These are the chronicles of two Shetland Sheepdogs and their adventures in rally-o, obedience, flyball, agility, tracking and therapy dog work.
Also including information on raw feeding, canine epilepsy, positive training, and lots and lots of Sheltie hair!

Monday, February 9, 2009

AKC's Most Popular Dog Breeds 2008

Every year the AKC releases a list of the most popular dog breeds registered with the organization. This is the time of year that I dread, anxiously awaiting the list and hoping that the Sheltie remains off the list for one more year.

Again this year, my wish came true. The ranking is as follows:
  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. Yorkshire Terrier
  3. German Shepherd Dog
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Beagle
  6. Boxer
  7. Dachshund
  8. Bulldog
  9. Poodle
  10. Shih Tzu
Now, you may be wondering why I cross my fingers each year that the Sheltie does NOT appear on the list. Well, I will tell you. This list seems to guide the buying habits of many people, both in America and other countries. If a dog appears on the list, then more people are alerted to it's "greatness". As demand for a breed increases, the number of breeders increase to fill that demand. Now we all know that there are some fabulous breeders out there, dedicating their lives to improving their chosen breed. But unfortunately not all breeders are responsible and have the best intentions for the dogs in mind. There are those people out there that will try to make a quick buck off of a dog, and having a "most popular" list just adds to that problem. It encourages people to think along the lines of "Wow, my Fluffy is a popular breed. I bet I could sell some of her puppies really easily and make a buck." or "The AKC thinks these dogs are most popular, it must be for a reason. We should have more of them around."

I much prefer that the Sheltie remain comparatively "unpopular", remaining under the protection of responsible breeders intent on preserving the wonderful stability and temperament of the breed. There are plenty of horrible Sheltie breeders out there already, breeding without a purpose or goal in mind, thinking that more Shelties should be bred for the purpose of making "pets". The breed certainly will not benefit from those efforts. The longer that the Sheltie remains off of the "most popular" list, the longer we can hold out hope that it won't go the way of the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, or German Shepherd. One on every corner, and very few of those that have stable conformation and temperament.

(For the complete list and explanation of the AKC's list of Most Popular Dogs in America, see the AKC Website)


K said...

Corgis, especially Cardigan join the Shelties!

Moxie and Izzie Corgis

(using Mom's account, BOL!)

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Yes, we agree with you!

sarahbelle said...

I agree with you totally. My husband got that kind of idea in his head just before I took Ace and Nova in to get neutered... 'but they're good dogs!' He doesn't get the difference between pet quality and dogs that actually should be bred. Fortunately, I won that one. Here's to less popular dogs!

- Sarah (and Ace and Nova)

SheltieJim said...

It's a balancing act. I learned recently that a certain breed of terrier is "almost extinct" because they're less and less popular. IIRC, only five were registered last year, and they were once (back in the 1940s?) the most popular breed (movie stars, etc.).

I'll bet there aren't many magazines devoted to the Otterhound, but there are two high quality magazines in the USA devoted to Shelties (Sheltie Pacesetter and Sheltie International). In the past, when Shelties were in the (bottom of the) top ten, there were maybe a half-dozen great Sheltie publications.

If we were no more popular than Harriers, it'd be tough to meet other enthusiasts or to learn more about them in general.

But, being in the top ten is disastrous. Shelties took a real nosedive in quality when they were in the top ten for about five years (give or take). That's about when the real shy, nervous, and hyper Shelties started becoming the image of the breed.

Balance. It's right there in the Shetland Sheepdog standard :)

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