The Boston Terrier became the first breed to enjoy the number-one position for two decades; the breed fell to the number-two position in the 1920s after its initial reign as number-one in the 1910s. The records of the Boston Terrier Club of America show that the breed was number-one or number-two for every year between 1905. and 1935. A top-ten breed since the 1890s, Cocker Spaniels began their impressive climb in the 1930s, gaining the number-two position. It’s no surprise that in the decade of the Great Depression, all ten top breeds are small- or medium-sized companion dogs.
The breed is a true American creation, bred as a cross between an English bulldog and a white English Terrier. The new breed’s supporters established the Boston Terrier Club of America in 1891, changing the name of the breed from Round Heads or Bull Terriers to Boston Terriers, named after the city where the breed originated.
The Spaniel family is a large one of considerable antiquity. As far back as the 14th century, we have mention of the Spanyell, which came to be divided into water and land spaniels. Further divisions in land spaniels were based on size. “Cockers” were the smaller of the two types of spaniels and are to this day the smallest in the Sporting Group.
One of the first records of the breed was made in 1790, when Colonel Thomas Thornton’s “Pitch,” a smooth-coated white Fox Terrier, was immortalized in print and paintings. Smooth Fox Terriers preceded the Wires in the show ring by 15 to 20 years. At first, they were classified with sporting dogs, a tribute to their keen nose, remarkable eyesight, and stamina in drivign foxes from their holes.
The Scottish Terrier as we know it today has been bred in purity for many years. The first show to have a class for the breed was in Birmingham, England in 1860. A number of later shows carried this classification, but the dogs shown in these classes were not Scottish Terriers, but Skyes, Dandie Dinmonts and Yorkshires.
The actual origin of the Beagle seems to be obscure because of the absence of reliable documentation on the earliest days of development. The turning point for American Beagles came in the 1860s, when dogs from a well-bred strain in England were imported to inject a beautiful breed type.
The earliest known record of the “Lion Dog” is traced to the Tang Dynasty in China in the 6th century. Breeding of these little dogs reached a zenith during the Tao Kuang period (1821-1851). The oldest strains of the breed were kept amazingly pure. Imperial Dog Books, illustrated with pictures of the most admired dogs, were used as the standards.
7. Chow Chows
The Chow Chow probably originated more than 2,000 years ago as a result of crossing the Mastiff of Tibet with the Samoyed, a breed originating from the northern parts of Siberia. The importation of Chows into England began about 1880 and the breed started toward its popularity after Queen Victoria took an interest in this “Wild Dog of China,” as it was dubbed while on display at the London Zoo.
The name “springing spaniel” included in one classification the ancestral stock from which many of the present-day land spaniels emanated. In the 1880s, Springers and Cockers were often born in the same litters, size alone being the distinguishing feature. In 1880, the American Spaniel Club was founded and it classified anything over 28 pounds as a Springer.
The Pomeranian descended from the Spitz family of dogs and the sled dogs of Iceland and Lapland. The breed takes its name from the historical region of Pomerania, which makes up the southern coast of the Baltic Sea (present day Germany and Poland). However, the region isn’t where the breed originated, but where it was most likely bred down to size.
The Bulldog, to the best of our knowledge, had its origin in the British Isles. The “bull” in its name referred to the dog’s use in the sport of bull baiting, an extremely cruel practice in which dogs attempted to immobilize a bull by attacking and biting it. In addition to its supposed entertainment value, it was believed at the time that stimulating the bull in such fashion improved its meat prior to slaughter for sale in the markets. The Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835 put an end to the sport.
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