Does your list of favorite dog breeds grow longer with each dog you see on the big screen? You’re not alone. A recent study found that popular canine characters in movies have a huge impact on the popularity of the breed.
In this study, the researchers looked at 29 films released in the United States, each featuring a different breed of dog. The popularity of the breed was then traced for ten years after the movie release using records from the American Kennel Club (AKC).
After sorting through these records and comparing them to the release of films between 1927 and 2005, researchers determined something pretty interesting. When a specific breed of dog was featured in a film, the number of registrations for that particular breed rose significantly in the years following the film’s release.
When we say significantly, we really mean significantly. Take the movie Lassie Come Home, for example. Before the release of the film in 1943, there were records of 2,331 collies in the United States. Ten years later, the number of registrations had jumped to 20,006.
Lassie Come Home isn’t the only movie that was found to impact a breed’s popularity. Other classics such as The Wizard of Oz, Lady and the Tramp, The Fox and the Hound, and Beethoven showed the same pattern.
What’s really interesting is that factors that normally come into consideration when choosing a dog — such as temperament and health — didn’t seem to matter. Based on the results, it appears that people are choosing these breeds based on what they saw in the movies rather than what the reality of owning a specific breed may be like.
However, just because a dog is featured in a movie doesn’t guarantee that a breed will suddenly increase in popularity. Researchers found that there were two main factors that determined which breeds would become fashionable: the number of viewings the first weekend after the film’s release and the year the film came out. The more popular the film was after its release, the more impact it had. Additionally, earlier films tended to create more widespread trends than recent ones.
The final conclusion that came from this study is that the impact of a film on breed popularity is not instantaneous. In fact, 14 of the 29 films analyzed found that the breed reached peak popularity 10 years after its initial release. This means that dog-centered films are creating long-lasting impressions that influence the choices their audience makes years after seeing them.
Many of us are probably surprised to realize that a movie we watched as a child influences decisions we are making as adults. So think twice about what dog-centered movie you watch during your next movie night. If this study holds true, you may be living with a real-life version of the character within a matter of years. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
H/t to The Conversation