The American Kennel Club has put out its annual report listing the most popular breeds nationwide and in specific cities. As in most years, Houston generally mirrors the national trends.
The nation's most popular dogs:
1. Labrador Retriever
2. German Shepherd Dog
3. Yorkshire Terrier
4. Golden Retriever
(No, we don't know why it's called a "German Shepherd Dog"; perhaps the AKC wanted to dispel any illusions that Americans were keeping actual German sheepherders as pets.)
Houston's most popular:
1. Labrador Retriever
2. Yorkshire Terrier
3. German Shepherd Dog
"Houston's top dogs mimic the national trends for the most part," said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "However, the Beagle, the fifth-most popular breed in the nation, only ranks 17th among Houston dog owners."
Why hateth the lowly beagle? Five reasons why Houstonians should instead embrace it:
1. LBJ had one and named it Lyndon Beagle Johnson.
Of course, that could be seen as even more evidence of Johnson's towering ego, not to mention that LBJ caused a national mini-scandal when pictured picking the dog up by the ears. (If Fox News had been around then: "Special Edition: President Tortures Helpless Animals.")
Still, it's Texas. We embrace Lone Star presidents who get us into idiotic, wasteful wars.
2. Beagles hate creationism.
At any rate, Charles Darwin sailed on The Beagle for his historic voyage. That's close enough to rattle the cages of all the people who think man coexisted with dinosaurs, and those cages should always be rattled.
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3. One of the Apollo lunar modules was named after a beagle.
The Apollo 10 astronauts named their lunar module Snoopy and their command module Charlie Brown, a decision that caused NASA to give astronauts a little less discretion in naming their vehicles. Snoopy didn't land on the moon, of course -- that was reserved for an Eagle -- but it got within nine miles.
4. The Beagles had such hits as "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Hey Jude."
In Typoland, at least.
5. Texas' Butthole Surfers do a great version of the Underdog theme song.
The cartoon never made it clear that Underdog was a beagle, but the movie did. The movie sucked, but that shouldn't detract from its efforts to clarify what breed the star was.