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Five Out-of-Fashion Dog Breeds This Vet Misses


The popularity of a dog breed can change faster than you can say “Yo quiero Taco Bell.” One day Chihuahuas are feisty, fun little dogs you’d see only occasionally; the next day (or so it seems), you have three of them back-to-back on your appointment calendar, and your local shelter is running a special on Chihuahua adoptions because there are so many looking for homes.

I see a lot of Chihuahuas over the exam room table these days, along with Labradoodles, Pit Bulls, Bulldogs and the eternally popular Labrador Retriever. I love them all, but I have to admit I do miss seeing some of the dogs who used to be in my waiting room, pets I rarely see now that they’ve lost the cachet they once enjoyed.

Five Breeds That Used to Be More Popular

Here’s my list of five dog breeds I used to see a lot of, and miss seeing now.

Irish Setters

I used to see a lot of these bouncy red dogs in my practice. I know the rub is that they’re too energetic and not the brightest bulb on the light string, but the ones I used to know were great family dogs who loved to be around people and really wanted to please. I miss their smiling faces and the feathered tails that never stop wagging.

Scottish Terriers

These stylish, strong-minded dogs can be difficult to handle, since they are terriers through and through. In my family we’ve loved a lot of terriers, including our forever-missed Wire-Haired Fox Terrier, Scooter, so I understand some of the challenges. These days I’m more likely to see a Scottie on a Monopoly board than on an exam table. Too bad, because these high-style pups really know how to make an entrance.


When Lassie is in, so are Collies. Otherwise, their size and the challenges of their massive, beautiful coat no doubt put many people off. And that’s a shame, because a good Collie, while not likely to be saving Timmy from the well every day, is a great family dog — smart, loving and always keeping an eye on his flock.

Anyone Need a Great Little Hunter?


I suspect that as hunting has become less common as a sport, the breeds so closely associated with the pursuit have fallen out favor. And that’s unfortunate, because the Brittany is a dog that can do more than just hunt. The Brittany’s compact size makes him a good match for an active family, and he’s a natural at modern-day canine sporting events such as agility.

Cocker Spaniels

These little bird dogs were top of the heap for decades, the most sought-after of all purebred dogs. Their reign at the top of the American Kennel Club rankings finally ended with a wave of Poodles. I still see a fair number of Poodles — and even more Poodle-oodle mixes — but Cockers are relatively rare. And that’s a shame, because like the Irish Setter, these dogs are sweet, beautiful and full of fun.

Make no mistake: I love all the dogs — and cats — I see whether on the street or over the exam room table, and I live to help them all be healthier and happier. But I do miss some of the dogs who used to be so popular. I know, however, that they’re only one hit TV show, movie or commercial away from being popular again.

By Dr. Marty Becker provided by


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