17 Most Loveable American Dog Breeds – Explore Cuties

american dog breeds

Do you know how many dogs are in the US? 89.7 million! In America, like all continents, there are plenty of beautiful and sweet American dog breeds, all with interesting histories and personalities. Some have US origins, and some immigrated here with their humans.

US History-Related Dogs

A couple of American Dog breeds date back to George Washington, who loved dogs and enjoyed hunting foxes (as one did then) and helped create the American Foxhound. He owned spaniels, terriers, Newfies, Greyhounds, briards, and many toy breeds.

American Dog Breeding

The oldest evidence of domesticated dogs in the US was 10,000 years old in Illinois. Modern American dogs aren’t direct descendants of domesticated North American wolves like ancient Japanese dogs and German breeds are.

Native Americans used dogs for hunting, one of the oldest ways that humans and canines collaborated. When people from the UK and other countries immigrated to America, they brought their dogs.

In America, like other places, breeders crossed different breeds to create dogs, shepherd, hunter, haul, and do whatever other jobs they needed to be done.

All American Dog Breed

Here are 17 all-American dog breeds that originated here or were perfected here. All of the American dog breeds have their own histories and traits.

1. American Bulldog

american dog breeds
GROUPNon-sporting
DOG’s SIZE20-25 inches tall
WEIGHT60-100 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort in white and black, white and brindle, white and brown, white and tan
LIFE SPAN10-12 years

American Bulldogs are smart, trainable, loyal, athletic, strong, agile, friendly, and thrive on human contact. They descended from English Bulldogs and were bred to work on farms.

Some may have been here in the 17th century, and settlers brought them here in the 1800s to work in the fields. The American Bully Dog breed were farm guardians, caught cattle, and herded livestock.

In the south, they were called White English Southern Bulldogs or just Bulldogs. They tackled and caught wild pigs.

2. American Foxhound

american dogs
GROUPHound
DOG’s SIZE21-25 inches tall
WEIGHT60-70 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort in black, white, and tan; white, black, and tan; white; white and red; white and cream; black, brown, and white; blue; tan; brown, white, and tan; red
LIFE SPAN11-13 years

American foxhounds are sweet, independent, good with kids and pups, low-maintenancefast, and energetic. They bawl loudly a lot. American foxhounds have longer legs than English foxhounds and need lots of exercise or will become sad and destructive.

The American foxhound dog breed has a high prey drive and may not be good for people who haven’t had a pup before.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Washington and his Virginian friends held on to their British identity, including fox hunting. They bred French dogs with English foxhounds to create the American foxhound. More refinements were made to the breed in post-colonial times. The American foxhound is the state dog of Virginia.

3. Alaskan Malamute

american dog
GROUPWorking
DOG’s SIZE23-25 inches tall
WEIGHT75-85 pounds
FUR AND COLORDouble medium-length coat in gray and white, black and white, red and white, seal and white, silver and white, white, sable and white, blue and white, agouti and white
LIFE SPAN10-14 years

The Alaskan malamute is a big fluff ball that’s playful, powerful, weatherproof, hard-working, protective, loyal, very trainable, and affectionate. Alaskan malamutes are also snuggly, have a gentle disposition, are friendly, and are great with children. The Alaskan malamute is one of the oldest Arctic sled dog breeds.

Their name comes from Mahlmiut, an Inuit tribe that lived in northwest Alaska after crossing the Bering Strait with their pups thousands of years ago. They were bred to pull sleds and haul heavy loads long distances. They are freighters, as opposed to types of Huskies that pull lighter loads quickly.

4. Boykin Spaniel

american dog breed
GROUPSporting
DOG’s SIZE14-18 inches tall
WEIGHT25-40 pounds
FUR AND COLORMedium length, wavy coat in liver
LIFE SPAN10-15 years

The Boykin Spaniel is friendly, energetic, playful, very trainable, lovable, good with other dogs and kids, and happy. The Boykin spaniel is a tenacious bird dog but calm at home.

They are champion swimmers who hunted turkeys and waterfowl, and they’re really sweet pets that were created in 20th century South Carolina in a town called Boykin, the name of the founder of the town.

