We know that the many different dog breeds in existence come from all over the globe. But as the United States of America celebrates its birthday this week, we're turning our spotlight on those breeds that got their start on U.S. soil. Click through to meet 10 all-American dog breeds.
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Although the origin of the Alaskan Malamute is not clearly known, it is generally considered to be a descendant of the Mahlemut dog. Just like many dogs belonging to the spitz family, this breed developed in the Arctic region and was shaped by difficult climatic conditions. A dog-racing enthusiast in New England obtained viable specimens of the breed in the 1920s, and began to develop the native Malamute. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1935, and since then it has become popular as a faithful pet and impressive show dog.
AMERICAN ESKIMO DOG
Originally referred to as the American Spitz, the breed was first used as a circus performer, traveling throughout the United States and entertaining the audience with tricks. As the news of the traveling dog with its bag of tricks grew, its popularity did also. Often, spectators would buy young American Spitz pups from the circus. In 1917, the "American Spitz" became known as the "American Eskimo Dog." The AKC recognized the American Eskimo Dog in 1995 and placed the breed in the Non-Sporting Group.
George Washington owned many dogs of several different breeds, and even developed an original breed that still exists today: the American Foxhound. France’s Marquis de Lafayette gave Washington several French Foxhounds and Grand Bleu de Gascogne dogs. Washington, with his passion for canine hunting companions, took to crossbreeding his English Foxhounds, French Foxhounds and Grand Bleu de Gascogne hounds in order to create the ultimate hunting breed. The result of his efforts was the American Foxhound. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886, and is the official state dog of Virginia.
AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER
“Pit Bull” is not itself a dog breed, but a collective term for a few different but similar breeds, of which the American Staffordshire Terrier is one. The breed has been known unofficially by a few different names, including American Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier and Yankee Terrier. The American Kennel Club first registered the breed in 1936 as the Staffordshire Terrier. The name was changed to American Staffordshire Terrier in 1972.
Some dog breeds are so ancient that their exact origins are lost to history, but not the Boston Terrier, aka “The American Gentleman.” We know that in Boston, around 1870, Robert C. Hooper bought an English Bulldog/English Terrier mix named Judge. Judge was bred with a bitch named Gyp, and they had a puppy named Eph. Eph and his offspring are the original ancestors of the breed that evolved into what we now call the Boston Terrier.
CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER
In 1807, two Newfoundland dogs named Sailor and Canton escaped a shipwrecked British vessel off the coast of Maryland. The hardy Newfies were observed to be effective retrievers, and locals bred them with other dogs from the area. Sailor and Canton’s offspring marked the beginning of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
American sled racer Arthur Treadwell Walden developed the Chinook in the early 20th century using Greenland Huskies and probably German Shepherds and Belgian Shepherds. The breed has never been particularly common. In 1965, it held the record as the world’s rarest dog breed, and in 1981 there were only 11 left. Since then, breeding efforts have increased the Chinook’s numbers, and they were named the official state dog of New Hampshire, but the breed remains relatively uncommon.
In 1750, Johannes George Plott carried five Hanoverian Schweisshunds to his residence in the Great Smoky Mountains. For seven generations, the Plott family bred these cold-trailing dogs with dogs of other lines. In the early 20th century, Cola Ferguson used black-saddled hounds to cross with his Plotts. The results were known as "Boss" and "Tige.” Nearly all modern Plotts can be traced back to these dogs. The breed was officially named the Plott Hound in 1946. In 1989, the dog was officially designated as the state dog of North Carolina, and in 1998 the breed was admitted into the American Kennel Club’s miscellaneous class of dogs, the last step before official AKC recognition.
The Rat Terrier was developed in the United States as a farm dog. Its name may not be the most pleasant sounding of all dog breeds, but it is descriptive. Rat Terriers were originally meant to hunt and kill rats and other vermin that normally plague farms. The breed began as an offshoot of the Fox Terrier which over time was crossbred with various terriers and Feists, as well as Beagles, Italian Greyhounds and Whippets. The American Kennel Club places the Rat Terrier in its miscellaneous class.
Next: 10 Dog Breeds That Are Terrible Swimmers
The origins of the Redbone Coonhound can be traced to the late 1700s, when Scottish immigrants introduced red foxhounds (its ancestor) to the United States. Later imports of swift Red Irish Foxhounds were crossed with these early Redbone dogs, resulting in "Saddlebacks,” named for their unique black saddles. Dissatisfied with this characteristic, breeders continued to produce new litters until only rich, solid red-coated puppies remained. The American Kennel Club inducted the Redbone Coonfound into its miscellaneous class in 2001.