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From pups that fit in purses to those that seem fit for a stable, dog breeds run the gamut of size, shape, temperament and overall look. But they have one thing in common: All dog breeds can trace their heritage back to the gray wolf, though scientists are less sure where today's Fidos originated. Gradually as humans selected for traits they found useful, or just downright cute, in their dogs — herding ability, particular temperament, fishing acumen — the canines diversified.
Every year, the American Kennel Club (AKC) announces their list of the most popular breeds. Here are the AKC's Top 10 most popular dog breeds from 2015.
BoxersSlide 2 of 21
Known for standing up on its hind legs to duke it out with an opponent, this dog breed can appear to box with its front paws. In fact, when developed in Germany in the 19th century, boxers were used for dog fighting as well as to restrain large game like wild boar until a hunter arrived, according to the AKC.
Officially recognized by the AKC in 1904, the boxer breed has been pushed down a couple spots, eking out the No. 10 on the most popular breeds list in 2015. (In 2014, the blunt-nosed doggie snagged No. 8 and the year before that No. 7.) The medium-sized dog has an active, fun-loving and bright personality, according to the AKC.
The boxer has the honor of getting its genome sequenced. By looking at the boxer's genome as well as those of other modern dogs and wolves, scientists found that dogs are more closely related to each other than they are to wolves, regardless of geographic origin. That study, detailed online Jan. 16, 2014 in the journal PLOS Genetics, revealed that dogs and wolves shared a common ancestor between 9,000 and 34,000 years ago.
Click Next to find out #9 on the list. This one once herded cattle.Slide 3 of 21
RottweilerSlide 4 of 21
RottweilerDescended from Roman drover dogs, the Rottweiler (the ninth most popular dog in the U.S. in 2015) likes to move. According to the AKC, Rotties should be exercised at least twice a day. Though the powerful dog can be reserved with strangers, it is also considered an affectionate pet and devoted companion. Even so, because of their muscular build and size — 24 to 27 inches (60 to 69 centimeters) at the shoulder, and weighing 95 to 125 pounds (43 to 57 kilograms) — owners must be careful having Rottweilers around small children, according to the American Rottweiler Club. Apparenty, the dog's "bumping" behaviors can knock kids over: "This bumping is a natural behavior of the Rottweiler, a legacy from the days when the breed was used to herd cattle. Rottweilers will bump and herd children or elderly family members," reads the ownership manual put out by the Club.
Read on to find out what curly-haired dog also made the top-10 list.Slide 5 of 21
PoodlesSlide 6 of 21
That's right, poodles, known for their 'dos, snagged the eighth spot on the AKC's popular dog breed list. Though its airy curls may have you believe differently, the poodle is not a fluffy toy, and rather the breed sports major smarts and excels in obedience training.
The breed comes in three size variations: The standard variety, the oldest of the three, is the only one to have its genome sequenced, a feat reported in 2003; the miniature may have been used to sniff out truffles — an edible fungus considered a delicacy; and the toy poodle, which was often used in performances and kept as a pampered pet. For instance, during the reign of Louis XVI in France, toy poodles were all the rage.
Though poodles come in a variety of coat colors — including white, black, apricot and gray — research published in 2007 in the journal Science revealed that all poodle coats and those of nine other breeds arise from the same gene called beta-defensin that encodes black and yellow coat color. And all colors in between are just modifications of yellow and black, the researchers said.
The next dog on the list can add "tomboyish" to its personality traits, according to the AKC. Find out what breed it is …Slide 7 of 21
Yorkshire TerriersSlide 8 of 21