5 American Dog Breeds And What They Were Bred For

We have fallen in love with the shepherds of Germany, the setters of Ireland, and the Labrador retrievers of Canada. But which lovable dog breeds originated in the United States?

Here are 5 types of pooches that were made in the USA, and their specialties:

Australian Shepherd

A trickster, this one! Despite its name, the Australian Shepherd breed actually originated in the western United States. Originally bred to herd livestock, Australian Shepherds remain faithful working dogs today, and are happiest when there is a task with their name on it. If you don’t have a flock of sheep baa-ing around your backyard, it’s quite alright; these dogs excel at and enjoy many other activities, such as retrieving, guarding, dog agility, competitive obedience and performing tricks. For MORE info. on dog agility read THIS.

American Water Spaniel

Though a rare breed outside of the Great Lakes region, with only about 3,000 total in existence, the American Water spaniel is Wisconsin’s official state dog. Bred for bird flushing and retrieving (particularly from small boats), American water spaniels are intelligent, eager to please, and, as their name suggests, huge water lovers. For MORE info. on dog water safety read THIS.

Black-and-Tan Coonhound

Black-and-tan coonhounds were bred to be working, hunting dogs. A breed that dates back to the 1700s, the courageous coonhound is proficient at hunting big game, like deer and elk, but their primary function is trailing raccoon. This passionate and dedicated worker dog can withstand difficult terrain and tolerate the rigors of winter as well as the intense summers, making it a great asset to hunters. But, let’s be honest, as even-tempered, friendly and adorable breeds, anyone who has a coonhound will tell you they make exemplary house pets—as long as they get their exercise!

Maryland Chesapeake Bay Retriever

As with the coonhound, Maryland Chesapeake Bay retrievers are also working dogs. Declared Maryland’s state dog in 1964, they were bred to help hunters recover waterfowl in the choppy, icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay—capable of retrieving up to 200 ducks per day! Ice breaking, wind endurance and long swims in freezing waters are all part of the job for this powerful breed. It’s their double coats that protect them from the winter elements, and their brownish, grassy coloring that allows them to easily camouflage in hunting environments. Owners of this breed would do right by the dog (not to mention have fun themselves) taking their pet on a real hunting trip to hone its skills and stimulate its natural abilities. But don’t forget to get your hunting license first!

Boston Terrier

“Work, schmerk,” says the Boston Terrier. These non-sporting dogs (one of the first breeds to be named as such in the U.S.) are born to look good. Dapper and charming in its tuxedo markings, the Boston Terrier is nicknamed the “American Gentleman” for a reason. Intelligent and affectionate today, you’d never know that originally, in the late 1800s, Boston Terriers were actually bred for pit fighting. But people—er, dogs—really can change. Long ago swapping dog aggression for sophistication, Boston Terriers today are gentle, loving companions. And with their signature black-tie-affair look, they’ll always win best dressed wherever you go.