Another man found a brown spaniel and took the dog hunting. The spaniel was a great hunter, could flush and retrieve turkeys, and liked water. Boykin bred the spaniel with Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, English Springers, American Water spaniels, and Cocker Spaniels, yielding today’s Boykin spaniel — which is the state dog.

5. Australian Shepherd

us dog breeds
GROUPHerding
DOG’s SIZE18-23 inches tall
WEIGHT40-65 pounds
FUR AND COLORDouble coat, medium length in black, blue merle, red, red merle
LIFE SPAN12-15 years

The Australian Shepherd is smart, works hard, and is good with children. This dog breed is exuberant, tough, a great herder, easy to train, energetic, and needs mental stimulation. Australian shepherds belonged to Basques, who moved briefly to Australia.

The Basques then moved to the US with their Australian shepherds. Australian shepherds were perfected in California.

They compulsively herd dogs, birds, kids, etc. Cowboys love them and recruited them for rodeos. Aussies will try to boss around a novice owner. Herders are bossy; they can’t help it.

6. American Eskimo Dog

us dog breeds
GROUPNon-sporting
DOG’s SIZEToy: 9-12 inches tall Miniature: 12-15 inches tall Standard: 15-19 inches tall
WEIGHTToy: 6-10 pounds Miniature: 10-20 pounds Standard: 25-35 pounds
FUR AND COLORMedium-length double coat white, white and biscuit
LIFE SPAN13-15 years

American Eskimo dogs are loyal, affectionate, friendly, intelligent, easy to train, good with children, energetic, and like to play. American Eskimo dogs are also agile, eager to please, and alert.

American Eskies have no relation to indigenous people as their ancestors are from Germany. Immigrants from Germany brought them to the American Midwest in the early 1800s.

The American Eskimo dog is a descendant of the German Spitz, which were farm dogs. The AKC says that Wild West shows, traveling circuses, and vaudeville troupes incorporated The American Eskie into their acts toward the end of the 19th century.

They are great performers. Due to anti-German sentiment during World War I, the name German spitz dogs was changed to “American Eskimo” dog.

7. Carolina Dog

all american dog
GROUPHound
DOG’s SIZE17.75-19.5 inches tall
WEIGHT30-55 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort in black, black and tan, buff, red, tawny, white, yellow
LIFE SPAN12-15 years

Carolina dogs are sighthounds that are reserved with strangers, independent, and loyal. They love their humans. They have a wolf/jackal look and are sometimes called the American dingo. Carolina dogs descended from the Paleo-Indians who traveled from Asia to North America over the Bering land bridge.

Many of them live wild in rural areas near the Georgia-South Carolina border and have been spotted in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.

8. American Water Spaniel

american puppys
GROUPSporting
DOG’s SIZE5-18 inches tall
WEIGHT25-45 pounds
FUR AND COLORMedium length in double curly coat in brown, chocolate, liver
LIFE SPAN10-14 years

The rare American water spaniel is happy, intelligent, athletic, charming, eager, and easy to train. They are from upper Midwest lake country and enjoy hunting and swimming (with their webbed feet).

Their curls range from tight to wavy, and their coat is waterproof. They like sports and being with their humans. They are the official state dog of Wisconsin.

European settlers in Minnesota and Wisconsin needed waterfowl for food. Historians don’t know exactly when, but American spaniels were probably bred from Irish spaniels, the Curly-coated retriever, and the now-extinct English water spaniel. They are an all-purpose pup that can hunt quail, pheasant, game birds, and rabbits.

9. Bluetick Coonhound

american hound dogs
GROUPHound
DOG’s SIZE21-27 inches tall
WEIGHT45-80 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort in blue ticked, blue ticked and tan
LIFE SPAN11-12 years

The Bluetick Coonhound is energetic, sweet, affectionate, very trainable, devoted, smart, muscular, good with dogs, and needs mental and physical stimulation. They are calm at home and tenacious hunters. They make the hunting dog baying/bawling sound. Blueticks have a high prey drive.

They are scent hounds created in America, where all coonhounds originate. Poor raccoons.

The American Kennel Club says that George Washington was given staghounds from Marquis de Lafayette, and US breeders crossed them with English foxhounds to create a hunter with endurance that can smell scents that are hours/days old. Blueticks also hunted big game in packs.

