List of U.S. state dogs

  (Redirected from State dog)

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]

"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

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 breedsEdit

State Dog breed Image Year of designation Ref.
Alaska Alaskan Malamute   2010 [28]
Delaware Golden Retriever   2016 (expired on Aug. 31, 2017 pursuant to 80 Del. Laws, c. 365, § 3). [29]
Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog   1979 [1]
Maryland Chesapeake Bay Retriever   1964 [1]
Massachusetts Boston Terrier   1979 [1]
New Hampshire Chinook   2009 [9]
North Carolina Plott Hound   1989 [1]
Pennsylvania Great Dane   1965 [30]
South Carolina Boykin Spaniel   1985 [31]
Tennessee Bluetick Coonhound   2019
Texas Blue Lacy   2005 [32]
Virginia American Foxhound   1966 [33]
Wisconsin American Water Spaniel   1985 [34]

Proposed dog breedsEdit

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.

State Dog breed Image Year proposed Ref.
Georgia Golden Retriever   1991 [10]
Georgia English bulldog   2016 [35]
Kansas Cairn Terrier   2012 [15]
Maine Labrador Retriever   2015 [36]
Ohio Labrador Retriever   2015 [37]
Oregon Newfoundland   2015 [38]
Washington Siberian Husky   2004 [11]

Designations other than breedEdit

State Designation Image Year of designation Ref.
Georgia "Adoptable dog" 2016 [35]
New Jersey The Seeing Eye Dog   2019 [39]
New York Working dog   2015 [40][16]

See alsoEdit


  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.
  3. ^ "Plott Thickens as Committee O.K.s Official State Dog". The Dispatch. April 19, 1989. p. 15. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
  4. ^ "AKC Kennel Club: Boston Terrier". American Kennel Club. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  5. ^ "AKC Kennel Club: Alaskan Malamute". American Kennel Club. 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. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  8. ^ "Governor signs bill making the Alaska Malamute Alaska's state dog". Sit News. May 14, 2010. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Hogan, Cara (December 15, 2010). "Pelham girl seeks to make purple the state color". Eagle Tribune. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Senator wants a state dog". Star News. February 25, 1991. p. 2B. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  11. ^ a b "Surviving bills and some that didn't". The Spokesman Review. February 18, 2004. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  12. ^ "Best in snow? Bill would make Labrador retriever Minnesota's top dog". MPR News. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  13. ^ Kranes, Marsha (February 4, 2006). "Pol Shepherds an Official State Dog". New York Post. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  14. ^ "Wichita resident wants 'Toto' breed named state dog of Kansas". Lawrence Journal-World. May 13, 2006. p. 2B. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  15. ^ a b "Toto as state dog of Kansas? Bad idea, PETA says". LA Times. February 3, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  16. ^ a b "'Working dog' designated as NY's official state dog", Niagara Gazette, AP, December 24, 2015, retrieved December 29, 2019
  17. ^ "Delaware State Animals". Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  18. ^ "South Dakota Facts". Travel South Dakota. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  19. ^ "Minnesota State Symbols—Unofficial, Proposed, or Facetious". Minnesota State Legislature. 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. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  21. ^ "Shelter Dogs, Cats Now Colorado's Official State Pet". CBS Denver. May 13, 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  22. ^ Colorado Senate Bill 13-201
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Alaskan malamute becomes latest official state dog". The Washington Post. August 31, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  29. ^ "TITLE 29 - CHAPTER 3. STATE SEAL, SONG AND SYMBOLS". Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  30. ^ "Symbols of Pennsylvania". Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. 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.[permanent dead link]
  32. ^ "Texas State Symbols". Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  33. ^ Kilpatrick, James J. (August 1, 1968). "White Ella Runs Again". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 4. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  34. ^ "Wisconsin State Symbols". Archived from the original on January 12, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  35. ^ a b Salzer, James (February 22, 2016). "Pooch fight: Senators want Uga's breed as Georgia's official state dog". Atlanta Journal-Constitutional. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  36. ^ "Forget Maine Coon cats! Labs want to be 'state dogs'". USA Today. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  37. ^ "Forget Maine Coon cats! Labs want to be 'state dogs'".
  38. ^ "A state dog for Oregon? Newfoundland suggested for the job (poll)". The Oregonian/OregonLive. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  39. ^ Michaels, Shawn (January 22, 2020), "New Jersey has a new state dog",, retrieved February 9, 2020
  40. ^ "Section 90. State dog", New York Consolidated Laws, State Law, Article 6, retrieved December 26, 2019