Who hasn’t looked up the #1 movie or song on the day you were born? The knowledge is of little value, but it’s still fun.
If you’re an avid dog lover, you might find it compelling to learn what breed was the most popular the year you, or someone you love, were born.
Many breeds like Rottweilers, Bulldogs, Corgis, Boxers, Dobermans, Huskeys, and Golden Retrievers, bounce in and out of the top ten list of popularity, but only a few can claim the reign of the top dog.
Here are those top dogs:
The 1900s: Collie
Per Wikipedia’s list of oldest living people, there are over 20 people between the ages of 113 and 118. So going back this far is still relative to a few, plus it’s interesting.
The Collie’s exact origin is unknown, although the two kinds, rough-coated and smooth-coated, existed long ago in the undocumented history of Scotland’s and Northern England’s herding dogs
Both versions were strictly working dogs without written pedigrees until the last two centuries.
The Collie climbed steadily from seventh place in the 1880s to first place in the twenty-first century’s first decade. For seven decades of the twentieth century, the breed was among the top ten breeds.
The movie Lassie Come Home debuted in 1943, and Lassie the television series ran from 1954 to 1974 and is still in syndication today.
Numerous Collies portrayed the star character Lassie through the years. The popularity of the movie and television series kept Collies relevant, well-known, and favored.
1910 – 1924: Boston Terrier
The Boston Terrier was the second most popular breed of the 1900s behind the Collie.
Boston Terriers reigned supreme as the most popular breed from 1910 to 1924 and were the first small companion breed to achieve this status.
The Boston Terrier would remain one of the top three breeds for the next five decades, peaking at number one again in 1929 with a solid six-year run.
1925 – 1928: German Shepherd
The popularity of Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart in films helped launch German Shepherds as the most popular dog breed for four years in a row.
German Shepherds are a companion breed described by many as the “total dog.” The Shepherd’s temperament and character are suited for police work, guide dogs, service dogs, or just about anything they are asked to do.
The German Shepherd has never reclaimed the top spot but has ranked in the top ten list for almost a century.
1929 – 1935: Boston Terrier
After a decade of excess in the Roaring Twenties, the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression left many Americans unemployed and unable to feed their families, including their large breed dogs.
Many Americans were forced to relocate after the Dust Bowl decimated farmlands. Boston Terriers were more manageable to keep in reduced living spaces in cities because they were small and resilient.
1936 – 1952: Cocker Spaniel
For sixteen years, the Cocker Spaniel was America’s favorite breed.
The Cocker Spaniel’s popularity coincides with the second half of the Great Depression, World War II, and the creation of the baby boomers.
The Cocker spaniel won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1940 and 1941 but was best known and loved as a family pet with a good reputation with kids.
1953 -1959: Beagle
The postwar economic boom was in overdrive during the Beagle’s rise as the most popular dog breed for seven years consecutively.
U.S. wages increased, and along with the baby boom, and the urban lifestyle of the 1930s and 1940s gave way to suburban living,
Beagles were active and adventurous, making them the ideal family dog for life in the ‘burbs.
1960 – 1982 Poodle
Poodle skirts were popular in the 1950s, and the Poodle dog owned the prestigious title of the most popular breed for the next two decades.
The Poodle remained a constant source of comfort for Americans through 22 years of massive changes in American life, including the Cold War, Civil Rights Movement, and Vietnam War.
Poodles are well known for their best-in-show blue ribbons, but they are also intelligent, energetic, and affectionate family dogs.
1983 – 1990: Cocker Spaniel
The Reagan administration overlapped with the Cocker Spaniel’s second reign as the top dog.
The 1980s conservative policies brought a prosperous decade and economy similar to the era after World War II, the last time the cocker spaniel was atop the pack.
The Cocker Spaniel’s return to popularity can also be attributed to the celebrity status of Disney’s 1955 classic film “Lady and the Tramp” and President Richard Nixon’s adored companion, Checkers.
But a new dog was about to take over and dominate.
1991 – Present (2022): Labrador Retriever
For 30-plus years, the Labrador Retriever has owned the spot as America’s most popular dog breed.
The Labrador Retriever’s popularity started gaining traction at the conclusion of the Cold War.
Labrador Retrievers are a versatile, intelligent, and easy to care for breed that has successfully competed for attention with the emergence of personal computers, smartphones, and social media.
The debate on the effects of technology and social media on human relationships continues. However, a Labrador’s happy-go-lucky friendly nature and the bonds it makes with its owners may explain why it has managed to capture people’s attention and adoration for so long.