10. American Staffordshire Terrier

usa dogs
GROUPTerrier
DOG’s SIZE17-19 inches tall
WEIGHT 40-70 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort coat in black, white, brown, blue, fawn sable, blue fawn, red brindle, blue fawn brindle, liver, black brindle, fawn brindle, blue brindle, liver brindle, fawn, red, seal brown, red sable, brown brindle
LIFE SPAN12-16 years

The Staffie is protective, sweet, intelligent, courageous, affectionate, muscular, friendly, goofy, adorable, and likes to play. They enjoy mental and physical challenges.

Their ancestors were the UK “pit” dogs forced to participate in bloodsports of attacking bears and bulls while spectators bet on the winners. They also hunted rodents. Bulldogs are among their ancestors.

The White English Terrier and Black and Tan Terrier may be in their DNA, too. In the mid-1800s, Staffies arrived in the US, where breeders bred them to be bigger. Today’s American Staffordshire terriers are cutie pies that are great pets because these dogs love their people.

11. Toy Fox Terrier

american puppies
GROUPToy
DOG’s SIZE8.5-11.5 inches tall
WEIGHT 4-9 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort coat in white and black; white and tan; white, black, and tan; white, chocolate, and tan; white and chocolate
LIFE SPAN13-15 years

Toy fox terriers (TFT) are energetic, very trainable, alert, social, affectionate, intelligent, protective, and need mental stimulation. They bark a lot. Toy fox terriers began as barnyard ratters and have progressed to lapdogs and agility champs. They have lots of personality and need activity.

In the early 1900s, American breeders of Smooth fox terriers created the Toy fox terrier by breeding litter runts with toy dogs like Chihuahuas and Italian Greyhounds. That’s why TFTs have the energy of a terrier and the toy-breed personality. TFTs have been in circuses performing tricks and excelling in competitive agility.

12. Rat Terrier

usa dog
GROUPTerrier
DOG’s SIZE10-18 inches tall
WEIGHT10-25 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort in black and white; black, white, and tan; black, tan, and white; blue, white, and tan; red, white, and sable; white and apricot; white and black; white, black, and tan; white and blue fawn; white and blue; white and chocolate; white, chocolate, and tan; white and fawn; white and lemon; white and red; white and silver; white and tan; white
LIFE SPAN12-18 years

Rat terriers are loving, good with children, energetic, friendly, inquisitive, vigilant, quick, fun, protective, very trainable, and need mental stimulation and exercise. The Rat terrier can be miniature or standard. The AKC says Teddy Roosevelt may have named this breed.

Farmers needed to keep rats out of their grain. Rat terriers did that and were also hunting partners, kids’ playmates, henhouse guardians, and watchdogs. It’s a good thing that terriers have a lot of energy.

13. American Hairless Terrier

dog breeds united states
GROUPTerrier
DOG’s SIZE12-16 inches
WEIGHT12-28 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort coat or no fur inapricot; black; black and sable red; blue and fawn; chocolate; lemon; lilac diluted; red; red sable; white and apricot; white and black; white, black sable and red; white and blue; white and blue fawn; white and chocolate; white and lemon; white and red; black and tan; black, tan, and white; black brindle and white; blue and tan; blue, tan, and white; blue brindle’ blue brindle and white; blue fawn and white; chocolate brindle; chocolate and tan; lemon and white; red and tan; red and white; red brindle; red brindle and white; seal
LIFE SPAN14-16 years

The American hairless terrier is alert, energetic, courageous, affectionate, curious, fun, good with children, good watchdogs, easy to train, and great for allergy sufferers.

There are also American hairless terriers with a short coat. They came from Rat terriers, which were developed in England in the early 1800s. In the UK, they were called Feists because they are feisty.

British miners came to the US with their Feists, where they were crossed with Smooth fox terriers. In 1972, a hairless was born and gave birth to another hairless. Hairless were bred until a whole breed existed.

14. Boston Terrier

americas dog
GROUPNon-sporting
DOG’s SIZE10-12 inches tall
WEIGHT12-25 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort in black and white, black brindle and white, brindle and white, seal and white, seal brindle and white
LIFE SPAN11-13 years

The Boston terrier is friendly, affectionate, good with kids and dogs, intelligent, amusing, playful, alert, and energetic. Their history goes back to the 1860s in Liverpool, England, bloodsports.

