Best and Top of Everything : January 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Animals Winking

The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Animals Winking
Winking Chiwawa
When I was just a teenager I always remember a defining moment in my life. While babysitting for my girlfriends parents we were relaxing on the sofa and I thought everything was going my way (in a “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” kind of way) But that was when something happened I will never, ever, forget. I looked at my girlfriend’s dog and it started winking at me! As if it knew what I wanted to happen that night!!! I was horrified and it completely ruined my libido. But I just had to find out if other animals could wink as well, or if it was just dogs. So without further ado I bring you…
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Animals Winking
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Animals Winking
Brown Bear Winking
10 – “Don’t worry baby I always carry the “bear” essentials!” (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Animals Winking
Red Panda Winking
9 – How you doing? (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Animals Winking
Grey Cat Winking
8 – “Hey how are you today! Did you notice my food bowl was empty?!?” (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Animals Winking
Winking TreeHugger
7 – “I might have little hands, but they have big things ahead of them! (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Animals Winking
Winking Chiwawa
6 – Do you remember my sexy number 1 hit? “Oh, Chiwawa!” (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Animals Winking
Cheetah winking
5 – “Fancy catching lunch with me?” (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Animals Winking
Winking Owl
4 – “Fancy a night out with me?” (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Animals Winking
Seal Winking
3 – “Why don’t come lay down next to me you look a little …tired.” (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Animals Winking
Winking Hamster
2 – “Fancy going for a spin in my wheel?!?” (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Animals Winking
Brown Fish Owl Winking
1 – “I guarantee you that I am the right bird for you!” (source)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Art Attacked Drains

The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Art Attacked Drains
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The other week I did a blog post entitled “Best Images of Art Attacked Bins” and it grew my respect of street art as a whole. There is just so many good artists out there that really no-one has ever heard of and sadly not even seen their work. In fact many a street artist will see their work washed away down the drain before anyone has even seen it! But it seems some street artists have been starting where most their work ends up, so without further ado I bring you…
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Art Attacked Drains
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Art Attacked Drains
Paulo, Brazil
10 – Artist:   Anderson Augusto and Leonardo Delafuente / Location: Paulo, Brazil (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Art Attacked Drains
Paris, France
9 – Artist:  JR / Location: Paris, France (source)Warsaw, Poland
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Art Attacked Drains
Warsaw, Poland
8 – Artist: Ernest Zacharevic / Location: Warsaw, Poland (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Art Attacked Drains
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
7 – Artist: Ned Martin / Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Art Attacked Drains
Paulo, Brazil
6 – Artist: Anderson Augusto and Leonardo Delafuente / Location: Paulo, Brazil (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Art Attacked Drains
Paulo, Brazil
5 – Artist: Anderson Augusto and Leonardo Delafuente / Location: Paulo, Brazil (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Art Attacked Drains
Berlin, Germany
4 – Artist: Mentalgassi / Location: Berlin, Germany (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Art Attacked Drains
Aviv, Israel
3 – Artist: Alex Atlas / Location: Tel Aviv, Israel (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Art Attacked Drains
London, UK
2 – Artist: Banksy / Location: London, UK (source)
The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Art Attacked Drains
Paulo, Brazil
1 – Artist: Anderson Augusto and Leonardo Delafuente / Location: Paulo, Brazil (source)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Top 10 Historical Cemeteries

Cemeteries are interesting.  On the one hand, these grounds are the final resting place for the dead.  Yet, while death may be the primary purpose of these areas, it is the living who find value and significance in them.  Cemeteries have an allure for many, far more than I would have thought prior to doing the research for this article.  For some, these hallow grounds are a place of remembrance and reflection.  For others, the attraction may be the historical implications, or the popularity of those who are buried there.  Whatever the case, many cemeteries around the world have become distinguished over the years.  These hallowed grounds stand timeless, and present their charges with continued dignity and honor for all those who continue to pay homage to their lives.  With this in mind, here are the Top 10 Historical Cemeteries.

10. Valley of Kings (Egypt, est. 1600 BC)


What could be more appropriate than beginning our list with a burial site that is shrouded in mystery and intrigue, from the annals of antiquity?  An initial response to this selection may be thought-invoking, as most will not equate historical tombs with a “cemetery”.  Yet that is exactly what this historic area is – a burial place for the dead – in this case, the royal dead.  Known in its time as (inhale) The Great and Majestic Necropolis of the Millions of Years of the Pharaoh, Life, Strength, Health in The West of Thebes (phew), the Valley of Kings, located in Egypt, is the final resting place of pharaohs and other powerful persons, dating as far back as 16th century BC.

