Favorite Large Dog BreedsThere are many people who love large dogs. That is obvious by the number of large dog breeds listed in the AKC top ten favorite dog breeds. The Top Ten list includes Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retrievers, and Boxers. And since Poodles are eighth in the list, you could say that five large breeds are in the top ten since Standard Poodles average over 50 pounds.
Why are so many large dogs found in the top ten when they can appear so intimidating, cost a lot more to feed than smaller dogs, require more room, and require firmer training than, say, a Pug or Pomeranian?
There is something special about having a large dog. Unless you have owned one of the large dog breeds you might not understand the feeling owners get calling this large dog "friend" and "companion." Many of the large breeds are also among the most gentle breeds.
With the exception of the German Shepherd Dog, Weimaraners, Rottweilers and the Doberman Pinscher, every large dog listed below is extremely affectionate (rating four or five stars out of a possible five). Many of the largest breeds seem to be the most affectionate and gentle, while others among the largest breeds, such as the Rottweiler and German Shepherd Dog, are terrific guard dogs.
The top ten favorite large dogs are not, for the most part, the giants of the dog world. After all, Irish Wolfhounds and St. Bernards, among the biggest and heaviest dogs, are 39th and 77th on the AKC list of favorite dogs. Still, Great Danes, only a few inches smaller than the Irish Wolfhound, occupy the position of 24th favorite, and Mastiffs (a breed that can weight about 190 pounds, just below the St. Bernard) are 32nd favorite.
Here is the list of top ten with 11th and 12th thrown in for good measure:
Labrador Retriever (1st) German Shepherd Dogs (3rd) Golden Retrievers (4th) Boxers (7th) Rottweilers (17th) Pointers, German Shorhaired (19th) Doberman Pinschers (21st) Great Danes (24th) Siberian Huskies (25th) English Springer Spaniel (26th) Weimaraners (30th) Mastiffs (32nd)
Considering that there are 155 dogs listed in the American Kennel Club (in 2006), it is a significant achievement to be listed in the top 30. Eleven of the large dog breeds accomplish this, with Mastiffs coming in close behind at position 32. And note that large breeds occupy three of the top four positions, which is really impressive.
But why are these large dogs so popular even though they require more space, more food, and often more energy to control than little Chihuahuas (number 11) or Pugs (number 13)? The fact is some people prefer large dogs over small. Who can argue that a Mastiff or Great Dane does not elicit awe and admiration from everyone who sees one? They are very imposing dogs.
Yet despite their size most of these large dogs are very gentle and affectionate. Imagine a Mastiff with the temperament of a typical Chihuahua. Just the thought is frightening. Instead, the Mastiff is among the most lovable and gentle dog breed.
The Labrador Retriever is so far ahead of all the other breeds in popularity that it will be awhile before any other breed overtakes them, if it ever happens at all. No matter how you look at it, large dogs are among the most favorite dog breeds in the United States.
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