Do you have a dog? If so, do you care about its ancestry?
Actually, I don’t have any pets, but I do love dogs. So a blurb entitled “King of the Canines” recently caught my eye. It’s in the “Explore” section of the February 2016 National Geographic magazine and it lists the 10 most popular breeds (out of 187) by decade, beginning in the 1910s.
What makes a breed popular? According to Stefano Ghirlanda, a Brooklyn College psychology professor who has studied dogs, it’s film roles. A breed starring in a popular movie can get a boost lasting a decade. Of course, it’s a dog-eat-dog world — 101 Dalmatians sparked a lot of interest, but this high-energy breed was a poor fit for most families and fell out of favor as a result.
Speaking of results, the most popular breeds in the 1910s were the Boston terrier, Airedale terrier, Collie, Beagle, Bulldog, French bulldog, English setter, Cocker spaniel, Pekinese, and Bull terrier, in that order.
In the 2000s, the ranking was Labrador retriever, Golden retriever, German shepherd, Beagle, Dachshund, Yorkshire terrier, Poodle, Boxer, Shih tzu, and Chihuahua.
What does it all mean? I have no idea.