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Erin McCarthy

10 Photos of Adorable Puppies at the AKC

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Erin McCarthy

This morning, in the world's most adorable press conference, the American Kennel Club announced that, for the 23rd year in a row, the Labrador Retriever is America's most popular pup—the longest reign in AKC history. (The Poodle has the second longest run at the top, with 22 years.) The AKC brought the top five breeds to their offices in Manhattan for a meet and greet; we were there to partake in the photo opps and cuddles. Here's what we learned.

All images courtesy of Getty unless otherwise noted.

1. The Lab nabbed the top spot; German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, Boxers, Poodles, Rottweilers, and Dachsunds round out the top 10. 

2. French Bulldogs haven't cracked the Top 10, but with a 323 percent increase in registrations since 2003, they managed nab the number 11 spot—its highest position since it was recognized as a breed in 1898. We got to play with six sweet puppies and their grandfather, Omar. 

3. New York City's most popular pup is ... the bulldog! (Photo by Erin McCarthy.)

4. They're also number one in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Newark.

5. NYC's neighborhoods also had a few favorite pups: Upper East Siders favor the Havanese, while Chelsea's top dog is the Beagle; Tribeca residents love Portuguese Water Dogs, but Astorians prefer the German Shepherd; people living in Staten Island's New Dorp 'hood are into Labs, and Park Slopers love Pugs. 

6. The Golden Retriever is becoming more popular in New York, rising from 9th place last year to number five this year.

7. Bigger breeds have been on the rise for the past five years. "As the economy has improved, people are turning back to the big dogs they love, which cost more to feed and care for than the smaller breeds that saw a rise in popularity in 2007 and 2008," AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson said in a press release.

8. Show dogs can have two names: Their registered name and a simpler call name (for example, the Best in Show winner of the 2009 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship dog show's registered name was CH Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot, while her call name was Sadie). There are a whole slew of regulations a dog's registered name must fit. (Photo by Erin McCarthy.)

9. Even as puppies, German Shepherds have really big paws. This fuzzy little pup's owner said that she'll be around 75 pounds when she's fully grown. (Photo by Erin McCarthy.)

10. Beagles don't drool!

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Animals
This Beach Bar for Dogs Has Chicken Beer and Doggie Paddle Races
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After a summer spent playing fetch, sniffing butts, and fulfilling his duty as man’s best friend, your dog could probably use a vacation. There are few places where he’ll feel more welcome than at Monty’s Dog Beach Bar in Croatia. As Reuters reports, this canine-friendly oasis is the only bar of its kind in the Eastern European country.

Monty’s opened a year ago in the coastal town of Crikvenica and has been drawing in four-legged patrons and their owners ever since. While lounging on a sun bed with views of the Adriatic Sea, dogs lap up special "beer" brewed from chicken and vegetables. If they’re in need of something more substantial, the menu also includes ice cream made from bananas, peanut butter, yogurt, and soy milk. Senior dogs even have the option to drink medicinal teas that are supposed to boost fur growth. And if their humans get hungry or thirsty, there’s a full selection of people drinks and snacks to choose from, too.

Earlier in August, Monty’s hosted a day full of beach games that dogs and their owners could take part in together. Fifteen human-canine pairs competed in an event that had them running down a pier, leaping into the water, and swimming 100 meters back to shore. The winner, a four-year-old Samoyed mix named Nimbus, was awarded 15 pounds of kibble and a weekend stay at a nearby hotel.

The day also featured beer, ice cream, and cake-eating contests for dogs who preferred consuming calories to burning them off.

Special menu items for dogs have become a more popular sight at mainstream restaurants in recent years. Non-alcoholic beer for dogs, made from everything from dandelion to beef flavoring, is also easy to find if owners know where to look for it. But for a dog-centric bar experience close to the ocean, you may have to book a trip to Croatia. (Fido will thank you.)

[h/t Reuters]

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Microsoft’s Autonomous Gliders Stay in the Air by Mimicking Birds of Prey
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When designing different ways for vehicles to move, engineers will often look to nature. Animals have had millions of years to evolve locomotion methods that get them where they’re going fast without burning a ton of energy. Now, researchers at Microsoft have chosen the hawk, a master of energy-efficient air travel, as the model for their new autonomous gliders.

As Co.Design reports, the tech company’s “infinite soaring machine” can move through the skies without generating its own propulsion. Instead, it seeks out warms streams of air to provide the upward push, much like a hawk does.

While riding air currents doesn't take up a lot of energy, it does require some sophisticated artificial intelligence. As a substitute for millennia of animal instinct, Microsoft “trained” its glider to fly by plugging it into a video game-like simulator that showed hawks in flight. By repeatedly subjecting the technology to these virtual experiments, researchers eventually developed algorithms capable of recreating the scenes in the real world.

Using onboard sensors, the sailplane can independently navigate the skies without a motor. The gliders are no more than a few feet long, which means they don’t serve much of a practical purpose outside of research. But the aircraft’s simple design is exactly what makes them appealing to engineers.

With less hardware to worry about, they can focus on refining AI software which can be used in different types of autonomous vehicles in the future. And by testing AI navigation in the air instead of on the road, Microsoft gives themselves a much bigger test track to work with.

You can watch the infinite soaring machine take to the skies in the video below.

[h/t Co.Design]

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