List of U.S. state dogs

"A map of the United States with Alaska,, Wisconsin and Texas in red along with a swathe of the north eastern states."
A map of the USA showing in red which states have a specified dog breed as an official symbol

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.[1] Pennsylvania followed the year after, naming the Great Dane as its official breed.[2] 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.[3]

Other official state dogs also are indigenous to their state, including the Boston Terrier (Massachusetts) and the Alaskan Malamute (Alaska).[4][5] 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;[6] it was chosen over the Beagle, which was also proposed around the same time.[7]

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.[8] Elementary school students from Bedford, New Hampshire won their campaign for the Chinook to be accepted as a symbol of their state in 2010.[9]

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.[10] The campaign to make the Siberian Husky the Washington state dog failed in the Washington House of Representatives in 2004.[11] In January 2019, Minnesota partnered with charity Pawsitivity Service Dogs to introduce a bill to make the Labrador Retriever the State Dog.[12]

In 2006, New York State Assembly member Vincent Ignizio suggested that New York should adopt a dog as a state symbol,[13] 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.[1] 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.[14] In 2012, Representative Ed Trimmer tabled a bill proposing the Cairn Terrier as a state symbol.[15] In 2015, the "working dog", animals that have been trained for various service roles, was adopted.[16]

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.[17][18] In Minnesota, legislation has been proposed on six occasions to adopt the eastern timber wolf as the state animal.[19]

In 2013, Colorado listed rescue dogs and cats as the state pet,[20][21][22] as did Tennessee in 2014.[23] 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.[24][25] In 2017, Illinois designated shelter cats and dogs as the state pet as well,[26] while in 2018, Georgia adopted "adoptable dogs" as its state dog.[27]

State dog breeds

StateDog breedImageYear of designationRef.
AlaskaAlaskan Malamute"A white and grey husky-like dog faces left. Its tail curves over its back."2010[28]
DelawareGolden Retriever"A golden fluffy colored medium-size dog faces left in a woodland setting."2016 (expired on Aug. 31, 2017 pursuant to 80 Del. Laws, c. 365, § 3).[29]
LouisianaCatahoula Leopard dog"A mottled brown dog with a white chest faces right. It wears a red collar."1979[1]
MarylandChesapeake Bay Retriever"A brown dog faces left."1964[1]
MassachusettsBoston Terrier"A brown and white dog turns to face the camera. Its ear's stand up on top of its head."1979[1]
New HampshireChinook"A light brown dog stands in woodland. It faces left but has turned its head to face the camera."2009[9]
North CarolinaPlott Hound"A dark colored mottled dog faces right while sniffing the ground."1989[1]
PennsylvaniaGreat Dane"A large white dog with black patches stands next to a trophy."1965[30]
South CarolinaBoykin Spaniel"A brown spaniel faces the camera in the snow."1985[31]
TennesseeBluetick CoonhoundBluetickCoonhound.jpg2019[32]
TexasBlue Lacy"A dark grey colored dog faces just to the right, it wears a large tag on its collar."2005[33]
VirginiaAmerican Foxhound"A mostly white dog with black and brown markings faces left with its head turned to the camera."1966[34]
WisconsinAmerican Water Spaniel"A curly coated dark brown colored spaniel stands next to its owner."1985[35]

Proposed dog breeds

The table below shows the dog breeds which have been proposed to each state's relevant State Senate or House of Representatives, but either were not accepted as a state symbol or are still pending nominations.

StateDog breedImageYear proposedRef.
GeorgiaGolden Retriever"A golden fluffy colored medium-size dog faces left in a woodland setting."1991[10]
GeorgiaEnglish bulldog"A stocky brown and white dog."2016[36]
KansasCairn Terrier"A small mottled brown dog."2012[15]
MaineLabrador Retriever"A black Labrador Retriever at a confirmation show."2015[37]
OhioLabrador Retriever"A black Labrador Retriever at a confirmation show."2015[38]
OregonNewfoundland"Black Newfoundland"2015[39]
WashingtonSiberian Husky"A dark grey and white wolf like dog faces left in profile."2004[11]

