Does your list of favorite dog breeds grow longer with each dog you see in movies? Well, you’re not alone. A recent study found that canine characters in movies have a huge impact on the popularity of the breed.
In this study, the researchers looked at 29 films released in the United States, each featuring a different breed of dog. The records from the American Kennel Club (AKC) traced the popularity of the breed for ten years after the movie release.
After sorting through these records and comparing them to the release of films between 1927 and 2005, researchers determined something pretty interesting. When a specific breed of dog was featured in a film, the number of registrations for that particular breed rose significantly in the years following the film’s release.
Significant increases in the breed were obvious! Take the movie Lassie Come Home, for example; before the release of the film in 1943, there were records of 2,331 collies in the U.S. Ten years later, the number of registrations had jumped to 20,006.
Other classics such as The Wizard of Oz, Lady and the Tramp, The Fox and the Hound, and Beethoven showed the same pattern.
What’s really interesting is that factors that normally come into consideration when choosing a dog, such as temperament and health, didn’t seem to matter. It appears that people are choosing these breeds based on what they saw in the movies rather than what the reality of owning a specific breed may be like.
Just because a dog IS featured in a movie doesn’t necessarily mean that a breed will suddenly increase in popularity. Researchers found two main factors that determined which breeds would become popular. The first, was the number of viewings the first weekend after the film’s release. The second was the year the film came out. The more popular the film was after it’s release, the more impact it had and earlier films tended to create more widespread trends than recent films.
The final conclusion: the impact of a film on breed popularity is not instantaneous. In fact, 14 of the 29 films analyzed found that the breed reached peak popularity ten years after it’s initial release. This means that dog-centered films are creating long-lasting impressions that influence the choices their audience makes years after seeing them.
Many of us probably don’t even that a movie we watched as a child made such as lasting impression that it influences decisions we make as adults. If you’re a parent, you might want to think twice about what dog-centered movie you watch during your next family movie night. If this study holds true, you may be living with a real-life version of the character within a matter of years!
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