There may not be a single best dog breed for any state, but below is our list of breeds that hold a special place in the hearts of residents of each of the 50 United States. With 193 dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, plus additional mixed breeds and shelter mixes, it was difficult coming up with a single best breed for each of the 50 states. Since the best dog breed for someone in California may not be the best breed for someone in Florida, we looked at many deciding factors, including, the state’s climate, urban versus rural distribution, popular activities, historic events, and even state of origin for some breeds. Even after applying so many metrics, we still found it necessary to add some very close runners-up to the list.
What breed do you think best fits the character of your state? Let us know in the comments below. Are you looking for the best breed for you? Visit our Dog Breed Selector to find a dog breed that matches your lifestyle.
The Best Dog Breed for Alabama – Beagle
The Beagle is a popular choice in Alabama, both as a hunting companion and a family pet for fun walks on their favorite leash. This hound has an impressive sense of smell—a perfect attribute for rabbit hunting, barn hunt competitions, or scent work games.
Runner Up: Celebrate Alabama’s quail hunting tradition with a birdy Pointer by your side. This breed is smart, energetic, and alert, but as happy to relax with family when the hunt is over.
The Best Dog Breed for Alaska – Alaskan Malamute
The Alaskan Malamute is the official state dog of Alaska. This sturdy, energetic breed was developed to work and hunt alongside people and is still used to pull sleds. Enjoying an outdoors adventure in Alaska? Your Mal will want to join the fun.
Runner Up: The sociable Keeshond is built for cooler climates—a thick double coat keeps this breed cozy in the chilliest weather. Just remember his fuzzy coat during the muddy spring season—you’ll want a few extra super-absorbant towels by the door to dry off after an energetic romp in the yard.
The Best Dog Breed for Arizona – Doberman
Dobies can take heat—but they’re also plenty willing to curl up on your feet, with the AC blasting, while you catch up on the latest episode of your favorite show, which makes Doberman Pinschers the best dogs for Arizona. City condo or rural living—with enough exercise, he’s happy in either setting. This working-type dog is thrilled to take on any adventure; invite your companion along for a hike.
Runner Up: The Chihuahua is another heat-resistant canine, more compact in size to be sure. In 2014, Arizona’s animal shelters made news due to an overabundance of the diminutive dog, prompting rescue efforts across the country. Want a small, dedicated canine? A Chi (from your local Arizona rescue) may be a perfect match.
The Best Dog Breed for Arkansas – Golden Retriever
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) named Arkansas the most dog-loving state, and because it boasts so many dog-friendly things to see and do, you’re going to want a canine companion who can keep up. The gregarious Golden Retriever is athletic and ready to wander—and she’ll be thrilled to meet other dogs along the journey. Bonus points: She’s bound to become your top duck hunting companion, and you can’t mention Arkansas without a nod to the dedicated waterfowlers who reside there.
Runner Up: Arkansas has an affinity for giant dog breeds, with Google Trends showing “giant dog breed” and “bulldog breeds” among some of the top dog-related searches in 2019. The lanky Great Dane is a heat-tolerant giant. He can handle the humid weather better than short-snouted breeds.
The Best Dog Breed for California – Shelter Dog
Thanks to the big hearts of residents, the Shelter Dog is the best dog for California. Not only is California’s state pet the Shelter Pet, but exploring rescues and animal shelters allows you to find the perfect dog, which suits many residents’ deep appreciation for individuality and a free-spirited lifestyle. Fans of purebred canines can take heart—many shelters and rescues take in popular breeds regularly.
Runner Up: California—more specifically, San Francisco—loves the Frenchie. The compact canine is thrilled with a jaunt around the dog park or a day taste-testing homemade dog biscuits in air-conditioned comfort.
The Best Dog Breed for Colorado – Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd was developed in ranching states, and mainly in Colorado. This herding breed is intelligent and energetic, and perfectly happy as a ranch hand or family companion. Or join an agility or flyball club—Colorado has plenty of them—and let your Aussie burn some energy on the course.
