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Posted on Thursday, April 5th, 2012

State Dogs: Alaska’s Alaskan Malamute

Eleven states in the Unites States have designated an official state dog breed. The first state to select a dog breed as one of their state’s symbols was Maryland in 1964. They chose the Chesapeake Bay retriever. Great Dane followed a year later when it was named Pennsylvania’s state dog. Most dog breeds picked as state dogs are indigenous to their state. In addition to the 11 official State Dogs, three states have proposed canines. We will take a look at each of the official state dogs and their represented state in our series.

Alaska: the Alaskan malamute

In 2010, Alaska officially named the Alaskan malamute as their state dog. The road to becoming the big dog of the state wasn’t easy for the Alaskan malamute and it all started with a kindergarten student. In 1997, a student decided that her state needed an official dog. Fellow schoolmates from Anchorage agreed and did their part to help by researching dog breeds, making phone calls, and even testifying before the state legislature.

The students chose the Alaskan malamute for its longstanding ties to Alaska. For thousands of years, malamutes were valuable working dogs to an Inuit tribe because they could haul loads over very long distances in the harsh Arctic environment. The Alaskan malamute resembles a husky, but is much larger and stronger being the largest of the Arctic sled dogs.

Does your state have a state dog? If you don’t have one, what should yours be?

Here are the other official state dogs:

  • Louisiana: Catahoula Leopard Dog
  • Maryland: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Massachusetts: Boston Terrier
  • New Hampshire: Chinook
  • North Carolina: Plott Hound
  • Pennsylvania: Great Dane
  • South Carolina: Boykin spaniel
  • Texas: Blue Lacy
  • Virginia: American Foxhound
  • Wisconsin: American water spaniel