Which do you like better, cats or dogs? If you chose dogs, you’re in the majority: a poll conducted by the Associated Press found that 74% of adults said they prefer dogs while only 41% of adults said the same about cats. That’s not to suggest that dogs are inherently better than their feline friends. Evolutionarily speaking, cats have actually been more successful, with superior hunting skills enabling survival even when food is scarce. On the other hand, science suggests that dogs are smarter than cats because their cerebral cortexes contain twice as many neurons.
There may never be a clear answer, but for the majority who prefers man’s best friend, Stacker has compiled a list of the top 35 dog breeds with the most timeless popularity. Using data from the American Kennel Club, we averaged each breed’s level of popularity in 1940 with its popularity in 2017. Any ties were decided by the breed that ranked highest in 2017.
Click through to find out if your favorite dog was just as beloved 80 years ago.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #58.5
1940 rank: #45
2017 rank: #72
Recognized by their silky chestnut coats, Irish setters were originally bred to hunt birds. Although they love humans, their hunting instincts can make them a threat to smaller animals. They are active and energetic, so potential owners should be prepared to take them on lots of long walks or runs.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #55.5
1940 rank: #40
2017 rank: #71
Part of the toy group, typical miniature pinschers stand only 1 foot high and weigh less than 10 pounds. It is sometimes incorrectly assumed that miniature pinschers are miniature Doberman pinschers. It’s more likely they’re are a mix of dachshund and Italian greyhound. Pinschers are energetic, territorial, assertive, and curious, making them great guard dogs despite their tiny stature.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #54
1940 rank: #51
2017 rank: #57
While the Samoyed’s white coat may resemble a fluffy cloud, it’s thick enough to keep them warm in negative 60-degree weather. This coat was necessary protection in Siberia, their country of origin, where they were used for hunting reindeer. Due to their gentle personalities and penchant for interacting with humans, Samoyeds make ideal therapy pets.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #51.5
1940 rank: #34
2017 rank: #69
Cairn terriers were bred in Scotland to dig up rocks in search of vermin. This is where their name comes from: cairn means “pile of rocks.” One cairn terrier you’ve probably seen before is Toto from “The Wizard of Oz.”
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #50
1940 rank: #27
2017 rank: #73
Irish wolfhounds are massive: Male dogs can weigh up to 180 pounds. Depictions in ancient art suggest that the Wolfhound breed may have existed earlier than 273 B.C. A modern portrayal of an Irish wolfhound can be found in the 2017 film “Paddington 2,” which features a character named Wolfie.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #49
1940 rank: #38
2017 rank: #60
Bull terriers are a social breed with a distinctive egg-shaped head. A fun-loving dog, the bull terrier was found to have a similar temperament to the golden retriever. One of the most well-recognized bull terrier is Bullseye, Target's mascot.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #45
1940 rank: #14
2017 rank: #76
Originating in northern China, chow chows have thick double-coats and characteristic blue-black tongues. Martha Stewart is particularly fond of this breed, and has owned a number of them.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #44.5
1940 rank: #26
2017 rank: #63
Dalmations have roots tracing back to Croatia, and are named after the country’s Dalmatia region. Their original job was to guard horse-drawn carriages, including horse-drawn fire engines, which is why they’re associated with firefighters to this day.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #44
1940 rank: #46
2017 rank: #42
Going by Westie for short, the West Highland white terrier descends from a group of terriers bred to seek out vermin. As a result, they may share ancestors with cairn terriers and Scottish terriers. Though they look like soft stuffed animals, their outer coat is actually wiry and coarse.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #41.5
1940 rank: #22
2017 rank: #61
Descendants of the greyhound, whippets look like a slightly smaller version of their ancestors. They are talented runners with the ability to reach speeds of 35 miles per hour: the fastest for any dog their size. Though they require plenty of exercise, they also love to rest and relax with their owners.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #41.5
1940 rank: #47
2017 rank: #36
Newfoundlands are known for their large size, which is enhanced by their heavy double-coat. They are also characterized by a sweet and gentle personality. While they may seem like the perfect pet, one of the Newfoundlands’ less-desirable traits is their tendency to drool.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #40
1940 rank: #37
2017 rank: #43
The Chesapeake Bay retriever gets its name from the shallow estuary that’s surrounded by Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. In the 19th century, Chessies were used to hunt ducks in the Bay, since their coat helps them repel water and stay warm.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #40
1940 rank: #41
2017 rank: #39
Bred for hunting rabbits, the basset hound’s sense of smell is the second-sharpest of all breeds, bested only by the bloodhound. Basset hounds are descendants of French dogs. Their name is derived from the French word “bas” which means low—a reference to their short stature.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #38.5
