Friday, June 17, 2011


You probably know that states have a lot of official stuff, such as state flowers and state birds and state mottos.  But did you know that some states have official animals and fish and insects?  There are a few that even have state dogs and state cats, but not enough of them do, if you want my opinion.

For example, I'm sad to say that the state of Missouri, where I live, does not have an official dog or cat, but it does have a state animal, which is the Missouri mule.  And Kansas, which is right next door to us, has the American bison, but it doesn't have a state dog or cat either.

Texas, which is where I was born, has a state dog that is called the Blue Lacy.  I have to admit that even though I am a Texas girl at heart, I had never heard of this breed of dog.  But it turns out that some brothers, Frank, George, Erwin, and Harry Lacy, invented this breed back in the 1860s.  They bred English Shepherds, greyhounds, and wolves together with maybe a little coyote thrown in.  The blue lacy dogs were meant to be herding dogs that could work the family's wild hogs, just like in the book Old Yeller.  So anyway, this is the only type of dog that started out in Texas, so that's why it's the state dog.

Maryland has both a state dog and a state cat, and so does Massachusetts.  The state dog of Maryland is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, which is a type of hunting dog that was bred to help duck hunters in the cold water and marshes around Chesapeake Bay.  Maryland has an official state sport, but it is not duck hunting, it is jousting.  So their choice of dog has nothing to do with their choice of state sport.

The state cat of Maryland is the calico, which is not a breed, it's a color pattern.  But I guess it was nice of them to choose a state cat, even if it's not a particular breed.  And anyway, calico cats are pretty, plus they have the same three colors as the Baltimore Oriole, which is the state bird of Maryland, so that's why calicos got to be the state cat.

In Massachusetts, you can find the Boston Terrier as the official state dog.  This makes sense because Boston is an important city in Massachusetts, and it's where the Boston terrier got its start, which I told you about in a previous blog entry.  

The official state cat of Massachusetts is the tabby cat, which is a color pattern and not a real breed, the same as the calico cat.  I'm not sure why the people of Massachusetts chose the tabby cat to be their state feline, but I guess they had their reasons.

And while I'm talking about state cats, I will go ahead and tell you that the only other state that has one is Maine, and it's the Maine Coon Cat, which really is a breed, as my kitty brother, Charlie will tell you because he is supposedly a Maine Coon Cat, even though he has never been anywhere close to Maine.

Well, okay, now it's time to talk about more state dogs.  In Alaska, you've got the Alaskan Malamute, which is a good choice, since that breed got its start in Alaska, and it also takes part in the state sport, which is mushing.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is the official dog of Louisiana.  I already wrote a whole entry about this breed, and it is my second all-time most popular blog entry.  But what I didn't tell you then, because I didn't know this, is that the state sport of Louisiana is boar hunting.  And the Catahoula Leopard Dogs are used to control the hogs by barking right in their faces.  Since hogs don't like this and since they also have sharp tusks, the dogs wear Kevlar vests, chest armor, and wide collars to keep from getting hurt.

New Hampshire has the Chinook as its state dog.  This is another breed I had not heard about, but it turns out that a man named Arthur Treadwell Walden, who lived in New Hampshire, developed the breed, and he did it all from one dog named "Chinook" who was born in 1917.  Chinook was Mr. Walden's lead dog when he went on the Byrd Antarctic expedition in 1929.  So he bred Chinook with huskies used in Peary's North Pole expedition.  What he ended up with was a sled dog that helped make the sport of mushing popular in New Hampshire, but the official state sport is not mushing, it's skiing.  

In North Carolina, people like to go coon hunting, so they chose the Plott Hound as their state dog because it is used in this sport.  Plott hounds came from Germany originally, and they were mostly used to hunt boars there, but in 1750 a man named Johannes Plott came to North Carolina from Germany and brought some hounds with him, and he got the breed started in this country.

South Carolina also chose a hunting breed as its state dog, the Boykin Spaniel.  A man named L. Whitaker Boykin did a lot of breeding to get a little spaniel for hunting and retrieving that could ride in the small boats that hunters used in the swamps. 

The Great Dane is the official state dog of Pennsylvania, but I don't know why.  Maybe the people in that state just wanted a really big dog to be their official canine.  Or maybe all the people who came over from Germany and settled in Pennsylvania happened to like Great Danes a lot.

Virginia picked the American Foxhound as their state dog, and this is because George Washington, who lived in that state, pretty much developed that breed.  But I already told you about that in my blog before.

And the last state I'm going to tell you about is Wisconsin, where the official dog is the American Water Spaniel.  This breed got started in the middle of the 19th century, and nobody knows where, exactly, but the best guess is that it was probably developed in the Fox River and Wolf River valleys of Wisconsin.

So that is the whole story of official state dogs and cats.  Maybe more of them will get to be officially chosen by states pretty soon.  I think I'm going to lobby the Missouri legislature to make the basenji the state dog of Missouri.  And the reason why basenjis should be chosen is because I live here!  Then maybe, while I'm at it, I can get them to make the Missouri state cat be the dilute tortoiseshell, like Chloe, or else the tuxedo cat, like Charlie.


  1. Dear Piper,
    I am from Texas, too (of course, you already know that because Odessa is in Texas). I had never heard of a Blue Lacy! Thank you for always giving me something to think about.
    Your fan,

  2. Dear Piper-

    Basenjis are the offical dog for the State of D'Nile.

    (mom said that wasn't funny, but I think it's quite clever. Mom also pointed out that basenjis are the only breed with "sin" right there in the name. Is that true?)

