New Yorkers really are a bunch of bullies.
Bulldogs are the No. 1 breed in New York City, nosing the Labrador retriever into third place, according to a 2013 count by the the American Kennel Club. French bulldogs (third in popularity for 2012) are now the second most popular breed and German Shepherds and Golden Retriever now take slots four and five, respectively.
The AKC also broke out the most popular breeds in certain neighborhoods. In a possible sign of the city's galloping gentrification, pricey French Bulldogs now rule Williamsburg, the Upper West Side, the Financial District and Washington Heights. (Purebred bulldogs and French bulldogs are not only costly to purchase, but usually require C-sections when giving birth. They are also prone to expensive medical problems, such as impaired breathing, back problems and allergies.)
It's little wonder why bulldogs are now so popular, given their adorable antics and spunky lovability says Alyona Maslova, 30, a Bushwick photographer who has a 5-month-old Bulldog named Matisse. She credits her Columbian-born pet with enlivening her marriage ("we spend time together training him! We bought him a skateboard!") and improving her mood. "He's very chill. He has a stubborn streak, but he wants to please you, too. He is very sweet and very smart," she gushed.
French bulldog aficionados are hoping their breed's popularity in various NY neighborhoods is a precursor to a "best in show" prize in February's 2014 Westminster Dog Show, said investor relations specialist Laura Garner, of the Upper West Side, who owns two. "Every Frenchie owner is waiting for that moment," sighed Garner, who noted the wide-eyed big-eared breed fits well not just in city apartments, but "in airline approved carriers."
Dr. Brian Buggie, 32, was shocked to find out that his dogs, Heidi, 8 and Turok, 10, represent the most popular breed in Chelsea: Beagles. Judging from all the brachycephalic (bulldog) breeds he sees when taking his lean "supermodel" beagles to art galleries and the park, he was sure they ruled his 'hood, too. Can the Chelsea psychiatrist provide any insight as to what a breed indicates about it's own mental health? "Most people pick a dog based on prior experience, personality," and lifestyle compatibility, said the doctor. Buggie had beagles as a boy and allowed that perhaps he likes maintaining the link to his childhood. The popularity of beagles may be partially attributable to the profusion of "British expats in Chelsea," who find comfort in British breeds, Buggie mused.
Buggie, who outfitted his terrace with Astroturf and a red fire hydrant to give his dogs a comfortable space to cavort, bragged that Heidi has figured out how to hopscotch over furniture of incrementally higher levels to get to food left on his kitchen counter. (It was a beagle that starred in a recent viral video depicting a pooch moving furniture to get to a microwave it then opened.) Beagles are not only sagacious, but voracious, said Buggie, noting, "they'll eat anything in sight." What they don't do is repress any memories involving food. Heidi and Turok have an astonishing recall "of every doorman who has ever given them a treat and any store (employee) who has ever given them biscuits," he noted.
The popularity of Frenchies really picked up after the characters played by Ed O'Neill and Sofia Vergara brought a Frenchie into their TV home on the hit show "Modern Family,"said Joy Macheda, who counts 660 canine members in the French Bulldog NYC Meetup she started. There's something about the breed's neotenous features ("they look a little bit like Yoda") that is just irresistible to fashionable urbanites, said the a sales rep who has moved to Leonia, NJ, to provide more romping room for her dog, Toby. Many NYC Frenchie owners, she observed, "dress up their dogs. Guys bring their dogs to our groups in specially made carts on their bikes or in strollers. Some of them have chauffeurs."
The "most popular breeds" for 2013 were tabulated according to the number of registrations submitted by owners to the AKC, according to a spokeswoman for the organization, who did not provide numerical counts. Unregistered dogs and mutts did not, umm, count.