Chantelle has been an animal lover her entire life and is now in a committed relationship with a 4-year-old Toy Poodle, Izze.
The United States is a relatively new country in comparison to many others, so we haven't had as much time to develop homegrown dog breeds as in other regions of the world. Many of the breeds we love here are not native to the U.S. Of the top 10 dog breeds currently popular in the U.S., three hail from Germany, one from Canada, and the rest are from England. Why not consider an American breed the next time you look for a pup?
Paleolithic man crossed the land bridges in the Bering Strait and inhabited Alaska almost 4,000 years ago. With them, they brought their wolf-dogs, which served as hunters, guardians, and companions. Some believe these dogs were the forefathers of the Alaskan Malamute.
There is also the argument that the Alaskan Malamute is related to the Spitz and was a companion to the Mahlemut people (Inuit) of western Alaska. Strong and fearless, they hunted large predators such as bears. They also assisted in seal hunting, where their primary job was to locate seal blowholes. The Mahlemut people relied heavily on their dogs for hunting and guarding, two skills that were desperately needed in the harsh climate of Alaska.
The Malamute has a distinguished history. They were the breed of choice used by miners during the Gold Rush of 1896. They served as search and rescue dogs during World War II. They even aided Rear Admiral Richard Byrd on his journey to the South Pole. Malamutes were never designed to race sleds but to pull heavy loads. So beloved are they by the Alaskans that they were made Alaska's official state dog in 2010.
Jeff (short for Jefferson)
In 1807, an English ship sailing out of England and destined for Maryland was wrecked off the coast. Another ship, the Canton, rescued the crew and its two unofficial ship mascots—two Newfoundland puppies who were given to the captain of the Canton in thanks for their rescue. These puppies were bred to local dogs skilled in retrieving as well as English Otter Hounds and Flat and Curly Coated Retrievers.
Careful breeding over the years has created an outstanding retriever know for its incredible enthusiasm and endurance. "Chessies" were bred to hunt waterfowl in the rough and icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Their dense oily coat protects them from the frigid water, and their strong sturdy build helps them navigate in uncertain currents. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was recognized as an "official" breed by the AKC in 1878 and has a long history as a wonderful hunting companion and family pet.
Dolly (as in Madison)
Abby (Abigail Adams)
The exact origin of the American Water Spaniel is not known, even though it has been around since the 18th century. It is believed that its ancestors include the Curly-Coated Retriever as well as the Irish Water Spaniel. What is known is that the breed hails from the United States, primarily the Great Lakes areas of Wisconsin and Minnesota, where it is known as a wonderful all-around farm and hunting dog.
The first breed to hunt from boats, it was recognized in 1940 by the AKC. Their soft mouth and great sense of smell have given them the reputation as a fine bird dog. Their rudder-like tail helps them navigate in turbulent waters.
Though this spaniel is the state dog of Wisconsin, it is considered a rare breed. A mere 270 American Water Spaniels were registered with the AKC in 1990.
Murphy (as in Audie)
Hattie (Harriet Tubman)
Boone (as in Daniel)
A true American creation, the Boston Terrier was a cross between the English Bulldog and the white English Terrier. Nicknamed "the American Gentleman" because of its sweet disposition, it is hard to imagine that at one point they weighed 44 pounds and were used as pit-fighting dogs. In fact, they were even divided into lightweight, middle, and heavyweight classes.
Around 1865, coachmen employed by wealthy Bostonians started to breed their dogs. One of the offspring was Hooper's Judge, who weighed 30 pounds. Judge was bred with a smaller female and their offspring were crossed with French Bulldogs, leading to the breed we recognize today.
Originally called American Bull Terriers (which many didn't like) and often referred to as "roundheads" (which no one liked), their current name, Boston Terrier, was adopted and they were recognized by the AKC in 1893.
The father of the Chinook breed, named Chinook, was born on a New Hampshire farm in 1917. A cross of a "Northern Husky" female and a large mixed-breed dog who had been part of Peary's North Pole team, Chinook looked like neither parent. An outstanding sled dog, he accompanied Admiral Byrd's South Pole expedition in 1927.
