America & Man’s Best Friend
Over here at 50ROOTS we’re so in love with our furry friends that we dedicated a whole section of our site to Made in America pet products.
So when we heard that May is National Pet Month, it got us thinking about how special the bond is between a hooman and their animal. Pooch, kitty, bird, hampster, reptile … it doesn’t matter what type. Pets are family.
Some American states have even made their puppy love official. Did you know that 18 (and counting!) states have officially adopted a specific breed as their state dog?
Maybe your state – or your pup – is on this list. Keep reading to find out.
Alaska: Alaskan Malamute
These affectionate, loyal and playful working dogs are right at home in the cold, snowy climate of the state that gave them their name. You might recognize them as arctic sled dogs, and these powerhouse canines were long used for pulling heavy loads through the snow. Lucky for them, these days it’s more likely you’ll find them pulling a red wagon full of laughing children.
Louisiana: Catahoula Leopard Dog
The only breed of dog to originate in Louisiana, these pups with striking patterns on their short coats have been the official dog of the Pelican State since 1979. Also called Catahoula Hog Dogs, they’ve traditionally been used as wild boar hunting dogs. Affectionate and gentle (unless you’re a hog), they make loyal and trusted companions.
Maryland: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
These world class hunting dogs are affectionate, smart, and sensitive. Athletic and watchful with a solid colored, wavy-haired coat, these powerful pooches can weigh up to 80 pounds. Another breed original to the United States, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are great swimmers with a tenacity and grit that hunters revere and ducks fear.
Massachusetts: Boston Terrier
Sporty and small, these pint-sized pups have been nicknamed “The American Gentleman.” Their tuxedo markings, good manners, and proclivity to city life may be the reason for the moniker. Originally bred in Boston around 1870, these lively and curious creatures from Massachusetts have captured hearts all over the world with their expressive puppy dog eyes and good attitude.
New Hampshire: Chinook
Patient, friendly and devoted, these working dogs were originally bred by a New Hampshire man named Arthur Walden, a Klondike Gold Rush adventurer. Their talent as sled dogs make snowy New Hampshire the perfect state for these pups. Family dogs with a particularly good disposition with children, these four-legged friends are a rare American breed.
North Carolina: Plott Hound
The official state dog of North Carolina since 1989, the Plott hound is one of the few breeds originally from America. Breed as a hunting dog, these courageous pups are skilled trackers. Alert and intelligent, Plott hounds are known escape artists so keep an eye on these curious and active dogs!
Pennsylvania: Great Dane
One of the world’s tallest breeds, the Great Dane can grow up to 175 pounds and stand 36 inches tall. On their hind legs, they might even tower over their hooman! Friendly but protective, these gentle giants were once hunting dogs but today are mainly companion pooches. Competing with the Irish Wolfhound as the tallest breed around, the Great Dane makes quite an impression. Some noteworthy Danes include the beloved pup of Pennsylvania’s founder William Penn and Scooby Doo.
South Carolina: Boykin Spaniel
Friendly and eager to please, these medium-sized natural hunters fall in the bird dog, or gun dog, group. Bred for turkey hunting and skilled birders, their smaller size is what gave them an edge up on larger retrievers. On South Carolina’s Wateree River, bigger dogs simply wouldn’t fit in the small boats needed to navigate tight riverways.
Tennessee Bluetick Coonhound
Fast and muscular, these floppy-eared nocturnal hunters are devoted and affectionate. With a nose that knows and an inclination to serenade the neighborhood with their distinctive bark, the state dog of Tennessee has plenty of personality.
Texas: Blue Lacy
Bred in Marble Falls, Texas in 1858 by brothers Frank, George, Ewin and Harry Lacy, these smart and alert dogs may have been the inspiration for Fred Gipson’s Old Yeller. Another American dog bred for boar hunting, they’re a popular choice for service dogs, and make excellent K9 and search and rescue workers. Their coats can range from the slate blue that gives them their name to gunmetal gray or even close to black. Very attached to their hoomans, these sensitive guys thrive with lots of companionship.
Virginia: American Foxhound
The American Foxhound might just have the most famous breeder of all: George Washington. To say the first American president had a soft spot for dogs would be an understatement. His fondest for canines was so well known that France’s Marquis de Lafayette sent him seven French hounds. The President bred these with his own, and the American foxhound was born. It’s not surprising they are now Virginia’s official state pooch.
Wisconsin: American Water Spaniel
Muscular and eager to please, these bird dogs with dense, waterproof coats of tight curls or wavy fur and webbed feet were bred to handle the icy cold of midwestern waters. Like most dogs who take their work seriously, these spunky and charming dogs need lots of activity and exercise.
A few of the 50 states have gone a slightly different route. Instead of declaring one specific breed their mascot, they’ve chosen a category of pups. Since 2015, New York has officially saluted the working dog. Service dogs, police dogs, therapy dogs, detection dogs, guide dogs … the Empire state has a soft spot for hard-working pups.
Another popular category to celebrate? Shelter dogs! Hats off to
Delaware, Georgia, Colorado, California, Illinois and Ohio for spotlighting these dogs in need. If you want an answer to the popular question “Who Rescued Who?” just head down to your local animal shelter and find yourself a new four-legged American friend.