labrador-yellowThe American Kennel Club released its list today of the most-registered purebred dogs in America, and predictably, the mainstream media is once again getting the story wrong. Articles have already started popping up from serious news sources like the Miami Herald, whose headline reads—inaccurately—“Labrador Retrievers Still the Most Popular Dog in the U.S.”

AKC marketers have been hoisting this fallacy onto ignorant journalists for years. The truth, if you actually look at statistics for all dogs, is that the good old American mutt is by far the most popular dog in the United States.

Let me break it down for you:

  • The AKC long ago stopped announcing the actual number of purebred dogs registered each year. Today, it simply announces “most popular” breeds, but it keeps the number of dogs a secret. Most journalists simply don’t notice the lack of actual data, and they publish the AKC’s marketing trick as a news headline.
  • Why is the headline a marketing trick? Because if you look back about a decade, when the AKC was still releasing actual registration numbers, the total number of dogs being registered for even the most popular breeds was less than 150,000. Here’s the AKC’s own press release from 2005 showing that the “most popular” Labrador Retriever breed that year had just 137,867 registrations.
  • Compare that to the number of dogs adopted each year from American shelters, where about 90 percent of the dogs are believed to be mutts. Total number of mutts that Americans bring home as pets, in the same timespan that the AKC registers fewer than 150,000 Labradors? About 1.8 million.

Suffice it to say that the most popular dog in America remains, by far, the good old mutt.

Don’t fall for this annual marketing trick that the AKC pulls on the mass media, and on dog lovers everywhere. Learn about the big business that we all buy into with every dog we bring home. Order your copy of The Dog Merchants book today.