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21 American Dog Breeds: Pictures, Facts & Origin

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on May 29, 2024 by Dogster Team

american staffordshire terrier on the grass

21 American Dog Breeds: Pictures, Facts & Origin

Dogs are bred all around the world, lending to the rich cultures and diversities of each region. When it comes to the U.S., there’s no shortage of locally bred dogs to choose from. From small to big and sweet to sassy, a breed is out there for everyone to enjoy. Here are 21 American dog breeds that are proud to be from the good ‘ol United States and might be of interest to you.

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How Are American Dogs Classified?

For a dog to be considered an American breed, they need to have been developed in North America. Either they were domesticated early in their history (which current records suggest would’ve been thousands of years ago), or their ancestors were brought to the continent and later developed into the modern breeds that we know today.

The 21 American Dog Breeds

1. American Bulldog

American Bulldog running in the forest
Image Credit: Volchock, Shutterstock
Origin: Farms in America
Lifespan: 10–15 years
Weight: 60–130 pounds

The American Bulldog has been hailed as a working dog since their inception during the 17th century. They’ve traditionally worked as cattle herders, guards, hunters, and general farmhands. Unfortunately, American Bulldogs were also used for bull baiting sport in colonial America. Today, though, the medium-sized breed is revered as a loving family companion in homes throughout the country.

2. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute dog standing in the snow
Image Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock
Origin: Alaska, where their ancestors arrived from Siberia
Lifespan: 10–14 years
Weight: 75–85 pounds

The Alaskan Malamute is strong, athletic, and incredibly driven when it comes to performing their known duties. They’re also known for being affectionate and extremely loyal to their human companions. Their weatherproof coats are beautiful and do the all-important job of providing protection in harsh outdoor conditions. These strong-willed, independent dogs need a strong leader to head their “pack” at home.

3. American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terrier dog standing on grass
Image Credit: Zuzule, Shutterstock
Origin: Trout, Louisiana
Lifespan: 14–16 years
Weight: 5–26 pounds

The American Hairless Terrier stands no taller than about 16 inches and weighs no more than about 26 pounds. As their name suggests, they’re considered hairless (though they do have a fine coat of hair for a bit of protection), which can make them a potentially good option for those who have mild dog allergies. This friendly, outgoing breed gets along well with kids and adults alike.

4. Toy Fox Terrier

Toy Fox Terrier running
Image Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock
Origin: The United States, but not any specific location
Lifespan: 13–14 years
Weight: 4–9 pounds

Small and frisky, the Toy Fox Terrier is truly a joy to spend time with. This ratter might love chasing small prey, but they’re more inclined to hang out with their family members or play with the kids in the yard. This sturdy breed loves lying in laps and will keep everyone entertained while on outdoor adventures. They’re also typically sociable with strangers in public.

5. Rat Terrier

Miniature Rat Terrier in the yard
Image Credit: Nick Chase 68, Shutterstock
Origin: The U.S. from dogs brought over by British immigrants
Lifespan: 15–18 years
Weight: 10–25 pounds

The Rat Terrier is said to have been named by former President Teddy Roosevelt, but their nickname is the “exterminator dog” because of their impressive rat-hunting abilities. This breed comes in two different sizes: miniature and standard. Miniatures weigh about 10 pounds, whereas standards weigh about 25 pounds. They get along well in family environments and on the farm.

6. American Foxhound

American Foxhound
Image Credit: giovannistrapazzon, Unsplash
Origin: Virginia and Maryland
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Weight: 45–75 pounds

A low-maintenance and easygoing breed, the American Foxhound can get along well with humans and other animals alike—even cats! This breed is well-known for their endurance and hunting abilities, especially in the Southern parts of the United States. This gentle breed displays their intentions through their large, endearing eyes.

7. Mountain Cur

Image Credit: Kyle-Christian, Shutterstock
Origin: The mountains of Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio and surrounding areas
Lifespan: 14–16 years
Weight: 30–60 pounds

This is a hunting dog through and through, like many American breeds, and is courageous, adventurous, and quick-thinking. Mountain Curs are also fast, independent, and loyal to their human companions. They will fight to protect their companions and property if necessary but never without reason for doing so.

8. American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier in a green grass lawn
Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock
Origin: The United States, from the Pit Bull Terriers brought to the country from Britain
Lifespan: 12–16 years
Weight: 40–70 pounds

The American Staffordshire Terrier might come from a line of dog fighters, but the breed is known for being good-natured, confident, and patient with their human companions. When well-socialized, this breed does well in public spaces and tends to be good at “reading the room” when it comes to behavior in social settings. These dogs are agile yet graceful and adventurous yet laidback.

9. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock
Origin: Maryland and Virginia
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Weight: 55–80 pounds

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a duck dog known for being upbeat, affectionate, curious, and tireless in their endeavors. They have a waterproof coat that comes in handy during outdoor adventures, as they love getting in all kinds of water, be it a swimming pool, a lake, or the ocean. While they have a mind of their own and tend to be stubborn, they usually take to training well.

10. American Water Spaniel

Image Credit: Bennett-Walker, Shutterstock
Origin: Wisconsin
Lifespan: 13–15 years
Weight: 25–45 pounds

The American Water Spaniel comes from the Midwest of America, the area considered “lake country” due to all the titular lakes. This athletic breed enjoys nothing more than swimming and hunting. Most American Water Spaniels are sweet, eager to please, and well-behaved for their human companions. These dogs have thick brown coats that protect them from frigid waters.

