Dog breeds have been developed in many countries and on every continent except Antarctica. The United States in particular has given the dog world some incredible breeds. From California to Massachusetts, these all-American dog breeds are as unique and varied as the 50 states. They range in appearance, temperament, and purpose. Some were bred to work while others were developed more as lovable companions.
Here are 10 dog breeds that were born and bred in the United States.
Some American dog breeds can be found quite easily at animal shelters and reputable breeders throughout the country, but others aren't as common. Try a breed-specific rescue if you have your heart set on a particular breed.
01 of 10
The bulldog originated in England centuries ago where it was used to guard property, to drive cattle, and in barbaric blood sports. Bulldogs came to the United States in the 1700s where they also were used on farms and ranches for livestock work and as guardians. Around the time of World War II the breed was almost extinct, but breeders revitalized it and created a standard for the American version. These dogs are athletic, stocky, and muscular, yet they also can be quite friendly and clownish.
Group: Foundation Service Stock
Height: 22 to 25 inches (male); 20 to 23 inches (female)
Weight: 75 to 100 pounds (male); 60 to 80 pounds (female)
Coat and Color: Short, smooth coat; comes in any color, color pattern, or combination of colors other than solid black, solid blue, merle, and tricolor
Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years
02 of 10
The American hairless terrier came into existence when a hairless female puppy named Josephine was born in a litter of purebred rat terriers. Josephine’s owners, Edwin and Willie Scott of Louisiana, made it their mission to see whether they could produce more hairless puppies by breeding Josephine to other rat terriers. The American hairless terrier was fully recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2016 as part of the Terrier Group. It is the first hairless breed to be developed in the United States.
Group: Terrier (AKC)
Height: 12 to 16 inches
Weight: 12 to 16 pounds
Coat and Color: Soft and smooth hairless body; sometimes covered in a fine layer of almost invisible hair.
Life Expectancy: 14 to 16 years
03 of 10
The Alaskan malamute is a sled dog breed that's believed to have descended from wolf-dogs of thousands of years ago. Its name comes from the Mahlemiut, Inuit people of Alaska who developed a dog that could haul heavy loads over long distances and in harsh conditions. The Alaskan malamute has a thick double coat and a long tail that curves over its back to keep it warm. It's been recognized by the American Kennel Club since 1935.
Group: Working (AKC)
Height: 25 inches (male); 23 inches (female)
Weight: 85 pounds (male); 75 pounds (female)
Coat and Color: Thick, dense, fluffy double coat; comes in a variety of colors, including gray, black, sable, and white; eyes must always be brown, never blue
Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years
04 of 10
Despite its name, the American Eskimo dog was created not by indigenous people but by German immigrants to the U.S. who brought their German spitz dogs with them in the early 1800s. The highly trainable, striking white dogs proved extremely popular, and many even performed in circuses and other traveling shows. During World War I when there was a prejudice against Germany, the Germany spitz name was changed to American Eskimo dog. Today's Eskies are still charming and clever companions that love to have fun.
Group: Non-Sporting (AKC)
Height: 9 to 12 inches (toy); 12 to 15 inches (miniature); 15 to 19 inches (standard)
Weight: 6 to 10 pounds (toy); 10 to 20 pounds (miniature); 25 to 35 pounds (standard)
Coat and Color: Straight, dense double coat; white or white and biscuit in color
Life Expectancy: 13 to 15 yearsContinue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
The Australian shepherd's name is a complete misnomer; the breed was developed in the United States, not Australia. The Australian shepherd got its name because its predecessors passed through Australia. People from a region near the Pyrenees Mountains brought their shepherd dogs to Australia when they immigrated there. Then, some California ranchers got their hands on some of these herders and developed the Australian shepherd we know and love today. The Aussie is extremely smart, athletic, energetic, and personable.
Group: Herding (AKC)
Height: 20 to 23 inches (male); 18 to 21 inches (female)
Weight: 50 to 65 pounds (male); 40 to 55 pounds (female)
Coat and Color: Medium-length straight to wavy coat; comes in blue merle, black, red merle, and red with or without white markings
Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years
06 of 10
The Boston terrier was created in—you guessed it—Boston, Massachusetts. A dog named Judge, who was a cross between a bulldog and the extinct white English terrier, was sold to a Boston man. Judge was fairly small at around 30 pounds, but he was quite muscular. He formed the foundation of the Boston terrier breed. Through selective breeding, dogs that were even smaller and with a sweeter face arose to give us the breed we have today.
Group: Non-Sporting (AKC)
Height: 15 to 17 inches
Weight: 12 to 25 pounds
Coat and Color: Smooth coat; brindle, seal, or black with white markings
Life Expectancy: 11 to 13 years
07 of 10
The Boykin spaniel was developed in South Carolina around the turn of the 20th century by breeders who desired a fairly small dog with which to hunt turkeys from boats. According to legend, all Boykins are descended from a small mixed-breed stray that was trained by Whitaker “Whit” Boykin. These cheerful, outgoing dogs get along well with other dogs and possibly the family cat if taught to respect it, but pet birds cannot be considered safe around a Boykin. Boykins love people, including well-mannered children.
Group: Sporting (AKC)
Height: 15.5 to 18 inches (male); 14 to 16.5 inches (female)
Weight: 30 to 40 pounds (male); 25 to 35 pounds (female)
Coat and Color: Medium-length distinctive rich liver, brown, or dark chocolate coat that ranges from straight to slightly wavy
Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years
08 of 10
The Chesapeake Bay retriever was created in the region around the Chesapeake Bay, an estuary that reaches through Maryland and Virginia. The Chessie, as it is often called, was developed by duck hunters to be an excellent hunter and swimmer—and a tireless retriever of ducks. Newfoundlands, Irish water spaniels, and hounds are likely in its genetic mix. The dog has webbed feet to help it swim, along with a coat that repels water and keeps it warm.
Group: Sporting (AKC)
Height: 23 to 26 inches (male); 21 to 24 inches (female)
Weight: 65 to 80 pounds (male); 55 to 70 pounds (female)
Coat and Color: Short, thick, waterproof coat; comes in various colors of brown
Life Expectancy: 10 to 13 yearsContinue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
A hardy dog breed developed in the South as an all-purpose farm and hunting dog, the Catahoula leopard dog is named for its place of origin: Catahoula Parish, Louisiana. Today, the Catahoula is the official state dog of Louisiana. Although Catahoula leopard dogs are working dogs, they are also devoted family companions. Most get along well with respectful children when raised with them. But due to their hunting instincts, they might not get along well with other pets.
Group: Foundation Stock Service
Height: 22 to 24 inches
Weight: 50 to 95 pounds
Coat and Color: Short, smooth coat; comes in many different patterns and colors from brindle to patched to solid (any color other than solid white); many have blue eyes and a leopard-patterned coat
Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years
10 of 10
The toy fox terrier was developed in the United States in the 1930s by combining smooth fox terriers with toy breeds, including miniature pinschers and Italian greyhounds. It is a sweet, fun, and friendly dog. However, toy fox terriers also are small and fragile, so they are not recommended for families with rowdy children. These dogs are energetic and playful, but thanks to their size they can live in a small home.
Group: Toy (AKC)
Height: 8.5 and 11.5 inches
Weight: 3.5 to 7 pounds
Coat and Color: Short, smooth, satiny coat; comes in white, chocolate and tan, white and tan, white and black, or tricolor
Life Expectancy: 13 to 15 years