A Complete List Of The Official State Dogs In The US

by the April Darling

The American Pet Products Association conducted the National Pet Owners Survey (2017-2018) and according to the data they gathered, 68% of US households own a pet. That’s an astounding 85 million families who are pet parents! About 60.2 million of these families own a dog.
America is a melting pot of different cultures and people, but one thing that unites us is our love for dogs. Fourteen states even have their official dog breeds. Maryland came up with this brilliant idea, choosing the Chesapeake Bay Retriever as their state dog. Does your state have an official dog? Find out in the list below.

 I guess there’s no better breed that’s fit to be the official state dog of Alaska than the Alaskan Malamute. Considered as one of the oldest arctic dog breeds, this highly intelligent and powerful breed is just right for the long winters and cool summers and vast space in Alaska. Malamutes need plenty of exercise and a challenging job to keep them from getting bored and restless. 

Although Malamutes are native to Alaska, it took a long time for the state to recognize them as the official state dog. In fact, it was only in 2010 that they were designated as such. And to think that it was a group of school children who worked hard and raised funds for the Alaskan Malamute to officially become the state dog! 

Image by Vladimír Sládek from Pixabay
Of all the states, Georgia has the most interesting official state dog. Before we tell you though, you should know that the Golden Retriever was first nominated in 1991 but the senate wasn’t convinced. Then, that same year, the bulldog was pushed forward by another senator as the official dog of Georgia since the bulldog was the mascot of the University of Georgia. 
We guessed that it didn’t turn out too well since two bills were again introduced in 2016. The first one was to make the “adoptable dog” the official state dog in recognition of the dogs in the shelters. 
Just after the first bill was passed, a senator, who was also an alum of UGA, proposed that the English Bulldog should be the one. The bill was dropped and the “adoptable dog” is still Georgia’s official state dog up to this day. 
The working Catahoula Leopard dog was chosen as the official state dog of Louisiana. The “wolf dogs” of the Native Americans crossbred their pets with the hounds of the French that resulted in the Catahoula Leopard dog. The word Choctaw word “Catahoula” meant sacred lake. 
These breeds are excellent stock dogs and have a unique way of working that made them different from all other herding dogs. They’re known to create this “canine fence” that made it easy for their masters to direct the wild herd. 

Image by mtorben from Pixabay
The history of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is quite interesting. In 1807, George Law rescued two pups from a sinking ship in Maryland. Sailor (male) and Canton (female) were Lesser Newfoundlands or St. John’s Water Dogs. Surprisingly, they weren’t bred with each other. Instead, they were bred with spaniels and hounds. Their litter became the first Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1917. 
Maryland has the honor of being the first state to name a state dog in 1964. The breed is also the official mascot of the University of Maryland. Chessies, are they are fondly called, are hardworking dogs who can work under extreme weather conditions. They’re intelligent and affectionate with their masters. But even though they look like Labrador retrievers, they’re more aggressive and reserved towards strangers. 

Image by skeeze from Pixabay
In 1979, Massachusetts recognized the Boston Terrier as their official state dog. Most people are not able to tell a French Bulldog apart from the Boston Terrier and that’s because the latter has a lot of French Bulldog in them. Around 1870, Robert C. Hooper bought Judge, part Bulldog, and part Terrier. The dog’s offspring were bred with French Bulldogs and soon became popular among Bostonians. They even formed the American Bull Terrier Club which was later changed to Boston Terrier Club. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1893. 
Boston Terriers are a non-sporting breed and great as a family pet as they are very gentle, eager to please their owners, and easy to train. This breed is also recognized as the first “purebred” dog that was created in America. 
New Hampshire
History was a big factor in choosing New Hampshire’s state dog, the Chinook. Arthur Treadwell Walden, a highly experienced dog driver and responsible for introducing sled dog sports to New England, has a lead dog named Chinook who was a Husky and Mastiff mix. The powerful lead dog was bred with Canadian Eskimo dogs, German Shepherds, and Belgian Sheepdogs. 
However, in 1963, the number of Chinooks dwindled after the death of Perry Greene, a notable Chinook breeder. By 1981, there were only 11 breedable Chinooks left. That’s when breeders from different states stepped up, divided the dogs amongst themselves and made sure that the breed didn’t go extinct. Today, there are only 100 Chinook pups born annually across the world, including in New Hampshire.
North Carolina
The athletic, muscular, and fleet-footed Plott Hound became North Carolina’s state dog in 1989. It’s the only UKC (United Kennel Club) registered coonhound that doesn’t have the foxhound as its ancestors. The breed was originally from Germany and was used for boar hunting. Johannes “George” Plott brought wild boar hounds when he emigrated from Germany to North Carolina. He made sure that these dogs remained “pure” and didn’t even bother to crossbreed them with area dogs. 
However, G.P. Ferguson, a neighbor of the Plott’s in North Carolina, studied the Blevins and Cable hounds of that time. He was said to be a major influence on the further development of the Plott Hound breed. Plott Hounds are a good match for hunters and highly experienced and patient owners. 