Chinook’s offspring, who inherited his coloring, size, and general characteristics, were bred to combine the strength of the large freight dog with the speed of the smaller racing sled dogs. In the early 1900s, the Chinook set records for distance covered, loads carried, and running time.
The Chinook is a very rare breed and has been bred throughout the years by a dedicated group of breeders. In 1966, only 125 dogs existed. By 1980, only 12 breed dogs existed for breeding in the world. Breeders have greatly reduced their sled drive, and now they are primarily companion dogs who are capable of doing any sort of work. Breeders are currently working to save the breed.
In the late 18th century, hunting dogs were imported to the U.S. from Scotland, England, Ireland, and France. Most of these dogs were imported by landed gentry who intended to mimic the genteel lifestyle of the English countryside.
After the American revolution, the country expanded further west and further south where the terrain and quarry was quite different from the English countryside. Hunters were chasing raccoons, black bear, porcupines, and cougars, and their dogs were not adapted to hunt animals that viciously fought back. Most of the dogs would simply turn tail and run. Over time, Southern hunters would selectively breed dogs that would not back down, had great stamina, and would "hound" their prey until they treed or cornered their exhausted quarry, leading to modern coonhounds.
In the late 18th century, Scottish immigrants brought red-colored foxhounds to Georgia—dogs that would be the foundation stock of the Redbone. By 1840, Irish Foxhounds and Bloodhounds were added to the mix. Their name would come from an early breeder, Peter Redbone of Tennessee. Over time, breeders followed a selective program that led to a coonhound that is more specialized for tree-climbing prey (relative to European hunting dogs), was unafraid of taking on large animals, was agile enough to carry on over mountain or in meadow, and liked to swim.
Like many American hunting dogs, they were popular with hunters but rarely showed up in the show ring. Recognized by the AKC in 2011, the breed is virtually unknown outside the U.S.
© 2016 Chantelle Porter
JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on July 04, 2020:
Awesome article. Gosh, I miss my dog. He passed last year. A 100% mutt.
Chantelle Porter (author) from Ann Arbor on January 10, 2016:
Me too. I remember when I was a kid I saw "Where the red Fern Grows" and cried and cried when Ann And Dan died. I have loved that breed since that day.
Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on January 09, 2016:
Great synopsis. I like all of these dogs, and knew a chess that a customer had. If I had to pick one from this list, I think I would favor the redbone.
Chantelle Porter (author) from Ann Arbor on January 06, 2016:
Thank you. there are actually very few breeds that originated in the US.
drbj and sherry from south Florida on January 06, 2016:
As a dedicated dog lover, it was very rewarding as well as fascinating to learn these new facts about American dog breeds. Thanks, Chantelle.
Thirteen states of the United States have designated an official state dog breed. Maryland was the first state to name a dog breed as a state symbol, naming the Chesapeake Bay Retriever in 1964.  Pennsylvania followed the year after, naming the Great Dane as its official breed.  Dog breeds are mostly affiliated with the states that they originated in. North Carolina chose the Plott Hound as it was the only dog breed indigenous to the state. 
Other official state dogs also are indigenous to their state, including the Boston Terrier (Massachusetts) and the Alaskan Malamute (Alaska).   Pennsylvania selected the Great Dane not because of its origin, but because it was introduced by early settlers in the state to be used as a hunting and working dog  it was chosen over the Beagle, which was also proposed around the same time. 
Two of the more recent successful campaigns to name a state dog have been started by schoolchildren. In 2007, Alaskan kindergarten student Paige Hill's idea created the campaign for the Alaskan Malamute which would convince Representative Berta Gardner to support the bill in 2009, with it becoming law in 2010.  Elementary school students from Bedford, New Hampshire won their campaign for the Chinook to be accepted as a symbol of their state in 2010. 
