The Most Popular Dog Breeds From Different Decades

Different dog breeds have fallen in and out of favor in the U.S. over the years, much like fashion trends. As you will see, the most popular dogs in the 1900s are quite different from the 2000s. Keep reading to find out which dog breeds were the most popular in the U.S. over the decades. And learn when today’s most popular dog breed, the Labrador retriever, first appeared in the top 10 (page 8).

1900s

rough collie

Collies were popular at the turn of the century. | iStock.com/cynoclub

According to the American Kennel Club, the collie was the No. 1 breed of the 1900s. The Boston terrier, in the No. 2 spot, was also the first small companion dog to rise that high.

The top 10 breeds of the 1900s were:

  1. Collie
  2. Boston terrier
  3. English setter
  4. Bull terrier
  5. Pointer
  6. Cocker spaniel
  7. Bulldog
  8. Airedale terrier
  9. Beagle
  10. Irish terrier

Next: Made in the U.S.A.

1910s

Boston terrier

It’s an American dog breed. | Studio-laska/iStock/Getty Images

An all-American breed, the Boston terrier, was the only “made in America” dog to reach the No. 1 position in the 1910s — and it did it twice, according to the AKC. The 1910s marked the only decade in which a French bulldog made it into the top 10 breeds. And it was the decade during which the Airedale terrier reached the highest position it ever would.

The top 10 breeds of the 1910s were:

  1. Boston terrier
  2. Airedale terrier
  3. Collie
  4. Beagle
  5. Bulldog
  6. French bulldog
  7. English setter
  8. Cocker spaniel
  9. Pekingese
  10. Bull terrier

Next: One dog achieved its highest ranking ever during this decade.

1920s

German-shephard

German shepherds topped the charts in the ’20s. | Bigandt_Photography/iStock/Getty Images

Accepted into the AKC in 1908, the German shepherd became the No. 1 dog of the 1920s but then disappeared from the top 10 list until after World War II. The chow chow also achieved the highest ranking it ever would during this decade.

The top 10 breeds of the 1920s were:

  1. German shepherd
  2. Boston terrier
  3. Chow chow
  4. Pekingese
  5. Wire-haired fox terrier
  6. Collie
  7. Beagle
  8. Airedale terrier
  9. Cocker spaniel
  10. Bulldog

Next: The Great Depression choices

1930s

Boston terrier

Small breeds were popular during the Great Depression. | nailiaschwarz/iStock/Getty Images

According to the AKC, the 1930s marked the cocker spaniel’s climb in popularity. You might notice that in the Great Depression decade, all top 10 breeds were small- or medium-sized companion dogs, likely because people couldn’t afford the larger breeds.

The top 10 breeds of the 1930s were:

  1. Boston terrier
  2. Cocker spaniel
  3. Fox terrier
  4. Scottish terrier
  5. Beagle
  6. Pekingese
  7. Chow chow
  8. English springer spaniel
  9. Pomeranian
  10. Bulldog

Next: This breed made it onto the cover of Life Magazine.

1940s

Welsh-springer-spaniel.

A cocker spaniel won the AKC’s Best in Show in the ’40s. | Korvit78/iStock/Getty Images

When a cocker spaniel named My Own Brucie became famous for winning the AKC’s Best in Show in the early 1940s, the breed really took off, according to the AKC. It also didn’t hurt that he appeared on the cover of Life Magazine.

The top 10 breeds of the 1940s were:

  1. Cocker spaniel
  2. Beagle
  3. Boston terrier
  4. Collie
  5. Boxer
  6. Dachshund
  7. Pekinese
  8. Fox terrier
  9. English springer spaniel
  10. Scottish terrier

Next: At last — a venerable breed’s time in the sun

1950s

Beagle dog sniffing the ground in the forest

Snoopy might have contributed to the beagle’s rise to fame. | igorr1/iStock/Getty Images

According to the AKC, the lovely beagle had ranked in the top 10 breeds ever since the organization was founded before it rose to No. 1 in the 1950s. Interestingly, Charles Schultz’s beagle, Snoopy, appeared in national newspapers in 1950, likely contributing to the breed’s rise in popularity.