Runner Up: Energetic, friendly, and hardworking—the adventurous Border Collie is well suited to the Colorado lifestyle. The Border Collie is an intelligent breed with an enthusiastic love of the outdoors. That doesn’t mean the breed is off-limits for city-dwelling Coloradans—there are plenty of dog parks throughout the state for burning off excess doggy energy.
The Best Dog Breed for Connecticut – Bulldog
Yale mascot Handsome Dan is a Bulldog…with a twist. The current Handsome Dan title-holder is the first to be an Olde English Bulldogge, an American breed developed in the 1970s and recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2014. The breed standard calls for OEBs to be “outgoing and happy” in temperament, and “devoid of all breathing issues.” And these dogs breathe very well, though like other short-nosed breeds, the OEB can be sensitive to heat. Luckily that’s not a problem many days of the year in Connecticut.
The Best Dog Breed for Delaware – American Staffordshire Terrier
Delaware banned breed-specific legislation in 2017: This state embraces all well-behaved canines regardless of their “look” or the results of their genetic testing. The oft-maligned and happy-go-lucky AmStaff is as welcome as any other dog in Delaware.
Runner Up: Look to the most famous Delaware residents when adding a new dog to the family. Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, adopted a German Shepherd puppy in 2018. The couple fostered the puppy after his arrival at the Delaware Humane Association.
The Best Dog Breed for Florida – Chihuahua
Chihuahuas are not only the best breed for Florida, but because of their ability to tolerate tropical climates, they’re also the best dog breed for hot weather in general. This pint-sized option is also perfect for seniors and families who may not be up for a large dog, but who have plenty of love to give.
Runner Up: The Havanese is a small, social breed that learns tricks with ease, can manage hot climates, and can even learn to use a litter box. German Shepherds are favored in South Florida. Keep an eye on the heat and humidity, regardless of the breed—any dog can suffer heatstroke.
The Best Dog Breed for Georgia – Goldendoodle
The Goldendoodle—a Golden Retriever/Poodle mixed breed—is all Southern charm. This social dog is happy to be the welcoming committee when guests arrive for relaxing on the front porch, but she’ll never turn down a romp in the yard.
Runner Up: In 2016, two Georgia state representatives penned a bill that designated the “Adoptable Dog” as the official State Dog to raise awareness for shelter animals. Cover all your bases: Contact your local animal shelter to see if there are any Goldendoodles in residence.
The Best Dog Breed for Hawaii – French Bulldog
In the AKC’s nationwide popularity numbers, French Bulldogs rank near the top, at number four out of more than 200 breeds. But Hawaii holds a special affinity for these little charmers: It’s the only state where Frenchies are number one. These stable, genial, adaptable companions can be happy ‘channel surfing’ on the couch or actually surfing—in the ocean. But for any activity involving water, a well-fitting life jacket is essential. Due to their front-heavy build, French Bulldogs are notoriously poor swimmers.
Runner Up: Portuguese Water Dog. As you might guess, Porties thrive in the water. They are highly active companions who love physical activity and pleasing their owners. ‘Channel surfing’ is on a Portie’s to-do list only after he’s gotten vigorous exercise. And if that exercise was in the Pacific Ocean, then he’s one happy dog.
The Best Dog Breed for Idaho – Sled dogs
Sled dogs of all stripes can be found at the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge, Iditarod qualifier races held in Idaho’s West Central Mountains. Or, if you want to stay east of the mountains, your best bet is to head to Ashton for the American Dog Derby, the oldest dog sled race in the United States. Idaho is one of the most sparsely populated states in the US, so dogs who love to run have plenty of room to do it.
