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Beagle on leash sniffing in the grass.
©Peter Kirillov -

The only breed to rank in the top ten breeds every decade since the founding of the American Kennel Club became the nation’s top breed in the 1950s—the Beagle. Not coincidentally, Charles Schultz’s pet Beagle, Snoopy, made his illustrious first appearance in national newspapers on October 4, 1950, and swiftly became a pop phenomenon. The Beagle reigned as number-one from 1953 to1 959.

The Boxer’s rise to the number-three position may be linked to the career of one of America’s most famous show dogs, Ch. Bang Away of Sirrah Crest, the Westminster winner in 1951, who made history by winning Best in Show 121 times.

1. Beagle (13 and 15 inches)

Cute funny dogs on carpet at home
©Pixel-Shot -

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.

2. Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel running in the yard.

Coming in at number two are Cocker Spaniels. 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.

3. Boxer

Boxer laying down outdoors.

Although the breed has reached its greatest level of perfection in Germany during the past 100 years, the Boxer springs from a line of dogs known throughout Europe since the 16th century. Prior to that time, ancestors of the breed would hardly be recognized as Boxers. Still, evidence points to the Boxer as one of the many descendants of the old fighting dog of the high valleys of Tibet. The Boxer is cousin to practically all recognized breeds of the Bulldog type and these can be traced to basic Molossus blood.

4. Chihuahua

Longhaired Chihuahua puppy standing in green grass outdoors in the sunshine.
AndyGaylor/Getty Images Plus

Legend and history are rich in tales of the ancestors of the present Chihuahua. They were described as a popular pet, as well as a religious necessity. The Chihuahua Club of America was formed in 1904.

5. Dachshund (Longhaired, Smooth, and Wirehaired)

Black Dachshund in the Street. Autumn Season.
©Daria Zuykova-

The Dachshund can be found in historical accounts dating back to the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, when illustrations reflected badgers being hunted with dogs with elongated bodies, short legs and hound-type ears. Early in the 17th century, the name Dachshund (or “badger dog”) became the designation of a breed type with smooth and longhaired varieties. In 1890, wirehairs were added as a third variety.

6. German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dog puppies sleeping together in the grass.
©zorandim75 -

Derived from the old breeds of herding and farm dogs, the German Shepherd Dog has been subject to intensive development. For centuries, the breed has been considered a loyal servant and companion. The German Shepherd is also distinguished for their courage and ability to assimilate and retain training for such special services as police work and as a guide for the blind.

7. Poodle

Standard Poodle standing outdoors at the beach.
©everydoghasastory -

The Poodle is supposed to have originated in Germany, where they are known as the Pudel or Canis Familiaris Aquatius. However, for years, they have been regarded as the national dog of France, where they were commonly used as a retriever, as well as the Caniche, which is derived from “chien canard” or “duck dog.” Doubtless the English word “poodle” comes from the German “pudel” or “pudelin,” meaning “to splash in the water.”

8. Collie (Smooth and Rough)

©eugenegg -

The precise origin of the Collie remains an enigma, but the two varieties, the rough-coated and the smooth-coated, existed long ago in the unwritten history of the herding dogs of Scotland and northern England. Prior to the past two centuries, both varieties were strictly working dogs without written pedigrees.

9. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier participating in Rally.
Photo by Pix 'n Pages

The Boston Terrier 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 “Roundheads” or Bull Terriers to Boston Terriers, named after the city where the breed originated.

10. Pekingese

Mark L. Baer/MLBaer Photography

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 Pekingese were kept amazingly pure. Imperial Dog Books, illustrated with pictures of the most admired dogs, were used as the standards.

Related article: Dogs That Are Good With Cats
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