Pet Scoop: Labs Still Most Popular Breed, Chicken Dog Treats Recalled

Jan. 31, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

The Labrador Retriever continued its reign as the most popular dog breed in the U.S. in 2012.
Representatives of the top dog breeds pose at an American Kennel Club press event.

AKC Releases Most Popular Dog List

If life were a popularity contest, Labrador Retrievers would be in good shape. For the 22nd year running, the friendly breed tops the list of the most popular dogs in the U.S., according to the American Kennel Club. Rounding out the top 10, in order, are the German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Beagle, Bulldog, Yorkshire Terrier, Boxer, Poodle, Rottweiler and Dachshund. The annual rankings are based on the number of AKC-recognized dog breeds that are registered with the club each year. So, why has the Lab had the reign for so many years? “They do so many things so well: they're great company and a great family dog, but also work in law enforcement, bomb and narcotics detection, search and rescue, and as hunting dogs," says AKC spokeswoman Lisa Peterson. — Read it at AP via Yahoo and see the AKC's complete list

Chicken Dog Treats Recalled

After finding trace amounts of a residue from illegal antibiotics in the Chinese chicken used in its dog treats, Hartz Mountain has recalled its Hartz Chicken Chews and Hartz Oinkies Pig Skin Twists, which are wrapped with chicken. It’s the latest major company to pull treats made in China from store shelves. Earlier this month, Del Monte and Nestle Purina recalled chicken jerky treats when they were also found to have possible contamination by an antibiotic that’s illegal in the U.S. Hartz said two-thirds of its tested treats did not contain the residue, and there have been no known illnesses related to its chicken products. "We would rather be overly cautious by voluntarily withdrawing these products from the market,” Hartz said in a statement. "The trace amounts of antibiotic residue do not pose a health or pet safety risk.” If you have the recalled products, you can contact Hartz for a full refund. — Read it at ABC News via Yahoo

New Theory on How Homing Pigeons Navigate

A geophysicist may have the answer to why carrier pigeons with amazing navigational abilities repeatedly disappear or scatter in the wrong direction in certain places around the world. A study by Jon Hagstrum with the U.S. Geological Survey theorizes that pigeons follow ultralow frequency sounds, called infrasound, back toward their homes. When they can’t “hear” these sounds, they get thrown off, he says in a paper published on Wednesday in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Previously, scientists have thought that the birds used their sense of smell or the Earth’s magnetic field lines to find their way home. — Read it at National Geographic News

Xiao Liwu got a clean bill of health on Wednesday at his latest exam.
Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo
Xiao Liwu got a clean bill of health on Wednesday at his latest exam.

Cub’s Diagnosis: “Acute Cuteness”

We’d have to agree with this assessment. Xiao Liwu, the San Diego Zoo’s 6-month-old panda, was his adorable, roly poly self at his latest exam. Now up to 19.4 pounds and 24.6 inches, the cub has new canine teeth coming in. The routine exam also showed that being in an exhibit with climbing structures and uneven terrain has helped Xiao Liwu become more muscular and agile — though he’s still taking a few tumbles as he learns to walk and climb. — Read it at the San Diego Zoo, see more photos at Flickr and watch him on the Panda Cam

Chubby Kitty Swims to Shed Pounds

Sporting her orange life vest, Holly is the only feline swimmer to use the pet pool at the Olde Towne Pet Resort in Dulles, Va. Unlike most cats, she loves to get in the water — but she’s not only doing it for fun. Her owner, Dani Lawhorne, who works at the pet hotel, started bringing Holly in for swim sessions to help her lose the 6 or 7 extra pounds that she’s carrying. "The goal is just to get her moving,” publicist Mayra Ruiz-Mcpherson told People of the 18-pound cat. “Swimming in the pool is the only activity she does … She loves it. She did better than the dogs here today." — See photo and watch video at People Pets

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