Labradors remain top dogs in Switzerland
Labrador retrievers remain the most popular kind of dog owned in Switzerland, according to statistics for 2013 but the most newly sought after species is a breed that is tiny by comparison — the Chihuahua.
ANIS, the Bern-based animal identity service, said on Thursday that Labradors remained by far the most popular canine pet in the country with a total dog population of around 450,000.
The service said a total of 38,801 Labradors, originally bred in Newfoundland, were registered in Switzerland by the end of December.
They came ahead of mixed breeds and Yorkshire terriers, the third most popular variety, followed by Border Collies and Jack Russell terriers, ANIS said in its annual report.
The Chihuahua ranked sixth most popular, according to the figures.
But the lapdog with Mexican origins, the smallest breed of dog in the world, registered the highest number of new registrations with 3,669 signalled last year.
Named after a Mexcian state, the Chihuahua appears to be a popular choice for apartment dwellers, weighing as little as 1.8 kilograms and capable of being carried in a handbag.
It also has a relatively long lifespan — between 15 and 20 years — in contrast to the relatively large Labrador (12 to 13 years), which can weigh up to 36 kilograms.
Residents of the canton of Jura have the highest rate of dog ownership per capita, with 126 registered for every 1,000 inhabitants, ANIS said.
They are followed by those from Appenzell Outer Rhoden (87), Solothurn (85) and Vaud (83).
Overall, the level of dog ownership in Switzerland falls well behind countries such as the US, where one in four residents has a pet pooch.
Between 2007 and 2012, the number of dogs registered by Swiss residents fell almost 10 percent, according to a Euromonitor study.
Strict regulations on dog ownership and bans on dangerous breeds in some cantons are among the dissuasive factors at play in the mountain country.
Who could resist? A Chihuahua puppy snoozes in the palm of a hand. Photo: Toronja Azul