Do You Know Your State’s Official Dog?

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Hold the phone—this is important! You probably knew your state had an official motto, tree, bird, flower, and who knows what else, but if you’re lucky, your state has also wisely chosen an official state dog!

Currently, 13 states have named an official state canine, and if House Bill 539 passes in Ohio, the noble Labrador retriever will proudly join the ranks of official state dogs at number 14.

Here are the 13 official pups in alphabetical order according to state name:

1. Alaksa: The Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute was chosen when an Alaskan kindergarten class decided that it should officially represent their state. Soon the whole student body at Polaris K-12 got excited and made some calls and spoke to the state legislature. After the students’ hard work, Alaska became the 11th state to have an official state dog.

The Alaskan Malamute has been a working dog in Alaska for thousands of years. They were used by Inuit tribes because of their ability to carry heavy loads over long distances, and they are stronger than huskies.

2. Georgia: Adoptable Dogs

In 2016, Georgia voted (30 to 14 in the senate) to name adoptable dogs as the state’s official dog. The bill was meant to honor shelter workers and bring awareness to the plight of dogs in need of adoption throughout the state.

Why wasn’t the vote unanimous? Well, it seems some lawmakers thought having a dog of an unknown breed wasn’t quite dignified, and others were hoping the English bulldog would take the spot. Now Illinois, California, Tennessee, and Colorado have named adoptable animals as their official state pets, though those states aren’t included on all lists.

3. Louisiana: Catahoula Leopard Dog

This gorgeous, high-energy working dog became Louisana’s state dog in back in 1979, and it’s thought to be one of first domesticated breeds developed in North America. The theory is that the Catahoula is a cross between red wolves and dogs brought by Spanish settlers. It’s named for Louisiana’s Catahoula Lake, where the dog originated (again, in theory).

4. Maryland: Chesapeake Bay Retriever

This is another one that makes sense considering the Chesapeake Bay is in Maryland. The dog has been proudly representing Maryland since 1964.

5. Massachusetts: The Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is the smallest dog to make the list (Kansas proposed the Cairn Terrier in 2012, but Toto didn’t make the cut). The black-and-white, well-mannered pups were first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1897, and they continue to be popular, especially in Boston, today.

6. New Hampshire: Chinook

The Chinook was approved as New Hampshire’s state dog in 2009. It’s a sledding and working dog that originated in New Hampshire in 1917. The bill proposing the dog’s new official status was the inspired by a group of seventh graders.

“NEXT” for state dogs 7-13!


Katie Taylor started writing in 5th grade and hasn't stopped since. Her favorite place to pen a phrase is in front of her fireplace with a cup of tea, but she's been known to write in parking lots on the backs of old receipts if necessary. She and her husband live cozily in the Pacific Northwest enjoying rainy days and Netflix.
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