Designations other than breed

StateDesignationImageYear of designationRef.
Georgia"Adoptable dog"2016[36]
New JerseyThe Seeing Eye Dog"A Seeing Eye Dog"2019[40]
New YorkWorking dog"A labrador retriever in service as a guide dog"2015[41][16]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Hazlehurst, John (February 29, 2008). "Commentary: Colorado legislature is long overdue for selecting a state dog". The Colorado Springs Business Journal. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  2. ^ McAuliffe, Emily (2003). Pennsylvania Facts and Symbols. Bridgestone Books. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-7368-2268-8. Archived from the original on August 5, 2020. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  3. ^ "Plott Thickens as Committee O.K.s Official State Dog". The Dispatch. April 19, 1989. p. 15. Archived from the original on October 25, 2021. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
  4. ^ "AKC Kennel Club: Boston Terrier". American Kennel Club. Archived from the original on January 13, 2005. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  5. ^ "AKC Kennel Club: Alaskan Malamute". American Kennel Club. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  6. ^ Hart, Joyce (2004). Pennsylvania. Benchmark Books. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-7614-1691-3.
  7. ^ "Great Dane Whips Beagle". Toledo Blade. October 14, 1959. p. 9. Archived from the original on October 25, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  8. ^ "Governor signs bill making the Alaska Malamute Alaska's state dog". Sit News. May 14, 2010. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Hogan, Cara (December 15, 2010). "Pelham girl seeks to make purple the state color". Eagle Tribune. Archived from the original on March 20, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Senator wants a state dog". Star News. February 25, 1991. p. 2B. Archived from the original on October 25, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  11. ^ a b "Surviving bills and some that didn't". The Spokesman Review. February 18, 2004. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  12. ^ "Best in snow? Bill would make Labrador retriever Minnesota's top dog". MPR News. Archived from the original on January 30, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  13. ^ Kranes, Marsha (February 4, 2006). "Pol Shepherds an Official State Dog". New York Post. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  14. ^ "Wichita resident wants 'Toto' breed named state dog of Kansas". Lawrence Journal-World. May 13, 2006. p. 2B. Archived from the original on October 25, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  15. ^ a b "Toto as state dog of Kansas? Bad idea, PETA says". LA Times. February 3, 2012. Archived from the original on October 25, 2021. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  16. ^ a b "'Working dog' designated as NY's official state dog", Niagara Gazette, AP, December 24, 2015, archived from the original on December 29, 2019, retrieved December 29, 2019
  17. ^ "Delaware State Animals". Delaware.gov. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  18. ^ "South Dakota Facts". Travel South Dakota. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  19. ^ "Minnesota State Symbols—Unofficial, Proposed, or Facetious". Minnesota State Legislature. Archived from the original on August 8, 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  20. ^ O'Conner, Coleen (March 22, 2013). "Kids fight for abandoned dogs and cats to become Colorado state pets". Denver Post. Archived from the original on March 25, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  21. ^ "Shelter Dogs, Cats Now Colorado's Official State Pet". CBS Denver. May 13, 2013. Archived from the original on January 31, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  22. ^ "Colorado Senate Bill 13-201" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on October 25, 2021. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  23. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on October 12, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ spcala.com/press-release/legislature-declares-shelter-pet-as-official-california-state-pet/
  25. ^ leginfo.ca.gov/pub/15-16/bill/asm/ab_0051-0100/acr_56_bill_20150420_introduced.htm
  26. ^ "5 ILCS 460/ State Designations Act". www.ilga.gov. Archived from the original on July 17, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  27. ^ "2018 Georgia Code :: Title 50 – State Government :: Chapter 3 – State Flag, Seal, and Other Symbols :: Article 3 – Other State Symbols :: § 50-3-88. Definitions; adoptable dog designated as the official state dog". Justia Law. Archived from the original on July 17, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  28. ^ "Alaskan malamute becomes latest official state dog". The Washington Post. August 31, 2010. Archived from the original on October 25, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  29. ^ "TITLE 29 – CHAPTER 3. STATE SEAL, SONG AND SYMBOLS". delcode.delaware.gov. Archived from the original on November 30, 2016. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  30. ^ "Symbols of Pennsylvania". Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
  31. ^ Braswell, Tommy (February 21, 2006). "Boykin spaniel reigns as state's official dog". The Post and Courier. p. 2E. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  32. ^ "TN HB0999". LegiScan. LegiScan. Archived from the original on July 12, 2021. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  33. ^ "Texas State Symbols". Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Archived from the original on December 24, 2018. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  34. ^ Kilpatrick, James J. (August 1, 1968). "White Ella Runs Again". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 4. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  35. ^ "Wisconsin State Symbols". Wisconsin.gov. Archived from the original on January 12, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  36. ^ a b Salzer, James (February 22, 2016). "Pooch fight: Senators want Uga's breed as Georgia's official state dog". Atlanta Journal-Constitutional. Archived from the original on May 1, 2016. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  37. ^ "Forget Maine Coon cats! Labs want to be 'state dogs'". USA Today. Archived from the original on February 3, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  38. ^ "This may soon become Ohio's state dog, and it couldn't be a better fit". Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on January 20, 2021. Retrieved October 24, 2021.
  39. ^ "A state dog for Oregon? Newfoundland suggested for the job (poll)". The Oregonian/OregonLive. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  40. ^ Michaels, Shawn (January 22, 2020), "New Jersey has a new state dog", wobm.com, archived from the original on January 23, 2020, retrieved February 9, 2020
  41. ^ "Section 90. State dog", New York Consolidated Laws, State Law, Article 6, archived from the original on December 26, 2019, retrieved December 26, 2019


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A Labrador Retriever working as an assistance dog. I'm not sure what type of assistance dog it is, but it looks like it's wearing a guide dog harness.
Working dog 05.21.2007
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THE SEEING EYE; FIRST DOG GUIDE SCHOOL ESTABLISHED IN THE UNITED STATES FOUNDED IN 1929 BY DOROTHY HARRISON EUSTIS; PRESENT HEADQUARTERS BUILT IN 1965. Non-contributing building #77 of the Washington Valley Historic District in Morris Township, New Jersey.
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Map of the USA showing the states which have official state dogs in red.
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Black Male Labrador Retriever
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The female champion "Buck and Sons Evita Peron". First English Bulldog born and raised in Italy to have participated in the Crufts dog show, UK.
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"Dawson", a brindle Boston

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Alaskan Malamute.jpg
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Alaskan Malamute Ch.Windchaser's The Seventh Son
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A brown Boykin Spaniel.
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A male Golden Retriever named Tucker.
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A stacked up Cairn Terrier
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Black and White Siberian Husky
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