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News / Life / Pets & Wildlife

Golden retrievers still No. 1 in Seattle

Dogs beloved for their temperament, affinity for water

By Vonnai Phair, The Seattle Times
Published: March 23, 2024, 5:59am

Seattle’s top dog breed is … still the golden retriever.

The golden retriever was the city’s most popular dog breed in 2023, according to the American Kennel Club, which maintains the United States’ oldest purebred canine registry.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because the golden retriever was Seattle’s most popular dog in 2022, too.

Nationally, the French bulldog took the top pup spot for the second year in a row, but “Seattleites march to the beat of their own drum,” said AKC Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo in a news release Wednesday.

Using registration data pulled from Seattle ZIP codes, the club found Labrador retrievers are Seattle’s second most popular pup, followed by the French bulldog, Pembroke Welsh corgi and Havanese. Those are the same top five, in the same order, from 2022.

But in January, another breed was crowned Washington’s most popular by U.S. News & World Report: the Chihuahua.

The survey, which used pet insurance data, also found the Chihuahua — which makes up 4 percent of dogs in the country — is the most popular pup among the nation’s 49 million households with dogs, not the Frenchie.

The Chihuahua was crowned top dog in 20 other states by U.S. News & World Report, while the AKC ranked it the 32nd most popular pup across the nation.

So, in January, we asked Seattle Times readers for their input: What really is Washington’s best dog breed? Is it the Chihuahua, or is it the golden retriever …. or something else?

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Nearly 200 readers piped up for their favorite pup, and (drum roll, please) the golden retriever took the top spot.

The Chihuahua, Labrador retriever, French bulldog and German shepherd (tied) were next on the list, according to Seattle Times readers.

Most readers expressed their appreciation for goldens because of their affinity for water (rain, lakes, ponds, you name it).

One reader, JP Schwenk, said the golden retriever is Washington’s top pup because it’s “perfect for tagging along on the endless, wonderful activities Washington offers in its great outdoors.”

Schwenk also highlighted the breed’s outgoing, intelligent, nonaggressive and energetic qualities.

Golden retrievers are famous for their dense coat of gold fur and have a temperament and versatility that contribute to their perennial popularity, according to the AKC. They are serious workers at whatever they do — hunting, being service animals for blind people and aiding search-and-rescue efforts. Goldens are typically obedient and enjoy competitive events.

Kevin Simmons noted goldens “are well adapted to our temperate climate.” They don’t need a blanket for the rain or the cold, Simmons said, and they greet strangers and friends alike with a smile.

Reader Lori Nitchals agreed on the golden’s grin: “There is nothing like the smile of a golden retriever to light up a gloomy and rainy day!”

Some readers expressed their love for Chihuahuas because of their small size and feisty nature.

“They can be tiny pit bull if needed,” reader Charlotte Plett said.

On the national front, the French bulldog’s popularity has continued to surge since overtaking the Labrador retriever’s 31-year record-breaking national reign, according to the AKC.

Frenchies have been quietly moving up the national charts for years, jumping from 14th place in 2012 to the top spot in 2022 and 2023. Registrations for French bulldogs across the country increased more than 1,000 percent between 2012 and 2022.

Frenchies were Seattle Times readers’ fourth most popular pup.

Wendy Komen voted for the French bulldog and said the breed is “hilarious.” They have a versatility, and are “great for sitting inside on cold, rainy days watching movies,” as well as for hikes in the Pacific Northwest.

Another reader, Kevin Fuhrer, commended the Frenchie for its expressive nature, “in the form of flatulence and snoring.”

Following the French bulldog and Labrador retriever in spots No. 1 and 2 nationally, the AKC’s Top 10 dog breeds, in order, include golden retrievers, German shepherds, poodles, dachshunds, bulldogs, beagles, Rottweilers and German shorthaired pointers.

U.S. News & World Report found Chihuahuas are most popular in the South, while the West showed more variety in people’s beloved dog breeds.

The French bulldog ranked first in California. And the Chihuahua was the favorite in Oregon and Nevada.