There have been a variety of campaigns in other states to select a state dog. Georgia was undecided about choosing a state dog in 1991, with an attempt to make the Golden Retriever the official dog failing after a vote in the Georgia State Senate an opposing campaign promoted the Bulldog, the mascot of the University of Georgia.  The campaign to make the Siberian Husky the Washington state dog failed in the Washington House of Representatives in 2004.  In January 2019, Minnesota partnered with charity Pawsitivity Service Dogs to introduce a bill to make the Labrador Retriever the State Dog. 
In 2006, New York State Assembly member Vincent Ignizio suggested that New York should adopt a dog as a state symbol,  and during the campaign to name the western painted turtle as state reptile for Colorado in 2008, it was suggested by local press that the Labrador Retriever would be suitable as a symbol, even though it is not native to the state.  While in Kansas as early as 2006, residents have suggested the Cairn Terrier as the state dog due to the breed's appearance as Toto in the film The Wizard of Oz.  In 2012, Representative Ed Trimmer tabled a bill proposing the Cairn Terrier as a state symbol.  In 2015, the "working dog", animals that have been trained for various service roles, was adopted. 
Although South Dakota does not have a state dog breed, it does list the coyote—a canine species related to the dog—as its state wildlife animal.   In Minnesota, legislation has been proposed on six occasions to adopt the eastern timber wolf as the state animal. 
In 2013, Colorado listed rescue dogs and cats as the state pet,    as did Tennessee in 2014.  California also named the shelter pet as its state pet in 2015 because of all the abandoned shelter pets each year. California's legislature hopes this will cause more adoptions of pets from shelters.   In 2017, Illinois designated shelter cats and dogs as the state pet as well,  while in 2018, Georgia adopted "adoptable dogs" as its state dog. 
Choosing a loyal companion is one of the most important decisions a pet owner can make. Each year the American Kennel Club tracks dog registrations to see which breeds are gaining in popularity in the United States, and which ones are falling out of favor. The newest rankings, released on May 1, 2020, feature 193 breeds including the recently recognized Azawakh. The AKC only analyzes data dealing with purebred, registered breeds, so sadly, your sweet mixed-breed pal isn't counted in the final tally.
Still, the list seems to include every kind of dog imaginable, from tiny lap dogs and mighty hunters to prime show dogs and companions for royalty. The sheer amount of breeds that are ranked is a reminder of the diverse taste of dog owners in America, and the many different types of pups that we love.
Several obvious factors create a breed's national popularity year in and year out: ideal size, lack of maintenance, hypoallergenic coats, disposition, temperament, and of course name recognition. If you are owning your first dog for companionship in a city apartment, easy choices are reliable, compact French bulldogs or Boston terriers. Choosing the first family dog for small children and ample backyard space could make retrievers or labradors the safe—and most obvious—option.
From centuries-old dogs bred for royalty to familiar faces used in duck hunting and fox intimidating, there’s a dog out there for everyone, and if you need proof, then look no further than the 96 different breeds that complete this list of the most popular pooches.
Whether you're a dog person or a cat person, the perfect pet for your home depends a lot on what the animal is bred to do. For instance, if you want a pup to cuddle up with, a Bichon Frise, a lap dog that originated as a companion to French royal families, may be your speed. But if you prefer a running mate, an athletic German Shepherd may be a better bet. And the same goes for cats. To help you choose your new addition to your family, we looked into the origins of well-loved feline and canine breeds. Read on to learn about their backgrounds and find a furry friend that fits your lifestyle.
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Whether you’re a dog person or a cat person, the perfect pet for your home depends a lot on what the animal is bred to do. For instance, if you want a pup to cuddle up with, a Bichon Frise, a lap dog that originated as a companion to French royal families, may be your speed. But if you prefer a running mate, an athletic German Shepherd may be a better bet. And the same goes for cats. To help you choose the new addition to your family, we looked into the origins of well-loved feline and canine breeds. Read on to learn about their backgrounds and find a furry friend that fits your lifestyle.
If you’re looking for an even-tempered buddy, this toy spaniel might be the perfect pick. Named after Britain’s King Charles II, who was such a fan of the breed that he never went anywhere without his pack, the Cavalier was bred predominantly as a companion dog, but was also used occasionally as a small game hunter, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). “Cavaliers have both the toy dog’s affection and the inquisitive nose of a hunting dog,” says certified personal dog trainer and VetStreet.com expert Mikkel Becker. “Their laid-back personality makes them a good fit for families with children.”
