Delaware dog lovers are literally searching for an underdog.
Labrador retrievers, German shepherds and golden retrievers have consistently topped the list of the American Kennel Club's most popular dog breeds both nationwide and in Delaware the past few years.
But research by FranchiseOpportunities.com, an online franchise opportunity directory, dug into the data and found that interest by Delaware dog lovers has turned to another breed this past year.
According to Melody Porter, a representative of FranchiseOpportunities.com, Delawareans have searched the web for the Cane Corso breed more than any other dog breed in 2017.
The Cane Corso, also known as the Italian Mastiff, is a large Italian breed of dog regarded as a companion, guard dog and hunter.
Folks in Delaware seem to be intrigued by the Cane Corso and have been outpacing all other dog breeds in web searches, according to data from the FranchiseOpportunities.com study.
"We began by looking at the American Kennel Club's Top 50 Dog Breeds list," Porter said. "Then, we took that list and pulled data from Google Trends for related search terms around each dog breed. The breed with the highest search interest was deemed the top for that state."
Porter said the reason for the survey was because Earthwise Pet Supply and the Dog Stop are joining FranchiseOpportunities.com soon to offer franchisees business opportunities in doggy day care as well as grooming services.
"With that being said, we've been reminiscing about our canine pals and discussing our beloved dog breeds," she said.
And while the AKC list is the gold standard and most referenced dog breed list, Porter said the data compiled in the FranchiseOpportunities.com study painted a different picture of what breed people are at least searching the web for.
"We calculated the top-three most popular dog breeds across the U.S. by looking at the breeds with the highest count by state," she said. "In order, those were Dobermans, French bulldogs and Rottweilers."
The American Kennel Club list hasn't fluctuated much in the past few years with Labrador retrievers holding down the top spot in Delaware, followed by German shepherds, golden retrievers, Rottweilers and poodles.
The national list from the nation’s largest purebred dog registry for 2016 is much the same, with the top three the same as in Delaware. That changes with bulldogs and beagles rounding out the top five.
On the national list, Rottweilers are No. 8, while the Cane Corso breed comes in at No. 40.
The German shepherd secured its spot as the second most popular breed again this year in the AKC list. The 2017 list will be released next month.
Fanucci, a German shepherd co-owned by a retired vet tech from Milton, was in the spotlight two weeks ago when he saw his hopes for a "Best in Show" at the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show dashed.
The 5-year-old German shepherd that survived a brutal highway crash a few years ago in New Jersey was scratched from the competition because of a hematoma on his left ear, said co-owner Stephanie Schrock of Milton.
Schrock thinks Fanucci might have been nipped by a playful puppy before or during Westminster, or perhaps he shook his ear too hard and broke a blood vessel.
"It was a freak thing," Schrock said. "You work hard all week and boom, this happens. The timing couldn't have been any worse."
Fanucci was considered by many the nation's top in his class heading into the prestigious dog show at the Westminster Kennel Club.
Written by Jerry Smith, The News Journal