State dog of maine

Table of Contents

Best In Show For N.H. State Dog?

For the first time in its 138 year history, the Westminster Kennel Club will allow the Chinook, NH’s official state dog, to compete in its annual “Best in Show” competition at Madison Square Garden. One of the four Chinook’s vying to be top dog is Birr, from Londonderry. NHPR’s Sean Hurley visited with Birr and his owners Kris and Chester Holleran, to find out more about the rare dog and the rarefied Westminster Best in Show pageant.

*UPDATE: A New Hampshire dog has won the first ever Chinook competition at the Westminster Dog show in New York. Birr, a 5 year old, and his handler Kris Holleran of Londonderry face off tonight against 28 other best in breed winners in the Working Group final. If Birr wins top dog in the working group, he’ll be in the running for overall best in show. Tonight’s action will be televised by the USA network and on CNBC.

Listen Listening… / 4:19 Kris & Chester Holleran of Londonderry and their dog, Birr.

Kris Holleran tosses an orange Frisbee across her snowy yard. Her three Chinooks, Birr, Huck and Tibbs chase it down near the river. Birr noses the Frisbee into the snow to hide it from the other two. Even if he didn’t, the Frisbee wouldn’t have been returned.

They’re not really fetching dogs. They just chase after. Keep away is the big game.

The black masked tawny dogs could be triplets. But Huck is the oldest, his son Tibbs the youngest and Huck’s nephew Birr, at five years old, the most celebrated. Winning the Eukanuba National Championship made Birr a Champion. And being a Champion earned him an invitation to this year’s Westminster Kennels Club’s Best in Show competition.

There’s three new breeds being accepted this year. The Chinook. The Rat Terrier and the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno. I hope I said that right!

Because the breed is relatively new – the first Chinook puppy was born in 1917 – and because there are so few – the Guinness Book once listed them as the rarest dog on earth – the AKC has been slow to recognize them.

Well the breed actually originated in Tamworth, New Hampshire. There was a man by the name of Arthur Walden who lived there and went out for the Gold Rush to Alaska. And when he came back he wanted to develop a sled dog and he wanted a dog that was fast, could pull heavy loads and would be a good family companion. So he bred a Greenland Husky and a Mastiff type dog. And he got three puppies and one of them was exactly what he wanted and that was Chinook and that was the originator of the breed.

For a short time, Chester Holleran says, Chinook was world famous as the lead dog on Admiral Byrd’s expedition to the South Pole.

The dog named Chinook, the founding dog, actually died on the trip to the South Pole, which was front page New York Times news.

Other feats and firsts would follow for the new breed and for Walden.

They were the first dogs to sled up Mount Washington and he really brought the sport of dog racing to New Hampshire.

Solidly hitched to New Hampshire history, the Chinook seemed an obvious choice for State Dog when it was officially declared in 2009. But it’s nomination came from an unlikely source. A group of 7th graders from a middle school in Bedford.

The children did all the work for whatever it takes and actually got the Chinook recognized as the state dog of New Hampshire. So that was a group of middle schoolers that did that.

The Westminister Best in Show competition is essentially a beauty pageant – but with a more hands-on approach. In the stacking process, each dog undergoes a thorough physical examination. The judges evaluate teeth and body architecture, before sending the dogs off on a run around the ring to check their gait. In the end, the judges are searching for the dog that most exemplifies the structure, movement, and character of each particular breed.

Birr will face off against 3 other Chinooks in the breed ring. If he wins best of breed, he’ll go on to compete against 28 other working dogs, from Malamutes to Rottweilers, in the Group Ring. If Birr is chosen best working dog, he’ll face the winners from each group in the Best in Show finale.

Kris Holleran is not only nervous about her performance – handling the dog in the ring is an art in itself – but she’s also worried about Birr’s focus.

It can go south in a heartbeat. I mean you can have days where you’re just like “What happened?” One of our big problems is deliciously fragrant girls are hard sometimes when you have a male dog. It can also be to your advantage, depending on whether they are, whether they’re in front or behind you.

From the South Pole, to the top of Mount Washington, to the Guinness Book, our State Dog, the Chinook, with Birr as its foremost representative, is heading off for the Bright Lights and Big City to possibly become, as his forefather, the most famous dog on the planet.

