The Most Popular American Dog Breeds.
These are the breeds of dog that were developed in North America, usually the USA.
If you are a citizen of the United States, that statement (Made in America) is likely to conjure up feelings of national pride. But here we are looking at popular dog breeds from the whole of North America, which (geographically) includes Canada.
We do not think about dog breeds as being made, created, produced or built like a piece of clothing or technology, but like almost everything on earth these days, some person or group of people had a big hand in their creation.
American dog breeds can be anything from those produced in the 16th century by early settlers and pioneers to those whose breed profile is just now being written into the record.
They may even be primitive breeds that existed with Native American tribes from the dawn of modern history. Do they have anything in common? Well, Yes and No.
The Most Popular American Dog Breeds – History
All of the American Dog Breeds were at one time or another developed in the US with the assistance of breeds found elsewhere in the world.
Like breeds across the globe, they were designed for a purpose whether it was to create a breed that was better at doing a job or task or simply the brainchild of a breeder hoping to make a more affectionate, more hypoallergenic, more trainable lap dog.
From Prehistory to Modern Times
Then, there are those breeds that are ancient in origin and may have reached the Americas over the Bering land bridge during the last Ice Age. These early dogs no doubt traveled with their human counterparts anywhere between 35,000 and 12,000 years ago.
Slowly, these people eventually became the tribes we know as American Indians or Native Americans. Their dogs followed and performed duties such as hunting and retrieving, guarding livestock, serving as pack animals, hauling large containers of possessions over rugged terrain or were sacrificed as food for starving humans.
No doubt, dogs became the first domesticated animals of the new tribes of Native Americans as well as throughout the entire world.
Perhaps the specialized terrain needed a shepherd or sheepdog that could work the flocks better than a European dog.
Maybe 19th century urban dwellers needed a terrier that was better at catching the American type rats than those they currently had on hand. AND, sadly there were those who wanted a fighting dog capable of making their owners rich.
Both noble and decent folks created dogs alongside those that were in it just to exploit and harm the dogs they created.
By the 20th century, there was a need and desire to find dog breeds that would become companions – they may be breeds that were once used for other purposes but now they could be incorporated into a society that craved canine companionship – the four legged furry friend for a child that they could cuddle, pamper, and love.
AND, these dogs would love them back unconditionally.
Today, we look back and see that these American-made breeds were developed by people all over the country, from the Appalachian Mountains and New England and Alaska, to the heartlands of the US and the great southwestern states.
Wherever there are breeders, there are people who dream of creating a dog that is the ultimate hunter, cart puller, companion, or guardian.
So who are these “Made in America” dog breeds? I searched high and low to discover the breeds that were bred or developed in North America, and this is the list that I’ve accumulated.
Some are not registered with any breed or kennel club, even the clubs that are located in the U.S.A.. Other breeds have been around so long that they have developed a reputation and popularity throughout the world.
Here is my list of American dog breeds. Just click on the green breed title or the image to go to the full information page for each breed. Here we go!
List of American Dog Breeds
The Alaskan Malamut is a very strong, large dog bred for pulling an arctic sled. They are used to being in a pack, and when they are in a family situation it’s essential they they know the owner is the Alpha in the pack! Once they are properly trained, they are friendly and playful, and even good with kids.
The American Bulldog is bigger than the English Bulldog, and can weigh up to 120lbs and stand 28 inches at the withers. But the temperaments are similar – kind, gentle dogs who love playing with children and snoozing away the afternoon. They do need some exercise every day, but only minimal grooming.
These are very playful, small dogs that love bounding around. They love fetching balls and other toys, and can get most of their exercise in this way. They were recognized as a separate breed in 1940 by the English and Canadian Kennel Clubs, and by the AKC in 1946.It is the smallest breed of the ‘sporting dog’ group.
The American Dingo (or Carolina Dog) originated in Asia, and crossed over the Bering Sea land bridge thousands of years ago. They migrated south, breeding with Arctic and Alaskan dog breeds, contributing to the ‘Spitz’ dog appearance with a curled tail.
The American Eskimo Dog is a smart, affectionate pet that loves to be around its family. They are playful and energetic without being too rambunctious. These dogs are small enough to live in apartments, so long as they get ample exercise.
