Breeds
A rat terrier courtesy of Deb Stevenson.
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These 5 American Dog Breeds Are Proud to Be Made in the U.S.A.

Despite the name, the Australian Shepherd was bred in the U.S. Learn more about that and other American dog breeds just in time for July 4th!

Lynn M. Hayner  |  Jun 29th 2017


While searching for dog breeds developed in America, I found that names were occasionally misleading. The American Eskimo Dog’s country of origin, for example, is Germany, not America. Other names provide valid cues: The Boston Terrier, after all, was bred in and around Boston. And the American-bred Chesapeake Bay Retriever (the state dog of Maryland) was developed for work in the Bay. Now keep in mind that countries such as Germany and England leave us in the dust for numbers of breeds developed. But America is a relatively new country; give us a few centuries to catch up. Let’s hear from five American dog breeds passionate about sharing their patriotism and heritage.

1. Chinook

Chinook courtesy Ginger Corley

Chinook photo courtesy Ginger Corley.

I’m waving my American flag with delight, celebrating my New England heritage and my designation as the official state dog of New Hampshire. I was developed by explorer Arthur Treadwell Walden with the power and endurance for sledding, and yet an approachable, gentle temperament. My ancestors proudly served in Admiral Richard Byrd’s Antarctic Expedition. My forefather, a Chinook named Chinook, died on this extraordinary expedition. Today, while we’re still celebrated sled dogs, we also thrive on obedience, agility, skijoring, therapy work, mobility assistance work, and search-and-rescue. But make no mistake: Our favorite job is serving as your all-around companion.

2. American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniel courtesy Arthur Heun.

American Water Spaniel photo courtesy Arthur Heun.

I’m even more American than apple pie. We were bred to hunt, flush, and retrieve game in Wisconsin, our hometown state, during the 19th century from breeds such as the Irish and English Water Spaniel.  With excellent swimming skills, we retrieve eagerly in water, including the cold water of the Midwest. Our double coat comes in handy repelling water. As for our personality, we’re upbeat, energetic, confident, and a great match to Wisconsin’s positive state motto: Forward!  It’s no surprise we’re the state dog of Wisconsin.

3. Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier courtesy Deb Stevenson.

Rat Terrier photo courtesy Deb Stevenson.

I’m particularly qualified for inclusion on this list, since I’m blessed with characteristic American traits, such as courage, tenacity, and a strong drive for both work and fun. I’m not yappy, but I’m sometimes chatty. So like many Americans, I’m quick to voice my opinion. I was developed here in the 19th century as a versatile farm dog. I have the necessary speed and sight to hunt vermin, but the cheerful personality to relish family fun. If you combine our working traits with play (let’s try a barn hunt!), I’ll celebrate with red, white, and blue-worthy enthusiasm.

4. Plott Hound

Plott Hound courtesy Shutterstock

Plott Hound photo by Shutterstock.

Our forefathers were developed to hunt in North Carolina by the German Plott family. So our name is accurate on all accounts: We’re hounds, bred by the Plotts. Johannes George Plott came to the states in the mid-18th century with hounds developed for hunting wild boar. He bred my forefathers for great stamina, but in those days we had no wild boar here. So Plott started using my ancestors to hunt bear. Today we’re still great hunting dogs, renowned for our clear voice that carries well. We’re also the official dog of North Carolina. I whole-heartedly agree with the state slogan A Better Place to Be {a dog}!

5. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd courtesy Lynn M. Hayner

Australian Shepherd photo by Lynn M. Hayner.

I was developed for herding livestock and all around ranch work, but not in the land down under as my name suggests. The Australian in my name probably refers to the types of sheep herds brought here from Australia. I was developed right here in the western United States by livestock producers. Basque shepherds on the west coast were known for their little blue dogs. We’re naturals working with cattle and sheep. And consistent with American principles, I have a strong work ethic and a positive (onward ho!) spirit.