This weekend, let’s celebrate independence, BBQ, and the red, white and blue—and our unique, all-American dog breeds, because everything is better with dogs.
Dog breeds that originate in the USA aren’t as common as you might think. Certain breeds stand out as bred-in-the-USA thanks to their names: think the American foxhound, Boston terrier, Alaskan husky, and Chesapeake Bay retriever.
But did you know about the toy fox terrier, Boykin spaniel, Blue Lacy, Catahoula leopard dog, and the Australian shepherd (yep—no fooling)? In honor of the 4th of July, read on to find out more about these awesome, surprisingly American dogs.
1. Toy Fox Terrier
The tiny toy fox terrier can trace its background to Great Britain, via the smooth fox terrier. Lucky for us, though, this scrappy little dog is still widely considered to be an American breed, having developed its breed standards here in the USA.
2. Boykin Spaniel
History tells that in the early 1900s, a South Carolina stray followed a man named Alexander White to church. A true dog lover, White couldn’t resist taking the dog home, and later, gifted the natural hunter to his hunting partner Whit Boykin. This little dog became the foundation for the Boykin spaniel, and with its cute curly coat and easy temperament, the Boykin makes a great American family pet.
3. Catahoula Leopard Dog
Unless you live in Louisiana, you probably don’t know that the Catahoula leopard dog has been the state’s official dog since 1979. This breed’s coat can range from red to blue merle, with some white spots thrown in. The breed appears in the Sookie Stackhouse novels that led to HBO’s True Blood, and actress Anna Paquin (who plays Sookie) owns a Catahoula named Banjo. What’s most curious, however, is this breed’s proclivity to climb trees!
4. Blue Lacy
This notably fast dog is a Texas original, and although the name suggests blue hues, the Blue Lacy can also boast reddish fur with spots of white, often on the paws. A mixture of shepherd, greyhound and wolf, this dog is named for the Lacy brothers who developed the breed’s herding instincts. The Blue Lacy became Texas’ state dog in 2005.
5. The Australian Shepherd
Wait… what? I know, we’re as confused as you are, but the “Aussie” was actually developed on ranches in the western United States and grew in popularity after World War I. These working dogs picked up the misleading name while they were shepherding imported sheep from Australia. Since they’re a whiz with the Frisbee, this energetic and agile breed is perfect for a Fourth of July picnic in the park.