The Labrador retriever is top dog in Sweden

The Labrador retriever has nabbed the top spot in a new list of popular dog breeds in Sweden, followed hot on the heels by the Swedish elkhound. The German shepherd is not as popular anymore, though, falling to fourth place behind the golden retriever at number three.

In 2013, there were a total of 50,497 new pedigree dogs registered in Sweden, according to the Swedish Kennel Club. That represents a five-percent drop compared to the year before, but it did not seem to affect the list of popular dog breeds much.

The Labrador retriever kept a secure top spot, with 2,275 new pooches of that breed registered in Sweden in 2013.

The German shepherd's drop to fourth place is remarkable, though, since it has been in the top three since the late 1940s.

"The German shepherd is too big. People want small dogs. This is a development we've seen for a long time now," Margret Selander of the Swedish German Shepherd Club told news agency TT.

Another explanation could be that the Swedish Kennel Club has stopped registering puppies owned by the Armed Forces.

The Swedish elkhound is a versatile hunt dog which can be used in hunts for bears, elks and wild boar, which may explain that breed's popularity.