Pupularity Contest: the most popular dog breeds of 2011

Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Mar 07 2012

The American Kennel Club recently released the list of the top 10 canine breeds from last year. Though it doesn’t change all that much from year to year, it’s still exciting to see what breeds are the most “pupular” based on AKC registration statistics. In fact, there was a small change this year as the Rottweiler replaced the Shih Tzu on the top 10 list.

Without further ado, the top 10 breeds of 2011 were:

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepherd Dog
  3. Beagle
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Yorkshire Terrier
  6. Bulldog
  7. Boxer
  8. Poodle
  9. Dachshund
  10. Rottweiler

All of these dogs make awesome pets and would certainly improve the vibe in any home. When considering adding any dog to your home, there are several things you must consider. Of course, size, personality and general upkeep requirements should be high on your list of considerations. If you live in a tiny studio apartment, a Yorkie is probably a better choice than a German Shepherd, for instance.

Another important factor to consider is the general health of the breed. Full-breed dogs are historically more prone to certain conditions depending on their breed, often because heritable conditions can get perpetuated in the breed’s bloodlines. Reputable breeders avoid using bloodlines tainted by disease, but some conditions are so prevalent that they are hard to avoid.

For instance, large breed dogs, like the Lab, Golden Retriever and German Shepherd, are prone to the orthopedic conditions hip and elbow dysplasia. Poorly fitting hip and elbow joints lead to discomfort and contribute to osteoarthritis.

Cardiac conditions such as aortic or pulmonic stenosis and cardiomyopathy can affect several of the breeds on the list above, including the Golden Retriever, Bulldog, Boxer and Beagle.

Skin conditions are common in many, many breeds. Atopy (or inhaled allergies) shows up as chronic skin and ear infections and very itchy dogs. Atopy can be seen in any dog, including mixed breed dogs, but are particularly prevalent in Labs, Golden Retrievers and Bulldogs. Another skin condition called sebaceous adenitis is seen more frequently in Poodles.

Two unlucky breeds on this list (the Bulldog and Dachshund) are prone to the condition keratoconjunctivits sicca (or dry eye), and two breeds are also over represented in the “bad back” category (Dachshund and Beagle). The Yorkshire Terrier hasn’t been mentioned yet, but don’t worry – it’s not off the hook for heritable conditions. Yorkies are prone to liver shunts, undescended testicles and patellar luxation.

Of course, most of the individual dogs in a particular breed are healthy dogs. But knowing what MAY be in store for you will only help you be more prepared in the face of illness. Knowing that your dog may be prone to develop a condition and knowing the symptoms will keep you ahead of the eight ball in terms of both diagnosis and treatment. For added protection, you can protect your cat or dog with a veterinary pet insurance policy from Petplan that covers all hereditary conditions. Visit GoPetplan.com to do a pet insurance comparison and get free pet insurance quotes for your best friends today!