|By Brian Alan
"What are the most popular dogs?"
Popularity, of course, varies by region.
Although there is some change from nation to nation, there
is a greater change between regions. Because apartment-dwellers
often want smaller pets, a list of the Top City Dogs would
include such smaller dogs as the Miniature Schnauzer,
Pomeranian and the Pug. The
Most Popular Country Dogs are larger dogs, including
the Collie and Siberian Husky.
in Literature and Hollywood have influenced breed
popularity over the past century. When LASSIE COME HOME
appeared in the 1940's, first as a novel and then as a
movie, the Scottish-bred Collie became extremely popular
as a family pet. In the 1970's, the movie BENJI became
an immediate hit. Starring a lovable mixed breed dog that
was adopted from an animal shelter (the original Benji
was the dog Higgins who had worked on the TV show "Petticoat
Junction"), the movie started a popular franchise: five
Benji movies, television programs and specials, comics,
and even Benji merchandise. Dog breeders were deluged
with requests for "Benji-like" terriers.
Hollywood and celebrities continue to popularize
What, then, are the Ten Most Popular dog
NUMBER 10: The SHIH TZU. The Shih Tzu (pronounced
"shidzoo") has been known and loved as a small companion
dog for at least 2000 years. Developed in China, this
little "lion dog" is a happy, outgoing and intelligent
character. Zsa Zsa and Eva Gabor brought the breed into
the public spotlight in the 1960's, when they were photographed
walking through the hot spots of Beverly Hills with their
pet Shih Tzus. The breed has had an enthusiastic following
NUMBER 9: The BOXER. The Boxer originated
in Bavaria, Germany, as a medium-sized security dog. The
breed combines the blood of the English Bulldog with European
mastiff-type breeds. With its deep chest, broad back and
smooth coat (white with fawn or brindle) it makes a striking
appearance. Introduced to North America by returning soldiers
after World War I, the boxer has gained a reputation as
a spirited, lively, pugnacious pet, but affectionate with
its family and kind with children.
NUMBER 8: The CHIHUAHUA. The Chihuahua
is the world's smallest dog. Named for the Mexican province
where it often occurred, this breed may well be the descendant
of an ancient toy breed of an earlier culture, perhaps
the Mayan. They come in smooth and longhaired breeds.
Both breeds are easy to groom and care for. They are bright,
inquisitive, affectionate and courageous.
When Madonna was photographed with her
beloved Chihuahua, Chiquita, she was just one of many
celebrities sporting a pet Chihuahua. Noah Wyle, one of
the hot stars of ER, was recently photographed with his
Chihuahua while on holiday. Jennifer Lopez has also joined
the exclusive club of famous Chihuahua owners. Younger
celebrities like Britney Spears, Hilary Duff, Paris Hilton,
Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon and members of Simple
Plan have been seen with their Chihuahuas. The breed just
increases in popularity.
NUMBER 7: The YORKSHIRE TERRIER. The Yorkshire
Terrier has been a favorite among the ladies of the European
aristocracy for almost a hundred years. When Audrey Hepburn
was shown with her adored Yorkie, the breed gained popularity
in America. The breed was created in the Leeds and Halifax
areas of Yorkshire, England, for a much more mundane purpose:
to catch rats in the coal pits and cotton mills. Its long
coat of dark steel blue and bright tan requires daily
brushing, but the results are worth it. With its strong
terrier instincts, the Yorkie makes for a courageous,
intelligent and lively companion.
NUMBER 6: The POODLE. The Poodle (or Caniche)
is a very ancient breed, originally used for hunting water
game, such as ducks. Its thick coat was originally given
its distinctive trim to aid it in swimming. The Poodle
has been bred in three sizes: Toy, Miniature and Standard.
Although its thick coat and long, thickly feathered ears
make it a high-maintenance dog, its disposition make the
Poodle a beloved pet. It is a well-mannered, eager to
learn, obedient and happy breed.
NUMBER 5: The BEAGLE. The most famous Beagle,
of course, is a cartoon animal: Snoopy. The breed is an
old one, its name coming from the Celtic word "beag,"
meaning "small." The smallest version of the hunting hound,
it was developed in England to hunt rabbit and hare. The
Beagle makes a good family pet, being lively, friendly
NUMBER 4: The DACHSHUND. The Dachshund
comes in a number of varieties, including the Longhaired,
Smooth and Wire. The Dachshunds were developed in Medieval
Germany to hunt otter, badger and fox. They were also
used to track wounded game. Their long bodies and short
legs made them adept at following a trail through even
dense brush. Coming in all colors, these popular house
pets, while sometimes willful and disobedient, are intelligent,
happy and love their families.
NUMBER 3: The GERMAN SHEPHERD. The German
Shepherd (or Alsatian) was little known in North America
until the 1920's, when movie dogs such as Strongheart
(THE SILENT CALL, 1921) and Rin-Tin-Tin (THE MAN FROM
HELL'S RIVER, 1924) received almost overnight acclaim.
The German forerunners of the breed were
originally used to protect flocks of sheep against wolves.
In the 1890's, a German cavalry officer, Captain Max Von
Stephanitz, perfected the breed that we know as the German
Shepherd today. With their bright, intelligent eyes, large
prick ears, broad chest, sloping body and long legs, they
have the very appearance of the ultimate versatile breed.
Used as military, police and search dogs, they also make
excellent family pets.
NUMBER 2: The GOLDEN RETRIEVER. With its
beautiful long coat of gold or cream, the Golden Retriever
is considered by many to be the most perfect of dogs.
The Golden's dense, water-repellent coat can be wavy or
straight. These dogs are of British origin, developed
in the mid-Nineteenth Century by Scotsman Lord Tweedmouth
as hunting dogs and water fowl retrievers.
The Golden Retriever's intelligence and
gentleness have earned it a well-deserved reputation as
the perfect family pet. As well as being a reliable, gentle-mouthed
retriever, this breed is obedient and easily trained.
NUMBER 1: The LABRADOR RETRIEVER. This
dog originated in Labrador, Canada. Its forebears are
the black water dogs which used to swim between boats
and the shore carrying supplies. An excellent retriever
of fish and game, the dogs became renowned for their intelligence
and willingness to please. The coat is short and dense
and in solid black, yellow or chocolate. Easy to train,
the Labradors make perfect family pets, being trustworthy,
obedient, good-tempered and excellent with children.
Every dog, of course, is the "most popular"
About the Author
Brian Alan Burhoe is the author of
many dog-related articles and short stories. His fiction
includes the free online story WOLFBLOOD
A Northwestern in the Tradition of Jack London. Many
of his articles can be found at PUPPY
DOGS INFO Dog Breeds Training Care Literature.