Runner Up: Idaho’s gorgeous wide-open spaces call people outdoors in all kinds of weather, and people like dogs who can keep up. But in the case of Border Collies, famously energetic working dogs, it’s probably the people who need to keep up. Border Collies make the top 10 in only three states: Idaho and similarly expansive Wyoming and South Dakota. A desire to be outdoors and plenty of space to use out there make the Border Collie a happy dog in Idaho.
The Best Dog Breed for Illinois – Schnauzer
Miniature and Standard Schnauzers are sporty, energetic dogs who also make good apartment companions. They love a daily romp at the dog park, or a nice run in the city, and then will fit very happily into even a small space with the family. This is great news for the many city dwellers in Illinois: Almost half the state’s population can be found in Cook and Dupage counties, alone. And the Schnauzer, who hails from Germany, would find plenty of old-country company there: As of the 2000 census, more than 15 percent of people in Chicagoland could claim German ancestry.
Runner Up: Outside of the cities, the German influence continues: Germans are the largest ethnic group in about 80 percent of the Illinois suburbs. Beyond the hustle and bustle of Chicago or one of Illinois’ other urban centers, you might consider a Giant Schnauzer. These large and serious dogs are energetic and territorial—they are not to be taken lightly. But with an experienced owner, room to run, and a job to do, they can make stalwart companions.
The Best Dog Breed for Indiana – Parson or Jack Russell Terrier
Sometimes described as “spitfires,” PRTs are feisty, adventure-loving athletes. They are fleet of foot, quick of brain, and absolutely obsessed with tennis balls…making them ideal candidates for flyball. Indianapolis is home to the Guinness World Record-holding “Largest Flyball Tournament.” Compete with your Parson Russell Terrier and show ’em how it’s done.
Runner Up: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is home to the annual IndyHumane Mutt Strut. Walk the Grand Prix course or take the shorter route—and don’t leave your dog behind. Norman, 2019 Indianapolis 500 champ Simon Pagenaud’s Jack Russell Terrier, has taken his stroll in Victory Lane—bring your own terrier to check it out.
The Best Dog Breed for Iowa – Springer Spaniel
Upland hunters and families alike appreciate the Springer Spaniel’s outgoing, enthusiastic nature. The pheasant harvest has increased in recent years, and a family-friendly, birdy breed may motivate a new generation of hunters to join you in the field.
Runner Up: The Miniature Pinscher is a tenacious ratter bred to chase vermin from the farm, making them a wiz in Barn Hunt competitions. And this devoted cuddler is happy to warm your lap during Iowa’s cold winter months.
The Best Dog Breed for Kansas – Cairn Terrier
Breed fans will talk up this dog’s sensible, independent nature, her lapdog size but sturdy constitution, her shining intelligence, and generosity of spirit. These qualities alone might make her famous, but this breed is best known as the dog who visited Oz: Feisty Toto was a Cairn Terrier. True terriers, Cairns will dig, chase, and run, and should be allowed off leash only inside a fenced enclosure. You surely won’t want her to get lost: Home is where the dog is, and when your dog is a Cairn Terrier, “There’s no place like home.”
Runner Up: In a state that’s almost entirely agricultural, and with 26 state parks to explore, you’ll want a dog who can make the most of the space. The Airedale, known as the King of Terriers, is a wire-coated breed with unmatched versatility. The energetic type excels in ratting, hunting, guarding, and family life. For work or play, the Airedale Terrier may be the breed for you.
The Best Dog Breed for Kentucky – Beagle
Kentucky is the only state in the nation where the friendly, cheerful Beagle is number one in popularity. Kentucky likes to get its hunt on, and so do Beagles: a match made in heaven. And speaking of matches, a Beagle from Kentucky named Guy became royalty in 2018 when his owner, Meghan Markle, married England’s Prince Harry. As a young dog, Guy found himself in a low-kill Kentucky shelter, where he was a sweet little Beagle among many. A rescue group took him up to an adoption event in Ontario, where he met the not-yet-royal Markle and her dog Bogart. And the rest is royal history.
