What’s Your Official State Dog?
From the First State (Delaware) to the Last Frontier (Alaska), all 50 of the United States have their own nicknames, most have mottoes, and around a dozen have official dogs. Does your state have its own designated breed?
Alaska: Alaskan Malamute
In 2007, the campaign to pick Alaska’s state dog started in a kindergarten classroom. With help from their teachers, students at Polaris K-12 School successfully appealed to the state legislature. The Alaskan Malamute, the state’s official dog since 2010, are revered as strong sled dogs and devoted family companions.
Louisiana: Catahoula Leopard Dog
Named for a Louisiana parish and its distinct, spotted coat, the Catahoula Leopard Dog has represented the Pelican State since 1979. The breed is sometimes known as the Catahoula Cur and is not currently registered with the American Kennel Club.
Maryland: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Earning its title back in 1964, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever was the nation’s very first state dog. The water-loving breed was first developed in the region during the 19th century and they remain keen hunters and watchdogs.
Massachusetts: Boston Terrier
The dapper, black-and-white Boston Terrier was chosen as Boston University’s mascot in 1922 and became the state’s top dog in 1979. Easygoing and compact, the breed is a perfect choice for dog lovers in their namesake town or any city.
New Hampshire: Chinook
One of the world’s rarest breeds, the rugged Chinook became its state’s official dog in 2009 thanks to a campaign spearheaded by schoolchildren. It is estimated that just around 100 Chinook puppies are born every year.
North Carolina: Plott Hound
Named for Johannes Plott, this breed originated when the German immigrant settled in North Carolina with five hounds from his native Hanover. The Tar Heel State adopted the Plott Hound breed as its state dog in 1989 and the breed began competing in the AKC’s Hound Group in 2007.
Pennsylvania: Great Dane
Centuries before Scooby and the gang solved their first mystery, the imposing Great Dane was a favorite of Pennsylvania’s founder, William Penn. The breed earned its official designation in 1965, making it one of the nation’s first state dogs.
South Carolina: Boykin Spaniel
Bred to hunt wild turkeys through the Palmetto State’s swamps, the Boykin Spaniel became the official dog of South Carolina in 1985. The breed is mellow and lovable indoors and an eager bird dog outdoors.
Texas: Blue Lacy
The Lone Star State’s Senate picked this local favorite as the official dog of Texas in 2005. Blue Lacies are notable for their eye-catching blue-gray coat and their Texas-sized thirst for excitement. First bred in the mid-18th century, the breed hasn’t lost any of its energy or toughness.
Virginia: American Foxhound
Developed as an ally to hunters during the colonial era, the American Foxhound was named Virginia’s official dog in 1966. The earliest examples of the breed appeared in Maryland and Kentucky as well as Virginia.
Wisconsin: American Water Spaniel
Originating in the mid-1800s, the American Water Spaniel reached the peak of its popularity in the 1920s and 30s, was first recognized by the AKC in 1940, and became the Dairy State’s official canine in 1985.
America’s favorite breed, the Labrador Retriever, was nearly chosen as the state dog of both Ohio and Maine in 2015. The similarly popular Golden Retriever was at the center of Georgia State Senator Frank Albert’s unsuccessful campaign in 1991. Though Albert praised the breed as a “steadfast friend to the family,” his peers voted 37-10 against making it Georgia’s state dog. Some opponents of Albert’s proposal maintained that the Bulldog would make a more fitting choice.
Official State Cats
Three states have designated state cats: Maine, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Calicos are the official cats of the Old Line State and the tabby represents Massachusetts. Maine’s official cat is — unsurprisingly — the bushy-coated Maine Coon, which earned the distinction in 1985. While they don’t recognize an official domestic cat, the New Hampshire legislature named the Bobcat the official state wildcat in 2015. In the southwest, Arizona honors the ring-tailed cat as its state mammal.
Find Adoption Centers in All 50 States
Rather than select just one breed to represent their state, Georgia politicians elected to designate all adoptable pups as their state’s official dogs. Check out this guide to shelters and adoption centers throughout the Peach State and all across the nation.