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Top Dogs 2012

The gentle and loving Golden Retriever regains its place as the 3rd most popular dog.

Golden owners have taken steps to regain their 3rd place spot for most popular breed in the United States for 2012. The gentle and loving Golden Retriever ousted the Beagle to regain their 3rd place status on the American Kennel Club's list of top dogs. The Beagle is now number four on the list. The hardy Bulldog moves up one notch on the list to number 5 while the Yorkie continues its decline to move down one notch to number 6.

The robust Rottweiler moves from number 10 to number 9, knocking the adorable Dachshund to 10th place. The playful Boxer and the intelligent Poodle both remain in their previous positions of 7 and 8 respectively and the mighty German Shepherd retains its place as the second most popular dog.

Though several breeds changed positions last year, the number one spot continues to be held by the Labrador Retriever. For the past 22 consecutive years, the Lab has been the top dog thanks to its loyalty, playfulness and its use in police and search and rescue work. The Lab has now tied the Poodle for the longest reign in the top spot!

"Bigger breeds are making their move," said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "The popularity of the pint-sized, portable pooch just gave way to a litter of larger breeds in the Top 10. These predictable, durable, steady breeds, like Labs and Goldens, are great with kids and offer the whole family more dog to love."

Mastiff breeds have risen in rank, moving from 34th place to 26th place. Also the "Bully" breeds seem to have "pawed" their way into people hearts over the past decade with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier making the biggest move from 91 to 76.

Still the reigning champ, the Labrador Retriever remains the most popular dog for the past 22 years.

Although many smaller dogs have fallen in the current rankings including the Chihuahua (14 to 18), the Pomeranian (17 to 19) and the Pug (26 to 30), there are a few small dogs that are on the rise including the Havanese (31 to 28) and the Affenpinscher (139 to 138).

Although the Lab is the most popular breed in Atlanta, the Golden comes in at number 2 and the German Shephard is 3rd followed by the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at number 4 and the Boxer and French Bulldog tied for 5th. In Buffalo, NY, Miami, FL, and Chicago, IL, the most popular breed is the German Shepherd. "Our nation's capital agrees with the rest of the country that the Bulldog is a great dog," says Peterson. "Mirroring the national trend, the Bulldog rose from sixth to fifth place in Washington DC last year."