Image by Martin Tajmr from Pixabay
When one thinks of Pennsylvania, William Penn and his Great Dane would suddenly come to mind. William Penn was the founder of the province of Pennsylvania and leader of the Quakers, a religious community. His principles also served as an inspiration for the United States Constitution. In the reception hall of the governor of Pennsylvania, you can see a portrait of William Penn and his furkid, a Great Dane which was illustrated by Violet Oakley and titled “Best Friend”. 
Although the Great Dane was originally from Europe, this breed was a huge help in the US as a working and hunting dog. The Great Dane’s ancestors were the English Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds who were crossbred for the purpose of bear, boar, and deer hunting. These dogs also enjoyed the royal treatment as they also slept in the rooms of princesses to help protect them from assassins. Great Danes are fiercely protective, faithful, and highly intelligent — qualities that lawmakers felt were synonymous with the people of Pennsylvania. 
South Carolina

Image by skeeze from Pixabay
In South Carolina, where wild turkeys and ducks abound, you can easily spot Boykin Spaniels retrieving, hunting, or flushing birds with their hunter masters. This intelligent breed is trained to wait for the hunter to be in position before they flush the bird. They’re also used to track or look for wounded deer. 
In the 1900s, Dumpy, a stray dog that resembled a Spaniel, went up to Alexander L. White who took the pup home. He noticed that the dog was pretty good in retrieving stuff and decided to send him to his friend and hunting buddy Lemuel Whitaker Boykin who experimented with Dumpy and crossbred him with different breeds to create the perfect retriever and hunting dog. 
The offspring was just perfect for riding in small boats such as canoes with hunters in the swamps of South Carolina. They’re even described as “the dog that doesn’t rock the boat.” It’s only right for legislators to name them as South Carolina’s official state dog. 

Image by Laura Pakis from Pixabay
If you’re from Tennessee, you should be doing a celebratory dance right now. The Bluetick Coonhound is finally Tennessee’s official state dog! Governor Bill Lee finally signed the bill into law last March 20, 2019. The Bluetick Coonhound, Smokey, is also the mascot of the University of Tennessee. Another famous Bluetick is Huckleberry Hound. 
Originally from Louisiana, the Bluetick Coonhound’s ancestors are the English Foxhound, American Foxhound, the Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound, and Bleu de Gascogne hounds from France. The Blueticks used to be registered as breeds belonging to the English Foxhound and Coonhound category but were recognized later on as a separate breed in 1946 by the UKC. In 2009, the American Kennel Club accepted them and was later allowed to compete in Coonhound events. 
Blueticks are hunting dogs but not as easily trained. However, they’re also easier to handle compared to other Coonhounds. They’re also known to attack cats and tree small animals but are surprisingly good with children. 
In 2005, the Blue Lacy was officially recognized as the state dog of Texas. The breed was named after the brothers who crossbred them from a mix of English Shepherd, Greyhound, and Wolf. Frank, George, Ewin, and Harry Lacy wanted to develop a dog breed that had natural herding instincts and Blue Lacys actually excel in their jobs as shepherd dogs. Not only that they’re also great in treeing, hunting, tracking, and locating lost game. 
Just like most shepherd dogs, Lacys are strong and agile and need to have something to do to burn all that excess energy. They’re also well-versed in controlling wild and difficult livestock. They’re okay as family pets but at times, they may be too aggressive and have too much energy for small kids. 
The American Foxhound’s bay is probably the most distinct of this breed’s characteristics. A bay is an exciting sound, kind of like howling, that dogs make when they’re hunting. The Foxhound’s bay is probably inherited from one of its ancestors Grand Bleu de Gascogne’s howl. American Foxhounds are considered one of the rarest breeds in the AKC. 
The official state dog of Virginia might just be a bit stubborn when following a scent. That’s why obedience training is highly recommended for this breed. If the American Foxhound isn’t trained properly or you allow it to go off-leash while trekking, it will most likely ignore commands especially if they picked up a scent.
The American Water Spaniel originated in Wisconsin in the early 19th century. It’s a mix of breeds including the English and Irish Water Spaniels, Sussex Spaniel, the Poodle, and native Indian dogs. Hunters developed the breed due to their need for a dog that can work well on land and water. The dog needs to be small enough to fit in a flat-bottomed boat called a skiff but can withstand the icy waters of Wisconsin. 
Additionally, the American Water Spaniel might have a role in the creation of the Boykin Spaniel and must have been the major breed used to create South Carolina’s official state dog.  Over the years, the number of American Water Spaniel grew smaller due to the decrease of the duck population and were on the brink of extinction. Dr. Fred J. Pfeifer started Wolf River Kennels to save the dying breed. Dr. Pfeifer banked on the fact that the “American Water Spaniel is distinctly an American production.”
In 1985, the American Water Spaniel was officially recognized as Wisconsin’s state dog. It’s a rare breed in the US and found mostly in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. 
Bonus: Delaware

Image by lisa runnels from Pixabay
The adorable Golden Retriever is the state dog of Delaware. The breed was officially recognized in 2016, however, it had a one-year expiration date. So, now they’re back to being a state without a designated dog breed. Nevertheless, the Golden Retriever is still being associated as the state’s official dog. School children seem to be the most excited when it comes to choosing the perfect breed. This time, 4th-grade students from Learning Express Academy in Newark wrote to their legislators to make it official. 
As stated in House Bill No. 296, there were plenty of reasons why the Golden Retriever was chosen as the official state dog of Delaware. But these three reasons stood out:
  • One, Goldens absolutely love the water and Delaware has an abundance of rivers and streams. 
  • Two, Goldens are smart and often used for search and rescue operations. 
  • Third, they thrive well as hunting dogs and Delaware has plenty of hunting grounds. 

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