Our beloved four-legged companions have been with us pretty much since the beginning. Without doubt, they have certainly earned their title of “man’s best friend.”
Let’s not forget about woman’s best friend, either! As fashion has evolved and transformed throughout the years, dogs have followed along by playing various roles: photoshoot companions, accessories for outfits, and inspiration for clothing — just to name a few.
But for every seemingly great thing, there is always another side of the story to consider. Certain breeds have become “trendy” merely thanks to their status as trendy over time — which unfortunately isn’t always a good thing.
It all started with the Boston Terrier. These pups are the all American pooch. In the early 1900s, Bostons popped up everywhere — in ads and spreads, always keeping their fashionable human companions company.
Then, between 1940 and 1950, Spaniels started their take over. Remember Lady & The Tramp? The Spaniel craze led this dog to become the number one breed in the U.S. for sixteen years straight. SIXTEEN. Not surprisingly, the puppy mill businesses jumped on the Spaniel trend’s bandwagon, and started churning out thousands of puppies — many with genetic and health problems.
The Spaniels got a break as Americans rolled into the 70’s. When you think about dogs in fashion, the most iconic breed that comes to mind is the Poodle, of course.
Just look at the poise and beauty exuded by this dog, the ultimate symbol of class and style. For two decades, these puppies ended up being the most popular dog in the U.S. — they held onto the title until 1982.
The always-beloved Golden Retriever took over in the 90’s as the quintessential family dog. Always smiling and ever-so-loyal, you’d be hard pressed to find an American home that didn’t have one of these golden beauties laying in the back yard at the time. Thankfully, this breed hasn’t been subject to as much genetic change as some other breeds, like the flat-faced dogs of today.
The 90’s, however, weren’t all peachy keen. This was also the decade that dogs really became “fashion accessories,” thanks to celebrities who often were seen “wearing” their dogs on their arms as though handbags. Their temperament as a breed was affected by this terrible trend, as they were often stuffed in tiny purses or carriers and treated like dolls.
Fast forward to recent years and you’ll notice that flat-faced breeds have become the new “it” dog.
Pugs and Frenchies have been growing in popularity, and that unfortunately has its downside. French Bulldogs are now all born via cesarian sections due to their abnormally large heads that people find so cute, and flat-faced dogs in general have many, many respiratory problems due to the physical structuring of their “adorable” faces.
It’s not only fashion that impacts the popularity of certain breeds as pets. Disney’s 101 Dalmatians in 1961 certainly led to hordes of people wanting those adorably unique and spotted dogs, often without doing the proper research and understanding how difficult it can be to actually own a Dalmatian. You could even argue that Internet popularity and a wider wider spread access to breeders has also contributed to this drawback.
As we look back on just the last century and our companionship with dogs, it’s so important to keep in mind the wellbeing of these animals as we make decisions in pet ownership. Happily, the rise in popularity of mixed-breed dogs continues to do a lot of good for adoptable and shelter dogs around the nation. Now that’s a trend we’d like to keep!
Featured image via Visual Optimism