Great Dane

Official State Dog of Pennsylvania

The great Dane was designated the official state dog of Pennsylvania in 1965. A portrait of William Penn and his great Dane hangs in the Governor’s reception room (Best Friend, by Pennsylvania artist Violet Oakley). All State Dogs & Cats

Great Danes were used as a hunting and working breed in frontier Pennsylvania. PA Legislation states that naming an official dog of the Commonwealth would “recognize the steadfast service and loyal devotion of all dogs in Pennsylvania.”

The Great Dane came from England, as did William Penn (the founder of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania). A giant breed described as noble, robust, powerful, elegant, responsible, dependable, brave, and loyal – as legislature noted:

Quote from State Representative Sam Rohrer;

“When the Speaker of the House called for a voice vote to designate the great Dane, yips, growls and barks assaulted his ears from every part of the chamber! With a rap of his gavel, the Speaker confirmed that the “arfs have it” and the “Barking Dog Vote” entered the annals of legislative history.”

13 States Have Official State Dogs, Is Yours One of Them?

There are official state birds, trees and flowers. Some states love sweets so much they even have an official state dessert. But perhaps the cutest state designation belongs to the dozen dog breeds that are official state dogs.

Thirteen pooch-loving states in America have named an official state dog in the 240-plus years the United States has existed, and now another breed might be appointed to these esteemed ranks.

According to CNN, Ohio is considering making the Labrador retriever its official state dog. If the state’s proposed House Bill 539 passes, the Labrador will be number 14 to join the state dog pack.

See if your state already has an official man’s best friend by checking out the complete list of official state dogs below.

Alaska: Alaskan Malamute

Image zoom Getty

According to the Washington Post, the Alaskan Malamute became the 11th official state dog in 2010 after a group of Alaskan kindergartners decided they wanted a state dog and their school worked with them to successfully present the idea to the state legislature.

Georgia: Adoptable Dog

Image zoom Getty

The most recent state to “adopt” an official state dog is Georgia. In 2016, the state legislature passed a bill to name adoptable dogs, not a specific breed, their official state canine, reports The choice was made in hopes of raising awareness about shelter pets in need and the animal rescues who care for them.

Louisiana: Catahoula Leopard Dog

Image zoom Getty

This stunning, spotted breed, also known as the Catahoula Cur, was made Louisiana’s official state dog in 1979. According to 225 Magazine, while not proven for sure, popular belief is that this dog breed originated in Louisiana’s Catahoula Lake area.

Maryland: Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Image zoom Getty

The Chesapeake Bay retriever is the first official state dog. The Maryland state government made the call in 1964, choosing the dog breed that is named after the state’s well-known bay region.

Massachusetts: Boston Terrier

Image zoom Getty

Going by the name, it’s not surprising the Boston terrier was chosen as the Massachusetts state dog. reports that the pup has been the school mascot of Boston University since 1922 and was made state official in 1979.

New Hampshire: Chinook

Image zoom John Moore/Getty

According to, the Chinook, which became New Hampshire’s state dog in 2009, got its title thanks to a group of seventh graders.

New York: Working Dogs

Image zoom Guide Dog Foundation/Rebecca Eden

According to the New York State Senate, working dogs are the official dogs of New York. This decision was made in 2015 and includes guide dogs, police work dogs, war dogs, hearing dogs, service dogs, working search dogs, therapy dogs, detection dogs and dogs trained to protect or herd other animals.

North Carolina: Plott Hound

Image zoom Ben Hider/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty

The North Carolina General Assembly named the Plott Hound, a dog breed that originated in the Tar Heel State, North Carolina’s official state dog in 1989, according to the North Carolina History Project.

Pennsylvania: Great Dane

Image zoom Getty

Following closely behind Maryland, Pennsylvania named the Great Dane its official state dog in 1965, reports Barkpost.

South Carolina: Boykin Spaniel

Image zoom Julie McGuire / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty

According to Dogster, the Boykin Spaniel is also known as the “swamp poodle” and was named South Carolina’s official state dog in 1985.

Texas: Blue Lacy

Image zoom Getty

While this breed was developed in the 1800s, according to Rover, the Blue Lacy did not become Texas’ official state dog until 2005.

Virginia: American Foxhound

Image zoom Getty

The American foxhound was brought to Virginia from England in 1650, according to Lansdowne Animal Hospital, and became the state’s official dog in 1966.

Wisconsin: American Water Spaniel

Image zoom Dave Kotinsky/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty

The American Kennel Club recognized this breed in 1940 and Wisconsin followed suit, naming the pooch its official state canine in 1985.

Getty Images

Talk about a dogfight! Time reports that Utah and Maine legislators are divided over which pooch is top dog.

