Cats versus dogs. It’s an age-old argument that has broken relationships, turned roommates against each other, and even spurred an anatomically questionable Nickelodeon show. But even the most hardened cat enthusiasts can’t deny there is one trump card in this classic debate: puppies. Competing head-to-head with babies for the top spot on the list of “cute things everyone loves,” puppies bring an earnest playfulness to any room, as well as the capacity to transform a mediocre moment into something to smile about.

Interestingly, the extent to which we find dogs, and puppies, cute could be tied to those babies more than we think. Characteristics like large heads on small torsos, big round eyes, soft body parts, and propensity to stumble are universally cute; that's to say, the same harmless, childlike "cuteness factors" as the human babies we intrinsically care for.

Another common perspective holds that dogs appear cute as an evolutionary response, so the more domesticated they became over time, the more they needed human care, and thus needed to trigger our cuteness receptors that make us nurture.

We can agree on, and perhaps fall victim to, the undeniable fact that black lab puppies (as pictured), French bulldogs and golden retrievers are extremely cute. But at least we can assure ourselves there is some science to it.

To honor these sultans of sweetness, Stacker compiled photos of the American Kennel Club's 50 most popular dog breeds when they were just pups, using the 2019 popularity rankings released on May 1, 2020. For good measure, we've also included details about what exactly these furbabies are like, from temperament and energy level to obedience.

But let’s be honest, you didn’t come here for our explanation. You came here for the puppies. So without further ado...

By: Jennifer Billock
From: What America's most popular dog breeds look like as puppies