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Dog escapes yard, runs half-marathon

Many runners know that some of the best running buddies in the world come on four legs. Normally, they also come with a leash and an owner, but that wasn’t the case for Dozer, a 3-year-old goldendoodle that escaped the invisible fencing of his home and crossed the finish line of the Maryland Half Marathon on May 15.

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    Image: Yorkshire Terrier

    Which are the best-loved breeds in the nation? The American Kennel Club reveals the leaders of the pack.

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    America’s top dogs -

    Which breeds are the top contenders for man’s best friend? The American Kennel Club ranks the most popular pups of the year.

    Shih Tzu
    While sweet and playful, Shih Tzus are not afraid to stand up for themselves. As a matter of fact, the word Shih Tzu means "lion" in Mandarin. This portable pooch carries itself proudly, with its head well up and tail curved over the back.

    Cherished by Chinese royals for more than a thousand years, the Shih Tzu was the prized house pet for most of the Ming Dynasty. During World War II, English soldiers discovered the breed and its popularity spread around the world.

    Courtesy of The American Kennel Club / Courtesy of The American Kennel Club
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    9. Poodle -

    The poodle holds the record for being the most popular dog for 22 consecutive years (1960-1982). Though the breed’s elaborately groomed show coat often creates the misperception that it’s a pampered aristocrat, the poodle is actually one of the high achievers of the canine world.

    The stylish “poodle clip” seen in dog shows was designed by hunters to help the breed move through the water more efficiently. In fact, the English word "poodle" comes from the German pudel or pudelin, which means “to splash in water.”

    Courtesy of The American Kennel Club / Courtesy of The American Kennel Club
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    8. Dachshund -

    The breed lovingly known as the “wiener dog” has a strong personality with a dose of charm and a playful sense of humor. They can adapt to city or country life and can get all the exercise they need exploring a small yard in the suburbs or playing with other dogs in the dog park.

    Dachshunds, meaning “badger dogs” in German, were first bred in the early 1600s in Germany with the goal of creating a fearless, elongated dog that could dig the earth from a burrow and eliminate the badgers for the farmers.

    Courtesy of The American Kennel Club / Courtesy of The American Kennel Club
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    7. Boxer -

    Easy to care for, intelligent, and faithful, the boxer is an affectionate and trustworthy pet for an active family. Boxers are known for standing up on their hind legs and batting at their opponent, appearing to box with itheir front paws.

    People began importing them to America from Germany after World War I, and they began to grow in popularity in the late 1930s.

    Courtesy of The American Kennel Club / Courtesy of The American Kennel Club
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    6. Bulldog -

    The bulldog has been steadily rising up the list of AKC’s most popular breeds since it entered the Top 10 in 2007. A medium-size dog, they are not your typical lapdog, but would like to be! Bulldogs are calm, loyal family dogs that are happy to curl up on the sofa, eat two or three square meals a day, and have their bellies rubbed.

    Said to have originated in the British Isles, the name "bull" was applied because of the dog’s connection with bull-baiting. The original bulldog had to be ferocious and courageous, and almost insensitive to pain.

    Courtesy of The American Kennel Club / Courtesy of The American Kennel Club
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    5. Golden retriever -

    Slipping one place to fifth, golden retrievers are well-balanced, strong, active dogs with a kind expression, a gentle manner and an alert and self-confident disposition. They are intelligent, friendly and reliable, with an innate need to please their owners.

    The breed originated in the Scottish Highlands in the late 1800s and the dogs were used predominantly for hunting.

    Courtesy of The American Kennel Club / Courtesy of The American Kennel Club
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    4. Beagle -

    The beagle is the only breed to rank in the Top 10 every decade since the founding of the AKC. Originally developed to hunt rabbits, they naturally enjoy the company of other dogs and humans. Curious and comedic, they often follow their noses – which can lead to some mischief.

    Beagles like to vocalize. In fact, the origin of the name "beagle" may have been derived from the French term "be’geule," referring to the baying voice of the hounds when in pursuit of game. The most famous beagle of all, Snoopy, was named the American Kennel Club’s “most popular dog in pop culture” in 2009.

    Courtesy of The American Kennel Club / Courtesy of The American Kennel Club
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    3. Yorkshire terrier -

    These playful dogs offer owners a big personality in a small package. Though members of the Toy Group, this breed is terrierlike by nature — brave, determined, investigative and energetic. Yorkies are highly favored apartment dogs and lapdogs; they are very energetic as puppies and tend to be quiet and settled as adults.

    In 19th century Yorkshire, England, Yorkies caught rats for workers in cloth mills. The breed’s coat was so beautiful that people said the mill workers must have spun their coats in the factories.

    Courtesy of The American Kennel Club / Courtesy of The American Kennel Club
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    2. German shepherd -

    Celebrated for their versatility, distinguished for their intelligence, and beloved for their devotion to their owners, German shepherds are active dogs that love to run and explore their surroundings with their excellent noses.

    Hailed as the world’s leading police, guard and military dog, German shepherds also serve as guide dogs for the blind, guardians, and search-and-rescue dogs. However, they are best known for serving as devoted family friend and protector.

    Courtesy of The American Kennel Club / Courtesy of The American Kennel Club
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    1. Labrador retriever -

    In 1991, Labrador retrievers took over the top spot on AKC’s list of the most popular dogs in the U.S. from the cocker spaniel, and today celebrate their 20th anniversary in the top spot.

    These gentle animals are happiest when with their owners, and require attention and love as much as food and water. Labs are high-energy, action-oriented dogs and can become easily bored without proper training and exercise – ideal for an active family or as a trusted hunting companion.

    Courtesy of The American Kennel Club / Courtesy of The American Kennel Club

His triumphant moment at the end of the race was captured in this video on YouTube.

Dozer’s owners had no idea that the active young dog had joined more than 2000 runners around mile 5 of the 13.1-mile race. Although many runners saw the canine running the course and drinking water from cups at the water spots, nobody realized he was on his own, Maryland Half Marathon co-founder Jon Sevel told ESPN Page 2.

Although he was, understandably, tired and sore following the 8-mile run (and who wouldn’t be?), Dozer was found to be absolutely fine by his vet. Just like people, depending on age, breed and health, some dogs are more suited to running long distances, and clearly, Dozer is a true runner.

And that’s a good thing — the Maryland Half Marathon is looking at ways to involve Dozer in the future. He currently has his own fundraising page on the race website where he’s raised nearly $1900 for cancer research. He received a finisher’s medal for this year’s race, and Sevel told ESPN Page 2 that they’d love to have the jogging dog do it again next year, saying, “At the very least, Dozer will have his own bib number — K9.”

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