In Utah, a fourth-grade class petitioned to make the golden retriever their official “domestic animal.” They picked the breed because it’s the most popular type to be adopted from a shelter, and they often serve as therapy dogs.

But dissenters wanted to go with another breed, like a German shepherd or a cocker spaniel. The bill barely passed in the state senate, and is now moving to the state house. One state senator told the Salt Lake Tribune, “I’ve got a poodle at home named Coco. I could hardly look him in the eye last night.”

And in Maine, a bill to make the Labrador retriever the official state dog was rejected before even making it to a vote. Backers said its friendly demeanor and outdoorsy nature would make it a perfect fit. But most lawmakers didn’t want to play favorites, and so the bill didn’t make it.

” strong, reliable, devoted affectionate — as good as any breed, certainly,” Rep. Chris Babbidge told Maine Public Broadcasting. “But it’s not unique to Maine. And I have difficulty favoring it over so many other wonderful dogs that are worthy of nomination.”

But while these two states are having a hard time making a top pick, eleven other states didn’t have any trouble at all. Check out their picks below:

Alaska: Alaskan malamute
Louisiana: Catahoula leopard dog
Maryland: Chesapeake Bay retriever
Massachusetts: Boston terrier
New Hampshire: Chinook
North Carolina: Plott hound
Pennsylvania: Great Dane
South Carolina: Boykin spaniel
Texas: Blue Lacy
Virginia: American foxhound
Wisconsin: American water spaniel

Related Stories:
• Your Dog Really Can Read Your Moods• 17 Things We Wish Our Pets Could Understand• You Can Now Make a Replica of Your Beloved Pet

Photo: Getty Images

Does my state have an official dog?

You probably know your state’s official bird, flower, flag, and maybe even rock. But do you know if your state has an official state dog? There are 11 states with an official state dog (plus one that has a special distinction). Are you lucky enough to live in one of them? Other states have come close to naming an official dog, but fell just short. Let’s take a look at the awesome state pups and the states that love them!

Official State Dogs:

1. Alaska: Alaskan Malamute

In what is probably the most obvious choice on the list, Alaska’s official state dog is the Alaskan Malamute! Named the official state dog in 2010, this breed is widely used in dog mushing (the official state sport).

2. Louisiana: Catahoula Leopard Dog

In the “Pelican State,” the Catahoula Leopard dog is king. These pups are also one of the first breeds developed in North America. The Catahoula became Louisiana’s official canine in 1979.

3. Maryland: Chesapeake Bay Retriever

The first state to designate an official state dog was Maryland in 1964. Maryland chose the Chesapeake Bay Retriever because the dog was developed in the Chesapeake Bay during the 19th century – and because of the dog’s love for the water!

4. Massachusetts: Boston Terrier

What is the state dog of Massachusetts you ask? Well The Boston Terrier of course. Named after the Massachusetts capital, this fun loving breed became the Massachusetts state dog in 1979. This breed, with its memorable smile, remains a very popular pup!

5. New Hampshire: Chinook

New Hampshire chose the Chinook, a rare breed of sled dog, as its official state dog in 2009. According to the AKC, this playful and easily trainable dog is great with children and loves exercise!

6. North Carolina: Plott Hound

Originally bred for hunting boar, these pups are native North Carolinans! Chosen to represent the Tar Heel state in 1989, these pups are known for their keen sense of smell and tracking skills.

7. Pennsylvania: Great Dane

Best known for starring in the Marmaduke comic strip, Pennsylvania also chose the Great Dane to star as their representative. Designated the state dog in 1965, these dogs can grow to about 30 inches tall!

8. South Carolina: Boykin Spaniel

The Boykin Spaniel was named the official state dog of South Carolina in 1985. Originating in South Carolina, they were bred to hunt wild turkeys in swamps.

9. Texas: Blue Lacy

Texas made the Blue Lacy its official state dog in 2005. Developed in the mid-19th century, this working dog is wholly Texan and has been recognized by the state Senate.

10. Virginia: American Foxhound

In 1966, the American Foxhound was made the official state dog of Virginia. This scent hound was developed to hunt foxes in early America.

11. Wisconsin: American Water Spaniel

The American Water Spaniel represents the Cheese state. Made their official state dog in 1985, they were bred for hunting purposes. They also make great family dogs due to their calm temperament.

12. Colorado, California, Illinois, Tennessee & Georgia: Shelter Dogs

These states have the most unique and “awwwww” inspiring choice on the list. They all named shelter/rescue pets as their “dog breed” of choice!