The area is mostly a desert, and has been subject to the ravages of time (and grave robbers).  As such, many of the harmonizing and tranquil aspects common to most cemeteries won’t be found here, and the scenery is as majestic as only windswept sand and rocks can be.  Yet the weight of history is palatable here.  One can imagine the majesty that this necropolis projected at its zenith. The tombs that have been discovered thus far (63) have been a treasure trove of archaeological and anthropological information, regarding life thousands of years past.  The tombs themselves have preserved not only scientific points of interest, but the culture of a people.  Perhaps its most well-known occupant is King/Pharaoh Tutankhamen.

9. Gettysburg National Cemetery (United States, est. 1872)


The historical significance of this cemetery to Americans cannot, and should not, be minimized.  Located at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, this cemetery is dedicated primarily to the fallen soldiers who participated in the 1863 battle that shares the area’s name.  By most historical accounts, this battle was the turning point of the American Civil War, in favor of the North.  There were over 40,000 casualties in this battle, with almost 10,000 soldiers losing their lives.  Many of these soldiers had been buried in shallow graves following the battle, and subsequent foul weather began to expose the bodies, necessitating a permanent grave site.

The layout of the graves is one of the prominent features of this cemetery.  The Soldiers National Monument, a monolithic structure, is situated in the center of the grave site area.  The monument is representative of the Union’s victory, and the courage of the soldiers who fought and died.  The grave sites themselves were placed in concentric circles around and preceding out from the monument (which represents the equality of each grave/soldier).  The graves are further grouped by state from which each soldier served, and one area that is designated for unknown soldiers.  The cemetery is now closed for further burials, though it has expanded since its founding, and there are American soldiers from every major war buried there. There is a prevailing sense of “never again” when one visits this place of final rest.

8. Highgate Cemetery (United Kingdom, est. 1839)


There’s no doubt that Highgate is a cemetery.  Located in London, England, this cemetery has all the earmarks that invoke all those Halloween and thump-in-the-dark tales that spook children (and some adults as well).  Because the area also doubles as a nature reserve, there is a lot of vegetation growth that has encroached on many grave sites and the paths that lead to them.  Tree, bushes and flowers were planted and left to grow unattended. In fact, animals such as foxes roam freely on the cemetery grounds.  Add in the typical gloomy English weather, and you have a recipe for stereotypical cemetery imagery (akin to a haunted forest in all actuality).

The cemetery, which is a popular tourist attraction (and a small fee is charged to get in), is fairly large and divided into two parts, aptly referred to as East and West Cemetery.  The older, West Cemetery, contains an impressive collection of Victorian-styled crypts, mausoleums and tombstones.  Death held an allure for this style of architecture, that is evident when viewing the Gothic statues, tombs and buildings that are scattered throughout the grounds.  There are over 170,000 laid to rest at Highgate – many of whom were prominent English persons, though the most notable occupant is Karl Marx.

7. Zentralfriedhof Cemetery (Austria, est. 1863)


You wouldn’t have guessed it, but the Zentralfriedhof Cemetery is one the largest cemeteries in Europe (going by the number of interred), and reportedly one of the largest in the world.  There are over 3 million people buried here.  Located in Vienna, Austria, Zentralfriedhof Cemetery covers an area of 2 ½ square kilometers.  The cemetery is actually serviced by its own public bus line, with a number of bus stops within the cemetery.  The cemetery itself is divided up into several sections – mostly along religious preference, reflective of the religious tensions that dogged the establishment of Zentralfriedhof.  There is a Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist section, with a Mormon section recently added in 2009.

In addition, there is a military section (laid out with military precision), an anatomy section (where those who donated their bodies to science are laid to rest) and an infant section (for young children, stillborns and infants). With this, there is an eclectic feel to the cemetery, as visitors move from one section to another as each has its own layout and “persona”.  This cemetery is also a popular tourist destination, due in part to the who’s-who of composers that are buried here.  The Ehrengraber (honorary) section contains the graves of Johannes Brahms, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Antonio Salieri, to name a few.  Interestingly enough, this section of the cemetery was erected for the express purpose of being a tourist attraction.