Originally bred in Britain for bull baiting, a blood sport where dogs pin a bull to the ground by the nose, bulldogs were meant to be ferocious fighters who are resilient to pain. But according to the AKC, breeders tried to eliminate the pooches’ fiercer qualities once dog fighting was banned in the 1800s. “Although their ancestors were athletic, today’s bulldogs are intolerant of heat and heavy exercise,” says Becker. “They’re great companions for laid-back families or couples. They don’t bark often, which suits them for apartment living.”
The German Shepherd originated in 1899 in Karlsruhe, Germany, and was a mix of old farm and herding dogs, according to the AKC. Because of his intelligence and loyalty, German Shepherds often work with police, the military and the disabled. But these athletes aren’t a good fit for couch potatoes. “They need plenty of mental stimulation and exercise,” says Becker. “They also need proper socialization as puppies, since they have the potential to react harshly to strangers and other dogs.”
Originally called the Weimer Pointer, the Weimaraner was bred in the Weimar Republic of Germany to hunt big game. These dogs still chase after moving objects, though they’re more likely to be joggers, bikes and cars than bear, boar and deer, says Becker. They’re incredibly energetic and smart, earning them the nickname the “dog with the human brain.” And over 50% of that mind is devoted to their sniffing abilities, according to Animal Planet. All this means they need to be kept busy—both physically and mentally. “They fit best with active people who have the time to train and exercise,” says Becker. “And they need secure yards.”
Bichon Frise means small, curly-haired lap dog in French. One of the oldest dog breeds around, they date back to the 14 th century when a water spaniel and a poodle were crossed in the Mediterranean region, according to Animal Planet. By the 16 th century, they became the dog of choice for French royals, and some were performers in traveling circuses, according to the AKC. And they’re still loyal companions and lively entertainers. Their non-shedding coat makes the Bichon more tolerable for people with dog allergies, but grooming costs add up: They need haircuts every six to eight weeks. Despite their high-maintenance needs, “these gentle dogs make excellent family companions. They learn tricks fast and are friendly with all people and dogs,” says Becker.
Hailing all the way back to the Vikings, these large kitties were called skogkatt in Norse, which translates to forest cat. They’re believed to have come out of the Scandinavian woods sometime in the last 4,000 years. Their original role: to prevent rodents from getting into grain, according to Cat Fanciers’ Association. “These felines can fit into families with children, dogs and cats, especially if they’re around them from kittenhood,” says Becker.
More grey than blue, this intelligent, independent cat has existed for centuries. “They originated in Russia, just south of the Arctic Circle, and caught mice on ships,” says Becker. “They also served as companions to Russian royals and other wealthy people.” While they make good pets, they’re best-suited for calm, predictable environments, according to Animal Planet. “They enjoy affection, but would likely be overwhelmed in a home with too much commotion or people constantly coming and going,” says Becker.
One of the most common breeds in the United States, the American Shorthair might be the world’s best mouse-catcher, according to Animal Planet. That’s probably why the Pilgrims brought over their ancestors. Traced back to the 10 th century, they’ve morphed from European Shorthair to British Shorthair to Domestic Shorthair before taking on their current incarnation. “These cats are less talkative than Oriental breeds, but if they’re socialized at a young age, they adapt to living with anyone, from a family to a single elderly owner,” says Becker. But they need plenty of play, affection and mental stimulation, she adds.
If these cats look familiar, it could be because you’ve seen their form in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. In fact, mau means cat in Egyptian. They were even mummified because their owners cherished them so much. Considered the fastest pedigree cat, they can run over 30 miles per hour. No wonder: They’re built like cheetahs (and spotted like them too) and believed to have descended from the wild African cat, according to Animal Planet. “You’ll need to keep them busy with lots of play and food puzzles and socialize them early because they’re likely to be shy,” says Becker. “They also do best in quiet homes. They’re sensitive to noise and new situations.”