13. New York: Working Dogs

The Empire State designated working dogs to represent them statewide in 2015. Due to their tireless work in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, New York chose to honor all canines, large and small, who go the extra mile to help humanity.

Close Calls:

14. Georgia: Golden Retriever

In 1991, Georgia tried officially designated the Golden Retriever as its official state dog. However, opponents of the measure (who preferred the Bulldog) struck down the proposal.

15. Kansas: Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier of ‘Wizard of Oz’ fame was proposed as Kansas’s state dog in 2006. However, no moves were made in the legislature to make it official, and the bill was tabled in 2012.

16. Washington: Siberian Husky

In 2004, the Siberian Husky was proposed as the state dog of Washington. However, the campaign fell through before it could be approved in the State House of Representatives.

Do You Know Your State Dog?

Does your state have a state dog? Only a handful do. Let’s see if you can match the state:

  1. Alaska
  2. Louisiana
  3. Maryland
  4. Massachusetts
  5. New Hampshire
  6. North Carolina
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. South Carolina
  9. Texas
  10. Virginia
  11. Wisconsin

To the dog:

  1. Boykin Spaniel
  2. Chinook
  3. Great Dane
  4. Boston Terrier
  5. American Foxhound
  6. Catahoula Leopard Dog
  7. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  8. Blue Lacey
  9. Alaskan Malamute
  10. Plott
  11. American Water Spaniel

Here are the answers, along with date of adoption for each state dog:

1. Alaska: Alaskan Malamute (2010)

The Malamute was first described as living with native Inuit people known as the Mahlemuts on Alaska’s northwest coast. They were an essential member of these people’s tribes and way of life.

Alaskan Malamute by .

2. Louisiana: Catahoula Leopard Dog (1979)

The first settlers of Northern Louisiana were overrun with wild hogs, but found the Native American dogs of the region were the best way to catch and control them. The breed gets its name from the Catahoula Lake of the region.

Catahoula Leopard Dog by .

3. Maryland: Chesapeake Bay Retriever (1964)

The Chessie descends from two dogs rescued from a sinking ship off the coast of Maryland in 1807. They and their descendents proved themselves to be talented duck retrievers in the rough icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever by .

4. Massachusetts: Boston Terrier (1979)

Around 1865, coachmen of wealthy Bostonians crossed their employers’ English Terrier and Bulldog, creating the foundation of the breed that very quickly became popular in Boston and eventually took their city’s name.

5. New Hampshire: Chinook (2009)

Admiral Perry brought his prized sled dogs to New Hampshire for retirement, where Arthur Walden crossed a Mastiff-type farm dog to one. One of the offspring, named Chinook, became a famed lead dog, and his offspring were all named Chinook after him. Chinook and 14 offspring were part of Admiral Byrd’s 1929 Antarctic expedition.

6. North Carolina: Plott (1989)

In 1750, teenager Joahnnes Plott brought five German hunting hounds with him from Germany and settled in the Great Smokey Mountains. These dogs formed the basis of a popular trailing hound, who could even hold a bear at bay.

Plott by .

7. Pennsylvania: Great Dane (1965)

The Great Dane didn’t originate in Pennsylvania, but the state’s founder, William Penn, owned at least one, and the breed was popular as a hunter and guardian in the Pennsylvania frontier. Plus the resolution sums it up, regardless of history: “… WHEREAS, the physical and other attributes of the Great Dane, to wit: size, strength, beauty, intelligence, tolerance, courage, faithfulness, trustworthiness and stability exemplify those of Pennsylvania …”

8. South Carolina: Boykin Spaniel (1985)

The Boykin’s foundation was a dog found in Spartanburg around 1905. That dog’s descendents proved adept at flushing and retrieving birds along South Carolina’s Wateree River.

Boykin Spaniel by .

9. Texas: Blue Lacy (1985)

In 1858, four Lacey brothers brought their dog with them from Kentucky to Texas. They developed a line of dogs for controlling free-range hogs in the Texas Hill country. The dogs became an integral part of working ranches as cattle herders.

10. Virginia: American Foxhound (1966)

No less than George Washington is credited with developing this breed, which comes from crosses of English and French Foxhounds. Foxhound pedigrees have been recorded in Virginia since 1850.

American Foxhounds by .

