American dog breeds come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and personalities.
And include the pups that were raised and developed in the United States.
There’s a reason we refer to our canine colleagues as “man’s best friend.”
Dogs are the oldest domesticated animal in human history.
In fact, their domesticated presence has been proven to exist throughout ancient times in human civilizations all over the world.
Dogs and humans have been enjoying a mutually beneficial relationship since our earliest days on each continent.
Through time, ancient American dogs have morphed into the modern American dogs we know and love today.
Their bloodlines are as rich and fascinating as America itself!
American Dog Breeds
Here is our list of American dog breeds, including some of the most popular and well loved breeds.
Let’s find out about some of our favorite All-American dog breeds today.
American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel is one of America’s most cherished dog breeds.
They make an excellent family pet and are known for their gentle nature and love for their family.
Famous for those large, sweet eyes and her long, wavy ears, this dog has found fame throughout American history.
The first Cocker Spaniel to be documented in America was a dog named Captain.
He joined his human family on the Mayflower in 1620.
However, it wasn’t until 1778 that the first Cocker Spaniel was registered with the American Kennel Club.
The dog was mostly bred for hunting. But it wasn’t long before the breed became noticed for having a sweet nature and friendly disposition.
This pegged them as a favorite amongst dog lovers very early on.
In fact, the oldest breed club for dogs in the United States is the American Cocker Spaniel Club, created in 1881.
Known today simply as the Cocker Spaniel, the American Cocker Spaniel is different from the English Cocker Spaniel, mostly in size and body shape.
However, up until the 1920s, the English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel were one and the same.
The Cocker Spaniel is the smallest of the sporting type breeds, weighing up to 30 pounds and standing 15.5 inches at their tallest.
This American dog breed has a compact, sturdy body and a stubby tail.
It is an intelligent dog who is eager to please, with a gentle nature and happy disposition.
They do excellently with children and are renowned for being easily trainable, playful, and having a joy for life.
The breed does have some hereditary issues to be aware of, such as:
- Urinary stones
- Otitis externa
- Hip dysplasia
- Congestive heart failure
The American Cocker Spaniel has a lifespan of 12-15 years.
This is one of the earliest breeds of dog that actually can be followed to today's modern breeds, giving him an ancient bloodline that dates back to eastern Asia.
The Alaskan Malamute is believed to have been roaming American terrain for as much as 12,000 years!
Along with the Alaskan Husky and the Siberian Husky, the Malamute is likely a descendant of the ancient Chukotka sled dogs, who originated in Siberia.
Like the Chukotka sled dogs before him, the Alaskan Malamute played a vital role in human survival.
He worked alongside his human counterparts as a hunter, guard dog, sled dog, and companion.
This large American dog breed was bred for impressive strength, giving them the ability to haul heavy cargo over rough, cold terrain.
Because of their incredible size and power, this American dog breed is also still used for hauling heavy cargo over short distances.
This member of the large American dog breeds weighs up to 85 pounds and stands up to 25 inches tall.
They have a thick, waterproof coat that sheds excessively and will need consistent brushing to keep loose hair at bay.
But don’t let that deter you!
This is a very well-behaved dog who is easy to train, quick to learn, and fun to be around.
Despite their large size, the Alaskan Malamute is graceful and agile, making them a wonderful indoor dog.
Loved for having a friendly nature and playful personality, this is a faithful companion who needs plenty of exercise to stay fit.
The breed does very well with children, but we always recommend early socialization and training, especially with larger dogs.
This will help ensure your Alaskan Malamute is a happy and well-adjusted family pet.
Owners be warned, however: this dog is an escape artist who can maneuver his way through fences, gates, and crates! He also loves to dig.
The Alaskan Malamute can be prone to:
- Hip dysplasia
As his coat is so thick and waterproof, prospective owners should be mindful that this American breed cannot tolerate heat well.
They could be prone to heatstroke in warm conditions.
The Alaskan Malamute has a lifespan of 10-12 years.
This American dog breed is one of the least known breeds in the United States.
Which is shame, because the Plott Hound is a fascinating dog.
You would think being the state dog of North Carolina would give this pup a paw up, but that’s not the case.
They are largely unknown, despite a unique physical appearance and remarkable history.
The Plott Hound is of the coonhound family, the only one who was not derived from the foxhound type.
They originated in North Carolina over 200 years ago as a pack-hunting dog, primarily used for hunting wild boar.
Named after the Plott family and the Plott Balsams mountain range in North Carolina.
This dog is the descendant of a pack of hunting hounds Mr. George Plott brought with him when he migrated to America in the late 18th century.
This member of North American dog breeds is still mostly used for hunting. He also does well in canine sports and has proven himself in tracking.
Although this is a rather friendly breed who does well with children and shows lots of affection and loyalty to his family.
They do not do well in apartments or city living.
This is a country dog who is best suited for roaming large acres of land.
