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Labrador retriever head portrait indoors.
Anne Ruthmann Photography

The country’s top breed of the 1990s, the Labrador Retriever, continues in its popularity to this day. The Rottweiler, accepted by the AKC in 1931, makes its first appearance in the decade’s top ten as the number-two breed, the highest ranking of any first-timer on the list (since the Boston Terrier in the 1900s). The 1990s also marked the first appearance of the Yorkshire Terrier in the top ten of the decade, while the Pomeranian returned to the top-ten list for the first time since the 1930s.

1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador retriever digging a hole in the sand on the beach.
Angela Jacquin Photography via Getty Images

Despite their name, Labrador Retrievers originated in Newfoundland, not Labrador. The area was populated with small water dogs, which when bred with Newfoundlands, produced a breed referred to as the St. John’s Water Dog, a prototype of the Lab of today. The pedigrees of the two most influential Labs go back as far as 1878.

2. Rottweiler

Rottweiler rolling over in the grass.

It’s possible that the Rottweiler is descended from one of the drover dogs indigenous to ancient Rome. The drover dog has been described by various credible sources as having been of the Mastiff type, a dependable, rugged, and willing worker who is intelligent and protective. At the turn of the 20th century, the Rottweiler emerged as a popular police dog.

3. German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dog on a scent in sand.
(c) 2018 Happy monkey/Shutterstock

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 GSD is also distinguished for its courage and ability to assimilate and retain training for such special services as police work and as a guide dog for the blind.

4. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever holding a first aid pouch in its mouth outdoors.
PK-Photos/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Records kept from 1850 to 1890 at the Guisachan estate of Dudley Marjoribanks, first Lord Tweedmounth, near Inverness, Scotland, document the development of the original strain of Golden Retrievers. By the end of the 19th century, Yellow or Golden Retrievers were well established in England.

5. Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel running in the yard.

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. To this day, Cocker Spaniels are the smallest in the Sporting Group.

6. Poodle

Toy Poodle standing in the grass.
©jagodka -

The Poodle is supposed to have originated in Germany. However, for years, it has been regarded as the national dog of France, where it was commonly used as a retriever. The English word “poodle” comes from the German “pudel” or “pudelin,” meaning “to splash in the water.”

7. Beagle

Beagle wearing a bowtie standing in a garden.
©Александра Савельева -

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.

8. Dachshund

Smooth coated Dachshund standing outdoors.
Plotitsyna NiNa/Shutterstock

The Dachshund can be found in historical accounts dating back to the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. In this period, 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.

9. Yorkshire Terrier

pet-friendly hotels close up view of cute little yorkshire terrier lying on bed covered with blanket

The breed became known as the Yorkshire Terrier in 1970, when a writer reported in “The Field” magazine that “they ought no longer be called Scotch Terriers, but Yorkshire Terriers for having been so improved there.” The earliest record of a Yorkshire Terrier born in the United States dates to 1872. Classes for the breed have been offered in all shows since 1878.

10. Pomeranian

Pomeranian getting groomed at the groomer's.
Nomad_Soul -

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.

Related article: Why Are Some Dog Breeds Rare or Not as Popular?
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