Who Is Man’s Best BFF?

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Who Is Man’s Best BFF?

September 28, 2014

What dog do people like the most? Year after year Labradors take the top spot, with more dog-lovers getting a Lab as a pet than any other breed. Labs rock worldwide, too: they’re the most popular in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. The next 4 most popular dogs are the hardworking German Shepherd, the fluffy Golden Retriever, the little Beagle and the smush-faced Bulldog; since 2003 they all have just kept switching places among the top 5, but the Lab always comes out top dog. Of the 177 dog breeds listed by the American Kennel Club, some dogs have suddenly become very popular: French Bulldogs were ranked only 54th back in 2003, but are now in the top 10 – they shot up faster than any other dog. Big dogs like Dobermans and Great Danes have also risen in the ranks, but there are still more people looking for a slightly smaller dog who’s happy to go fetch the paper.

Wee ones: Poodles are now the #8 most popular dog. How many breeds rank higher than they do?

Little kids: If you and your black Lab take a walk, how many legs do you have together?  Bonus: If you have 1 dog of each of the top 5 breeds, how many paws do they have all together?

Big kids: In the UK, Cocker Spaniels and Springer Spaniels are ranked #2 and #3, but even added together they don’t match the labs: 34,259 Spaniels vs. 35,026 Labs as of 2013. How many more labs than spaniels were there that year?  Bonus: In the US there are about 36 registered labs for every 1 million people. When the US had exactly 300 million people, about how many dogs did the US have?

The sky’s the limit: The top 3 dog breeds are Labs, Shepherds and Retrievers. If the labs and shepherds add up to 17,000 dogs total, the shepherds and retrievers have 13,000 total, and the labs and retrievers have 16,000 total, how many dogs of each type are there?




Wee ones: 7 breeds of dogs.

Little kids: 6 legs.  Bonus: 20 paws.

Big kids: 767 more Labs.  Bonus: 10,800 dogs.

The sky’s the limit: 10,000 Labs, 7,000 Shepherds and 6,000 Retrievers. You can solve this with algebra, and just work in thousands to make things easier:
l + s = 17
s + r = 13
l + r = 16 so r = 16 – l

Substituting that last one into the 2nd equation, we get
s + (16 – l) = 13
s + 16 – 13 – l = 0
s + 3 = l

Substituting that into the 1st equation, we get
s + 3 + s = 17
2s + 3 = 17
2s = 14
s = 7

So there are 7,000 Shepherds. To bring the Lab/Shepherd total to 17, that gives us 10,000 Labs, and to bring the Shepherd/Retriever total to 13, that gives us 6,000 Retrievers.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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