Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
After 31 years, the French bulldog has dethroned the Labrador retriever as America’s most popular dog breed.
According to the American Kennel Club, French bulldog registrations have grown by more than 1,000% since 2012. The AKC first recognized the small, brachycephalic breed in 1898.
“The Frenchies have been on the rise for a number of years,” said Gina DiNardo, an AKC executive secretary. “We’ve been tracking his popularity, and we figured he’d hit No. 1 sooner or later, and this is the year.”
French bulldogs are especially popular among apartment dwellers because of their sturdy stature, easy-to-care-for short coats and wonderful temperaments, DiNardo said.
The Labrador retriever, golden retriever, German shepherd and poodle rounded out the AKC’s top five list. The least popular breeds are the Sloughi, Norwegian Lundehund and English foxhound.
However, the growing popularity of French bulldogs and other flat-faced breeds is linked to concerning trends. A 2020 study from the Royal Veterinary College showed that brachycephalic breeds are at an increased risk for several health issues.
Key findings included:
- Flat-faced dogs were 1.3 times more likely to be diagnosed with at least one disorder during a single year compared with other breeds.
- Flat-faced dogs were at an increased risk for one-third of 30 common disorders compared with non-flat-faced breeds.
- Flat-faced breeds were at an increased risk of corneal ulceration, heart murmur, umbilical hernia, foot infection, skin cyst, patellar luxation, ear infection and anal sac impaction.
“Owners have fallen in love with certain flat-faced dog breeds, such as the French bulldog, but our results show that these breeds have serious and common health issues,” said Dr. Dan O’Neill, the head researcher and a Royal Veterinary College senior lecturer. “We need to think carefully about the lives these dogs live, and I appeal to anyone buying a puppy to stop and think before buying a flat-faced dog.”
The AKC recognized 199 breeds in 2022 and has added a 200th, the Bracco Italiano, which will debut in the registration rankings in 2023.