6. Almudena Cemetery (Spain est. 1884)


There are more people buried in Almudena than there are living in the city of Madrid, where it is located.  With an estimated 5 million people interred on the 120 acres of land that the cemetery covers, Almudena is the largest cemetery in Europe by far.  The interesting thing about Almudena is that it has an urban, congested feel to it.  For certain, it’s crowded – both in terms of visitors and those buried there.  With limited space available, the graves are literally crammed together, as grave markers are situated in very close proximity to one another.  On holidays, the number of visitors attempting to see loved ones (or sightseeing) can be problematic, due to these close confines.

The various architectural styles of the grave markers and monuments make for a hodgepodge view though, interestingly enough, many tourists are drawn to this feature.  Nevertheless, the cemetery is prominent in Spain, with a number of noteworthy Spaniards resting here.  This includes singer Lola Flores and renowned writer Benito Perez Galdos.

5. St. Peter’s Basilica (Italy est. 1626)


The Papal Basilica of St. Peter has such a rich history and significance (both historical and religious), that volumes of books have been written about it.  The Basilica’s interior is the largest of any Christian church currently standing, and is one of the holiest sites in Christianity.  It architecture has been the subject of much study, as have been some of the artisans who contributed to its majesty (such as Michelangelo).  For these reasons and more, Christians and tourists make pilgrimage to the Basilica to behold this magnificent edifice in person.

What is not as well known is that these premises also serve as the final resting place for some very important religious figures.  An interesting side note is that Vatican City itself is constructed over an area that was once a cemetery.  At any rate, the impetus behind the construction of the Basilica was to mark the final resting place of St. Peter, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus.  It is said that St. Peter’s tomb is located directly under the basilica’s altar.  In addition, there are more than 100 tombs located here – including those of 91 Popes, important religious figures (St. Ignatious of Antioch), and even British royalty (the exiled King James Edward Stuart).

4. Pere Lachaise (France, est. 1804)


Located in Paris, France, this cemetery has the distinguishing point of interest of being established by Napoleon Bonaparte.  Napoleon once declared that every French citizen had the right to a burial, regardless of their religion or race.  For this reason, Pere Lachaise is a non-denominational cemetery.  In fact, this was a problem early on, as many Roman Catholics refused to be buried in a cemetery that was not properly blessed by the Church.  As with other cemeteries that were looking to increase its popularity, Pere Lachaise embarked on a marketing scheme to entice new burials, that entailed having the remains of Moliere (famous playwright) and Jean de La Fontaine (famous poet) interred here.

Apparently the idea worked, as Pere Lachaise is one of the most visited cemeteries in the world (with literally hundreds of thousands of visitors and tourists each year).  Reportedly, there are over 1 million people buried in Pere Lachaise.  Further, because it is an open cemetery (i.e. still accepting new burials), space is at a premium.  It is not uncommon, for example, for members of the same family to be buried in the same grave or, once a grave lease expires (and not renewed), for a body to be removed to make room for someone new.  As such, the cemetery can seem a bit crowded and packed, much like the Almudena cemetery.  Nevertheless, the cemetery boasts a long list of noteworthy occupants.  In addition to its first two famously interred persons, Oscar Wilde (novelist) and Jim Morrison (singer for The Doors) are also buried here.

3. Mount Moriah Cemetery (United States, est. 1878)


Situated in Deadwood, South Dakota, the location alone should give readers some insight as to the historical significance of this cemetery.  This cemetery has a unique tradition, in which the American flag flies continually over the grounds, as opposed to from sunup to sundown (which necessitated an act of Congress).  The town of Deadwood, where the cemetery is located, is infamous for the exploits of notable figures such as Wild Bill Hickok and Wyatt Earp, who made their rounds (and a bit of gunfighting) in the town.

Today, the cemetery stands as a historic memorial of a turbulent time in American history.  There are almost 4,000 persons buried here (and the cemetery is closed to new applicants seeking plots).  The layout of the cemetery is simple enough, with modest grave markers and the like noting gravesites.  There is a respectful humbleness to this cemetery that hearkens to a simpler time, and belies the violent nature that inundates the town’s historical reputation.  Naturally, it is that same reputation (and the noteworthy persons buried here) that attract the tens of thousands of visitor to the cemetery each year (as many as 100,000).  Western personalities Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Seth Bullock are among those buried at Mount Moriah Cemetery.

2. Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial (France, est. 1944)


The D-Day invasion of France during World War II was a monumental point in history.  The effort, for Americans, came with a heavy price – about 2,500 soldiers were killed (and approximately 3,000 Allied troops lost their lives).  The Normandy battle was the beginning of the end of Nazi occupation of Europe, and Allied victory over the Axis powers.  The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, located in Normandy, France (and perched on a bluff that overlooks the Omaha beach that was stormed by American troops) honors the American soldiers who fought and died on D-Day, and in other battles throughout the war.

Though the cemetery is located on foreign soil, France has granted the United States a concession for the land.  As such, the American flag flies over this cemetery, and it is administered and funded by the American government.  There are 9,387 service men buried here – a continued reminder of the price that has to be paid when soldiers take to the field in defense of their nation.  White crosses and Stars of David, laid out in military precision, mark the grave of each fallen soldier.  A memorial is situated at a prominent position overlooking the rows of graves.  A colonnaded structure, built in a semi-circle, features a 22-foot statue aptly named “The Spirit of American Youth Rising From the Waves”.  This cemetery is a rousing remembrance of the price of freedom.  There are three Medal of Honor winners buried here, including Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (President Roosevelt’s son).

1. Arlington National Cemetery (United States, est. 1864)


Located in Arlington, Virginia, this is another cemetery that has roots that date back to the American Civil War.  It sits on land that formerly belonged to the family of Mary Anna Lee (General Robert E. Lee’s wife).  This cemetery inters military casualties and veterans of America’s armed conflicts since the Civil War.  As with any military cemetery, the grave stones – mostly identical to one another except the inscription and accompanying faith symbol – are arranged in neat rows on immaculately manicured lawns.  A moving tradition at the cemetery features an American flag being placed on every gravestone on Memorial Day.

The cemetery also features the Tomb of the Unknowns (also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier), that is located on a hill that overlooks the Washington D.C. area.  This memorial honors those fallen who have not been identified.  A popular tourist attraction, the Tomb is continually “guarded” by soldiers of the U.S. Army’s “Old Guard” (3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment).  In fact, the Tomb is a part of the much larger Memorial Amphitheater, that is used for memorial ceremonies and other functions at the cemetery.

The nature of military cemeteries can never be forgotten or minimized.  These are the men and women who served their country and, in many cases, gave their lives so that we may live freely.  These hallowed grounds stand as stark testimony that freedom is by no measure free, and that it has been earned with the blood of many.  This final place of rest deserves the respect of all who visit, and for all us to remember the sacrifices that were made.  The most notable (and most visited) burial site is that of President John F. Kennedy – whose memorial is marked with an “eternal” flame.  Jacqueline Kennedy, two of their children, and his brothers Edward (Ted) and Robert are also buried here.

