12 Official State Dog Breeds of America – Does Your State Have an Official Dog?

12 Official State Dog Breeds Of America

Did you know that in addition to official state flowers and birds, 12 states in America have also designated an official state dog breed?

How about the fact that 3 other states have chosen non-breed designations as their official dogs?

Whether you’re a proud resident of one of these states or just a dog lover, get ready to learn about the furry ambassadors of each state and their fascinating stories!

12 – Bluetick Coonhound

Starting off with the most recent addition to the list, we have Tennessee’s official state dog, the Bluetick Coonhound.

This breed shares a special connection to the state dating back to 1953 when the University of Tennessee chose Smokey, a Bluetick Coonhound, as their sports teams’ mascot.

Over the years, 10 different Blueticks have held this role, inheriting the name of Smokey.

In 2019, a bill was passed to make the Bluetick Coonhound the official state dog of Tennessee without any opposition.

11 – Alaskan Malamute

Yes folks you guessed it right. The Alaskan Malamute is the state dog of, well, Alaska.

Thanks to their status as a native breed and their contribution to every era in Alaska’s history.

In April 2010, students at Polaris K-12 School proposed the idea of making the Malamute the official state dog after studying different breeds suitable for the position.

The state legislature accepted the proposal, and former Governor Sean Parnell signed a bill declaring the Alaskan Malamute as the official state dog in front of the students and parents.

10 – Chinook

The Chinook, a sled and work dog developed in New Hampshire during the early 20th century, is one of the few dog breeds native to America and the only breed that originated in New Hampshire.

So in 2009, when Legislation requested suggestions for a suitable state dog, seventh-graders at the Ross A. Lurgio Middle School nominated the Chinook.

The bill was passed, making them the official breed of the state.

9 – Blue Lacy

The Blue Lacy of Texas is named after the Lacy Brothers who created this breed in the mid-1800s by mixing greyhound, scent-hound, and coyote stock.

This is the only breed that originated in Texas and the dogs were commonly used on ranches in the Southwest thanks to their intelligence, speed, and ease of training.

For their service, the Texas Senate recognized this breed as “a true Texas breed” in 2001, and in 2005, they became the official state dog of Texas following a campaign by breed enthusiasts and legislators.

8 – Plott Hound

German immigrant Johannes Plott, settled in North Carolina in 1750 with five dogs.

He and his son Henry bred the dogs and produced the Plott hound, a breed of dogs that became popular for their tracking and hunting skills.

In 1989, state senator Bob Swain proposed making the Plott Hound North Carolina’s official state dog, and the bill quickly passed, making North Carolina the 8th state to have its own official state dog.

7 – Boykin Spaniel

The Boykin Spaniel is South Carolina’s official state dog, bred in the early 1900s by L. Whitaker Boykin.

The breeding program is said to have involved a stray dog named Dumpy who showed interest in retrieving.

The resulting dogs became known for their mild temperament and were used for hunting turkeys and waterfowl.

The state legislature designated the breed as the official state dog in 1985.

6 – American Water Spaniel

In the same year of 1985, the American Water Spaniel was also designated as the official state dog of Wisconsin.

Originally developed there during the mid-1800s to help with hunting waterfowl in the Great Lakes Region, these small spaniels quickly gained popularity among market hunters.

Their friendly and loyal temperament, combined with their ability to hunt and retrieve game in Wisconsin’s waterways, have made them an important part of the state’s cultural identity.

5 –Catahoula Leopard Dog

The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is the official state breed of, you guessed it, Louisiana.

The dogs were the result of crossbreeding between Native American dogs and established breeds brought by Spanish and French settlers in the 1500s.

They were used for hunting and farming, becoming an important part of Louisiana’s heritage.

In recognition of their significance, Catahoula Leopard Dogs were designated the official state dog of Louisiana in 1979.

4 – Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier, the first “purebred” dog developed in America, also made it onto this list in 1979, when the breed was designated official state dog of Massachusetts.

The breed originated in Boston in the late 19th century and has been the school mascot of Boston University since 1922.

The breed’s popularity in the area, as well as their distinctive markings, have made them an iconic symbol of the state’s urban life and character.

3 – American Foxhound

The American Foxhound, developed from British and French hounds, has a very distinguished history.

These dogs are tied to George Washington’s fox hunting activities in Mount Vernon during colonial times.

Due to this association with Washington, the Commonwealth of Virginia made the American Foxhound its official state dog in 1966.

2 – Great Dane

The Great Dane is the official state dog of Pennsylvania, despite being a breed that was not developed in the state.

This is because the founder of the Commonwealth, William Penn, was depicted in a portrait with a Great Dane, and the breed’s qualities, such as size and loyalty, were deemed worthy of recognition.

The breed was designated as the state dog in 1965 to honor the faithful service and devotion of all dogs in Pennsylvania.

Now, before we get to the first official state breed, here are the 3 non-breed designations:

  • The New York State Senate designated the Working Dog as their official state dog in 2015. This includes all breeds trained to provide a service.
  • Meanwhile, Georgia’s official state dog is the Adoptable Dog or dogs in need of homes. This was passed in 2016.
  • And in 2019, The Seeing Eye dog was officially designated the state dog of New Jersey. This non-profit org is the oldest guide dog school in the US, and one of the largest.

Fun Fact:

Delaware chose the Golden Retriever as its state dog in 2016 for their friendly personality and service in various fields. However, the law expired after a year, and Delaware no longer has an official state dog.

1 – Chesapeake Bay Retriever

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, also known as the Chessie, is the first official state dog of America and was declared the official state dog of Maryland in 1964.

This breed’s origins can be traced back to two pups rescued from a sinking ship in Maryland in 1807, which were then bred with local dogs to create the breed.

Chessies are highly valued for their intelligence, affectionate and protective nature, and their ability to retrieve waterfowl, pull fishing nets, and rescue fishermen.

Their history with the state and their distinction as the only American-bred retrievers led to their selection as the official state dog of Maryland.

And those were all twelve of the Official State Dogs of America.

Let us know in the comments if your state has an official dog breed, and what you think of your state’s choice!

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