Brown French Bulldog with black nose and eyes.

There was a shocking development this past week in the world of dogs.

For the first time in the last 30 years, the Labrador Retriever has lost the top spot for the most popular dog breed in the United States.

And the bigger shock is the breed they lost to! The French Bulldog. 

According to data released recently by our friends at the American Kennel Club, registrations tracked for the year 2022 indicate that more French Bulldogs were registered than Labrador Retrievers in the United States for the first time in 31 years.

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This announcement doesn’t reveal data about non-AKC registered dogs, whose numbers could affect the listing results. But based on AKC’s tracking, it’s clear that French Bulldogs are becoming an extremely popular dog breed!

So many people seem to be very surprised by this announcement.

If you’ve been following the annual list, last year French Bulldogs held the second spot on the list of most popular US dog breeds, behind our beloved Labs, so it’s clear they’ve been closing in on the top spot. 

Still, the formal announcement of French Bulldogs overtaking Labrador Retrievers in popularity was definitely a huge surprise to many people, and we’ve heard a lot of hilarious comments about it.

We could barely share this upsetting news with the Labs of, but when we did, they seemed to have very little to say about it, and went right back to looking for birds out the window and snacks around the house. 

One of the top comments we’ve heard from humans is the surprise that the breed that surpassed the Lab in popularity would be the “Frenchie,” as they are lovingly referred to. 

Yellow French Bulldog smiling.

Many people have asked us in the past if Doodles (such as Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, etc) would be considered the most popular breed of dog, since they do seem to be everywhere.

However, as the American Kennel Club only tracks purebred registrations, Doodle data is not available to compile from them. 

Based on the popularity of Doodle-type breeds in recent decades, we wouldn’t be surprised if all types of Doodles combined would be close to or surpass the numbers of purebred Labs as well.

While French Bulldogs have increased in popularity and attention, many people have told us that they still don’t see a lot of Frenchies where they live, or that they don’t seem to be all that popular in many places in the United States. 

Celebrity owners and social media have drawn attention to the adorable features of this breed, with their short noses, flat faces, and pointy ears. 

The dramatic dog-napping (and subsequent recovery) of Lady Gaga’s French Bulldogs during a shooting and armed robbery in 2021 also garnered a ton of attention. 

However, though we’d hate to say this in front of any respectable Labrador Retriever, we admit that Frenchies are adorable in their own way and have a cute, manageable size that can be a better fit for apartment dwellers or people with smaller yards.

French Bulldogs aren’t as big or active as Labs, and don’t need as much food or exercise, which does appeal to a lot of people.

And if you’re new to the world of dogs and intimidated by larger breeds, it also might be easier for you to handle a dog of a smaller size, such as a French Bulldog. 

Black and white French Bulldog.

However, French Bulldogs can have health issues that people should be aware of before deciding to follow the wave of popularity and adopt a new French Bulldog member of the family. 

Due to the shape of their faces and airways, French Bulldogs can have considerable breathing obstruction issues, just like those of English Bulldogs and Pugs.

Ear issues and skin problems are also a frequent concern for Frenchie owners, just as they can be for Labradors. 

Be sure to have pet insurance or reserves of cash to cover those veterinary costs you might face when adopting or buying a dog with frequently known chronic health issues.

Our former veterinarian in Texas also was a Bulldog specialist, and he used to joke that the Bulldogs bought the building because the cost to their owners was so high.

While French Bulldogs and Labradors are very different dog breeds that appeal to very different types of owners, we encourage you to always take your time, do thorough research, and perform your due diligence when researching and selecting a dog breeder, no matter which breed of dog you’re looking for. 

And stayed tuned for updates next year, in case the popularity rankings change once again!

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