Why Americans love Labs.

How popular culture gets popular.
July 8 2005 5:04 PM

Top Dog

Why Americans love Labrador retrievers.

(Continued from Page 1)

According to Herzog's model, the Labrador has another decade or so atop the AKC's list before it yields to a new No. 1 hound. But already, a backlash against large dogs seems to be taking shape. According to the AKC, the oft-maligned Toy group is making a comeback of sorts: The registration list's biggest climbers these days are the Chinese crested and the Brussels griffon. An AKC spokeswoman opined that this might have to do with all those celebrities who walk around with teensy pooches in their purses, but Herzog's analysis suggests otherwise. More likely it's just another inexplicable product of cultural drift: Twenty years hence, the Yorkshire terrier could be the most popular breed. And people will think Yorkies are tough as nails, while Labs will be dismissed as chew-happy slobs.

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Brendan I. Koerner is a contributing editor at Wired and a columnist for Gizmodo. His first book, Now the Hell Will Start, is out now.