Runner Up: When it comes to animals, Kentucky is best known for its horses. The tireless Dalmatian was originally bred to run along with horses and coaches, waiting with them and guarding them while their people were away. This energy-plus-endurance and a penchant to protect remain in the breed today; they need exercise, and early socialization and training to stay happy and well mannered. Dalmatians are compatible with horses and families… it’s easy to ‘spot’ why so many people love them.
The Best Dog Breed for Louisiana – Catahoula Leopard Dog
Louisiana’s state dog since 1979, the Catahoula Leopard Dog is named for Catahoula Parish. The original purpose of the breed was wild boar hunting and herding, and its strong prey drive remains. While the Catahoula Leopard Dog is not an ideal candidate as a family pet, many people appreciate the intelligence and assertiveness he brings to the hunt or farm.
Runner Up: Louisiana’s pet owners love dogs of all sizes; Boxers and Yorkies are among the most popular breeds in NOLA. Compact, energetic Yorkshire Terriers keep you company as you wander dog-friendly New Orleans, and the stoic Boxer lets loose on treks to the dog park or a favorite hiking trail.
The Best Dog Breed for Maine – Great Pyrenees
The Sea Dog Brewing Company logo features its mascot, Barney, the Great Pyr, so the breed is already a familiar sight to Mainers. They’re also built for the state: A long, thick double coat protects them against wind and cold, and many have double dewclaws that help them balance while climbing rocky shorelines or heading up the trail to catch the perfect view.
Runner Up: Not ready for a giant breed? Go for the medium-sized Labrador Retriever. It’s the most popular breed in the state, and it’s easy to see why—this energetic, water-loving breed is always looking for the next great adventure.
The Best Dog Breed for Maryland – Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is Maryland’s official state dog, named after the state’s famous Chesapeake Bay.
Runner Up: Another water-loving breed that’ll be at home in sand and surf is the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. The first state law relating to waterfowl hunting was passed in Maryland in 1833—what better way to honor the hunting tradition than choosing this ‘birdy’ breed.
The Best Dog Breed for Massachusetts – Boston Terrier
Named for the city where the breed was developed, the Boston Terrier is an official Massachusetts state dog. His markings create a sophisticated tuxedo, fitting for this “American Gentleman,” as the breed is nicknamed. While energetic, this lively dog is built perfectly for apartment living. He doesn’t take up much space, and he’s thrilled to strut down the street to visit friends at the dog park.
Runner Up: The Flat-Coated Retriever is a sporting breed with three things on her mind: swimming, fetch, and family. Oceans, lakes, rivers—anywhere there’s water—this breed is more than ready to take a dip. She shares qualities with the Lab, but her own personality characteristics set her apart—in true Massachusetts fashion.
The Best Dog Breed for Michigan – Labradoodle
Kevin the Labradoodle, adopted by the Governor’s family in 2019, has begun his career in politics. He attends meetings and greets representatives with all the puppylike enthusiasm. The First Family’s addition gave the Labradoodle (a cross between a Lab and a Standard Poodle) a boost in popularity, with a surge in people searching for this breed.
Runner Up: In a state with more than 11,000 lakes and ponds and more than 36,000 miles of streams, a water-loving breed is the way to go. A European favorite for centuries—even appearing in paintings as far back as the Middle Ages—the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is new to the USA. The breed was likely used in development of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever; it’s similar in appearance, purpose, and temperament. Kooikers are naturals at dock diving—a sport that’s made a big splash in Michigan.
The Best Dog Breed for Minnesota – Labrador Retriever
In an initiative to get kids interested in the legislative process and to support Pawsitivity’s mission of training rescue dogs as service dogs, Minnesota Legislature and Pawsitivity launched a “MN Needs a State Dog” campaign. The effort encourages residents to contact their legislators to recommend the Labrador Retriever as the official state dog. Noted benefits of the Lab include a weatherproof coat to stand up to Minnesota weather, an aptitude for hunting, and a notoriously friendly demeanor.