Short-haired and floppy-eared, this medium American dog breed can weigh up to 60 pounds and stand as tall as 25 inches.
Their coat has unique, marbled markings that come in several color varieties, though their classic hound-like face leaves no question as to what type he belongs to.
The Plott Hound is a clever breed, confident by nature and very intelligent.
They love their family and are faithful, easily trainable, and rather brave.
This breed requires lots of exercise and plenty of outdoor play to remain happy and healthy.
As a pack dog, the Plott Hound does well with dogs he is raised with, but may not be as friendly to strange dogs.
They should also be supervised around other household pets as they have a high prey drive.
Early socialization and training is key to ensuring a safe and healthy relationship with their family.
They can be prone to a number of health issues including:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- von Willebrand’s disease
The Plott Hound will live anywhere from 12-14 years.
American Water Spaniel
This small American dog breed is a compact, intelligent dog who needs exercise, along with consistent training and attention.
Hailing from regions along the Fox River during the early 19th century, the American Water Spaniel was created to assist hunters as much on land as in the water.
Excellent at hunting and bringing in all kinds of game, this member of American small dog breeds is equipped to do it all!
Originally known as the American Brown Spaniel, they are renowned for an ability to withstand the frigid temperatures of climate and water.
The American Water Spaniel is an active breed who makes a wonderful family pet when properly trained.
He is well equipped to continue with his water hunting, with his webbed paws and waterproof coat.
But he is also a popular family pet and does very well with children.
However, he can be aloof with strangers and has an independent streak.
Though he is very adaptable to apartment life and has an even temperament, if left without proper training or attention, this dog is likely to become very vocal and even destructive.
The American Water Spaniel can weigh up to 45 pounds and stands about 18 inches tall.
They have a dark brown coat that is curly, thick, and waterproof.
This happy dog is described as charming and sweet, with long, floppy ears similar to those of the American Cocker Spaniel.
Keen on the outdoors, this athletic breed thoroughly enjoys hunting and swimming.
This breed can be predisposed to:
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Glandular disorders
- Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia.
They have an average lifespan of 10-14 years.
Hailing from Boston, there was once a time when the early Boston Terrier weighed up to 44 pounds.
Originally, this breed was used for pit-fighting and rat hunting.
But luckily the Boston Terrier’s sociable and joyful nature made him a popular companion dog.
Eventually, the breed was bred down from the larger fighting size to the tinier Boston Terrier we know and love today.
Back in his early days, this small American dog breed’s popular tuxedo coat was of little importance when it came to the breed’s makeup.
During the 20th century, however, the distinctive markings became a breed standard.
The tuxedo even landed him with the nickname “The Gentleman.”
They are smart as a whip and therefore great in doggy sports such as obedience training, agility, and lure coursing.
Friendly, smart, and entertaining, this small American dog breed only weighs 12-25 pounds and stands 15-17 inches tall.
The breed is perhaps best known for a black and white tuxedo jacket, compact body, and huge, round eyes.
These are alert dogs who are easy to care for and have a mischievous streak that makes them fun and amusing for families.
But the Boston Terrier’s flat face makes him more predisposed to brachycephalic syndrome, a condition that causes severe breathing and heat regulation problems.
They can also be prone to:
- Patellar luxation
- Sensorineural deafness
- Corneal ulcers
- Cherry eye
- Keratitis sicca
For female dogs who are used for breeding, puppies will almost always be delivered by Caesarian section due to the naturally large heads of the pups.
Sadly because of the structural issues with this breed, we don’t recompmend buying a Boston Terrier puppy.
If your heart is set on the breed, then rescuing an older Boston Terrier will give you the dog you want without contributing to an industry breeding unhealthy pets.
American Eskimo Dog
Hailing from both Germany and the United States, the American Eskimo was mainly used to protect her people and property.
In the 1930s, a famous American Eskimo named Stout’s Pal Pierre walked a tightrope in Barnum and Bailey’s Circus.
Nearly all members of this breed can trace their lineage back to the circus dogs who were bred and sold after the show.
These dogs make great family pets and do well with children.
The American Eskimo is famous for their ability to learn and do tricks, which is what made them such a fabulous performer in the circus.
Because of her ability to pick up tricks and perform on command, this American dog breed also does well competing in all kinds of dog sports and dog shows.
Spirited and cheerful, the Eskie comes in toy, miniature, and standard sizes.
The toy weighs up to 10 pounds and stands 12 inches, while the mini weighs up to 20 pounds and stands up to 15 inches tall.
The standard weighs up to 35 pounds and can be 19 inches tall.
This is a beautiful dog with a thick white coat and lion-like mane surrounding her chest and shoulders.
Due to her watchdog roots, the American Eskimo is known to be a rather vocal dog.
She will alert her family to the most suspicious of things, such as rogue trash bags blowing in the wind out front or that shady looking squirrel claiming residence in the backyard tree.
