Bully for us.
The French bulldog — the wide-eyed dog with the beseeching expression and Dumbo ears that some believe inspired the character “Yoda” — is the most popular dog breed in NYC for the second year in a row, according to the American Kennel Club.
The 2015 rankings, obtained by counting AKC registrations, showed the regular, larger bulldog in second place locally, the Labrador retriever (the nation’s most popular dog) in third place, the Golden retriever in fourth and the little Yorkshire terrier tailing the pack as the fifth most popular dog in the city.
The popularity of the playful, portable French bulldogs reflects the gentrification of the city: French bulldogs, like other “Brachycephalic” or smooshed-face breeds, often cost a fortune in vet bills and are now, by neighborhood, not only the most ubiquitous breeds in Chelsea, Murray Hill and Park Slope and the Financial District, but also in Washington Heights.
“Bulldogs and bull breeds in general are some of the most expensive breeds: They have lots and lots of congenital health problems,” said Dr. Sarah Sullivan, associate veterinarian at Uptown Veterinary Associates in Morningside Heights. Sullivan has seen a big uptick in all bulldogs in the last decade, but no breed, she noted, comes close in numbers to what is truly the most popular canine pet in NYC that is not included in AKC counts: Trusty old garden variety mutts.
“Frenchies” are notorious for allergies, skin rashes, cartilage, joint and orthopedic problems, and often cannot give birth without a cesarean section due to the size of their heads, noted Sullivan. But busy city dwellers love them because “they are extremely friendly dogs and have a lot of personality,” and don’t require the exercise of the more hyper -- and often, larger -- working breeds, Sullivan explained.
“They’re bred to be companion animals,” Sullivan said.
“They are perfect apartment dogs: They don’t bark and they don’t disturb the neighbors,” said Jen Meehan, a digital marketing director in Chelsea -- the city’s apparent Frenchie epicenter.
Typically weighing in at under 30 pounds, Frenchies are also easy to tote on trains, planes and automobiles.
“I can hop on the subway with him and take him in a cab,” Meehan said of her 5-year-old Frenchie, Toro.
The French Bulldog NYC Meet Up group has grown from 500 members six years ago to 900 members today, said its top dog, Joy Macheda, a 34-year-old sales rep who guesstimates her 8-year-old Frenchie rescue, Toby, costs her $3,000 a year in vet bills and another $2,000 in special foods. “My dog has a neurologist, a dermatologist, an ophthalmologist and a dentist,” she said.
The NYC MeetUp stages “pawties” in which people dress up their Frenchies as political figures, health care professionals and other species such as lobsters. Frenchie owners are known to anthropomorphize their pets and celebrate their shenanigans, mischief and outfits relentlessly on social media.
“Kona has his own Instagram account -- and all the Frenchie owners we know have dogs with Instagram accounts. I don’t know if that is bad or pathetic,” said Kona’s co-owner, Kathryn Haavik, 34, of Chelsea, who sought permission from her coop board, and was given it, before buying Kona from an upstate breeder. Since the expressive, often naughty “Stella” (played by two different dogs) debuted in the second season of the hit ABC show “Modern Family,” the French bulldog has become fur-ociously popular on social media.
“The Rock has a French bulldog: I know that because of Instagram,” said Haavik, a city employee.
While Instagram’s Manny_the_Frenchie in Chicago has 975,000 followers, ChloetheminiFrenchie here in NYC has 118,000 Instagram admirers.
Many people involved in animal rescue aren’t thrilled by the fetishization of specific breeds, however, which almost always have more physical problems than dogs of mixed ancestry. They also don’t see the point of buying an expensive dog when so many are killed for lack of a home. (The Animal Care Centers of NYC euthanized 1,759 dogs last year.)
But Macheda points out that rescue organizations such as frenchbulldogrescue.org now exist specifically for unwanted Frenchies. “They are not as common as the other breeds but we do get them,” said Tiffany Lacey, executive director of Animal Haven, a downtown animal shelter.
Read on to see the 20 most popular breeds in NYC.