Runner Up: Take the campaign to heart and find a rescue dog of your own—Lab, Sheltie, Japanese Chin, or Maltese. Breed-specific rescues have purebred and mixed-breed companions looking for a place to call home, and it’s more common than you’d think for animal shelters to receive purebred dogs.
The Best Dog Breed for Mississippi – Pomeranian
Theodore Roosevelt refused to kill a bear on a hunt in Mississippi in 1902, which gave us the famous “Teddy Bear”—the stuffed toy was inspired by a cartoon depicting the now-famous hunt. Having a Pomeranian in the house is almost like having a teddy bear—except this one is fantastic at agility, and learning advanced tricks.
Runner Up: Mississippi has a thriving falconry community—and some of the bird and human teams have room for a canine companion as well. Whether you’re a falconer, or just admire the ancient technique, a flushing breed may be your type. The Cocker Spaniel is a strong, sturdy breed that is a master in the field, and a loving companion at home.
The Best Dog Breed for Missouri – English Setter
Jim the Wonder Dog, a Llewellin Setter, was known for his uncanny ability to follow verbal commands. The jury’s out on whether Jim possessed psychic abilities—or was simply in tune with his owner’s cues. In 2012, Jim the Wonder Dog was considered as a candidate for the state’s official Historical Dog—but a hound dog named Old Drum won that honor. English Setters were developed from Llewellin Setters, and while some debate exists over the differences between the two, a Setter by either name makes an incredible hunting companion and family dog.
Runner Up: The Anheuser-Busch brewing company, located in Missouri, featured Spuds Mackenzie, a Bull Terrier, in its Bud Light commercials from the 1980s. Bull Terriers are clownish canines with plenty of energy—the perfect companion to join you on your treks outdoors.
The Best Dog Breed for Montana – American Eskimo Dog
The snow-loving Eskie won’t turn up her nose at wintertime walks; she’s built for the cold temps and snow drifts in Montana. Good luck getting her inside when the flakes start to fall—a little snow is nothing to a thick, double-coated American Eskimo Dog. They make a great match for summertime recreation, too: Eskies love to hike, swim, and participate in agility.
Runner Up: Another cold-loving breed, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a popular choice in Montana. The Berner is an active dog, ready for hiking, camping, and enjoying time with his people. And, as if the breed’s predilection for the outdoors wasn’t enough to sway a woodland-loving Montanan, look at its name: ‘Montana’ comes from the latin word montanea, meaning ‘mountain.’
The Best Dog Breed for Nebraska – Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was developed as a farm and hunting dog, proven by its energy and drive. The state’s barn hunt and agility competitions are a great way to burn off some of that terrier energy. And the Wheaten Terrier’s coat is long enough that the breed tolerates cold weather.
Runner Up: Nebraska’s Fort Robinson was a military canine training site during World War II, and many dogs trained at the facility were loaned by citizens who wanted to contribute to the effort. While German Shepherds, Belgian Sheepdogs, Collies, Huskies, Malamutes, and Eskimo Dogs became the preferred breeds, mixed breeds were also accepted. They were trained as scout and messenger dogs, and to pull sleds. The moral of the story: They’re all good dogs.
The Best Dog Breed for Nevada – Vizsla
The agile, energetic Vizsla is an impressive companion for bird-hunting Nevadans. This gundog is built for the dry desert climate, and the breed has a natural ability for both pointing and retrieving. Not into upland hunting? The affectionate Vizsla is also happy to share your favorite seat in the house or snuggle up under the covers after a hike or swim.
Runner Up: Floppy ears and long noses—these are the features that help a dog stay comfortable in a dry, hot climate. The elegant Afghan Hound fits in on the Vegas Strip, and she’s also built for the heat, can manage the cooler winter weather, and appreciates long walks and lure coursing and agility competitions.