The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Toothpastes

The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Toothpaste
Cupcake flavour toothpaste
Mint! Spearmint, extra mint, mint with mint! As a kid I always remember having Strawberry toothpaste, sure it tasted nothing at all like a strawberry but it was different from the normal peppermint flavour that seems to be all the flavours I get the choice of now. Don’t get me wrong here, I wouldn’t clean the toilet with half of what you are about to see let alone my teeth! But never the less there are some very strange toothpastes out there indeed! So without further ado I bring you…
The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Toothpaste
The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Toothpaste
Bacon Flavour Toothpaste
10 – Bacon Flavour (£2.85)–(source)
Seriously! I love my bacon just as much as the next person, but bacon flavour toothpaste,  Come on! I just had to include it in this list because of the pure shock value and the fact that it is real and cheap as chips to buy!
The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Toothpaste
Ice Cream Toothpaste
9 – Ice Cream Flavour (£3.80)–(source)
Are you going on holiday in the sun? Well why not pack some of this rather cool sounding Ice-Cream flavour toothpaste! Perfect for the kids, perfect for holiday time and it doesn’t cost the earth. Sounded good to me anyway!
The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Toothpaste
Charcoal Flavored Toothpaste
8 –Charcoal Flavour (£19.42)–(source)
Here is a strange one for you, this charcoal toothpaste is from Korea and believe it or not charcoal really is its main ingredient! Strange indeed and a little pricey but apparently one of the best toothpastes in the world! Certainly an unusual one for sure.
The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Toothpaste
Chocolate Flavored Toothpaste
7 – Chocolate Flavour (£1.10)–(source)
Here is an odd one for you, this product was in fact sold as a toothpaste but in the early 90′s was in fact downgraded to a liquid candy sweet! But while it is a little retro it is still a toothpaste in most sense of the word, but it has zero cleaning properties for your teeth!
The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Toothpaste
Clove and sweet orange flavour toothpaste
6 – Clove & Sweet Orange Flavour (£4.02)–(source)
Handmade via an ETSY seller is this rather great sounding clove and orange flavour! I thought it was one of the better sounding ones and seems to be 100% vegan as well!
The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Toothpaste
Cupcake flavour toothpaste
5 – Cupcake Flavour  (£2.85)–(source)
While it might sound like a great flavour for a toothpaste I suspect it won’t taste anything like it and taste more like the paper wrapping of a cup cake! But for that price it is well worth a go for sure!
The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Toothpaste
Licorice Flavoured Toothpaste
4 – Licorice Flavour (£3.03)–(source)
I have to admit I am not the biggest fan of this flavour, but it is this high up the list because this flavour well-known to invoke strong reactions thanks to it containing glycyrrhizin! Add to that, licorice is well known to pack a punch when it comes to bacteria and plaque!!!
The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Toothpaste
Pomegranate Flavoured Toothpaste
3 – Pomegranate Flavour (£3.48)–(source)
If you think Pomegranates are just a plain old fruit it is time to think again! It is in fact a super fruit! Containing not only antioxidant powers but also antimicrobial potential as well!  This means that with all those microcosm of your mouth, it can do a super move and knock out the bacteria that lead to gingivitis! Super fruit! More like Mega fruit!
The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Toothpaste
Orange Flavour Toothpaste
2 – Orange Flavour (£3.48)–(source)
Fruit and toothpaste seems to go quite well together and this orange flavoured one ticks all the right boxes for me, it sounds like a great taste, and is specially made for sensitive kids teeth!
The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Toothpaste
Marmite Flavoured Toothpaste
1 – Love it of hate it! (£9.00)–(source)
For me it just doesn’t get any better than this! Yes it is real, yes it tastes of Marmite and believe it or not the yeast extract is in fact good for your teeth! Sounds good enough to eat.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top 10 Dog Breeds

The American Kennel Club, a non-profit organization that maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world, has announced which dog breeds were most popular in 2012. Results are tabulated based on the organization's annual registration statistics.

The list of 175 dog breeds was narrowed down to the top 10 four-legged companions that Americans preferred to take home.

Drum roll, please…

10. Dachshund


Lively and affectionate, dachshunds are known to be bold, curious and a bit mischievous. While devoted to their families, this breed needs strong leadership at home in order to avoid any behavioral issues. There are three varieties of dachshund: the short-haired, the wired-haired, and the long-haired.

Dachshunds also have a wide color variety, including: black, red, chocolate, tan or fawn, cream and blue-gray. Bi-color dachshunds may be black and tan, black and cream, chocolate and tan, chocolate and cream, blue and tan, or blue and cream. Brindled dachshunds (stripes covering the entire body) may be seen in any of the colors mentioned.

Read more about dachshunds

9. Rottweiler


For the second year in a row, the Rottweiler lands on the AKC's list of top dogs, moving up from No. 10 to ninth place. The large, sometimes formidable-looking dog has become a family favorite due to its loving and affectionate personality. One of the oldest-known herding dogs dating back to the Roman Empire, this German breed was originally bred to be a hunting companion. Today, with their sharp skills, Rottweilers are frequently used in search and rescue, as guide dogs for the blind, and as guard or police dogs. .

According to the American Kennel Club, the Rottweiler is basically a calm, confident and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness, responding quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in its environment. It has an inherent desire to protect home and family, and is an intelligent dog with a strong willingness to work, making them especially suited as a companion, guardian and general all-purpose dog.

Read more about Rottweilers

8. Poodle

Standard poodle

Poodles are the runway models of the popular breeds, highly intelligent and graceful. Considered one of the most trainable breeds, the standard poodle are typically pleasant, happy and sensitive but can become high strung if not given the proper amount of exercise.

Poodles—who are born with one of a variety of solid colors, including white, black, apricot and gray–require extensive grooming. Their fur is also hypoallergenic, which may reduce allergic reactions and be helpful to pet owners who suffer from allergies.

Read more about poodles

7. Boxer

Boxer dog outside

The boxer dog, a muscular, short-coated breed with a distinctive square head has had a place in the hearts of owners for decades. The boxer’s strong body and gentle, playful spirit are a great combination.

