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12 All-American Dog Breeds

Nicole Cosgrove

Some of our favorite dogs come from all over the world. But did you know there are breeds of dogs that were born right here in the United States? There are, and many were used as working dogs long before they become the lovable house pets, we know the mas today.

These breeds came from all over, but they all share one thing in common. They were created right here on American soil and are still thriving today. From interesting origin stories to ones that are a mystery as to how they got here, these dogs really shine.

Take a look at our 12 all-American dog breeds.

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1. Alaskan Malamute

alaskan malamute in the forest
Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 10-14 years
  • Size: 25 inches (male), 23 inches (female)
  • Colors: Black and White, Blue and white, White, Gray and White, Sable and White
  • Temperament: Loyal, Playful, Hardworking
  • Weight: 85 pounds (male), 75 pounds (female)

As one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, this breed was named after the Innuit Malamute tribe. The origin of this dog was to serve as a pack animal to pull the sleds across Alaska. They were bred to be a freighting dog, and many are still used to move across the Arctic with ease. Alaskan Malamutes have amazing strength and incredible stamina, and they love to work.

2. American Eskimo Dog

american Eskimo dog
Image Credit: Scarlett Images, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 13-15 years
  • Size: 9-12 inches (toy), 12-15 inches (miniature), 15-19 inches (Standard)
  • Colors: White
  • Temperament: Playful, Intelligent, Perky
  • Weight: 6-10 pounds (toy), 10-20 pounds (miniature), 25-35 pounds (standard)

It is tempting to think that these dogs came from working sled dogs, but they didn’t. The American Eskimo Dog—Eskie, as they are commonly known—came from a Nordic lineage. These dogs were popular among German immigrants and later became popular with traveling circuses. The Eskie has amazing agility and an eye-catching white coat, making them easily trainable and unique looking. One of the biggest acts they performed was tightrope walking. Today they are companions with fluffy white coats and great family dogs.

3. American Foxhound

american foxhound_Giovanni Gio_Pixabay
Image Credit: Giovanni Gio, Pixabay
  • Lifespan: 11-13 years
  • Size: 22-25 inches (male), 21-24 inches (female)
  • Colors: Black White and Tan
  • Temperament: Independent, Easy-Going, Sweet-Tempered, Intelligent
  • Weight: 65-70 pounds (male), 60-65 pounds (female)

Hunting was a huge part of life for colonial America, and the American Foxhound was born as a scent hound. These dogs are energetic and easy to train, but love to be moving at all times. They have a great hunting instinct which proved useful in the early years. In fact, George Washington maintained a large pack of hounds at Mount Vernon for the use of hunting various games.

4. American Water Spaniel

american water spaniel_Shutterstock_Steve Bruckmann
Image: Steve Bruckmann, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 10-14 years
  • Size: 15-18 inches
  • Colors: Brown, Chocolate, Liver
  • Temperament: Eager, Happy, Energetic
  • Weight: 30-45 pounds (male), 25-40 pounds (female)

The origin of the American Water Spaniel is a mystery. Its place of origin is probably Wisconsin, where it has become that state’s dog. These dogs were developed as cold-water duck dogs, and that is still in their DNA today. These dogs love the water and are great at retrieving anything that is needed. They make great sport hunting dogs as their coat protects them from water and weather alike.

5. American Staffordshire Terrier

Image Credit: Myriams-Fotos, Pixabay
  • Lifespan: 12-16 years
  • Size: 18-19 inches (male), 17-18 inches (female)
  • Colors: Black, Cream, White, Slate, Red, Blue, Chocolate, Fawn
  • Temperament: Confident, Smart, Loving
  • Weight: 55-70 pounds (male), 40-55 pounds (female)

You might know this dog under a completely different name. American Staffordshire Terriers are Pit Bull Terriers, and they came to America as soon as the early 1800s. They were originally farm dogs because they were good for hunting and guarding the homestead, as well as companionship. Sadly, the dog’s line of work is more often known for the fighting, and not the farm work they used to do. Today, they make lovely companions and guard dogs and are full of love.

6. Australian Shepherd

Merle Australian Shepherd
Image Credit: Asiabasia, Pixabay
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Size: 20-23 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female)
  • Colors: Black, Blue Merle, Red, White markings, Tan Markings
  • Temperament: Loyal, Work-Oriented, Energetic, Intelligent
  • Weight: 50-65 pounds (male), 40-55 pounds (female)

How is this dog on the list when its name clearly says Australia? Well, unlike its name, it didn’t originate in Australia at all. This dog came from Spain and France and a result of crossbreeding smaller pups. There are many shepherds that hail from those countries but what makes these popular is they are great herding dogs. With the rise of Western riding after the second world war, Australian Shepherds became known to the public. This breed is versatile and easily trainable, making them great to have on farms and ranches. Today they do more than just farm work, but these intelligent dogs love to work.