1940 rank: #29
2017 rank: #48
St. Bernards are extremely large dogs, typically weighing between 120 to 180 pounds. One St. Bernard named Benedictine is said to have weighed more than 350 pounds. Though their size may be intimidating, the St. Bernard is a gentle and loving breed.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #38
1940 rank: #21
2017 rank: #55
The largest of all terriers, Airedales typically weigh between 50 and 70 pounds. President Warren Harding’s terrier, Laddie Boy, was the first presidential pet to receive significant media attention.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #31
1940 rank: #4
2017 rank: #58
This breed was developed in the Scottish Highlands, and brought to the U.S. in 1883. President Franklin D. Roosevelt owned a Scottish Terrier named Fala. She was said to have received her own fan mail, and now has her own statue next to Roosevelt’s memorial in Washington, D.C.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #30
1940 rank: #36
2017 rank: #24
Also known as Shelties, Shetland sheepdogs were bred in the United Kingdom as herding dogs. These long-coated pups look similar to their collie relatives, but are much smaller, weighing only about 20 pounds.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #28.5
1940 rank: #39
2017 rank: #18
The most popular of the three schnauzer breeds, the miniature schnauzer was developed as a farm dog who could track down and kill vermin. The traditional appearance of these schnauzers includes “cropped” ears. This type of surgery is now illegal in some countries, and a few U.S. states have considered legislation to ban it.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #28
1940 rank: #24
2017 rank: #32
One of the smallest dog breeds, Chihuahuas typically weigh no more than 6 pounds. This breed has earned itself a lot of screen time, with roles in “Legally Blonde,” “Meet the Fockers,” “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” and as Taco Bell’s former mascot, Gidget.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #27
1940 rank: #44
2017 rank: #10
German shorthaired pointers were bred to be hunters, and are still one of the most successful breeds in hunting competitions. Pointers often have a distinct speckled coat in white, black, or liver (a unique shade of brown).
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #25
1940 rank: #49
2017 rank: #1
Despite their name, Labrador retrievers developed in Newfoundland, Canada, as opposed to Labrador, Canada. With coats generally in either yellow, chocolate, or black, Labs are an active breed who love people and other animals.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #17.5
1940 rank: #13
2017 rank: #22
This breed combines a tiny figure with a big personality. Although they weigh no more than 7 pounds, Pomeranians can be possessive and behave aggressively toward those who threaten their space. As a result, they may not be ideal for families with young children.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #16
1940 rank: #16
2017 rank: #16
This breed gets its name from Louis Dobermann of Apolda, Germany. Dobermann bred a dog who could protect him while he worked as a tax collector. Though their history may have stereotyped them as aggressive, Dobermans can be socialized to be loving, friendly dogs.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #16
1940 rank: #25
2017 rank: #7
Poodles originated in Germany, where they were used to hunt ducks. Their name comes from the German word “pudelin” which means “to splash in water.” Many 1950s American celebrities owned poodles, including Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Lucille Ball.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #14.5
1940 rank: #18
2017 rank: #11
The boxer’s ancestor is a German dog called the Bullenbeisser, which was used to hunt larger animals like deer and boar. Though they sprung from talented hunters, modern boxers make loving family dogs, as well as great service pets. This breed has also been very successful at the Westminster Dog Show, winning Best in Show four times.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #12
1940 rank: #3
2017 rank: #21
Even though terrier is in their name, Boston terriers are part of the non-sporting group. The other half of their name makes more sense: They were developed in Boston, and became the official state dog of Massachusetts in 1979.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #10.5
1940 rank: #19
2017 rank: #2
These large, muscular dogs are easily trained, making them an excellent choice for police K9 units. The German shepherd was affected by the anti-German sentiment that was aroused in the early 20th century. In Britain, German shepherds were renamed Alsatians after World War I began.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #9.5
1940 rank: #6
2017 rank: #13
Known for having relatively short legs and a long body, the dachshund's shape meant it could track scents easily, as well as fit into burrows. The first time the Olympics had a mascot was during the summer games of 1972 in Munich; the mascot selected was a dachshund named Waldi.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #8.5
1940 rank: #12
2017 rank: #5
The bulldog’s name references its past, when it was used during bull-baiting in England. Considered a sport, bull-baiting involved a dog attempting to bring down tied-up bull. Due to their pups’ large heads, most bulldogs give birth through C-section.
Average rank (1940 & 2017): #4
1940 rank: #2
2017 rank: #6
Beagles were first brought to the United States after the Civil War, when they were used for hunting rabbits. Their long ears aided them in picking up subtle sounds, and their white-tipped tails helped keep them visible. Though he may not look like one, “Peanuts” character Snoopy is in fact a beagle.