And what about his name? It is said that his moniker is a testament to his playful and curious side. You’ll notice that your boxer dog uses his front paws for just about everything. He’s likely to paw at his toys and food in a cat-like way. He also likes to jump up and motion with his front paws, making him look like he’s actually boxing, and hence the name.

Read more about boxer dogs

6. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

Energetic, loyal and clever, the Yorkshire terrier seems oblivious of its small size. Always ready for an adventure, "Yorkies" are easy to train and are considered excellent watchdogs.

Known for their ultra long, fine, silky coat that parts along the spine and falls straight down on either side, Yorkies are colored a combination of steal blue and tan. As you might expect, regular grooming is needed and Yorkie owners commonly pull back their dogs' hair on their head in a topknot. Depite the long hair, however, Yorkies shed very little.

Read more about Yorkshire terriers

5. Bulldog


While the bulldog’s appearance can be intimidating, it is among the gentlest of dogs. Small and stocky in stature with a wide, massive head, a bulldog’s coat may be white, black, red, fawn, brindle, pale yellow or a combination of colors.

Considered to be very affectionate and dependable dogs, bulldogs are gentle with children and known for their courage and their excellent guarding abilities. Bullheaded and determined, this breed can be very persistent and dominating. Strong leadership and attention are recommended.

One other thing for which bulldogs are well known? Loud snoring and a tendency to drool and slobber. What’s not to love?

Read more about bulldogs

4. Beagle


Well before designer dogs like the puggle (half beagle, half pug) struck dog lovers as the hottest breed to bring home, there was just the good old beagle. In its pure bred form, this hound continues to hold on to its status as one of man’s best friends.

These droopy eared hounds are spunky, loyal and make great friendly pets for families with children. Beagles also tend to have lots of energy to burn. They can be mischievous and are often lead to trouble (garbage cans, shoes, dirty laundry) by their extraordinary hunting noses. Their natural curiosity often means they are a little tricky to train and require owners who are willing to be firm yet patient. Beagles are also known for their tremendous whining, sharp bark and thoroughly loud from-the-belly howls.

Read more about beagles

3. Golden Retriever

Golden retriever holds toy in mouth

With their ever-present smiles, wavy blonde fur, and joyful prance, the golden retriever has long been one of America’s favorite dogs. Perhaps it’s their family-friendly demeanor and golden looks that helps keep this breed in the Top 5 of all registered dogs in the U.S. This year, the breed moved up one spot from 2011.

The golden retriever is classified by the American Kennel Club as a sporting dog, popular with hunters for its soft mouth and eagerness to retrieve in water.

True to its name the golden retriever loves to fetch. It’s not uncommon to be greeted by a golden with a favorite toy stuffed in its mouth. Known for its intelligent mind, the breed can learn more than 200 commands with training and encouragement.

Read more about golden retrievers

2. German Shepherd

German Shepherd

Often used as working dogs, German shepherds are highly intelligent and courageous. Known for their tremendous loyalty, these dogs are typically cheerful, obedient and eager to learn.

German shepherds prefer to be close to their families and therefore have a very strong protective instinct. Generally good with other pets and excellent with children in the family, it is recommended to train and socialize German shepherds from an early age with a firm and loving hand.

The breed's ability to rapidly learn has contributed to its wide use as a sheepdog, guard dog, in police work, as a guide for the blind, in search and rescue service, and in the military. The German shepherd also excels in many other dog activities including agility, flyball, and ring sport. But most of all, the German shepherd is favored as a loving family companion.

Read more about German shepherds

1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

For the 22nd consecutive year, this loveable breed continues to be the most popular breed in the U.S., according to AKC registration statistics. The family-friendly Labrador retriever has won over the hearts of families across the country—millions of households count a Lab among their family members, and it’s easy to see why. Labs display a well-mannered temperament and are eager to please their owners.

The Labrador retriever originated in Newfoundland, where it aided fisherman with their catch. After being crossed with setters, spaniels and other retrievers, the Lab sharpened its skills as a true retriever. But what makes Labs even more popular is their kind, outgoing nature.

This people-friendly quality also makes Labs great dogs for children. The Lab thrives in an active household, where he can have lots of interaction. Kids will also love the Lab’s easy nature and trainability . In turn, Labrador retrievers tend to be very patient with kids. Be prepared to harness that energy: plenty of exercise and fetching games will keep your Lab happy and healthy.