Labrador retrievers have been the top dog in Red Deer for several years, according to dogs licenced in the city.
Out of the 8,399 dogs registered in total, there are 826 Labrador retrievers, followed by 597 German shepherds, 410 border collies, 387 shih tzus, 304 chihuahuas, 300 huskies, 299 golden retrievers, 261 bichon frises, 249 Yorkshire terriers, and 212 pitbull terriers.
In the 11th place are 206 schnauzers, followed by 206 Australian shepherd, 203 poodles, 175 cocker spaniels, 144 pomeranians, 136 dachshunds, 134 bulldogs, 131 maltese, 127 Bernese mountain dogs, and 126 pugs.
Landra Wowchuk-Grantham, president of Red Deer and District Kennel Club, said Labrador retrievers are known as well-rounded family dogs.
“They’re easily trainable, low maintenance, need to be bathed maybe twice a year, not too large, not too small,” Wowchuk-Grantham said.
She said the mix of small and large-sized dogs in Red Deer’s favourite breeds is no surprise. Some people like pocket dogs, like chihuahuas, that do not require a lot of big accessories when travelling. Others like pitbull terriers, are chosen either as family pets or guard dogs.
Mixed breeds are ranked 39th among licenced dogs, with 51 dogs in the city.
She said while the kennel club works to educate people about purebreds, cross-breeds are allowed to compete in Canadian Kennel Club performance events, and Red Deer club’s obedience and agility classes are open to all dogs.
Red Deer is a community that really cares about dogs, she said.
“Our pets are like our family,” Wowchuk-Grantham said.
Jim Deboon, owner and operator of Klassic Kennels, said the popularity of the border collie is noteworthy in the city’s licenced list because they are a high drive, high energy dog.
“To have that as the third most popular dog in a city, that’s challenging. It does take more work than a Labrador typically,” Deboon said.
He said German shepherds are the second most popular dog likely because people think they need a bigger dog for security purposes due to property crime in the city.
But he said when it comes to choosing a dog, a person’s lifestyle and leadership skills are important, as well as the dog’s energy and personality. Unfortunately, decisions are often based on emotion, instead of logic.
And when the match is wrong, that’s when there is trouble, he said.
“Sometimes we give dogs affection when we should give them direction. The dog ends up having behavioural issues because the dog thinks he can make decisions. Then you get a bite incident. Not because it was a bad dog. Not because it was a bad person. Because it was a bad match. That’s what people don’t get.”