If the saying “A dog looks a lot like his master” rings true, then Scottsdale is a city of people resembling Labrador and golden retrievers.
This may be contrary to a commonly held image of Scottsdale being a city of miniature poodles and Shih Tzus peeking out of signature purses while being toted through Scottsdale Fashion Square by salon-aided blondes wearing stiletto heels and designer sunglasses.
Of the 26,497 dogs licensed in Scottsdale, according to numbers from Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, Labrador retrievers are the city’s top dogs — 3,147 of them registered — with 1,516 golden retrievers coming in at No. 2.
German shepherds are the city’s third most popular breed, and Shih Tzus and Yorkshire terriers round out the top five of the 514 different breeds listed in Scottsdale, according to Maricopa County Animal Control.
But if one were to take an afternoon walk through the Chaparral Dog Park, it would be hard to judge that the retrievers are top dogs in the city. Not one was there on Thursday.
As Gloria Moore walked her two Wheaten terriers, Wolfe and Buddy, she begged to differ. She feels her dogs with a herding heritage and Irish origin are more popular.
“They’re the best dogs ever,” Moore said. “They don’t shed, and they love everyone. They have unbelievable personalities. If we could only get them not to poop, they’d be the perfect dog, but they still do that. We had a Lab for 13 years, but we’re pretty nuts over these guys.”
Paige Warren’s Australian cattle dog, Bentley, a border collie mix who likes to swim and play fetch, is just beginning to settle down at age 2.
“They’re not for everyone,” Warren said. “They’re hyper dogs and have a mind of their own. They’re pretty intelligent.”
But some dog owners fit Scottsdale’s upscale canine motif, and Barry Mason touts his terrier mix Bugsy as a “designer” dog.
“He’s one of a kind,” Mason said. “He’s a good-looking guy. He’s a fun and playful dog and a people person. He loves to chase rabbits.”
The only dogs at Chaparral Dog Park resembling the Labrador or golden retriever were John Dupont’s pair of border collie-Lab mixes, Davis and Sammy.
“They’re great dogs,” Dupont said. “They’re full of energy and have an easygoing temperament. Davis is ball-obsessed, and loves to chase his ball here. Sammy smiles when he comes here. They love the park.”
In Paradise Valley, Labrador and golden retrievers also took the top two dog spots with 288 and 138, respectively, according to county animal control license statistics.
German shepherds also were third in Paradise Valley, Bichon frises were fourth and Shih Tzus fifth.
But when it comes to popularity, it all comes down to a matter of opinion, said Helen Burkey, a sales associate of Pets Landing, 7908 E. Chaparral Road, Scottsdale.
Although the shop sells mostly smaller breeds such as Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas, Malteses and Shih Tzus ranging in price from $1,139 to $2,300, the retrievers are desirable, Burkey said.
“They’re lovable, friendly, good-natured and get along with children and other dogs well,” Burkey said. “But they all shed.”
The popularity of another retriever type of dog is on the rise — a retriever-poodle mix dubbed a doodle, according to Burkey.
“Everybody wants a doodle,” Burkey said.
Scottsdale’s top dogs
1. Labrador retriever (3,147) 2. Golden retriever (1,516) 3. German shepherd (1,191) 4. Shih Tzu (987) 5. Yorkshire terrier (764) 6. Chihuahua (669) 7. Australian shepherd (653) 8. Cocker spaniel (649) 9. Beagle (562) 10. Bichon frise (558)
P.V.’s top dogs
1. Labrador retriever (288) 2. Golden retriever (138) 3. German shepherd (82) 4. Bichon frise (63) 5. Shih Tzu (59) 6. Australian shepherd (46) 7. Poodle (45) 8. Jack Russell terrier (42) 9. Miniature schnauzer (41) 10. Chihuahua (39)