Once again, the Labrador Retriever is rated as the most popular dog breed in America by the American Kennel Club. Originally from Newfoundland, the Labrador Retriever was initially used working alongside fisherman, helping them to pull in their fishing nets and catch fish that escaped from fishing lines. “Labs” as they are affectionately called, were bred primarily to act as game retrievers and are popular among bird hunters. They are very family friendly dogs and easily trainable, because of this they are excellent as guide dogs for the blind, as part of search-and-rescue teams or in narcotics detection with law enforcement. The Labrador Retrievers come in three colors – yellow, black and chocolate. They were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1917 and are included in the “Sporting” group.
German Shepherd – Originated in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1899. Originally they were used for herding and farm dogs. The German Shepherd is now thought of as the world’s leading police dog, guard dog and military dog. They have consistently rated as one of the most popular breeds in the United States. The German Shepherd is also a loving family companion, being loyal and protective. They may be most colors, but the most common color is black and tan. The German Shepherd was recognized by the AKC in 1908 and are included in the “Herding” group by the AKC.
Golden Retriever – Originated in the Scottish Highlands in the 1800s and was used as a hunting dog. The Golden Retriever is an active and energetic breed, with a friendly temperament. They have a water-repellent double coat and love the water. The Golden Retriever makes a wonderful hunting companion and an ideal guide, assistance and search and rescue dog. Their beautiful golden-colored coat is can range from light to dark gold. The Golden Retriever was recognized by the AKC in 1925 and is included in the “Sporting” group.
Beagle – The origin of the Beagle is not certain. It is believed that they originated in England where English Gentlemen had packs of hounds. The larger hounds hunted deer and the smaller ones hunted rabbits. These are believed to be the first Beagles. They will make a “baying” sound when tracking or sometimes when they just want attention. They are very friendly and curious dogs. The most well known Beagle, is “Snoopy”, from the Peanuts comics. Beagles are small compact dogs with short, easy to care for coats. Beagles comes in two different heights (13 in. and 15 in.) and their colors include tri-color, red and white and lemon. They were recognized by the AKC in 1885 and are included in the “Hound” group.
Bulldog – Better known as the “English” Bulldog, is said to have originated in the British Isles. They became know as the “bull” dog as they were used to actually bait bulls. They had to be ferocious as well as brave and impervious to pain. When dog fighting became illegal in England, fans of this breed began breeding to eliminate the ferocious characteristic of these dogs and within a few generations they became loving pets with a good natured temperament. The Bulldog may be brindle, white, red, fawn, fallow or piebald. They are short legged, stocky dogs with short noses and an adorably wrinkled face. The Bulldog was recognized by the AKC in 1886 and are included in the “Non-Sporting” group.
Yorkshire Terrier – The “Yorkie” as they are affectionately called, is named for the English city of Yorkshire where they originated. Yorkshire Terriers were used in the nineteenth century to catch rats in clothing mills. They are brave for little dogs, energetic and curious. Their compact size makes them ideal for traveling with their owners. Yorkshire Terriers have long, silky coats that are blue and tan in color. They must have regular brushing, but seem to enjoy it. The Yorkshire Terrier was recognized by the AKC in 1885 and are included in the “Toy” group.
Boxer – This breed originated in Germany in the 19th century. Boxers were bred for dog fighting and hunting. They are powerful and intelligent dogs and were used by hunters to hold down larger prey while the hunter was in route. Boxers are known for standing on their hind legs and batting at their opponents with their front paws, thus the name of “Boxer”. They were popular in World War I and World War lI as guard dogs and couriers and became very popular dogs in the US after the war. The Boxer appears in both fawn and brindle colors. They were recognized by the AKC in 1904 and are included in the “Working” group.
Poodle – Originating in Germany, the Poodle was used as a water retrieving dog. The “Poodle Cut” was actually designed by hunters to help the dog move through the water more efficiently. The tufts of hair that were left long were in significant areas where they were used as insulation for joints and vital organs against the cold. Some people think of Poodles as “sissy” dogs and not very smart. They are actually one of the smartest of the dog breeds and they excel in obedience training. Poodles can be a variety of solid colors, including white, black, apricot and gray, but are never multi-colored. The Poodle comes in standard, miniature and toy sizes. They were recognized by the AKC in 1887. The standard and miniature sizes are included in the “Non-Sporting” group and the toy size are included in the “Toy” group.
Rottweiler – It is believed that the Rottweiler originated from the Roman herding dogs. As the Romans were invading Europe, they kept herds of animals for their food supply. The dogs were used to keep the herd together and guard the food supply at night. As the need for their services diminished, the Rottweiler almost became extinct. Luckily in the early 1900’s a club was formed and established the standard breed. The Rottweiler is a very intelligent and powerful dog. Their high endurance and easy of training makes them exceptional guard, police and therapy dogs. They are also excellent cattle dogs. The Rottweiler’s coat is black with rust or mahogany markings. They were recognized by the AKC in 1931 and are included in the “Working” group.
Dachshund – Originating in Germany in the 1600s, the Dachshund were bred to hunt and dig out badgers. The word Dachshund means “badger dog” in German. They have a very friendly personality and a keen sense of smell. Known for their long, low bodies and elongated noses, they are excellent hunters for above ground as well as below. They come in a variety of colors and can be long haired, wire haired or smooth. The Dachshund were recognized by the AKC in 1885 and are included in the “Hound” group.
There are 175 different dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club and I am sure they are all one of man’s best friends!