Labrador Retrievers


Bill Clinton’s Chocolate Lab, Buddy, remained his buddy even during the dark days of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Despite being portrayed as rambunctious in the book and film “Marley & Me,” the Lab remains the most popular dog in America today.

Because of their even temperament, they excel as guide dogs for the blind, as part of search-and-rescue teams, and with law enforcement.



The Poodle holds the record for being the most popular dog for 22 consecutive years (1960-1982). The breed is exceptionally smart, hardy and excels in obedience training.

The breed has inspired everything from poodle skirts to the book “Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck. Presidents Richard Nixon and Grover Cleveland both owned Poodles.



Comic-strip Beagle Snoopy made his first appearance in newspapers in 1950, and the rest is history. The Beagle was America’s No. 1 dog from 1953 to 1959.

Curious and comedic, Beagles often follow their noses, which can lead to mischief. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Beagles, Him and Her, appeared on the cover of Life magazine.

Cocker Spaniels


The Cocker Spaniel became the country’s No. 1 dog in the 1940s. They appeared in the hit Disney movie “Lady and the Tramp” and were featured in the “Dick and Jane” books from which many baby boomers learned to read.

Checkers, the dog Richard Nixon spoke abut in his famous “Checkers speech” of 1952, was a Cocker Spaniel. Cockers are intelligent, gentle dogs that thrive as part of a family.

German Shepherds


Shortly after Rin Tin Tin was featured in the film “Man From Hell’s River” (1922), the German Shepherd became No. 1 in American Kennel Club registrations. Though German Shepherds slipped out of the Top 10 after World War II, they were No. 6 in the 1950s and have remained in the Top 4 since then.

Energetic and fun-loving, this breed is a good guard dog and the ideal choice for many families. Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy were all German Shepherd owners.

Boston Terriers


This breed is an American creation, a cross between an English Bulldog and a white English Terrier. In 1891, the breed became known as Boston Terriers, taking the name of the city where they originated. The Boston Terrier has been nicknamed “the American Gentleman” because of his dapper appearance and gentle disposition.

The breed is affectionate and easy to train. The best-known Boston Terrier is Rhett, the official mascot of Boston University’s varsity athletic teams.



The breed ranked in the Top Ten for seven decades of the 20th century. Collies first became fashionable in the 1860s after Queen Victoria visited the Scottish Highlands and fell in love with them.

The Collie is a devoted family dog, especially with children. The best-known Collie is, of course, the famous Lassie.

Saint Bernards


Originally used to locate freezing and helpless travelers during snowstorms, the Saint Bernard has been used to rescue travelers in the Swiss Alps for centuries and is still highly popular there today.

Despite the serious nature of his work, this breed has a big, loving personality. Famous Saint Bernards include the rollicking troublemaker Beethoven in the films of the same name.

The English Setter


1880s: English Setters English Setters were originally called Setting Spaniels. Before firearms came along, they would find birds and crouch down on their front legs (“set”) to allow the hunter to throw a net over the game.

The English Setter loves to be with people and does not thrive when isolated in a yard or kennel. President Theodore Roosevelt was the proud owner of an English Setter named Winks.