Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and it is fascinating to see new breeds evolve through selective breeding. The North American continent has been home to several unique breeds. Some like the American Bulldog owe their uniqueness to the closeness they still retain to the original Old English Bulldog. The Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed in the world. It comes from Mexico. The Canadian Eskimo Dog has the honor of being the rarest and oldest purebred dog in North America.
Here are nine North American dog breeds that have retained their original characteristics over the years.
1. American Bulldog – It is a breed of domestic dog that was brought back from the brink after the Second World War. It got a second chance in the American South due to the effort of interested breeders. The breed gained recognition as late as 1999 by the United Kennel Club. This stockily built strong-jawed canine excites the fancy of dog lovers because as a breed it comes closest to the venerable Old English Bulldog. It’s a happy-go-lucky dog that is at ease in family surroundings. These dogs can fall prey to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and bone cancer as they age.
2. Canadian Eskimo Dog – This dog is a majestic powerful animal and the rarest purebred canine that is truly native to North America. The Inuit depended on it for locomotion in the frozen Arctic ranges. The popular Alaskan Huskies have descended from this breed. These dogs are noted for a superficial similarity to wolves. The males can weigh up to 88 pounds. Its thick and beautiful coat adds to the appearance. Intense loyalty, bravery, and an affectionate disposition characterize the nature of this animal.
3. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever – Also known as Tollers, the development of this breed can be traced to 20th century Yarmouth County in Nova Scotia. From the information available about the breeding efforts in the early days it can be surmised that the dog is a mix of Cocker Spaniel, Irish Setter, or Golden Retriever. This particular breed of retrievers is considered highly intelligent. It is playful and outgoing in nature. It has a strong attraction for water. This is a small breed and males rarely weigh more than 51 pounds. Hip dysplasia is a common hereditary problem with Tollers.
4. Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog – This dog breed comes from the Alapaha River region of Southern Georgia. Breeding efforts can be traced to the eighteenth century. The breed is also referred to as Otto or Cow Dog. It is a rare dog breed. This muscular dog does not drool and can be groomed easily; however, it does need to be trained with some firmness. Effort should be made to ensure that pups turn sociable. Owners of these dogs swear by their loyalty and ability to guard property. A peculiar feature with this breed is that dogs can not only have eyes of different colors, they can exhibit two colors in one eye. The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog is susceptible to entropion and other eye diseases.
5. Black and Tan Coonhound – The Black and Tan Coonhound is a remarkable breed; it is a scent hound developed by crossing the Bloodhound and the Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound. The dogs are fast runners; apart from chasing raccoons these dogs are fearless when accompanying their masters on hunts for bigger game. The males can weigh up to an impressive 130 lbs and yet these animals are light on their feet and very good runners. Ear cancer, ear infections, and hip dysplasia are the main health risks faced by this breed. The dogs of this breed are people-friendly and energetic. They need to be trained to harness their incredible sense of smell without getting distracted.
6. Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog – Another breed indigenous to North America and developed in the South, this time Louisiana. The Catahoula is a hound that was traditionally used in hunting wild boar. It is believed that this breed has inhabited the North American mainland longer than any other breed save those that were used by the Native Americans. It is believed that the breed came about with the mixing of the French Beauceron and the Greyhounds brought to North America by Spanish explorers. This hound is basically a working dog and can weigh up to 90 lbs. Extra webbing between toes enables these dogs to work in marshy areas and swim with ease. Deafness and hip dysplasia are common issues with this breed.
7. Blackmouth Cur – This breed has a distinctive appearance, with a black square-shaped muzzle. This cattle dog breed, also a worthy companion on hunts, is believed to have originated in Alabama. These dogs are intelligent and if trained properly from a young age, they can accomplish just about any activity that dogs are trained for. They can track and trail prey, herd cattle, and also work on search and rescue missions. This loyal breed is also hardy and beset by few of the problems that seem to afflict other dog breeds.
8. Chihuahua – The Chihuahuas come from the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. This is the smallest dog breed in the world and a very well-known one in North America. The dogs are believed to be descendents of dogs domesticated by the ancient Toltecs of Mexico. Chihuahuas rarely weigh above six pounds and their average height is usually 10 inches. Their small size makes the dogs jittery and nervous in disposition. Training from a young age makes a difference to their sociability. These dogs demand attention and affection. Genetic disorders with this breed include epilepsy and seizures.
9. Australian Shepherd – Contrary to its name, this breed was developed on the ranches in Western United States. It is a working dog with oodles of energy and talent for learning tricks. Also known as Aussies, these dogs are a favorite with TV channels and have appeared on a number of shows and in movies. The early 20th century saw efforts in the states of Idaho, California, Nevada, etc to develop a standardized Australian Shepherd breed. These dogs are afflicted by eye, skin, and respiratory problems.