11. Wisconsin: American Water Spaniel (1985)

The American Water Spaniel, originally called the American Brown Spaniel, originated in the Midwest as working hunters and retrievers. Nobody knows their origin but some credit it partly to Native Americans who lived along the Great Lakes.

What about the rest of the states?

That’s only 11 of 50 states, though. While it’s true not every state can boast its own canine creation, every state can boast a dog who was critical to its settlement, history, or economy.

Who doesn’t think of Toto the Cairn Terrier when they recall famous dogs of Kansas? The Cairn was proposed as the Kansas state dog in 2012, but PETA has fought it. Really? That’s what PETA is spending its energy on?

Just last year, two states received proposals for state dogs: Maine for the Labrador Retriever, a breed developed just north of there and integral to cold water retrieving; and Oregon for the Newfoundland, whose most famous explorer was named Seaman. Seaman trekked across country with Lewis and Clark and may have been the first purebred to set paw in the Pacific surf by way of North America. And he did it in Oregon.

Giant Statue of Seaman the Newfoundland in North Dakota by .

Now it’s your turn to get involved!

So here’s your challenge: What dogs can you propose as state dogs? And yes, I realize that everyone is going to yell out “rescue dog” and “all-American mutt!” but maybe save those for our national dog.

Think about your state and what dog breeds were important in its history. I’m thinking Hawaiian Poi Dog for Hawaii, Chihuahua for Arizona, Treeing Walker for Kentucky, and Bluetick Coonhound or Tennessee Brindle for Tennessee. I might even suggest the extinct Salish Wool Dog for Washington, just to emphasize that breeds, like species, can be lost forever. The Greyhound for Florida would be controversial, although it did play a huge role in the tourist industry for many years. Golden Retriever for California, the Golden State. Bull Terrier for Idaho, as in Spuds MacKenzie? Collie for Colorado, just because it sounds good? And New York’s state dog should change every year according to what breed wins Westminster. So this year it’s the German Shorthaired Pointer!

What’s your suggestion? Tell us in the comments!

Official State Dogs

In the U.S., states seem to have an incredible fondness for designating “official” things. Some of them are pretty standard, like state flower or motto or song, while others can be unusual. Wyoming has a state dinosaur and Connecticut’s official prepared food is, of course, Mystic Pizza. States can be generic. Milk is the official beverage of twenty of them. If you want an official musical instrument, you have a choice of five options from eight states, with fiddle being the most common.

You’d think that something as popular in America as the dog would be represented in all fifty states, but that isn’t the case. To date, there are only twelve U.S. states that have designated an official state dog. This is still a better score than cat lovers, represented by only Massachusetts and Maryland, by the tabby cat and the calico, respectively.

Here are the dozen official state dogs, in order of designation.

Maryland: Chesapeake Bay Retriever (1964)

This breed began with two dogs shipwrecked in Maryland in 1807, although they were never bred with each other. Living on opposite shores of the bay, they were crossed with various local dogs until the breed was designated in 1918 by the American Kennel Club. Part of the retriever, gundog, and sporting groups, they are very active. It’s also the mascot of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and all of the school’s teams are known as the UMBC Retrievers.

Pennsylvania: Great Dane (1965)

The tallest dog ever recorded was Great Dane Zeus, who stood 44 inches at the shoulder. The breed were originally used as hunting dogs for large game. The connection between the Great Dane and Pennsylvania may not seem obvious, although legislators came up with a long list of reasons in their official declaration, like claiming its head resembles the outline of the state. The most likely reason, though, is that state founder William Penn was a fan of the breed.

Virginia: American Foxhound (1966)

Aptly named, the American foxhound is both uniquely American and uniquely Virginian, having been bred from French foxhounds gifted to George Washington by the Marquis de Lafayette. Energetic and taller than its English cousins, one of the things the breed is known for is its musical howl — which makes it the less than ideal pet for big cities or anywhere else with close neighbors.

Louisiana: Catahoula Leopard Dog (1979)

Originally known as the Catahoula cur and named for a parish in the southeastern part of upper Louisiana, it was redubbed the leopard dog upon becoming the state breed. The dog is not actually named for hunting leopards, though. The name comes from the breed’s distinctive, leopard-like spots. The breed is known for having “glass eyes” — but that doesn’t refer to any vision problem. The breed is prone to heterochromia, in which each eye is a different color from the other, or one or both eyes may have more than one color in it. Traditionally, “glass” refers to blue eyes in dogs.

