What does Made in America mean to you?
American dog breeds are made in 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.
Elsewhere in the world… well, not so much.
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.
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.
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.
Just like in all other countries around the world, people saw a need that could conceivably be filled by the work of a dog, and then began a program that would create the perfect candidate for doing that job.
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 substitute 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 find some breeds that were truly created in the U.S. and this is the
list that I’ve accumulated. Some (many)
are not registered with any breed or kennel club even the ones that are located
in the U.S.
Others have been around so long that they have developed a reputation and popularity throughout the world. First, the breeds that are known worldwide and are registered by at least one national kennel club.
Just click on the green breed title or the image to go to the full information page for each breed.
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 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.
The American Pit Bull is 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. Click on the button below to read more!
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 3000 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 breed, 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.
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 roots of Bulldogs and Terriers,and have turned into happy-go-lucky characters that make great companions.
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, muscular and active retriever breed 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 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 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.
This thick (911 page) reference manual contains all the breeds that are currently recognized by the AKC including all the newer ones that are listed in the Foundation Stock Services.
Not all of the breeds on this page, however are listed with the AKC.
This is an excellent reference for American dog breeds, also health care, training and behavior and daily care. A great addition to your dog library.
The breeds listed in this book not only include those registered with AKC, but also rarer breeds recognized by UKC or not recognized by any kennel club.
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