This being said, they are not best for owners who will not be home for most of the day, as they are prone to separation anxiety and will bark as a result.
The American Foxhound is the product of breeding English Foxhounds with French hounds, and later some Irish Foxhound too. They are friendly, docile and amiable at home, but can become distracted by an interesting scent, and take off. May be difficult to train.
A small to medium-size dog that is hypoallergenic and makes a great apartment dog. This is a happy and friendly dog breed that gets on well with people and other dogs. They originated in Louisiana and Maryland.
Pit Bulls are a much mis-understood dog breed that has gained an unfair reputation. It is recognized as a single pure breed by the United Kennel Club and the American Dog Breeders Association, but it is NOT recognized as a single breed by the American Kennel Club. There were several breeds of dog involved in the evolution of the American Pit Bull, and the whole breed has a complicated story.
A medium-size, short coated dog that is frequently confused with the American Pit Bull Terrier, and also with the English Staffordshire Terrier. They are calm, confident dogs that are very loyal to their family.
The American Water Spaniel was developed in the mid 1800s by European migrants in the Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan area of the USA. They wanted a very agile multi-purpose dog that could find game birds, point, spring the birds from the undergrowth, and then retrieve them from water or land.
The AWS is a medium-size breed that also makes a great companion, and is suitable for apartment life provided they get enough exercise. They are not difficult to train, but do need time and a consistent approach to get the best results. A rare breed, with only about 3,000 dogs registered.
Oddly, the modern Australian Shepherd has only a little to do with Australia! The breed can trace it’s origins to the Basque country on the borders of France and Spain. A number of Basque shepherds migrated to Australia, taking their local herding dogs with them.
After a number of generations in Australia, where the original Basque dog had been interbred with English Border Collies, the new generation headed for the USA.
The farmers and ranchers in California were impressed by the new arrivals, and mistakenly called them “Australian Shepherds”, as they had just come from Australia. The breed became further refined over the years, to suit U.S. conditions, and are now tough, lean ranch dogs that love to herd anything they can.
This strong work ethic makes them very active, and they need a home where they can get plenty of exercise.
As the name implies, this breed was developed to hunt Raccoons. While calm, amiable and laid-back in the family home, they become determined and single-minded once they have the scent of an animal to track down.
This is an intelligent dog, and keen to please its owner, but that Hound heritage means it has a mind of its own, and needs firm handing and training when young. They can appear stubborn, but it’s more a case of having an independent nature.
The Bluetick Coonhound originated in the Louisiana bayous and the Ozark Mountains in the southern USA in the early 1900’s. They probably trace their ancestry to the French hounds such as the Grand Bleu de Gasgogne which were crossed with Bloodhounds and some Foxhounds.
They are used for hunting, and can chase a raccoon up a tree very quickly. The Bluetick Coonhound is reputed to have a “cold nose”; in hound circles, this means that the dog can follow an old trail left by the hunted animal.
A lively, compact dog breed that is very well-behaved around the home. They love a brisk walk to the local park or outdoor cafe, and being with their owner. They are far evolved from their British Bulldog roots, and Boston Terriers have turned into happy-go-lucky characters that make great companions.
The Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized breed of dog, a Spaniel bred for hunting wild turkeys and ducks in the Wateree River Swamp of South Carolina, in the United States. It is the state dog of South Carolina, where it was discovered and further developed by hunters in the 1900s.
Carolina Dog (aka. American Dingo)
The Carolina Dog (or American Dingo ) originated in Asia, and crossed over the Bering Sea land bridge thousands of years ago. They migrated south, breeding with Arctic and Alaskan dog breeds, contributing to the ‘Spitz’ dog appearance with a curled tail.
Originating in the Catahoula Lake area of Louisiana, this is now the state dog of Louisiana. Bred for hunting and herding the local swamp pigs (‘hogs’) and cows, and also as a companion dog to guard the homestead and yet be good with the family children. A versatile and energetic breed that needs room to move, and early socialization to reduce suspicion towards strangers and territorial behavior.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a large and active retriever breed with a muscular build that loves being outdoors and especially in water! They have a dense, wavy coat that feels oily to the touch. They can tolerate extremely cold water, and are very good swimmers with webbed feet. Bred to retrieve ducks and geese from the freezing waters of Chesapeake Bay.
