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Labrador tops the KC breed ‘charts’ again
But new entry in the top 20 for Pugs

New entry: the Pug

THE LABRADOR Retriever is keeping its paws firmly in place as the UK’s most popular registered breed for 2006, receiving over 45,000 registrations with the Kennel Club.

Known as one of the best all round dogs in the world, this is not surprising, especially as the breed is used for retrieving game, has made its mark in the world of guide dogs, drugs and arms detection and is a wonderful family pet. It has remained consistent at the top of the list for the last 15 years.

Hot on the heels of the Labrador Retriever and in second place is the Cocker Spaniel. The breed known for its gentle and affectionate nature and intelligence has seen a steady 17% increase in registrations since 2005.

Interestingly, the figures reveal that the top 11 breeds for 2005 are the same as for 2006 however there is a 19% increase in the number of registrations for the Shih Tzu breed and an 18% increase for the Bulldog. New to the top 20 list is the Pug, a dignified dog, very intelligent, good natured, and sociable with great character and personality. The breed sits proudly at number 20 and is known for making a good companion for both young and old and integrating easily into family life.

Diana Stevens, Working Test Secretary for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Labrador Retriever Club, who breeds and shows under Wylanbriar Labradors wasn’t surprised at her breed being chosen as the top breed, but said that popularity sadly came at a price. Diana commented: ‘Popularity is not always a plus point for a breed and whilst its great that our breed is so sought after and popular for its excellent traits and characteristics, its sad to say that there are far too many poorly bred Labrador puppies, both registered and unregistered each year, to be truly pleased to be 'top breed'.’

Despite the unfair ‘Devil Dog’ appellation in some areas of the media after dog attacks involving the reed towards the end of last year, the Rottweiler has proved that it is as popular as ever with the British public, retaining eleventh place on the KC’s list.

Rottweiler owners and breeders had been concerned that recent negative press attention surrounding the breed would have resulted in public backlash against the breed. Lord Baker, the former Home Secretary who implemented the Dangerous Dogs Act in 1991 has recently called for the breed to be added to a list of dogs which are required to wear muzzles in public.

The Rottweiler has been a popular family pet for many years in Britain, with celebrities such as the Beckhams and Robbie Williams favouring the German bred dog for its loyalty and natural inclination to protect. Since the tragic death of a toddler last year, who was mauled by two Rottweiler guard dogs at a pub in Leicester, the breed became the subject of a media campaign, branding it a ‘devil dog’.

For years the Kennel Club have campaigned for a ‘punish the deed not the breed’ style response to dog attacks, reinforcing the fact that in the wrong hands, any dog is a danger, regardless of breeding or size.