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Most Popular Dog Breeds Throughout the Decades

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Man's best friend, the dog, has been an essential part of the American family for decades. However, just like with different fashion trends, dog breeds fall in and out of popularity with people. From the early 1900s until now, every decade has shown us how much dog ownership has changed from wanting working dogs to help around the farm to having dogs that are desired for their ability to snuggle.

The 1900s

The most popular dog in the 1900s was the Collie. Even though the Lassie movie was a few decades away from airing, the Collie was still adored during this decade. The reason is because of how hard they work and their herding ability. They are also easily trained and loyal to their people. Even if they tend to be destructive if they are alone for long periods, they were still the most sought-after breed in the 1900s.

The 1910s

A true all-American breed, the Boston Terrier, was the most popular dog breed during the 1910s. Before they got their official name, they went back and forth between being called Round Heads and Bull Terriers. They finally got their name, the Boston Terrier, so they could pay homage to the original city where they were bred.

The 1920s

In the 1920s, another working dog took the mantle of the most popular breed. The German Shepherd is known as an incredibly loyal and hard-working breed. In the 1890s, these dogs started working on farms and herding animals. Once it was determined that these dogs were also brilliant, they began using them for police work and to work alongside soldiers in WWI. After the war, people would continue to brag about the breed, raising them to the number one spot in popularity.

The 1930s

Once the 1930s hit, the Boston Terrier regained their crown as the number one most popular breed. Americans were struggling through the Great Depression, and smaller dogs were sought after for companionship and to scale back their expenses. 

The 1940s

Known as the smallest sporting dog, the Cocker Spaniel became the most popular dog breed during the 1940s. They are considered a very competitive breed through a famous Cocker Spaniel called My Own Brucie. Brucie won Best in Show in 1940 and 1941 at the Westminster Dog Show and was featured in Life magazine. 

The 1950s

If people look up the 1950 census records, they will most likely find many owned Beagles during that decade. During the 1950s, many were beginning to purchase their own homes. The Peanuts cartoon also gained popularity, with Charlie Brown and his pup Snoopy showing up in all the newspapers. So it's no wonder the Beagle became the most popular breed during this decade.

The 1960s

With the rise of poodle skirts, it is no surprise that the Poodle became the most popular breed during the 1960s. This is because poodles are among the most intelligent dog breeds and do not shed, leading them straight to the top of the list.

The 1970s

The Poodle takes the 1970s as the most popular breed for two decades in a row. Around this time, it became popular to groom a Poodle to have those round bulbs of fur on their heads and bodies.

The 1980s

In the 1980s, Disney released a movie titled Lady and the Tramp, which helped bring the Cocker Spaniel back to the number one spot in popularity since the main character, Lady, is a Cocker Spaniel herself. But, of course, their adorable and loving personalities help them as well.

The 1990s

Once the 1990s hit, the Labrador Retriever moved to the top of the popularity list. They are a breed that is easy to please and outgoing, which makes them a fabulous family dog.

The 2000s

Keeping its popularity, the Labrador Retriever stayed in the number one spot in the 2000s. Once it was discovered how much joy this breed brought, families kept bringing them into their homes, and their popularity does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

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