When perusing the American Kennel Club’s registry, you’ll see there are many dogs that originated in different countries. Wading through a sea of names like Italian Greyhound and Old English Bulldog, you may wonder whether any dog breeds evolved in the 50 states.
Well, here’s some good news: some of the world’s most popular dog breeds actually stem from the United States. From the energetic Boston Terrier to the poofy Alaskan Eskimo, you can learn all about American dog breeds, their histories, and more.
The amusing Boston Terrier was first bred in 19th-century Massachusetts. It’s a delightful combination of the American Bulldog (more on them later) and white English terrier. Sometimes referred to as “the American Gentleman,” these little guys are known for their great manners and jaunty attitude. While they mostly come in white and black, they can also come in other combinations, such as black brindle and white, brindle and white, and seal and white.
Boston Terriers are great for families with children, and their loveable nature makes them great roommates with other dogs. Keep in mind that while these little cuties have a lot of energy, they’re a brachycephalic dog breed, meaning they may need frequent playtime breaks to avoid breathing problems.
Don’t let the name fool you! While Australian Shepherds have some ties “down under,” they were mostly developed in California. Ranchers fell in love with these sharp-witted herders, and soon, they became well-loved companions of cowboys.
When Australian Shepherds weren’t herding sheep on the plains of California, many performed tricks in sideshows. In 1993, the American Kennel Club welcomed the Australian Shepherd into its ranks as part of the Herding Group, and they frequently compete in breed-specific dog sports.
Today, they’re a popular choice for individuals who work with service dogs and emotional support animals. Aussies are fiercely loyal to their owners and are generally easy to train.
American Bulldogs are known for their barrel-chested bodies and perpetually grumpy expressions. Described as being loyal and self-confident, these canines have worked alongside Americans since the 17th century. In the 1800s, the average American Bulldog would spend its days protecting livestock. Yet, they were especially popular in the South, as they were experts at hunting and taking down feral pigs.
American Bulldogs are not for owners who are looking for an affectionate companion. They’re very independent, though tolerant of other dogs. American Bulldogs are, however, great canines for runners and other athletes. They thrive while jogging, hiking, and playing tug-of-war. They like to spend their downtime gnawing on durable chew toys.
American Pit Bull Terriers
American Pit Bull Terriers have been popular family dogs for more than 150 years, per the United American Kennel. These stockily-build dogs come from a long line of bulldogs mixed with terriers. What’s interesting is that “pit bull” is not a breed recognized by the American Kennel Club.
A single pit bull could have DNA from multiple breeds––again, usually bulldogs and terriers. When pit bulls aren’t lounging around or spending time with their families, they enjoy obedience training, coursing, and other outdoor activities. Pit bulls are generally good family pets, but because of their reputation for aggression, they’re banned dog breeds in many communities.
American Eskimo Dogs
Do you want a husky but don’t want to deal with a giant hairy two-year-old? Meet American Eskimo Dogs. These poofy pooches originally came from Germany, where they quickly found popularity in the United States as circus dogs. For decades, they were called “German Spitz,” but after anti-German sentiment after World War II, the name changed.
American Eskimo Dogs love being with their owners and being the center of attention. They check all the boxes when it comes to being good with kids and affectionate with loved ones. What many people like about the American Eskimo is that it truly comes in small, medium, and large varieties. A toy American Eskimo will weigh just ten pounds, while the standard size could hit 35 pounds.
Believe it or not, many believe that President Theodore Roosevelt named these friendly, inquisitive dogs. These dogs generally worked to get rid of rats. Their small size allowed them to burrow into tight spaces and exterminate rodents. Despite their pint-sized stature, Rat Terriers are very hardy dogs who avoid some of the more common dog health ailments.
Rat Terriers are great for owners with moderately active lifestyles. These little guys do well with regular walks and tennis-ball chasing. Early socialization is a must, as Rat Terriers have a very strong prey drive and may pursue smaller animals if not trained, such as squirrels and even cats.
More American Dog Breeds: Honorable Mentions
These six breeds above are just some of the dogs born in the U.S.A. Here are some other honorable mentions:
- American Water Spaniel. These spaniels were bred for retrieving waterfowl that their owners shot. Their double coat made them great for jumping in and out of the water. Eager and charming, these medium-sized gundogs originated in the American Midwest.
- American Hairless Terrier. Native to Louisiana, the American Hairless Terrier is one of many breeds with the FOXI3 gene, which makes it hairless. The American Kennel Club notes that they’re great for owners with allergies who want a “true terrier with grit and courage.”
- Alaskan Malamutes. Sometimes described as stockier huskies, the Alaskan Malamute is an arctic sled dog. It originated in Alaska and was bred for (you guessed it) sled-pulling. Make no mistake; this spitz dog breed loves snuggling with its owner.
- American Coonhound. Sometimes called the Black-and-Tan Coonhound, Bluetick Coonhound, and Redbone Coonhound, these dogs were bred for hunting raccoons. These dogs have strong prey drives and love plenty of exercise.
Who knows? New breeds are being engineered all the time. Maybe more dog breeds will join this list in the future.