Dog breeds experience boosts in popularity when featured in movies, according to a new study by the University of Bristol.
This popularity boost can last up to ten years, and it isn’t related to a breed’s temperament or health, reports Mary Elizabeth Dallas of HealthDay.com.
The study examined 87 movies prominently featuring canines, and compared them to the American Kennel Club’s database of dog registrations. Registration of breeds featured in the films went up, and the popularity boosts could last as long as ten years.
Some of the gains were spectacular. The release of “The Shaggy Dog” in 1959 precipitated a 10,000 percent increase in registered Old English Sheepdogs. More modest, but still impressive, was the 40 percent increase in Collie registrations following 1943’s “Lassie Come Home.”
The researchers point out that the consequences of a popularity boost might not always be good for the dogs themselves. Going with a popular breed that is unsuited to its owners home and family situation can be detrimental for the owners and their pets, according to study co-author Dr. Alberto Acerbi.
“It’s not surprising that we tend to follow social cues and fashions, as this is a quite effective strategy in many situations, however, in particular cases the outcomes can be negative. When choosing a new pet, we may want to act differently,” Acerbi said.