When the America Kennel Club released their statistics for 2017, a lot of people were shocked to learn the United States’ most popular dog wasn’t what they thought! After culling through adoption paperwork, tallying statistics, and analyzing census data from breeders, the AKC published their results.

For the 27th straight year, the nation’s largest purebred dog registry has ranked Labradors as the most popular breed in the country.

“The Labrador Retriever has its paws firmly planted in Americans’ hearts,” AKC Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo said. “It’s such a versatile and family friendly breed. But the German Shepherd gave the Labs a run for their money this year and came in second.”

Here’s the scoop per TODAY:

The Labrador’s temperament, aptitude for dog sports and popularity as K-9 partners, service dogs and therapy dogs were cited by the AKC for its continued reign at the top.

Plus, as fans of Sunny and former TODAY puppies Wrangler and Charlie already know, they’re also pretty darn cute!

Charlie is now a service dog for a disabled military veteran, while Wrangler serves in the K-9 unit for the Connecticut State Police, illustrating those desirable qualities that have kept Labradors ranked at the top.

Labradors once again beat out German shepherds for top honors for the fifth straight year, while golden retrievers ranked third. French bulldogs jumped into the fourth spot from No. 6 in 2016, while beagles dropped out of the top five for the first time since 1998.

And while we love Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds, we have to confess that Labradors hold a special place in our hearts. As the AKC confirms, they are an exceptionally friendly and family-oriented dog that adapts well to many different environments. This makes the breed a perfect fit for growing families or single people in apartments!

A favorite disability assistance breed in many countries, Labradors are frequently trained to aid the blind, those who have autism, to act as a therapy dog. They also perform screening and detection work for law enforcement and other official agencies.

What breed of dog do you own? 

If you were going to get another type of dog,
what would you choose and why?