Poor puppies . . . they used to be the most popular pets in the nation, until cats took over the top "spot." (Get it? . . . Spot? . . .) But dog owners get the last laugh: they live longer than cat owners, so there.

So the doggies are here to stay. But for the list of most popular dog breeds for 1999, we had to bid a fond farewell to the Cocker Spaniel ("Lady" of Lady and the Tramp fame), and a good riddance to the annoyingly yippy yet sickly sweet Pomeranian. Two new dogs have joined the list of the 10 most popular registered breeds in the USA. We say "registered" because those are the easiest to keep track of, but truth be told, the most popular dog is still probably the good old-fashioned mutt. So if you happen to be one of those crazies who treats your dog like a child, read on and find out how popular your pooch is.

1. DOG BREEDS 10 - 8

10. Boxer - 34,998

The Boxer is a very alert-looking animal, with pointy tips to his ears that are generally cocked forward. There is a bit of the pug-nose look, and the jowls hang down a bit, but the head has a distinctively chiseled look about it. In other words, it looks like Mike Tyson . . . who's a boxer . . . Coincidence? We think not.

Originally developed in Germany as a guard, working, and companion dog, the Boxer was a cross between several breeds, including a Great Dane (hence the ears) and the Bulldog (hence the nose). Its alert posture is due to the fact that it is a "hearing" guard dog, but when not at work it is a playful breed, and very patient with children.

9. Yorkshire Terrier - 40,684

Academics have long debated whether the Yorkie is a small dog or a large sewer rat. After all, when the Yorkshire Terrier is not properly groomed, it looks like a mangy little furball. However, when properly attended to, the Yorkie is a pretty little dog that old women like to carry in their purses.

This little dog is quite independent, but a great companion. They are especially good apartment dogs, since they don't need much exercise. However, they can be easily injured by young children - especially emotionally, because children are apt to say such cruel things. So for this reason, it is not recommended as a family dog, but more for a retired person, or people with a lot of time on their hands and a love of combing something that resembles Chewbacca's left forearm.

8. Rottweiler - 41,776

Rottweilers, a name that some incorrectly think means "rotten and vile," were voted "Dog with the Prettiest Name" at the Inglewood Dog Fancier's Association Annual Show and Barbecue. (This title was later rescinded when irregularities were discovered in the IDFA ballot tabulation procedures.)

The Rottweiler is a massive, powerful, and confident breed, and they make excellent guard dogs. Unfortunately, Rottweilers don't look good dressed in pink clothing and they can't fit in most purses. Rather, Rottweilers should stick to what they do best--being big, scary watch dogs. These dogs can be an intimidating force to a potential prowler, and it's no wonder they're so high on the list.