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Big dogs are the top dogs in Buffalo ratings

When it comes to dogs, Buffalonians like 'em really big or really small.

And while beagles might score huge points in other part of the country, Snoopy sure isn't a big shot here.

Labrador and golden retrievers once again place first and second among the American Kennel Club's "Top 10 Most Popular Dogs" in the country and in Buffalo. The list ranks the top 10 dog breeds registered with the AKC in 2005 nationally and locally.

Yet while a lot of crossover exists between Buffalo's Top 10 breed list and the national list, a few differences are evident.

First, Buffalo is more of a big-dog, working-dog town. Buffalonians are apparently fonder of German shepherd dogs, boxers and Rottweilers than the nation as a whole. In fact, while Rottweilers secure 10th place on Buffalo's list, they manage a mere 16th place nationwide.

City residents probably buy Rottweilers for their guard-dog reputation even though these canines are far more versatile, said breeder Norma Dikeman of Portland, N.Y.

Retrievers, meanwhile, surprise no one with their top showing both locally and nationally.

"The golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers are probably high on the list because No. 1, they have a great temperment," said Roger Frey, first vice president with the Kennel Club of Buffalo. "They like everybody and are tolerant of children. Labradors and goldens are easily trained. They're pretty good dogs for most people."

Lap dogs, meanwhile, hold their own. Shih tzus, dachshunds and Yorkshire terriers make both local and national top 10 lists.

But it's the diminutive Chihuahua that really steals hearts in this old steel town. The tiny purse dweller places seventh on Buffalo's breed popularity list but drops to 11th place on the national list.

Animal activists caution against basing any dog purchasing decision on popularity or looks alone.

Lindsey Styborski, an SPCA veterinary assistant who owns a 3-pound Chihuahua named Bella, said that while her dog is quite sociable, many other cuddly looking Chihuahuas are actually timid, unfriendly toward strangers and hard to train.

"They're very high-maintenance dogs," she said.

As for Snoopy, while the lovable hound ranks fifth nationwide, Buffalo just isn't a big beagle town. The breed is absent from Buffalo's Top 10 list.

e-mail: stan@buffnews.com

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