The American Eskimo is prone to:
- Hip dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy
They have a lifespan of 13-15 years.
Named after Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, this American dog breed was originally bred to hunt wild boar.
Although his lineage is a bit murky, there are several fascinating theories worth looking into.
One such theory speculates that the Catahoula Cur is the result of Native Americans breeding their own dogs with molossers and greyhounds, which arrived in America during the 16th century.
Regardless of his origin, the Catahoula is a proud southern dog who holds fast to his claim as the state dog of Louisiana.
The Catahoula Cur is remarkably skilled in the areas of herding and hunting, and he still finds use in these fields today.
He also makes a wonderful family dog.
Though he can be pushy, this breed is not aggressive and does well with children.
He will take them on as though they were his own pups, herding them around as if they were his responsibility to care for.
An ideal owner of this breed should have plenty of time to commit to the Catahoula Cur.
This dog requires a consistent amount of attention so as not to become bored or depressed.
Full of energy and rather curious, this clever American dog was bred for ability over appearance.
For this reason, their modern-day looks can vary drastically.
He ranges in size from 40-112 pounds and stands as tall as 20-26 inches. He has a short coat that comes in a vast amount of colors as well.
He is most prone to deafness and hip dysplasia.
The Catahoula Cur has a lifespan of 10-14 years.
American Pitbull Terrier
The Pitbull Terrier has a colorful origin that can be traced not only to the United States but also to England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Fashioned by breeding Old English Terriers and Old English Bulldogs, the Pitbull was made to be brave and powerful.
Unfortunately, Pitbulls have been used primarily for blood sports such as bull and bear baiting.
When the practice finally became banned in 1835 after animal welfare laws were put into place, proponents turned to pitting these dogs against other dogs.
Sadly, this practice, although illegal and deplorable, still continues today.
Potential owners should note that, because of his reputation, the Pitbull is banned in certain areas of the United States.
The Pitbull is a loyal dog, known for his confidence and eagerness to please.
He is a medium American dog breed who stands anywhere from 18-21 inches tall and weighs around 35-60 pounds.
He is very muscular with a short coat that sheds occasionally and comes in a variety of colors.
Many dog lovers enjoy this breed as a doting, docile companion pet.
Properly trained and socialized, Pitbulls do well with children and other animals.
Still, as with all large breed dogs, we suggest implementing early obedience training and socialization and supervising them around younger children.
They are prone to suffering from:
- Hip dysplasia
- Patella problems
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Congenital heart defects
- Demodex mange
The Pitbull has a lifespan of 8-15 years.
In his early years, this all-American dog breed was selectively bred from European hunting dogs who were imported to America in the late 18th century.
The Redbone Coonhound was bred to not back down and to have wonderful stamina.
He was used mostly to hunt raccoon and deer but was also skilled at hunting larger, more formidable prey such as bears and cougars.
The Redbone Coonhound is named after Tennessee native Peter Redbone, who was one of the dog’s earliest breeders.
Still widely used as a hunting dog today, the Redbone Coonhound is prominent in the world of hunters and farmers.
The Redbone weighs 45-70 pounds and stands 21-27 inches tall.
This is a beautiful dog with a sleek red coat, a muscular build, and long, floppy ears.
This American dog breed is even-tempered and easy to train.
They have a calm demeanor and gentle spirit, but can be a fierce hunter when on the job!
The breed does not suffer from any major health issues, although they can be prone to hip dysplasia and ear infections.
The Redbone Coonhound lives anywhere from 12-15 years.
Other American Dogs
There are several dogs that have been bred to have All American lines.
These can be pups that differ slightly depending on where they were raised.
Or on whether they were bred for fieldwork, the showring or companion life.
Choosing An American Dog Breed
All dogs are different, regardless of their origin.
The most important thing you can do when looking into adding a new dog to your household is to be sure you research as much as possible about your desired breed.
Also, make sure you find your dog through a reputable source, whether it’s a responsible breeder or a well-known shelter.
As with all dogs, not just American dog breeds, we recommend early socialization and training to ensure a happy, healthy, well-adjusted dog.
We recommend early health screening to help avoid or prepare for any inherited health conditions down the road.
Did our American dogs list of the best American dog breeds help you to find your potential furbaby? Let us know in the comments!
- Barbara Van Asch et al. Pre-Columbian Origins of Native American Dog Breeds, With Only Limited Replacement by European Dogs, Confirmed by mtDNA Analysis. Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences.
- Dog Bite Risk and Prevention: The Role of Breed, Literature Review. American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Vila et al. Phylogenetic Relationships, Evolution, and Genetic Diversity of the Domestic Dog. Journal of Heredity.
- Howell et al. Puppy Parties and Beyond: the role of early age socialization practices on adult dog behavior. School of Psychology and Public Health.
- Lowell Acumen DVM, 2011. The Genetic Connection; a Guide to Health Problems in Purebred Dogs.