It’s a well-known fact that each American state has its unique official designations, from state flowers to state mottos, and even state insects! However, given that approximately two-thirds of American households, tallying up to around 65 million, are dog owners, it’s surprising that only 13 states have official state dogs. After all, dogs are often lovingly referred to as ‘man’s best friend.’
The Pampered Pup, recently conducted a poll of 3,000 respondents to find out their preferred breed if given the opportunity to vote for an official state dog.
The poll results unveiled a fascinating theme – Americans overwhelmingly favored breeds with significant historical ties to their respective states. This sentiment underscores a deep-rooted connection between the community, their history, and their preferred canine companions.
Hawaii: Hawaiian Poi Dog:
A heartwarming choice came from Hawaii, where residents selected the (now extinct) Hawaiian Poi Dog, also known as the ʻīlio. This breed has a profound historical connection to the Aloha State. The small- to medium-sized breed was native to the Hawaiian Islands, revered by the native Hawaiians for companionship, food, and religious ceremonies. Its historical and cultural significance makes it an appropriate symbol for the state.
Florida: Florida Cracker:
Floridians demonstrated their preference for a homegrown breed, the Florida Cracker cur. Originating from the dogs brought by Spanish explorers and colonizers, this breed played a crucial role in the development of Florida, primarily assisting in the cattle industry. Named after Florida’s early cowboys, known as “Crackers,” these dogs are known for their endurance, agility, and adaptability to the Floridian climate. They are uniquely suited to the local environment and are efficient in handling local wildlife, embodying the quintessential Floridian spirit of resilience and adaptability.
New Mexico: Xoloitzcuintli:
The Mexican Hairless Dog, or Xoloitzcuintli, was the top choice for New Mexicans, due to its deep historical ties with the region and its cultural significance. Pre-dating even the Mayans and Aztecs, the Xoloitzcuintli is considered one of the world’s oldest and rarest dog breeds, native to Mexico, but also with a rich history in the broader Southwestern U.S. region. Furthermore, the Xoloitzcuintli’s adaptability to desert climates, similar to New Mexico’s, showcases the breed’s resilience and compatibility with the local environment.
The Pampered Pup have created an interactive map showing how each state voted for their official dog , which you can view here.
“The results of the poll reflect more than just a favorite breed; they showcase the depth of connection between breeds and their historical context within each state,” said Zach Lovatt from The Pampered Pup. “Each choice tells a story of the state, its history, its culture, and its people. We believe every dog breed has a unique charm and character that aligns with the diverse American spirit.”