Breeders crossed terriers with bull breeds to produce pit fighters and ratting champions. A Bulldog English Terrier (now extinct) mix named Judge was born, and Judge’s owner sold him to a Boston man.

Judge was bred with a small white female, and the modern Boston Terrier was created. The Boston Terrier is the official dog of Massachusetts, and they are always among the most popular dog breeds.

15. Catahoula Leopard Dog

Catahoula Leopard Dog
GROUPHound
DOG’s SIZE22-24 inches tall
WEIGHT50-95 pounds
FUR AND COLORShort in black, blue, yellow, red, chocolate, brindle, blue merle, red merle, white merle, yellow merle
LIFE SPAN10-14 years

The Catahoula leopard dog is independent, affectionate, protective, agile, faithful, watchful, gentle, easily trained, energetic, and needs mental stimulation. Catahoula means “sacred lake” in Choctaw. The Catahoula leopard, a working dog, and a companion, is the only canine native to Louisiana.

Catahoula leopard dogs have worked as livestock dogs, watchdogs, guard dogs, bay dogs, and tree dogs with their excellent hunting instincts — meaning they may not be good with other pets.

Catahoula leopard dogs are believed to be native American pups bred with bloodhounds, mastiffs, and greyhounds. They caught cows and hogs and are the official state dog of Louisiana.

16. Miniature American Shepherd

GROUPHerding
DOG’s SIZE13-18 inches tall
WEIGHT 20-40 pounds
FUR AND COLORDouble medium coat in black, blue merle, red, red merle
LIFE SPAN12-13 years

The Mini American shepherd is playful, energetic, intelligent, good-natured, devoted, loving, good with kids and dogs, protective, and needs mental stimulation.

They look like a small Aussie because, in the 1960s, Australian Shepherds that were performing in US rodeos were bred down. Equestrians use them as companions for horses in traveling shows.

17. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

dog usa
GROUPSporting
DOG’s SIZE23-26 inches tall
WEIGHT55-80 pounds
FUR AND COLORWiry and wavy medium length in brown, dark brown, dark deadgrass, deadgrass, light brown, light deadgrass, sedge, tan
LIFE SPAN10-13 years

The Chesapeake Bay retriever is energetic, intelligent, loving, athletic, easily trained, protective, sensitive, and needs mental stimulation.

The Chesapeake Bay retriever is a waterproof gun dog that needs early training and socialization. Chessies’ genetic mix includes Newfies, Irish water spaniels, hounds, and unknown breeds.

They were used to hunt ducks and geese in the Chesapeake Bay, an estuary that goes through Maryland and Virginia. They have also been used as therapy dogs and K-9s for search and rescue and drug/bomb detecting. These pups love people and dog sports.

FAQ’s

What Breed of Dogs Come From America?

This is a list of all-American pups:

  • American Bulldog
  • American Foxhound
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Boykin Spaniel
  • Australian Shepherd
  • American Eskimo Dog
  • Carolina Dog
  • American Water Spaniel
  • Bluetick Coonhound
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Toy Fox Terrier
  • Rat Terrier
  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Catahoula Leopard Dog
  • Miniature American Shepherd
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever

What Is the #1 Selling Breed of Dog in the US?

According to the AKC, the French bulldog was number one in 2023.

What Is Considered an All-American Dog?

Some sources say an all-American dog is a mixed breed.

Conclusion   

Many American dog breeds began as hunting dogs — making them very intelligent, athletic, energetic, and trainable. Check particular breed rescues, Petfinder, and shelters before contacting a breeder if you want to give a homeless dog a loving home.

Elise Margulis
Elise Margulis is a talented animal writer and a devoted pet parent residing near Manhattan in a cozy suburb. With a Chow mix and a rescued Siamese as her loyal companions, she's been animal-obsessed since childhood. Penning informative articles on pet nutrition, health, and animal welfare, she's also an avid advocate for adoption and animal rights. When she's not writing, she serves as the editor of two local online news sites. Working from home with her fur babies, she advocates adoption and animal welfare through volunteering and social media. A true animal lover and vegetarian for over 31 years, she's on a mission to raise awareness and make the world a better place for all creatures.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Your SpotOn GPS Collar with a $50 Discount
+

Get updates on the latest posts and more from World Animal Foundation straight to your inbox.

No Thanks