7. Black and Tan Coonhound

Black and Tan Coonhound at the beach
Image Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Size: 25-27 inches (male), 23-25 inches (female)
  • Colors: Black and Tan
  • Temperament: Easy-going, Brave, Work-oriented
  • Weight: 65-110 pounds

This breed of dog was bred to hunt and track down big game. Much like other hounds, the Black and Tan Coonhound has a long tail and floppy ears that allow it to hear. As well as the howl that all hounds have to inform you that there is something going on. This coloring is specific, and it was bred into the dog and kept making it its own breed of coonhound. This breed hunts down deer, bear, boars, and even mountain lions. The stamina behind this dog is nothing to joke about and if they aren’t kept busy, then they get bored quickly.

8. Boston Terrier

Boston terrier
Image Credit: Eve Photography, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 11-13 years
  • Size: 15-17 inches
  • Colors: Black and White
  • Temperament: Friendly, Bright, Homebodies
  • Weight: 12-25 pounds

You may have seen the Boston Terrier with the nickname of the “American Gentleman”. The tuxedo markings make it easy to know that this is an all-American dog. The breed came from the English Bulldog and the English Terrier, and out came the Boston Terrier we know and love today. They are calm dogs and love to relax on the couch with their owners.

9. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Credit: Kerrie T, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 10-13 years
  • Size: 23-26 inches (male), 21-24 inches (female)
  • Colors: Brown, sedge, Deadgrass
  • Temperament: Affectionate, Bright, Sensitive, Work-oriented
  • Weight: 65-80 pounds (male), 55-70 pounds (female)

The origin story of this breed comes from two puppies who were rescued from a shipwreck in 1807 off the cost of Maryland. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is renowned for its ability to retrieve waterfowl from the icy waters of the Chesapeake with no issue. The coat this dog has is very dense and has this oily texture that allows the dog to deal with extreme weather conditions. The wave to this dog’s coat helps water just fall right off.

10. Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel standing near lake
Image Credit: lkoimages, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 10-14 years
  • Size: 5-15.5 inches (male), 13.5-14.5 inches (female)
  • Colors: Black, White, Tan, Brown, Cream, Red
  • Temperament: Gentle, Smart, Playful
  • Weight: 25-30 pounds (male), 20-25 pounds (female)

The Cocker Spaniel came to America back in 1620 with the landing of the Mayflower. In the early days there were two varieties, land, and water, and it was the weight that made them different. The name cocker came around because these dogs were used as retrieving dogs for woodcock shooting. Today there is an English Cocker Spaniel, and the American one. The big difference between the two is the size and leg size. American Cocker Spaniels have shorter legs and are smaller.

11. Plott

Plott Hound
Image Credit: Purino, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Size: 20-25 inches (male), 20-23 inches (female)
  • Colors: Black, Blue, Brown, Gray, Tan, White, Brindle, Buckskin, Maltese
  • Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, Intelligent, Alert
  • Weight: 50-60 pounds (male), 40-55 pounds (female)

You won’t meet another American dog with such an interesting start to life. This breed came to be when two brothers, The Plotts, left Germany and emigrated to America with three brindle and two buckskin Hanoverian Hounds. Over the course of the next 200 years, the Plott family became reknown mountain hunters. This hound dog came to be famous and known by the family name as they were trained to track or tree big game animals. Many Plotts still perform that function today.

12. Toy Fox Terrier

Toy Fox Terrier
Image Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 13-15 years
  • Size: 8-11.5 inches
  • Colors: White and Black, White and Tan, White Black and Tan, White and Chocolate
  • Temperament: Friendly, Alert, Intelligent, Funny
  • Weight: 5-7 pounds

A small dog with the grace of an Olympian is what you get with a Toy Fox Terrier. This breed is incredibly intelligent, and full of life. In making this breed, it started out with the Chihuahua and the Manchester Terrier to give us what we know today as the Toy Fox Terrier. As the name suggests, this dog used to chase down foxes but now settles in with their home life well.



There you have it! These 12 all-American dog breeds each have a unique start to their story, but all share the same place to call home. From the Alaskan Malamute to the Toy Fox Terrier, they each have their own set of skills and attributes. All of them are full of love, though, and make great pets across the United States.

Featured Image Credit: WilleeCole Photography, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.