The Best Dog Breed for New Hampshire – Chinook
The Chinook was developed in New Hampshire for sled racing and pulling, and he’s the official state dog. The breed is rare, and while not a match for every household, its qualities represent the strong, hardworking nature of the state’s residents.
The Best Dog Breed for New Jersey – Pug
New Jersey is one of only two states considered entirely metropolitan, so space is at a premium. What is a dog-loving New Jerseyan to do? Enter the compact, easygoing Pug. This breed is a happy apartment dweller who enjoys going on walks around the block—especially if he can con a few treats out of friendly neighbors en route. Another bit of good news for residents who enjoy exploring the many roads and attractions throughout the state: With proper considerations, Pugs make perfect companions for car rides.
The Best Dog Breed for New Mexico – Rez Dog
In 2016, a petition was circulated in New Mexico, urging lawmakers to declare the Rez Dog as the official state dog. ‘Rez Dog’ is the name given to strays who wander the reservations and communities across the United States. Petitioners cited the type’s resilient nature, and the need to raise awareness about them, in their request.
Runner Up: The Chihuahua is the fourth most popular breed in America and is well suited to New Mexico’s dry, mild climate. The breed gets its name from the Mexican state of Chihuahua, which borders New Mexico.
The Best Dog Breed for New York – Working Dogs
In recognition of the police and rescue dogs who responded after the 9/11 attacks, New York named the “Working Dog” its official state dog in 2015. Working canines all have a job to do, but there are plenty of retired working dogs who are eligible for adoption after they’ve completed their service.
Runner Up: A Poodle of any size fits right into the New York lifestyle—in the bustling city or rolling countryside. The Poodle is well suited for apartment living, as long as you provide her plenty of exercise. Don’t let the haircut fool you: This athletic breed is happy to join you on a walk, jog, or hike, or to compete in agility. They’re swimmers, too—Poodles don’t hesitate to make a splash during the hot summer months.
The Best Dog Breed for North Carolina – Plott Hound
North Carolina’s state dog is the droopy-eared, tall, lithe Plott Hound. This breed was developed for boar and bear hunting by Johannes Plott, a German immigrant to North Carolina. A Plott can be reserved or protective, and may wander if a good scent crosses his nose, so the breed may not be ideal for families or inexperienced dog owners.
Runner Up: The Redbone Coonhound is an eager-to-please breed with a lower prey drive than the Plott. A natural instinct for treeing game holds strong in this breed—they were developed for hunting raccoons and they’re still used for hunting a variety of game—but a cozy nap on the front porch is a treat the Redbone Coonhound’s not likely to pass up.
The Best Dog Breed for North Dakota – Samoyed
As the holder of the Guinness World Record title of “Most People Making Snow Angels Simultaneously,” North Dakota is the perfect state for the mischievous, snow-loving Samoyed. This cloud-like breed is known for its fluffy white fur and enthusiastic, smiling face. If snow angels aren’t really your style, strap on your snowshoes or skis and invite your Sammy along for the adventure.
The Best Dog Breed for Ohio – Labrador Retriever
In 2018, former Ohio State House Representative Jeffery Rezabek introduced a bill to designate the Labrador Retriever as the official state dog. He cited the breed’s work ethic and heart as reasons the Lab was the perfect choice. A similar bill was introduced in 2017, this one to designate the “shelter pet” as Ohio’s official pet. Get the best of both: Check out your local shelter for a Lab mix who needs a loving family.
Runner Up: Barn Hunt is a popular activity for Ohioans and their dogs, so join the fun with a breed who has a nose for the excitement. Put the Jack Russell Terrier’s dogged determination to the test at one of Ohio’s Barn Hunt or agility clubs.
