February 26, 2015 / 8:44 PM / 3 years ago

French bulldog joins ranks of most popular U.S. dogs

Luke, a French bulldog, is carried by his owner Paul from New York City outside the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York City ahead of the139th Westminster Kennel Club's Annual Dog Show in the Manhattan borough of New York February 15, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The bat-eared, flat-faced French bulldog has earned a spot among the 10 most popular dog breeds in the United States for the first time in a century, the American Kennel Club said on Thursday.

Topping the annual list was the Labrador retriever, keeping its title as the most sought-after canine for the 24th straight year, it said.

Second was the German shepherd, followed by the golden retriever, standard bulldog, beagle, Yorkshire terrier, poodle and boxer.

The French bulldog ranked ninth and the rottweiler rounded out the list, said the AKC, the world’s largest purebred dog registry, based in New York City.

The French bulldog stood among the AKC’s top 10 in the 1910s, according to the organization that registers more than 1 million dogs and litters a year.

Known for a sweet but stubborn personality, the French bulldog actually hails from England and is a cross between standard bulldogs and a mix of Parisian rat hunting dogs, the AKC said.

“They love their people,” said Fran Prince, a French bulldog owner at an AKC event to present the list of popular breeds where her brindle-coated puppy BeBe busied itself nuzzling up to a Labrador retriever puppy.

Labs, originating in Canada and bred as sporting dogs, are known for energetic, child-friendly and outgoing personalities.

“You can have the worst day ever, and they’re always there to meet you with a smile,” said Theresa Viesto of Newtown, Connecticut, who owns 4-month-old Lab siblings Lark and Costa.

Also on hand was Binghamton, New York breeder Mary Cummings, with her 6-month-old beagle, Lager. She said she was concerned about a surge in their popularity after a beagle named Miss P won the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last week.

“They are going to want a beagle because Miss P won, but it might not be the best breed for them,” said Cummings.

Beagles tend to be rambunctious and are accomplished escape artists, she said.

Prospective dog owners should carefully consider their temperament and other characteristics rather than celebrity status, she said.

Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Mohammad Zargham

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