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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
Dogs Rescued After Hurricane Maria Are Available to Adopt in New York
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Dozens of dogs displaced by Hurricane Maria last month are now closer to having happy endings to their stories. As Mashable reports, 53 dogs flown out of Puerto Rico by The Sato Project have been put up for adoption in shelters around the U.S., with 28 of the rescues now available through a shelter in New York City.

The new batch of dogs looking for forever homes is in addition to the 60 dogs retrieved by The Sato Project earlier this month. According to the local animal rescue group, Puerto Rico was home to about 500,000 stray dogs before the historic storm made landfall in September. The animals being shuttled from the devastated island and into the U.S. via charter plane are a mix of feral dogs, abandoned dogs, and dogs that were surrendered to local shelters by families unable to care for them post-Maria.

The Sato Project, which worked to tackle Puerto Rico's stray dog problem before the disaster, wrote that in light of the storm they would be "mobilizing to provide supplies and support to our team on the ground in Puerto Rico, and to transport as many dogs as we can to safety in the coming days and weeks."

Aspiring pet owners looking to take in a four-legged survivor will have the best luck at the no-kill shelter Animal Haven in Manhattan's Lower East Side. There, dozens of dogs who made the trip from the U.S. territory are anxiously waiting to meet their new families. And if you don't live in the New York City area, you can check out The Sato Project's list of adoptable pets around the country.

Looking for ways to help Puerto Rico that don't involve adding a new member to the family? Here are some organizations doing recovery work on the island and ways you can support them.

[h/t Mashable]

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
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Cats often exhibit some very peculiar behavior, from getting into deadly combat situations with their own tail to pouncing on unsuspecting humans. Among their most curious habits: running from their litter box like a greyhound after moving their bowels. Are they running from their own fecal matter? Has waste elimination prompted a sense of euphoria?

Experts—if anyone is said to qualify as an expert in post-poop moods—aren’t exactly sure, but they’ve presented a number of entertaining theories. From a biological standpoint, some animal behaviorists suspect that a cat bolting after a deposit might stem from fears that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. But researchers are quick to note that they haven’t observed cats run from their BMs in the wild.

Biology also has a little bit to do with another theory, which postulates that cats used to getting their rear ends licked by their mother after defecating as kittens are showing off their independence by sprinting away, their butts having taken on self-cleaning properties in adulthood.

Not convinced? You might find another idea more plausible: Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, the nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to a pleasurable sensation and what some have labeled “poo-phoria,” or post-poop elation. In running, the cat may simply be working off excess energy brought on by stimulation of the nerve.

Less interesting is the notion that notoriously hygienic cats may simply want to shake off excess litter or fecal matter by running a 100-meter dash, or that a digestive problem has led to some discomfort they’re attempting to flee from. The fact is, so little research has been done in the field of pooping cat mania that there’s no universally accepted answer. Like so much of what makes cats tick, a definitive motivation will have to remain a mystery.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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