The Best Dog Breed for Oklahoma – Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog, also called a ‘Heeler,’ is an intelligent breed developed for herding. Oklahoma is home to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, a 200,000-square-foot facility that houses art and heritage pieces. The Australian Cattle Dog represents the tenacity required of a cowdog, and this sturdy breed makes a loyal companion for active families. There are plenty of cattle dog breeders in Oklahoma, and there’s no shortage of cattle.
The Best Dog Breed for Oregon – Lagotto Romagnolo
Oregon is a top producer of mushrooms—the state even has an official mushroom, the Pacific golden chanterelle. The Lagotto Romagnolo, a water retrieving gundog, is used throughout Europe for truffle hunting. Train yours to sniff out your favorite mycelia, or explore the great outdoors with your furry, energetic friend. As a bonus, his waterproof coat is handy against Oregon’s rainy climate.
Runner Up: The Newfie was proposed as the Oregon state dog in 2015, and the Border Collie in 2019. The latest proposal promoting the Border Collie considers that the Oregon Sheep Dog Society is the oldest sheepdog organization in the United States, and cites the breed’s extraordinary work ethic and intelligence. We can tell that Oregon’s residents love their canine companions—no matter the breed.
The Best Dog Breed for Pennsylvania – Great Dane
William Penn, the state’s founder, owned a Great Dane, and the breed became the official state dog in 1965. The Great Dane’s evolution from a hunting breed to a working breed is said to mirror Pennsylvania’s own history. In 2018, Great Danes were the 16th most popular dog as ranked by the AKC. And, as of 2019, Pennsylvania ranks behind only California and Florida for the number of breeders registered with the Great Dane Club of America.
Runner Up: Giants aren’t for everyone—but maybe a sled dog is more your style. Sled dogs in Pennsylvania? You bet. But we’re not talking the usual sled dog type. The Pennsylvania Sled Dog Club offers plenty of tips for getting started, and says most dogs can pull a sled—but recommends the German Shorthaired Pointer as a popular breed for mushing.
The Best Dog Breed for Rhode Island – Dachshund
Anyone from Rhode Island knows it’s not called a ‘hot dog’—it’s obviously a hot weiner. Rhode Islanders can show off their love of the state’s staple eats with a dog to match—the weiner dog, known by its official name, the Dachshund. In a small state with a mainly urban makeup, smaller breeds tend to be more popular, making the diminutive Dachshund a perfect choice.
The Best Dog Breed for South Carolina – Boykin Spaniel
The versatile Boykin Spaniel was developed in South Carolina by L. W. “Whit” Boykin with the hunt in mind. While this dog makes an admirable retriever and rides well in a boat, she also flushes and tracks game. And this multi-purpose canine is known for her friendly personality, making her a wonderful family pet.
Runner Up: South Carolina is known for another breed, the Carolina Dog. This gentle, intelligent breed resembles the Australian Dingo, likely due to uninhibited development—rather than selective breeding—as a wild dog. The AKC does not (yet) recognize the Carolina Dog as an official breed, but it’s eligible for classification with the AKC Foundation Stock Service.
The Best Dog Breed for South Dakota – German Wirehaired Pointer
The German Wirehaired Pointer is a hardy breed that can manage South Dakota’s hot summers and frigid winters. His coat keeps him warm when conditions are icy, dry in wet weather, and cool during the warmer months. Let your dog burn excess energy on the trail—there are plenty to choose from in South Dakota. For upland hunters or waterfowlers, a Pointer makes an excellent companion.
The Best Dog Breed for Tennessee – Bluetick Coonhound
The Bluetick Coonhound, the University of Tennessee’s mascot since 1953, became the state’s official state dog in 2019. Friendly and affectionate Blueticks are considered devoted and charming family dogs, and hardworking hunting companions. Just try to turn down those floppy ears, droopy lips, and puppy dog eyes.
Runner Up: The rescued dog or cat is Tennessee’s official state pet—find your perfect match at your local shelter and bring home the breed with the qualities that best suit your household.
