Rottweilers, guard breeds gain popularity

May 05, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

American Kennel Club 1992 registration statistics show a massive increase in the numbers of pedigreed dogs, a growing preference for large, potentially aggressive or guarding breeds, and skyrocketing popularity of the Rottweiler, which pushed the cocker spaniel from second to third place.

Cockers topped individual registrations from 1983 through 1991, when Labrador retrievers became No. 1, a position they retained this year.

AKC's 1992 individual registrations -- not registrations by breed clubs or other registries -- totaled 1,528,392, an increase of 58 percent from the 965,250 listed in 1979 and 10.7 percent more than last year. This represents only half, or less than half, of the numbers of dogs in AKC-registered litters, since many new owners never bother with individual registration.

The following figures apply to the 40 percent to 50 percent of dogs from AKC-registered litters that are individually registered.

In 1992 the individual registration total was skewed by AKC's acceptance of the Chinese shar-pei, and the resultant shift of 85,702 shar-pei registrations from the breed's national stud book to that of the AKC. Even without them, growth was still unusually strong, with an increase of 4.8 percent in individual listings from 1991 to 1992.

The shiba inu, whose stud book also was transferred in 1992, accounted for 2,574 registrations, which is not considered a distortion of the growth trend.

The top 10 breeds and their registrations in 1992 were Labrador,120,879; Rottweiler, 95,445; cocker spaniel, 91,925; German shepherd, 76,941; poodle (standard, miniature and toy), 73,449; golden retriever, 69,850; beagle, 60,661; dachshund, 50,046; Shetland sheep dog, 43,449, and chow, 42,670. The shar pei, which would seem to qualify for fourth-place ranking, had abnormal registrations, and would rank about 35th, based on AKC interpretations of the data.

Fear of crime probably has caused the continuing popularity of very large guard dogs. Despite their substantial price, cost of upkeep and need for large quarters, Rottweilers, German shepherds, boxers, Dobermans, Akitas, mastiffs and other protective varieties are favored by many. A comer is the Akita. Though it ranked only 33rd last year, with 11,383 listings, that was a 14.4 percent increase over 1991.

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