All dogs seem to share certain traits and a common language, regardless of where they’re born. Nevertheless, each breed does have a distinct history that hails from its native country. Today, pet expert Marc Morrone, owner of Parrots of the World, discusses the heritage of a handful of dogs whose origins are 100 percent all-American.
One of the oldest American breeds, the Boston terrier is a cross between an English bulldog and an English terrier. Although he isn’t much of a fighter, he can fend for himself quite well. A wonderful companion and family pet, the Boston is often referred to as the "American gentleman of dogs."
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The Chesapeake Bay retriever, or "Chessy," is one of the few sporting breeds that evolved entirely in the United States. In the early nineteenth century, when an English cargo ship containing two Newfoundland puppies got wrecked off the coast of Maryland, the puppies were given to the Americans who took in the crew after the ship was rescued. The dogs, Canton and Sailor, were bred to some local hounds, and soon after, the first Chesapeake Bay retriever was born.
One of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, the Alaskan Malamute was developed by a tribe of nomadic and industrious Inuit people known as the Mahlemuts. The Mahlemuts lived in western Alaska—across from Siberia—and were thus in need of drafting dogs that were large, strong, and able to withstand the bitter cold. In addition to its said virtues, the "Mal" is fond of people, especially children who let them pull their sleds in winter.
American Water Spaniel
Considered to be Wisconsin’s state dog, the American water spaniel was developed in the Midwest during the early-twentieth century, primarily to retrieve downed ducks and geese on land and in the water. Lean and light, they’re tough hunters who are able to work in the cold, wetland waters of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota from early spring to late fall. Bred to be small enough to fit in hunters' canoes, these dogs make good pets for active families who can provide them with ample exercise and attention.
Despite its name, the Australian shepherd was developed exclusively in the United States in the late-nineteenth century. So named because of the breed's early association with some Basque sheepherders who migrated to the United States from Australia, it was bred to have strong herding and sheep-guarding instincts. The Australian shepherd's status rose with the increased popularity of Western-style horse riding after World War II, and the breed was subsequently often seen at rodeos, in movies, and on television shows. With its wonderful temperament, it makes a great family pet, while still maintaining a strong working instinct.