Weird History
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The Most Popular Dog Breed In The US During Every Decade Since 1900

Updated October 19, 2018 16.4k views12 items

To dog lovers, all dogs are good boys and girls, but some dogs are the best boys and girls. Throughout the years, the most popular dog breeds in America have shifted, but there are some things they all have in common: They're smart, easy to train, and ultra-lovable.

Whether you're crazy for a Poodle's fluffy curls or can't resist the impulse to squeeze a Boston Terrier's squishy nose, the most popular breeds in every decade give us a glimpse at how dog ownership has changed. In the early 1900s, when agriculture was on the rise, owners preferred working dogs that could help around the farm. During difficult times like the Great Depression, dog owners sought smaller pups.

These are the most popular dogs in every decade - from Poodles and Cocker Spaniels to the Labrador Retriever's unbeatable reign.

  • The Cocker Spaniel is the smallest sporting dog of note, but they are also strong competitors. Before the days of internet sensation Doug the Pug, there was My Own Brucie. Brucie was a prize-winning Cocker Spaniel who took home the Best in Show title at both the 1940 and 1941 Westminster Dog Show. He was featured in Life magazine and undoubtedly contributed to the popularity of the breed.

    By the early 1940s, Cocker Spaniels had successfully usurped Boston Terriers as America's most popular dog.

  • The 1950s was the era of home ownership, soda shops, and Snoopy. Charlie Brown's famous pup made his debut on October 4, 1950, in newspapers across the country. Snoopy's rise to fame sparked America's love for the Beagle, which became the top breed of the decade.

    The actual origins of the Beagle are unknown. There isn't any documentation to prove the early days of their development, but the breed has been around since the 19th century.

  • Photo: Sakurai Midori / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Despite the popularity of poodle skirts in the 1950s, Poodles didn't become America's favorite until the 1960s. When Poodles reached the top, they held on for two decades. Why the sudden switch to these big, fluffy, and powerful pups?

    Poodles are the second-most intelligent dog breed, and they don't shed. When 1960s America caught on, and this breed skyrocketed to the top.

  • 1970s: Poodle

    Poodles managed to hang on to their reign as top dog until the 1980s. The traditional Poodle groomed to have those adorable round bulbs of fur fit well with the outlandish, exaggerated aesthetic of the decade.

    Poodles were originally bred as water-retrieving dogs, and their fur was meant to keep them warm while swimming. They are of German descent and are smart, practical, and gorgeous.