The Best Dog Breed for Texas – Blue Lacy Dog
TResidents from McAllen to Amarillo agree that the Blue Lacy Dog is the best dog for Texas. Through the state legislature, the breed was established as the official Texas state dog in 2005. Though not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) or United Kennel Club (UKC), Lacys are medium-sized, active working dogs, developed in Texas to herd and hunt. These intense, sturdy ranch dogs are full of drive. While not well suited to life as a pet, they thrive alongside Texans on a ranch. Non-ranchers, move on down the list; human and hound will be happier that way.
Runner Up: Texas A&M’s mascot, Reveille, the ‘First Lady of Aggieland,’ is a Rough Collie—which has been the tradition since Reveille III. Collies are passionate canine athletes, willing to help out on a small ranch.
The Best Dog Breed for Utah – German Shepherd
Skiing—both downhill and cross-country—continues to gain popularity in Utah, thanks to the powdery snow some call the “Greatest Snow on Earth.” The German Shepherd is one of the most popular breeds in Utah, and they’re a sturdy candidate for dog skijoring. It’s the perfect opportunity to combine your love of winter sports with your affinity for furry companions.
The Best Dog Breed for Vermont – Labrador Retriever
Vermont was the home of folk artist Stephen Huneck, notable author and creator of distinctive woodcut prints, hooked pillows, and more. He created art about many breeds—and many animals—but the Lab is probably the most recognizably his.
Runner Up: The plucky Beagle was suggested as Vermont’s official state dog in 2015, and the Golden Retriever is the most common Vermont breed—so either makes a good candidate.
The Best Dog Breed for Virginia – American Foxhound
Virginia’s official state dog, the American Foxhound was developed in Maryland and Virginia from scenthounds brought by Marquis de Lafayette to George Washington. This easygoing breed is a family-friendly canine who loves adventure—perfect for exploring the great outdoors.
The Best Dog Breed for Washington – Golden Retriever
Family-friendly Washington is the perfect place for a family-friendly breed: the Golden Retriever. With the Golden’s gregarious nature and high energy level, she’s the perfect dog to join you as you explore mountain trails or city streets. This retrieving gundog makes a welcome addition to sporting households, as well.
Runner Up: The Corgi (Cardigan Welsh or Pembroke) has gained popularity in recent years, and is a favorite in Seattle—so yours will be in good company.
The Best Dog Breed for West Virginia – Basset Hound
West Virginians have plenty of parks available for recreation and adventure. The wrinkly, lovable Basset Hound is a laid-back companion who is happy to join you on a romp throughout the many hiking trails in the state. This hunting breed has plenty of stamina for pursuing quarry—or exploring the stunning landscape. The long, low dog can hike easy trails without concern, and can manage more challenging treks if you consider his short legs and help him scale difficult terrain.
The Best Dog Breed for Wisconsin – American Water Spaniel
Not only is the American Water Spaniel Wisconsin’s state dog, this breed was developed in the state. The water-loving breed can withstand the brisk climate and freezing waters of the region—and she can even retrieve from a canoe. She’s friendly and playful, to boot. This breed has always been rare, with the majority of the population registered to owners within the Midwestern United States.
The Best Dog Breed for Wyoming – Elkhound
Wyoming ranked highest for pet ownership—in 2016, roughly three quarters of Wyoming households owned a pet. While statistics included cats, dogs, and other pets, we’re partial to companions of the canine variety. The hardy Elkhound is built to weather the long, cold winters in Wyoming. The Elkhound is a Norwegian breed developed for moose hunting, and while using dogs to hunt moose is forbidden in Wyoming, this dog makes a fitting choice for a state where the game is popular.
Runner Up: The watchful Weimaraner was bred as a hunting dog, and makes an alert companion for dog-experienced families. This breed has plenty of energy, but in a state where 17 out of 23 counties have fewer than six people per square mile, there’s enough space to run, roam, and explore together.