Massachusetts: Boston Terrier (1979)

This choice of this state dog is probably no surprise, although it is surprising that it took so long for Massachusetts to make it official. The breed was first shown in Boston in 1870. In 1893 it became the first breed originating in the U.S. to be recognized by the AKC. It’s generally believed that all Boston terriers descend from a dog named Judge, who was owned by a Bostonian named Robert C. Hooper. Like many residents of the city to this day, the Boston terrier is quite a sports fan, and excels at many canine agility and sporting events.

South Carolina: Boykin Spaniel (1985)

Not only did the Boykin spaniel become South Carolina’s state dog by being discovered and developed there, but September 1 is Boykin Spaniel Day in the state. The breed originated after a stray spaniel followed a local banker, Alexander White, to church. White gave the dog to his friend and hunting partner Lemuel Boykin, and he developed the breed. Later, breeders began promoting multiple litters per year for the Boykin spaniel, and it is now becoming one of the most common spaniel breeds in the U.S.

Wisconsin: American Water spaniel (1985)

Appropriately, the American water spaniel was developed along the Fox and Wolf rivers in Wisconsin, designed to be a skilled and versatile hunter, compact enough to travel in a small skiff, and able to withstand cold winters in the Badger State. Whether intentional or not, one of the main waterfowl it was bred to hunt is the ruffed grouse — the state bird of Pennsylvania.

North Carolina: Plott Hound (1989)

Originally used for boar-hunting in Germany, this large scent hound descended from wild boar hounds brought to the state in 1750 by Johannes Plott. Despite being one of the older breeds on this list, it was not recognized by the United Kennel Club until 1946, or by the American Kennel Club until 2006. Of the seven coonhound breeds recognized by the UKC, the Plott hound is the only one not descended from the foxhound.

Texas: Blue Lacy (2005)

This began after the four Lacy brothers moved to Texas, bringing an English shepherd-greyhound-wolf mix with them. This dog and its descendants’ natural herding abilities suited themselves well to working with the Lacy’s free-roaming hogs. Although there was an attempt in 2008 to replace Texas A&M’s traditional collie mascot with a blue Lacy, the collie won out, becoming the sixth consecutive rough collie in the position. (Number eight, Reveille IX, took the position in 2015.) Maybe the Texas state dog will get its turn one day.

New Hampshire: Chinook (2009)

This breed has a somewhat distinguished pedigree, having descended from a mother from the same husky stock as the dogs that went with Admiral Peary to the North Pole and a Mastiff father. The original dog, owned by Arthur Walden, was named Chinook, hence the name of the breed. Fulfilling his destiny, the then 12-year-old Chinook perished on Admiral Byrd’s 1929 Antarctic expedition. The Chinook was the first sled-dog breed brought to New England, where it proved itself very useful through the cold, brutal winters. Unlike the Boykin spaniel, the Chinook is very rare, and wasn’t recognized by the AKC until 2013. Most other kennel clubs do not yet recognize the breed — but that’s probably perfectly all right for the state with the motto “Live Free or Die.” (The breed is so rare that we couldn’t even find a photo of one!)

Alaska: Alaskan Malamute (2010)

Probably the only dog on the list truly native to the Americas, the Alaskan malamute descended from dogs used by the Inupiat of upper Alaska as pack and sled dogs. They are incredibly strong pullers, although slower racers than traditional sledding breeds like huskies. They were also excellent hunters and helped the Inupiat locate seals under the ice by sniffing out their blow-holes. Because they became popular military dogs in World War II, only about thirty registered dogs were left by the mid-1940s, so the breeding registry was opened — but modern Malamutes are still descended from the dogs that were helping the Mahlemut tribe of the Inupiat two to three thousand years ago.

Georgia: Adoptable Dog (2016)

The most recent addition to the list, Georgia’s is also unique. Rather than opting for one breed, the state chose to honor rescue dogs of all kinds. It’s worth noting the reasons given in their original resolution, which apply to shelter dogs in every state: “Thousands of dogs and cats are currently available for adoption in Georgia animal shelters, humane societies, and private rescue groups; Responsible pet ownership that includes spay and neuter of dogs and cats not being actively bred by owners will reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats that are euthanized in Georgia every year; The State of Georgia wishes to promote responsible stewardship of dogs and cats; and the State of Georgia wishes to promote animal rescue and adoption.”

One last question: What’s the state song of California? If you said “California, Here I Come,” congratulations, you’re wrong. It’s actually called “I Love You California.” If that title sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve heard it countless times in JEEP commercials. But it’s more proof that official state designations are not always intuitive.