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French Bulldogs Topple Labradors As Most Popular U.S. Breed

File photo / AFP-Jiji
A French Bulldog stands with its handler on the final day of the Crufts dog show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England, on March 12.

NEW YORK (AFP-Jiji) — The lovable Labrador Retriever is no longer the most popular dog breed in the United States, as French Bulldogs take over the top spot, the American Kennel Club (AKC) announced March 15.

Labs, which the New York-based registry describes as “famously friendly” and “an enthusiastic athlete,” had been the most popular dog breed for 31 years prior to 2022.

But Frenchies had “been quietly climbing the charts for many years,” the AKC said in a statement.

The small-dog breed, which like Labs are considered great pets for families, are described by AKC as “one-of-a-kind,” with their trademark feature being their “large bat ears.”

“They get on well with other animals and enjoy making new friends of the human variety,” the AKC said, adding “it is no wonder that city folk from Paris to Peoria swear by this vastly amusing and companionable breed.”

After Frenchies and Labs, rounding out the top five breeds for 2022 were the Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, and Poodle.

French Bulldogs — like their English cousins and squish-faced pugs — have a short snout, which can lead to trouble breathing and other health complications.

The Dutch agriculture minister in January said he would seek to ban ownership of animals which “suffer from his or her appearance.”

The Netherlands banned the breeding of pets that are affected by their appearance in 2014, but some animals were still being traded illegally or bought from abroad.

Frenchies also made headlines in 2021, when pop star Lady Gaga had two French Bulldogs stolen while a dog-walker was taking them for a stroll.

They were later returned, while the three robbers were later caught and jailed for the incident, during which the dog-walker was shot.