There are 11 states in the U.S. that have an official state dog, with most of them concentrated on the East Coast and none being west of Texas. The states that do have an official K9 typically chose one that originated within its boundaries or a breed with historic local significance.
These five dogs not only have the honor of being important symbols to their states, but also have natural abilities and instincts that make them great companions and partners for would-be owners.
Blue Lacy – Texas
The four Lacy Brothers—Ewin, Frank, George, and Harry—moved to Marble Falls, Texas from Kentucky in the late 1850s. The family used greyhounds to herd hogs but wanted a more universal breed to also aid in hunting and search activities. The brothers crossbred greyhounds with coyotes and pariah dogs, and the new breed was born, according to the Lacy Game Dog Registry.
Blue Lacy dogs are natural herders, which makes them especially useful for cattle and varmint farmers. They are highly intelligent, and can be depended on to do just about any task with the proper training. Those who have taken the Texas hunter safety course can use the Lacy for all types of hunting activities. They are exceptional swimmers as well, which makes them a great partner for waterfowl hunting.
Chinook – New Hampshire
New Hampshire gets a lot of snow, so sledding has always been both a recreational pastime and means of transportation for the people. According to Dogtime, the Chinook was first bred in 1917 in the town of Wonalancet for sled dog racing. Arthur Walden crossed a husky and farm mutt and ended up with a strong dog with a great deal of stamina and strength.
The Chinook has faced extinction several times, with the Guinness Book of World Record listing it as the world’s rarest breed in 1966. Today they are the perfect companion for hikers and anyone else who like to bring their dog along for physical activities.
Catahoula Leopard Dog – Louisiana
The exact origins of the Catahoula Leopard Dog are unknown, but it’s generally agreed that the first ones were bred in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana as herding dogs. They have a very unique look, particularly with the colors and patterns of their fur.
Catahoula Leopard dogs, also known as Catahoula Curs, are good companion dogs that will also protect your property and person. They are extremely territorial and will let you know if they do not trust someone. But those wishing to own a Catahoula Leopard dog must be a firm trainer as well. They are extremely intelligent, but also very aggressive towards other animals if you don’t start the socialization process early.
Great Dane – Pennsylvania
The American Kennel Club (AKC) refers to these majestic animals as “gentle giants.” They were originally wild hog hunters, but have long graduated to being a large, friendly companion. The largest Great Dane in recorded history stood 7 feet, 4 inches tall on his hind legs, according to Telegraph.
Great Danes are really good with kids and are the perfect dog for toddlers to play “horsey” with. But because of the Danes’ size, they must be taught manners early and often. They could accidentally injure you or someone else when playing because they don’t know their own strength. Despite their overall friendly demeanor, Great Danes would not hesitate to protect the family when necessary.
Boykin Spaniel – South Carolina
Alexander White of Spartansburg, South Carolina discovered a stray dog near his church in the early 20th century. He took him home and gave him to his hunting partner to use as a gun dog. L. Whitaker Boykin quickly discovered the dog was a great retriever and the perfect turkey hunting dog as well.
The Boykin Spaniel’s innate intelligence and longing for exercise makes them great family dogs. Their tails wag constantly as they always want attention from owners. They can be trained to do just about anything if you start early enough. Boykin Spaniels were named the official state dog of South Carolina in 1985 and recognized as a breed by the AKC in 2009.
What About New Jersey?
While the Garden State does not have a state dog, did you know our local community has a Pet Mayor? Caregiver Canines, an offshoot of Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey has sponsored the Toms River Pet Mayor Contest for the past 2 years. The elected Pet Mayor serves a term of one year and acts as a goodwill ambassador for therapy dogs everywhere, but specifically for the Caregiver Canines program. The Pet Mayor is invited to local community events with the true Toms River Mayor, Thomas Kelaher.
The 2014 Toms River Pet Mayor was our very own Biscotti. The newly elected 2015 Toms River Pet Mayor is a beautiful Doberman Pinscher named Bella.