The so-called "Dogs of the Dow" strategy — buying the 10 members of the Dow Jones industrial average with the highest dividend yields at the start of every year — is up almost 18 percent so far in 2016, topping the 14 percent performance of the Dow itself, according to Bernstein.
The firm's research found that an equal weight portfolio of the Dogs of the Dow beat the return of the S&P 500 over the last 20 and 30 years. The quantitative research team found that $1 invested in the Dogs strategy yielded $4.90 after 20 years vs. $4.49 for the S&P 500.
To be sure, there's concern that the strategy won't work next year because if interest rates rise, it could lessen interest in dividend-yielding stocks.
But dividend attractiveness isn't the sole reason why this strategy works. Sometimes it's just good at identifying big cheap bellwethers. Here are the Dogs of the Dow heading into 2017: