The American Kennel Club (AKC) has released its annual list of "the most popular purebred dogs in America." As expected, for the 19th consecutive year the Labrador retriever tops the list.
But, is the Lab really the most popular breed in America or just the most registered with the AKC? I know of more than one hound enthusiast who scoffs at the AKC's list, because coonhounds never crack the top 10 despite their prevalence throughout much of the country, especially theDeep South. Many hound breeders see little need to register their animals. Those who do register their hounds often prefer to file papers with the United Kennel Club (UKC) and other groups that have traditionally catered to hound huntersmore than the AKC.Labs are only No. 8 on the UKC's list. The AKC, to its credit, does recognize the disparity and has enjoyed some success with its AKC Coonhounds program.
So, what's the most popular breed in America? I can't say for certain, but the AKC's most registered dog is the Labrador retrieverand the UKC's is the treeing Walker coonhound.
Speaking of the AKC, I'm headed to Grand Junction, Tenn.,to gun apair (two amateurs, two opens) of AKC English springer spaniel field trials. Grand Junctionwas the site of America's first pointing dog field trials and is hometo the National Bird Dog Museum and Field Trial Hall of Fame. Inthe South, "bird dog"doesn't mean "gundog"—it means"pointer" or "setter"—but the locals have been very kind to us flushing dog folks as well. The area's rich gundog history and local hospitality have made the annual Tenn. springer trial one of my favorites on the schedule.
I'll likely be out of the blogosphere for a few days but you're welcome to stalk me on Twitter.