If you’ve ever picked up a tabloid (and don’t lie, we all have), chances are you’re no stranger to the predictors of popularity. Pop stars, actors, and athletes dominate the headlines… and according to Stefano Ghirlanda, a Brooklyn College psychology professor who studies pooch popularity, these indicators are true for dogs as well.
Ghirlanda found that the popularity of a breed is often correlated to its visibility in pop culture. So a dog’s presence in say, a movie, makes the breed as a whole more desirable; this “movie effect” has more influence on pupularity than lifespan, health, and even disposition.
So in 1943, it’s no surprise that the release of everyone’s favorite Lassie Come Home led to a spike in Collie popularity.
And in 1961, interest in Dalmatians surged after the release of – you guessed it – 101 Dalmatians. The list goes on.
Of course, any dog lover knows that when it comes to pop culture, there’s more than what meets the eye. After all, not all French Mastiffs solve crimes like in Turner & Hooch, and not all Golden Retrievers can dunk a basketball like Air Bud. Every breed comes with its own pros and cons, and choosing the right pup for you should take more thought than a movie marathon.