Labrador Retriever Marks 30 Years as Nation’s Top Dog Breed


If you’re a Labrador Retriever owner, you’re in good company. The ‘Lab’ has officially been the top breed in America for three decades.

I figure there’s an excellent chance you know someone who’s owned a Labrador Retriever. You may have owned one yourself.

Enough people have, after all, to rank the breed at the top of the American Kennel Club’s annual list of top dog breeds. This year marks the 30th year the Lab sits in the #1 spot.

The latest list, ranking the breeds from 2020, was just released last week. It ranks all 195 breeds the AKC recognizes.

When I was a kid, my dad decided he wanted a Lab. He loves sailing, and since neither my mom nor I found much enjoyment in the sport, he wanted a dog as his “boating buddy.”

Most Labs love the water. So, my dad thought, a Lab would make a perfect boating buddy.

So Dad took this Lab, Woody, puppy out on Lake Murray in a canoe. Woody, naturally, watched the water curiously. Before he took time to think about it, he jumped right into the lake.

Dad struggled to get him back into the canoe without flipping it over. As soon as Woody was back in the canoe, he jumped right back into the lake.

So Woody’s career as a boating buddy came to a quick end.

Woody was a character. He loved frisbees. My dad loved to throw the frisbee for Woody in our front yard just as it was time for the school bus to pass my house. I’d get off the bus every day as my school mates watched Woody jumping as much as five or six feet off the ground to catch the frisbee in mid-air.

When he got old, there came a day when Dad had to take the frisbee away. Woody’s hips were getting more fragile as he got older. But Woody would have done serious damage to himself without any concern. He loved that frisbee that much.

Woody lived to be 15. He died in his sleep in his dog house, probably while dreaming of still chasing that frisbee.

My preferred breed, the Rough Collie, ranked 40th in the latest list. The majestic Lassie dog has dropped a couple of points over the past few years. I suppose people don’t like the dog hair. But in avoiding that, they’re also losing the opportunity to own a truly special breed that, to me, outshines every other.

Still, I congratulate the Lab on its long reign!

What’s your favorite breed of dog?

Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.