People enjoyed having dogs as pets, even in the 1800s. Small dogs were bred as pets and larger dogs were bred for herding, hunting or protecting.
As a pet lover, Queen Victoria herself had many dogs in her lifetime, including two Fox Terriers, a King Charles Spaniel, two Greyhounds, many Pomeranians, and one Collie.
The first dog shows were held around 1850, creating a new sensation, and spotlighted sporting breeds. The first show was held in Paris as a form of entertainment that everyone could enjoy, and the notion of this type of event quickly spread to North America.
By the end of the nineteenth century, purebred dogs such as Spaniels and Terriers had become popular, and indulged, house pets. Many were imported from England to be joined with the families of delighted Canadians. These pets lived in the house, adding amusement and a child-like quality to the every day, and as part of the family, were very much coddled. Sound familiar?
The Victorians bred their dogs for a unique appearance. For example, Pugs in the nineteenth century were taller than today's breed, were bred for cuteness, and had longer snouts. Originally brought to England in the 17th century by the Dutch Prince William III, they are now the 32nd most popular breed in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club.
And just on a side note - In North America, the domestic Guinea Pig has enjoyed widespread popularity since its introduction by European traders in the 16th century. And now you know.