What is the best dog breed? The most popular pooches in US since 1880

What is the best dog breed? Well, the American Kennel Club has been tracking the popularity of purebred dogs for 128 years as the number of recognized breeds grew from nine to 177. Here's a list of the country's most popular dog breeds by the decade, according to data released by the AKC:

AP/American Kennel Club
Top dog: In the 1890s, the St. Bernard was accepted by the American Kennel Club and became No. 1. To this day, the dog is the only giant breed to reach the top spot and the only No. 1 never to appear in the top-10 again.

1. 1880s: gun dogs

Associated Press
Holly, a Pointer, poses for photographs after capturing Best in Show at the National Dog Show in Reading, Pa., Nov. 22, 2008.

Top five breeds (English setters, Irish setters, pointers, Irish water spaniels and Gordon setters) were all working gun dogs, which helped hunters retrieve game.

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