1. French Bulldog
It's no surprise the French Bulldog has been named the most popular dog breed in New York City for the second year in a row. Who couldn't love those faces? Pictured: French Bulldog puppies as the 2013 most popular dog breeds in the United States are unveiled to the press at the American Kennel Club in New York on Jan. 31, 2014. (Credit: Getty Images / Emmanuel Dunand)
The Bulldog comes in second again. It was the most popular breed back in 2013. Pictured: Bulldogs Munch, left, and puppy Dominique at an American Kennel Club press conference Jan. 30, 2013, in New York. (Credit: Getty Images / Stan Honda)
3. Labrador Retriever
While they come in third in New York City, Labrador Retrievers have ranked number one in the country for over 20 years. Pictured: Micki Berman holds Ace, a Labrador Retriever puppy, with Shayna Maydela, a grown Labrador Retriever, at an American Kennel Club press conference Jan. 30, 2013, in New York. (Credit: Getty Images / Stan Honda)
4. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever moved up one spot this year, coming in fourth. Pictured: A puppy and adult Golden Retriever pose as the 2013 most popular dog breeds in the United States are unveiled to the press at the American Kennel Club in New York on Jan. 31, 2014. (Credit: Getty Images / Emmanuel Dunand)
5. Yorkshire Terrier
Coming in eighth last year, the Yorkshire Terrier is now the fifth most popular dog in the city. Pictured: Leo, a Yorkshire Terrier from Texas, is groomed by handler Jessica Anderson of Austin at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. (Credit: Craig Ruttle)
6. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd moved down two spots in this year's list, but is still a beloved dog in New York City. Pictured: A puppy and adult German Shepherd stand as the 2013 most popular dog breeds in the United States are unveiled to the press at the American Kennel Club in New York on Jan.31, 2014. (Credit: Getty Images / Emmanuel Dunand)
New York City poodles may not all look like this, but they have once again made the top 10 most popular breeds in the city. Pictured: A Standard Poodle gets a detailed grooming before going to the ring at the 140th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. (Credit: Nicole Brown)
The Havanese was ranked the best breed for apartments and is the eighth most popular in the city this year. Pictured: A Havanese named Tafty is prepared for competition at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 14, 2011, in New York City.
Coming in sixth place in 2014, the Rottweiler came in ninth in 2015. Pictured: A Rottweiler and her offspring as American Kennel Club announces Most Popular Dogs in the United States at the American Kennel Club offices on Feb. 28, 2012, in New York City. (Credit: Getty Images / Gary Gershoff)
10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier holds number 10 again this year in the ranking of top breeds in New York City. Pictured: A Cavalier King Charles spaniel gets ready for the ring at the 140th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. (Credit: Nicole Brown)
The Pomeranian, possibly the fluffiest dog breed, comes in 11th this year. Pictured: A Pomeranian runs the agility course during the third annual Masters Agility Championship on Feb. 13, 2016, in Manhattan at the 140th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. (Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Timothy A. Clary)
The Dachshund comes in 12th place this year in New York City. It often places in or close to the top 10 breeds in the country. Pictured: A Dachshund prepares to be shown at the 140th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Feb. 15, 2016. (Credit: Nicole Brown)
13. Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzers come in 13th place in 2015. They are also the most popular out of the three schnauzer breeds, according to the American Kennel Club. Pictured: Miniature Schnauzers dressed in festive Santa suits during a pet dog show on Christmas Eve in 2007 in Changchun, Jilin Province, China. (Credit: Getty Images / China Photos )
14. Shiba Inu
The Shiba Inu hasn't ranked high in the country in recent years, but in New York City, the breed comes in 14th place. Pictured: A Shiba Inu gets its final grooming before heading to the ring at the 140th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Feb. 15, 2016. (Credit: Nicole Brown)
15. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu has made the top 20 breeds in the country in recent years, and it is also ranked one of the best breeds for apartments. It comes in 15th place in New York City this year. Pictured: A pair of Shih Tzu dogs sit together on the third day of the Crufts dog show at the National Exhibition Centre on March 8, 2014, in Birmingham, England. (Credit: Getty Images / Matt Cardy)
16. Siberian Husky
Despite the weather not always being the best for Siberian Huskies, this breed was ranked the 16th most popular in the city this year. Pictured: A Siberian Husky waits for the start of the ride on Dec. 15, 2008, in a Husky farm in Rovaniemi, Finland. (Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Olivier Morin)
The Beagle is ranked 17th most popular in New York City, but in the country, it has been in the top five in recent years. Pictured: A Beagle poses as the 2013 most popular dog breeds in the United States are unveiled at the American Kennel Club in Manhattan on Jan. 31, 2014. (Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Emmanuel Dunand)
The Boxer comes in 18th this year in New York City. It is often ranked in the top 10 breeds in the country as well, according to the American Kennel Club. Pictured: A boxer competes in the Westminster Dog Show on Feb. 11, 2014, in Manhattan. (Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton)
19. Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher comes in 19th place this year. It also ranks well in the country's most popular breeds, placing in the top 20 in recent years. Pictured: A Doberman Pinscher in the Agility Ring during the Masters Agility Championship on Feb. 7, 2014, in Manhattan at the 138th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. (Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Timothy A. Clary)
The Vizsla has not ranked very high in the country's most popular breeds, but it comes in 20th in New York City. Pictured: Ellie, 2, sits back beside friend Eli, 4, of Atlanta at the 138th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in Manhattan on Feb. 11, 2014. Ellie and Eli are from The Vizsla Club of Long Island. (Credit: Nancy Borowick)