietly climbing the charts for many years”, the AKC said in a statement.

The small-dog breed, which like Labs are considered great pets for families, are described by the AKC as “one of a kind”, with their trademark feature being their “large bat ears”.

“They get on well with other animals and enjoy making new friends of the human variety,” the AKC says. “It is no wonder that city folk from Paris to Peoria swear by this vastly amusing and companionable breed.”

Frenchies made headlines in 2021, when pop star Lady Gaga had two French bulldogs stolen while a dog-walker was taking them for a stroll.

They were later returned, while the three robbers were later caught and jailed for the incident, during which the dog-walker was shot.

After Frenchies and Labs, rounding out the top five breeds for 2022 were the golden retriever, German shepherd, and poodle.

French bulldogs — like their English cousins and squish-faced pugs — have a short snout, which can lead to trouble breathing and other health complications.

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Updated: March 16, 2023, 9:18 AM