Labrador retriever still leads the pack of most popular USA dogs

Black, yellow or chocolate, the Labrador retriever continues to be the most popular dog.

Affable, relatively easy to train and eager to please, they're popular partly because "you don't have to be an expert dog owner to own a Lab", says AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo.

The stats reflect puppies and other newly registered dogs in the AKC's 189 recognized breeds.

At No. 8, the Rottweiler posted its highest ranking in nearly 20 years. "You never hear about a lab getting into a dog fight". DiNardo encourages people to check out rarer breeds when looking for a dog.

Labradors once again beat out German shepherds in the AKC rankings, which were rounded out by golden retrievers, bulldogs and beagles for the top five slots. The top six breeds remained the same as in 2015.

The Yorkshire Terrier didn't rank among the top dog breeds on Long Island but holds the No. 9 spot in the U.S.

It was not clear why Rottweilers were making a comeback - the last time the breed placed at its current level was in 1997 - but a strong economy generally prompts people to seek bigger and costlier dogs, including Rottweilers, DiNardo said.

"They aren't a breed for everyone", says Niles, of Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

The American Kennel Club maintains the country's largest registry of purebred dogs. Pictured: A boxer competes in the Westminster Dog Show on February 11, 2014, in Manhattan.

  • Salvatore Jensen