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The French bulldog sits, stays at the top of U.S. dog owners' hearts

The French bulldog is America's most popular breed, according to the American Kennel Club. This one, Manny The Frenchie, attended Time Inc.'s 2017 PetHero Pet Party to benefit animals impacted by hurricanes.
Astrid Stawiarz
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Getty Images for PetHero
The French bulldog is America's most popular breed, according to the American Kennel Club. This one, Manny The Frenchie, attended Time Inc.'s 2017 PetHero Pet Party to benefit animals impacted by hurricanes.

It's official — the French have captured the hearts of Americans.

Or, the French bulldog has, anyway.

According to the latest statistics from the American Kennel Club released Wednesday, the dog popularly known as the Frenchie has held its crown as America's most popular dog breed for the second year in a row.

The bat-eared, smushed-nose, wrinkly-faced pups beat out roughly 200 other breeds to be named top dog, with the AKC saying it registered close to 98,500 Frenchies in 2023.

Rounding out the top five most common registered breeds were Labradors, golden retrievers, German shepherds and poodles.

The AKC statistic does have its limits. Registration is voluntary and it only ranks the club's 200 recognized breeds, which doesn't include hybrids such as goldendoodles or pomskies.

But there's no denying the Frenchies rapid ascension as America's most popular dog breed. Registrations for the snaggletooth pups have increased by more than 1,000% since 2012. Frenchies first took the survey's top spot in 2022, dethroning the Labrador retriever.

The breed does, however, remain controversial.

Critics point to the canine's short snouts, which can lead to breathing problems, heat strokes and other health issues.

Some also say the Frenchie's appeal is due to good marketing and aesthetics.

With demand so high, the average price ranges between $1,500 to $3,000. A string of Frenchie thefts across the country means the breed is also the most stolen dog.

Perhaps one of the most famous Frenchie robberies in recent history took place in 2021, when Lady Gaga's two French bulldogs, Koji and Gustav, were stolen at gunpoint from her dog walker, Ryan Fischer, while he was walking them in Hollywood.

A woman eventually returned the dogs, but was later charged with stealing stolen property. Four others were charged in connection to the theft.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rebecca Rosman