The spunky little Chihuahua – which rose in popularity when one served as the Taco Bell mascot – has earned another distinction: most registered dog breed in Sacramento.
Chihuahuas account for 11,107 of the nearly 86,000 dogs registered in Sacramento, according to a city database obtained by The Sacramento Bee through a California Public Records Act request.
City officials estimated this year that only about 13 percent of pets in Sacramento are registered, a figure they are trying to increase along with rabies vaccination rates. Owners report breeds to the city, and there is a fair amount of crossover in the 254 categories in the database.
When a dog has mixed lineage, the city asks for its primary and secondary breed and what the dog “looks like” to determine how to characterize its breed, said Gina Knepp, manager of the city’s Front Street Animal Shelter. Secondary breeds were not recorded in the database provided by the city.
Here are the top 10 breeds, according to the data:
1. Chihuahua. They make up 13 percent of the city’s registered dog population. Fun fact: The American Kennel Club calls them “graceful, charming, and sassy.” (11,107 registered)
2. Labrador retriever. The dogs are popular among hunters and disabled people. (8,591)
3. Pit bull. Although listed as a breed in the license data, pit bull is really a common name for a number of breeds, including American Pit Bull Terrier. (7,344)
4. German shepherd. The American Kennel Club calls the German shepherd “a true dog lover’s dog.” (4,527)
5. Terrier. Like pit bull, terrier refers to a group of breeds, including the Airedale. (3,830)
6. Golden retriever. As their name implies, retrievers have long been bred as hunting dogs and are energetic. (2,117)
7. Shih Tzu. Like the Chihuahua, the Shih Tzu is considered a toy dog – good for companionship and little else. (1,993)
8. Dachshund. The dachshund is known for its keen sense of smell. (1,942)
9. Miniature poodle. “Exceptionally smart,” according to the American Kennel Club. (1,845)
10. American Staff. Also known as the Staffordshire terrier, it is one of the breeds commonly known as a pit bull. (1,807)