The Chinook is a breed of sled dog, developed in the state of New Hampshire during the early 20th century. The Chinook is New Hampshire’s official state dog.
This might seem an odd inclusion, given that the French Bulldog originated in France. But I include it here as it arrived in the USA in the late 1800s, and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1906. It became one of the most popular breeds in America, and now has over 115 years of breeding in the USA, surely justifying the tag “American Dog Breed”!
The Frenchie, as they are often called is a breed of small, happy dogs. Their energy exceeds their size, as this dog loves to run and play. These dogs are known for their insatiable desire to hang around people. They are little bundles of fun and great additions to any family they join.
The Kyi-Leo is a cross between a Lhasa Apso and a Maltese. The Kyi-Leo was created by accident in the 1950s in San Francisco, California. The word Kyi means Dog in Tibetan, and Leo means lion in Latin. The breed has become a popular designer breed.
This is a new breed to the dog world, having only been developed about 50 years ago. Disagreement over the nature of the dog, whether they are a pure breed or not, still rages today. But regardless of this, the Longhaired Whippet has gained a faithful following due to their sweet temperament.
Miniature Australian Shepherd
The Miniature American Shepherd was developed in the 1960s. American ranchers used selective breeding of small Australian Shepherd dogs. As a result they created even smaller replicas of the breed.
Miniaturization of a dog breed can be achieved in one of three ways, each with various pros and cons.
- Mix the larger dog breed with a smaller dog breed
- Introduce the dwarfism gene
- Repeatedly breed from the runts of litters
The Miniature American Shepherd was developed using the third option. But, modern mini Australian Shepherds may be made using any of these three.
The Mountain Cur was bred in the United States for hunting by early settlers. They also served as guard dogs, to protect the pioneers from wild animals and human bandits. Even today, they retain the instincts of a hunter and a guardian, and do best in a rural environment.
This is a modern re-creation of the now-extinct English Bulldog from the 18th Century. It is a wholly American breed, having been developed by David Leavitt in Pennsylvania from the 1970s. He used several breeds to achieve the looks of the original breed, but with a much more laid-back and calm nature. They are now regarded as one of the supreme ‘Calm dog breeds’.
This is North Carolina’s State Hound. It is a large hunting dog, originally descended from german Hanover hounds and bred in the USA by the Plott family.
As its name implies, this dog was bred to be a great rat catcher. They were very popular on American farms from around 1920 to 1940 for controlling rodent investations. The modern breed is sturdy and healthy, with a happy and playful nature, although somewhat distrustful of strangers.
The Redbone was originally developed as a hunter, to track down prey by scent and corner it or force it up a tree until the hunter arrived. They are calm and affectionate at home and make excellent family dogs, although better suited to country living than city life.
The Redtick Coonhound (more correctly called the English Coonhound) was bred from English Fox terriers in America, to hunt fox and raccoon. This is a calm and amiable hound at home, but dedicated and intense hunter once a scent is detected. Also referred to as the American English Coonhound by the American Kennel Club.
The Shiloh Shepherd is a relatively recent breed, based on the German Shepherd crossed with the Alaskan Malamute. It first appeared in the 1970s, and was developed to address 2 issues with the German Shepherd – it is intended to be more calm and amiable than the GSD, and with a much lower incidence of hip dysplasia. They make excellent companion and family dogs, but need socialization and training.
Teddy Roosevelt Terrier
The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is a small to medium-sized American hunting terrier. It is lower-set, with shorter legs, and is more muscular with heavier bone density than the related American Rat Terrier.
Smooth Fox Terriers
Toy Fox Terrier
The Toy Fox Terrier is a small terrier breed of dog, directly descended from the larger Smooth Fox Terrier but since 1936 registered in USA as a separate breed at UKC.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a breed of hound descended from the English and American Foxhounds. The breed originated in the United States when a dog known as “Tennessee Lead” was crossed into the Walker Hound in the 19th century
The Most Popular American Dog Breeds
I hope you enjoyed my list of the American dog breeds, and maybe learned something new! If you think I have missed a breed that should be included, please let me now, using the Contact Me link.