Revealed: The dogs Kiwis love most

02:58, Jul 25 2014
THROW THE STICK! Labradors are Kiwis' favourite canine pets.

The labrador is the most popular breed among dog owners, apparently because its pliable and slightly dopey nature appeals to townies who want a pet.

In the countryside it's a different story, and even in urban areas - where the biggest effort many dogs have to make is wait a few seconds for their dinner - there's plenty of canine variety.

New information from the Department of Internal Affairs shows that as at May 31 more than 530,000 dogs were registered in New Zealand. Nearly two-thirds of those were classed as purebreds.

The 41,670 labradors accounted for slightly less than 8 per cent of the total and particularly predominated in urban areas. The second most popular breed, the huntaway with 31,385 registrations, is far more likely to be found in more rural parts of the country.

Next in popularity were the 23,190 border collies, then the 18,658 jack russell terriers, followed by the 17,054 heading or eye dogs.

The only other breeds with registration numbers in five figures were smooth fox terriers with 16,886 and german shepherds with 11,970.

Nearly a fifth of all the dogs in the country live in Auckland.

Labradors, with 7667 registrations, are the most common dogs in the country's largest metropolitan area. The next three most popular breeds - jack russells, border collies and german shepherds - are in a tight band with between 3000 and 3300 registrations each.

Aucklanders are proud of their diversity and that seems to extend to their dog choices. Among the smaller breeds, Auckland is home to more than 1700 bichon frises, along with about 1100 each for smooth chichuahuas and toy poodles. At the other end of the weight scale there are nearly 1350 rottweilers.

In contrast, the wide open fields of Rangitikei are far more likely to echo to the enthusiastic barking of a huntaway. The district has more than 1300 of the large, loud herding dogs - along with another 700 heading dogs - out of a total of fewer than 4600.

Central Hawke's Bay is another example of a rural area where working dogs dominate. It has about 400 labradors but nearly 1000 smooth collies, more than 800 huntaways and over 650 heading dogs.

Border collies - often considered the most intelligent of all dogs - are poorly represented with just 82 registrations.

The sheep dogs from the border area of England and Scotland make a better showing further south. Border collies are the most popular breed in the Mackenzie District, with 566 registrations, compared to 229 huntaways, 119 heading dogs, 91 labradors, and just eight smooth collies.

Like so many urban areas, Christchurch has more labradors than any other breed, but the city's residents are a little different in their second most popular choice.

Christchurch has 2521 labradors, which are nearly twice as numerous as the city's second-placed breed, the bichon frise, of which there are 1331. The small, white, fluffy toy dogs are 11th most popular for the country as a whole, and are only about a fifth as common as labradors.

The photo on this story has been changed.