Mutts, or mixed breeds, remain the most popular canine pet, with all pure breeds following behind. In the 1890s, after mutts, it was Saint Bernards that were among those breeds topping the charts. They really were used to locate and rescue freezing and helpless travelers in the Swiss Alps, not just then but for centuries.
Come the twentieth century, Boston terriers made the top-10 list for six decades. The only “made in the USA” breed, it has been named the “American Gentleman” because of its dapper appearance, not to mention its characteristically gentle disposition.
German shepherds ruled in the 1920s but were owned by presidents ranging from Herbert Hoover to Franklin Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy.
Cocker spaniels made it big in the 1940s (actually ranking number 1 from 1936 through 1952), then staged a comeback in the 80s. In the 50s, beagles came into high fashion, although they were always popular. The beagle is the only breed to rank in the top 10 every single decade since the founding of the American Kennel Club back in 1884. In 2013, it came in at number 4.
Poodle skirts were big in the 50s, and poodles themselves took the number one spot among dog breeds for 22 years in a row, from 1960 to 1982, until cocker spaniels nudged them out of the top position through 1990 and were then nudged out themselves by Labrador retrievers, who reign to this day (and are also extremely popular in the UK and Canada).
Dogs from the toy group, by the way, have been on the rise since the 1970s, when they made up 12 percent of the American Kennel Club registry. Today that number is about double what it was 40 years ago.