Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Made in America Dog Breeds

By Linda Cole

Most dog breeds originated in other countries and migrated to the United States with immigrants. The most popular dog in the United States is the Labrador Retriever, a breed that hails north of our border in Canada. However, we do have our own “Made in America” breeds. Here are just a few of the dog breeds that hail from the U.S.

Redbone Coonhound – Billy Coleman's two dogs in the classic tale “Where the Red Fern Grows” were Redbone Coonhounds. The Redbone is a scenthound, and his job is to tree raccoons and mountain lions. In the late 1700s, immigrants from Scotland brought their red foxhounds with them when they came to America. Some of the more serious breeders of the time set out to create a red hound with a “hotter” nose than the coonhounds they had been using. The Redbone hails from Tennessee and Georgia. AKC officially recognized the Redbone Coonhound in 2009.

Boston Terrier – In the early days, the Boston Terrier was a cross of the now extinct English White Terrier and the English Bulldog. The breed has its origins in Boston, Massachusetts. Sometime around 1865, coachmen who worked for wealthy Bostonians started to interbreed dogs owned by their employers. A dog named Hooper's Judge was bred to a smaller female and a male pup from her litter was bred to a smaller female. Finally, one of her pups was bred with French Bulldogs, creating the foundation for Boston Terriers. These little dogs were bred to be companion dogs. AKC officially recognized the Boston Terrier in 1893.

Alaskan Malamute – The Malamute is the largest of the arctic dogs and is an old breed, 2,000 to 3,000 years old. The Mahlemuit Eskimos in Alaska used teams of dogs to hunt polar bears and seals, and haul heavy loads of supplies and food for people living in the region. Unlike their smaller and faster cousin, the Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute is stronger and heavier which helps them do the job they were bred to do. Admiral Byrd used Alaskan Malamutes when he went to the South Pole in 1933, because they have an excellent sense of direction, exceptional smell, a great work ethic, and the tenacity to get the job done. Although their true origin is unknown, they are considered American made dogs. AKC officially recognized the Alaskan Malamute in 1935.

Rat Terrier – This breed was originally developed in Great Britain and came from the Smooth Fox Terriers and the Manchester Terriers. However, after arriving in America in the 1890s, American breeders began to cross them with the Beagle, Whippet and Bull Terrier. It was Teddy Roosevelt, our 26th president, who gave the breed its name. While living in the White House, Roosevelt's dog Skip was so good at clearing out a rat problem in the White House, Roosevelt named the breed Rat Terrier. This little dog is one of the best ratters around and holds the record for the most rats killed. One dog cleaned out a rat-infested barn and killed over 2,500 rats in just seven hours. Rat Terriers were commonly found on farms as a working dog from 1910 up to the 1930s. AKC officially recognized the Rat Terrier in 2010.

Australian Shepherd – The Aussie did not originate in Australia but most likely came from the Pyrenees Mountains in a region between France and Spain. When Basque shepherds migrated to America in the 1800s from Australia, they brought with them their Spanish dogs that were most likely bred with Collies that were already here. The dog breed was associated with the shepherds, hence the name. The Australian Shepherd, also known as Blue Heeler, Pastor Dog, New Mexican Shepherd, Spanish Shepherd, Bob-Tail and California Dog, is a herding dog and all-around farm and ranch hand. AKC officially recognized the Australian Shepherd in 1991.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever - Also known as the Chessie, this dog breed became American made by accident. In 1807, an English ship wrecked off the coast of Maryland. The crew, cargo and two Newfoundland puppies were rescued by an American ship. The pups were given to one of the men who had helped with the rescue. As the pups grew, it was discovered they were great at retrieving in the cold waters of the Chesapeake Bay area, and people started bringing their retrievers to be bred with the Newfoundlands. Besides retrievers, the other breeds likely used to create the Chessie were the English Otter Hound, and the Flat Coat and Curly Coated Retrievers. AKC officially recognized the Chesapeake Bay Retriever in 1991.

Some of the other American made dog breeds are the Chinook, Plott Hound, American Eskimo, American Water Spaniel, Toy Fox Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier, Blackmouth Cur, American Cocker Spaniel, American Bulldog, American Foxhound and the Native American Indian Dog.

Redbone Coonhound by Dan Harrelson
Rat Terrier by Ann Marie Hughes
Chesapeake Bay Retriever by Jay Shouldol

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. Australian Shepherds are NOT known as "Blue Heelers". Heelers- Blue, Red, & Queensland- are also known as Australian Cattle Dogs, and actually ARE from Australia and have Dingo and Kelpie blood in them. Totally different dog breed and I can tell you from experience, totally different kind of dog.

  2. This is lots dogs from the US than I realized.

  3. I hope that Coonhound doesn't chase Maine Coons! *hiding*

  4. I second the comment that Australian Shepherds are not also known as Blue Heelers. People may commonly confuse Australian Cattle Dogs with Australian Shepherds, but they are two entirely different breeds.


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