The top 10 breeds of the 1950s were:

  1. Beagle
  2. Cocker spaniel
  3. Boxer
  4. Chihuahua
  5. Dachshund
  6. German shepherd
  7. Poodle
  8. Collie
  9. Boston terrier
  10. Pekingese

Next: A glam dog takes the No. 1 spot.

1960s

Poodle

The poodle hit No. 1. | Fotojagodka/iStock/Getty Images

According to the AKC, the poodle didn’t make the top 10 list until the 1950s. And the glamorous show dog finally made it into the No. 1 spot in the 1960s.

The top 10 breeds of the 1960s were:

  1. Poodle
  2. German shepherd
  3. Beagle
  4. Dachshund
  5. Chihuahua
  6. Pekingese
  7. Collie
  8. Miniature schnauzer
  9. Cocker spaniel
  10. Basset hound

Next: The poodle holds its ground.

1970s

White poodle on grass

Poodles maintained their lead. | disqis/iStock/Getty Images

The poodle kept its No. 1 spot for a second decade in the 1970s, and the Doberman pinscher made it into the top 10 during this decade. In addition, the Labrador retriever first appeared in the top 10 list during this decade, according to the AKC.

The top 10 breeds of the 1970s were:

  1. Poodle
  2. German shepherd
  3. Doberman pinscher
  4. Beagle
  5. Dachshund
  6. Irish setter
  7. Cocker spaniel
  8. Miniature schnauzer
  9. Labrador retriever
  10. Collie

Next: A retro breed makes a comeback.

1980s

black and golden cocker spaniel dogs in back of car

Cocker spaniels dethroned poodles in the ’80s. | Bobhackettphotos/iStock/Getty Images

During the 1980s, the cocker spaniel made a comeback and snagged the No. 1 spot, according to the AKC. The poodle slipped in its position during this decade — after spending two decades as top dog — and would continue to fall in subsequent years.

The top 10 breeds of the 1980s were:

  1. Cocker spaniel
  2. Poodle
  3. Labrador retriever
  4. German shepherd
  5. Golden retriever
  6. Doberman pinscher
  7. Beagle
  8. Miniature schnauzer
  9. Dachshund
  10. Chow chow

Next: This dog still takes the No. 1 spot.

1990s

Young Labrador Retriever

The Lab began its reign in the ’90s. | GlobalP/iStock/Getty Images

The Labrador retriever rose to No. 1 during the 1990s and continues to enjoy that position to this day, according to the AKC. The Rottweiler appeared for the first time on the top 10 list during this decade, as well. And the Pomeranian returned to the list for the first time since the 1930s.

The top 10 breeds of the 1990s were:

  1. Labrador retriever
  2. Rottweiler
  3. German shepherd
  4. Golden retriever
  5. Cocker spaniel
  6. Poodle
  7. Beagle
  8. Dachshund
  9. Yorkshire terrier
  10. Pomeranian

Next: Here’s the situation today.

2000s

Side lighting on blonde labrador retriever looks at camera from an indoor home setting

Labs continued to lead. | iStock.com/Annetics

According to the AKC, the Labrador retriever still reigns supreme as the No. 1 dog breed in the U.S. Keep in mind, however, that because the second decade of the 2000s is underway, that could change. The AKC information is valid through 2013.

The top 10 breeds of the 2000s are:

  1. Labrador retriever
  2. German shepherd
  3. Golden retriever
  4. Beagle
  5. Bulldog
  6. Yorkshire terrier
  7. Boxer
  8. Poodle
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Dachshund

Read more: You’ll Never Believe Which Dog Breeds Are on the Brink of Extinction

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