Wag the Labradoodle: A Timeline of Pet Fads


1884 1,500 different styles of dog collar are for sale in Manhattan.

1907 The New York Times announces pigeons as the latest pet for fashionable women.

1935 An 8-foot alligator is found in an East Harlem sewer, helping launch an urban legend.

1936 Cocker spaniels are dubbed America’s favorite breed; beagles unseat them in 1953.

1960 Fascination with all things French makes the poodle America’s favorite dog.

1960 Sea-Monkeys, a.k.a. brine shrimp, surface.

Early 1980s Up to a million potbellied pigs become pets. A 1997 survey of slaughterhouses finds that many became dinner.

1983 Cocker spaniels regain the “most popular” title.

Late 1980s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hype leads to record numbers of pet turtles being released into the wild.

Early 1990s Rottweilers become status symbols for Russia’s nouveaux riches.

1991 Labrador retrievers fetch the top dog spot; they’re still there.

1995 Neuticles, fake testicles for neutered dogs, are introduced. Nearly a quarter million pairs sell.

Mid-1990s Hedgehog craze spikes in the U.S.; video-game character Sonic is blamed.

1996 More than 40 million Tamagotchi, or digital handheld pets, are sold worldwide.

1999 New York mayor Rudy Giuliani bans pet ferrets, saying, “This excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness.”

Early 2000s Sugar gliders, flying marsupials from Indonesia, start to take off in the U.S.

2003 Finding Nemo inspires kids to free their fish—in the toilet.

2003 Crazes for prairie dogs and Gambian giant pouched rats are cut short by a monkeypox outbreak and a federal ban on further sales.

2004 A bug-fighting video game feeds stag-beetle mania in Japan.

2006 The toyger, a house cat bred with a “designer toy tiger pattern,” is recognized as an official breed.

2007 Rat retailers in France report a boost in sales following Pixar’s Ratatouille.

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