11. Catahoula Leopard Dog

brindle catahoula leopard dog lying on the road
Image Credit: nik174, Shutterstock
Origin: Louisiana
Lifespan: 10–14 years
Weight: 50–95 pounds

This is a multi-purpose breed with an athletic build, well-toned muscles, and impressive agility. While at work, the Catahoula Leopard Dog maintain a serious demeanor. However, they’re easygoing and playful when with companions in their home environment. They also happen to be sensitive, so positive reinforcement is the best way to train and manage this dog as time goes on.

12. Treeing Walker Coonhound

Image Credit: Mary-Swift, Shutterstock
Origin: Virginia
Lifespan: 12–13 years
Weight: 50–70 pounds

As a medium-sized breed, the Treeing Walker Coonhound was built to hunt. They have smooth fur and a tricolor pattern that is usually black, tan, and white. These are adventurous dogs with strong prey drives, so they’re likely to take off after any small animal that they see scurrying around outdoors. This vocal breed has stubborn tendencies, which can make training challenging for those who aren’t experienced.

13. Black and Tan Coonhound

black and tan coonhound dog playing fetch
Image Credit: WilleeCole Photography, Shutterstock
Origin: The Southern parts of the United States
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Weight: 55–75 pounds

Lovingly referred to as Black and Tans, these dogs are friendly and love spending time with other people and animals. They are not independent, but rather loyal and fun-loving. This breed also happens to be good at hunting, and they enjoy spending as much time outdoors as possible. These adventurous dogs also love to hike, camp, and even go on road trips.

14. Bluetick Coonhound

bluetick coonhound dog standing on grass
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock
Origin: Louisiana
Lifespan: 11–12 years
Weight: 45–80 pounds

This gorgeous Coonhound breed is a total charmer that likes to laze around under trees on hot summer days and comfy couches when it’s cold outside. When they’re in action, they are relentless and bold, which is helpful while on the hunt and the agility field. Sleek and agile, the Bluetick Coonhound is a noisy breed that likes to bawl, bark, and bay, especially at night.

15. Redbone Coonhound

Image Credit: Cindy-Underwood, Shutterstock
Origin: The Southern United States
Lifespan: 11–12 years
Weight: 45–70 pounds

As an active breed, the Redbone Coonhound will spend all day exploring the outdoors if they have the opportunity. When in their family environment, they tend to be even-tempered, mellow, and patient. A quick daily walk is not enough for these dogs to stay happy and fit, though. They want to swim, hunt, and hike, which makes them perfect companions for active outdoorsy people.

16. Carolina Dog

A happy Carolina Dog
Image Credit: Steve McDonald, Shutterstock
Origin: From canines that got to America via Paleo-Indians from Asia
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Weight: 30–55 pounds

The Carolina Dog tend to be suspicious of strangers, especially if they are not properly socialized while puppies. Still, once comfortable in their environment, they are relaxed and interactive with their human companions. They are great watchdogs, as they’ll alert everyone around when someone is coming to the door or something doesn’t look or sound right outside.

17. Boykin Spaniel

Image Credit: Zadranka, Shutterstock
Origin: South Carolina
Lifespan: 14–16 years
Weight: 25–40 pounds

With a rich beautiful coat of brown hair, the Boykin Spaniel is cheerful, outgoing, and eager to be a part of any social activity in the vicinity. This bird dog shows a great deal of expression when communicating with their human companions. They also have webbed toes, which enable them to become excellent swimmers as they age. They’re known for their waterfowl and turkey hunting skills in the South.

18. Chinook

Image Credit: rwtrahul, Shutterstock
Origin: New Hampshire
Lifespan: 13–15 years
Weight: 55–90 pounds

Originally bred as athletes, these dogs have become popular household pets in certain parts of the United States. They don’t like spending time alone and thrive in pack environments, so there should always be a human and/or canine companion for them to spend time with at home. The Chinook is an intelligent breed that catches on quickly during obedience training sessions.

19. Plott Hound

Plott Hound Mix Brindle at the dog park
Image Credit: WatersPix, Shutterstock
Origin: North Carolina
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Weight: 40–60 pounds

The Plott Hound is North Carolina’s state dog and for good reason. The breed is known for excelling while on the hunt, and the state is a hunter’s paradise. While this is a rugged, outdoorsy breed, the average Plott Hound is laidback and family oriented while in their home environment. They can get along well with kids who don’t tease them, though they can get too rambunctious for the likes of young children.

20. Australian Shepherd

an australian shepherd dog standing by the sofa
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock
Origin: The Western United States
Lifespan: 13–15 years
Weight: 35–70 pounds

Despite the breed’s name, the Australian Shepherd hails from the United States, where they were developed to perform as ranch hands. Australian Shepherds were popular regulars at rodeos throughout the country and will likely always be linked to “cowboy culture.” As born herders, these dogs tend to try to herd any animals they come across, be they other dogs, cats, or birds.

21. American Staghound

Origin: Various states throughout the U.S.
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Weight: 50–100 pounds

These dogs are calm and affectionate, but one of their favorite things to do is to give chase whenever perceived prey is nearby. This can make obedience tough while they’re spending time unleashed outdoors, so they require serious supervision and a firm yet loving hand. American Staghounds are more than just hunters, though. They love children and are great cuddlers.

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This list is made up of companions, workers, and protectors, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a breed that’s right for your household and lifestyle. That said, American dogs are all amazing in their own right.

See Also: 

Featured Image Credit: Vera Zinkova, Shutterstock

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