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We've fallen in love with Shepherds from Germany, Cattle Dogs from Australia, Setters from Ireland and Water Dogs from Portugal. Even the Labrador Retriever, known to many as the quintessential, all-American dog, is actually a Canadian breed.
But there are a several popular dog breeds that are known for being "made in the USA." They hail from the mountains of North Carolina, the frozen terrain of Alaska and the bustling city streets of Massachusetts.
In honor of Independence Day, we bring you 11 truly American dog breeds.
In honor of the 4th of July, we are celebrating 11 dog breeds that originated in America.
Anita Peeples, Animal Photography
The beautiful Redbone Coonhound is known for his dark, rich, mahogany-red coat. Colonial settlers from Scotland and Ireland brought red hounds with them to the United States, and those dogs are the ancestors of the Redbone. George E.L. Birdsong, a famous foxhunter and dog breeder from Georgia, did the most to develop the breed, which was just recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2009.
This fun little dog is, of course, a product of Beantown. His ancestors were probably crosses between Bulldogs and the now-extinct white English Terrier, but the modern Boston Terrier is USA through and through — so much so that the dapper, tuxedo-wearing pup is nicknamed the "American Gentleman."
This canine fur-factory is, as his name implies, native to the 49th state. His ancestors helped the nomadic early Eskimos transport their sleds and goods across the snowy, barren landscape. The Alaskan Malamute thrived and became valuable during the Alaska Gold Rush in 1896, when miners paid sky-high prices for sleds and dog teams.
The American Water Spaniel’s origins are a mystery, but he may well be a descendant of the now-extinct English water spaniel, which is known to have been brought to America. The AWS was developed in the mid-19th century in the Wolf and Fox River Valley region of Wisconsin. After World War II, interest in the dogs waned, but Dr. Fred J. Pfeiffer singlehandedly brought them back, primarily by promoting the dogs as "distinctively an American production." The American Water Spaniel is now the official state dog of Wisconsin.
Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography
The sturdy Rat Terrier was bred to be an all-purpose American farm dog whose job it was to kill rats and other vermin and hunt small game. His ancestry is a melting pot of breeds — Whippet and Italian Greyhound blood added speed, while the Beagle brought in scenting ability and a pack mentality. President Theodore Roosevelt was a fan of Rat Terriers, and they were among the many pets he and his family brought to the White House.
When a British brig wrecked off the coast of Maryland in 1807, two Newfoundland dogs were rescued. The canines, named Sailor and Canton, had excellent abilities as retrievers. People in the area bred them to local dogs, and they became the ancestors of today's Chesapeake Bay Retriever. This hunting dog is ready and willing to brace the rough, icy chop of the Chesapeake Bay, and she's capable of retrieving 100 to 200 ducks a day.
The mountains of western North Carolina are the birthplace of the Plott Hound, who was bred to hunt, drive livestock and protect the home. His ancestors were five Bloodhounds who accompanied German immigrant Johannes Georg Plott to America in 1750. The Plott has been North Carolina's official state dog since 1989.
This fluffy white canine, sometimes referred to as "The Dog Beautiful," was developed by nineteenth-century German immigrants to the United States. She was created from German Spitz and Italian Spitz varieties, so it's no surprise that early breeders called her the American Spitz. In 1917, she took on the name American Eskimo Dog, or Eskie for short.
This rare breed of sled dog got his start when musher Arthur Treadwell Walden of Wonalancet, New Hampshire, bred a farm dog of unknown heritage with a “northern” husky, producing a litter of puppies with tawny coats. One of those pups was named Chinook, and he accompanied Admiral Richard Byrd (and 15 other Chinooks) on a 1927 expedition to Antarctica.
First known as a little farm dog, the agile Toy Fox Terrier protected American barns and granaries from rats and other small vermin. Her ancestors were Smooth Fox Terriers, with some Chihuahua and Manchester Terrier mixed in, but this clever pup can proudly claim to be "made in the USA."
American Staffordshire Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers are the two main breeds usually referred to as “pit bulls.” The dogs were popular with wealthy Americans and prominent politicians who bet on them at dog fights. They were equally popular with farmers and families, who loved them for their ratting skills and companionship. One Staffordshire named Sergeant Stubby was a World War I hero and the most decorated dog in American military history. In addition, Petey from The Little Rascals and Buster Brown's dog Tige were both Pit Bulls.
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