    Your friend
    Zest, superstar in training

  3. The state of D'Nile! Hahahaha! I think that is hilarious! Your mom must not have a good sense of humor.

    Basenjis have "sen" in the middle of their names, but I don't know if that is the same as "sin." Maybe it's more like "zen."

    Your friend, Piper

  4. Momma says that the only zen thing about basenjis is when we're asleep. See that's why I don't listen to her when we're doing agility. Clearly she's crazy.

    My brother, Jet the trying, has Sin in his name. His real name is Jerlin's Saint or Sinner. The momma Linda was calling him "Saint". (Based on that, she's pretty crazy too.) Momma Kim says that she could not call a basenji "Saint" and wasn't ABOUT to call a basenji "Sinner". So, now his name is Jet the trying.


  5. Dear Zest,
    I have met your brother's momma Linda a couple of times, and I think you're right to say that she is crazy, especially if she called Jet "Saint." A lot of times, Aunt Linda likes to use military names such as General Patton or Special Forces (Beret), so I wonder where she got "Saint or Sinner." A lot of AKC names are just weird, if you ask me! LOL

  6. Dear Piper,

    Maybe after they make Basenji's the state dog of Missouri, they'll make Decker Terriers the state dog of Illinois! (Hey, I can wish, y'know. We aren't even a breed by the AKC because the AKC is all strict and everything. You're a breed at least!)


    P.S. My AKC name is actually normal. It's "Pecatonica's Zena of Burz." A normal name. I think the first name got changed though when I was adopted by my new family because I don't belong to Pecatonica anymore (come to think of it, I don't belong to Burz either. Where do I get all these names? Why can't I just be Zena?). I need to ask my human tomorrow.

  7. Dear Zena,
    What the heck (or where the heck) is a Pecatonica? Or a Burz? How can you say that is a "normal name"? LOL I think "Zena" is a perfectly fine name, and you don't need all that other stuff along with it. My mom used to be a big Xena fan when Xena was on TV, but that Xena spelled it with an "X". Are you a warrior princess?

    Anyway, I don't think your breed has to be recognized by the AKC for you to be an official state dog. Like for instance, the Blue Lacy breed isn't recognized, and neither are Catahoula Leopard Dogs or Chinooks. So there is no problem with Decker Terriers being the state dogs of Illinois, as far as I can see.

    Your friend, Piper

  8. Dear Piper,

    My sister calls me a spoiled queen, but I like to think of myself as a warrior princess. Someone has to keep the territory clear of rats, squirrels, opossums and rabbits. (I don't do skunks anymore. I learned my lesson the hard way.)

    The "Burz" part was the name of the breeder place I was born (Burz Rat Terriers) and Pecatonica was the breeder I lived with before I came to my new home (Pecatonica Rat Terriers.) They both are the good kind of breeders. My family still talks to Ms. Cindy from Pecatonica about me! I wonder what they talk about.


  9. I learned of some dog breeds today, that I did not know exist. I wonder if the Plott Hound and what my WV relatives refer to as a "hound" are the same? Probably in the same family...although the Plott Hound doesn't have the sad, saggy face as the "hounds" I've been around. Thanks for the great info.
    L - AP

  10. Dear Zena,
    I am glad you came from the good kind of breeder. My brother Gabe came from the good kind of breeder, too, but I might have come from the bad kind of breeder. Mom thinks I escaped from a BYB or a puppymill, but I don't know what kind of place it was because back then I didn't know there were other kinds of places.

    Also it sounds to me like you are a true warrior princess. I never met any skunks, and Mom says we should keep it that way!

    Your friend, Piper

  11. Dear Aunt Patty,
    There are lots of kinds of hounds, so who knows what kind they have in West Virginia. They probably have some kind of hound that hunts raccoons, though. Mom says that might just be a stereotype, but I'm not sure what that means.
    Love, Piper

  12. Dear Piper,

    What does BYB stand for? My momma's previous dog most likely came from a puppymill because they bought her at a pet store. She said she'll never do that again as her previous dog died at 3.5 years old (which is very young). She was only 10 days younger than me.

    The skunk was most unkind. It skunked me in the muzzle! Katie had to give me a bath (which I didn't even like! I hate baths!) and then Mommy and Daddy gave me a vinegar/soap/something else concoction to get the rest of it off! It was so awful! What dog should be treated that way? Not me, that's for sure. Don't agitate them skunks. They're EVIL, I tell ye, EVIL.


  13. Dear Zena,
    BYB stands for Back Yard Breeder, but I think it should stand for Bring Your Basenji, and it should be on every party invitation! LOL

    I really, really hate baths, so I will be sure to stay away from any skunks! Thanks for the warning!

    Your friend, Piper

  14. ooh, do they have a state bunny? I'd very much like that!

  15. I am sad to say that there don't seem to be any state bunnies. Some states have squirrels, and it seems like a bunny would be at least as good at representing a state as a squirrel. You can see the whole list of state mammals here:


  16. Dear Piper,
    I just happened to stumble upon your blog when I was looking for pics of tabby cats. I'm sad at the moment because my special tabby disappeared over the weekend. I hope he comes home.
    Anyway, congratulations on this blog - it's great and it makes my day go really well.

    A now avid fan,


  17. Dear Aunt Julz,
    I am so sorry that your cat disappeared. I hope he will come back home where he is loved and given lots of yummy cat food to eat! Thank you for becoming a follower of my blog. I'm very glad you stumbled upon it, and I hope that you did not hurt yourself when you stumbled. Hahahaha! Well, anyway, thanks again for reading my blog, and I hope you find your cat very soon!
    Your friend,

  18. wonder what the state cat or dog is for Indiana

    1. A lot of states don't have a state dog or cat, but you can find out if Indiana does by doing a search in Google or some other search engine.