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If there’s one thing the entire StyleBlueprint team agrees on — it’s dogs. Large, small, short-haired, shaggy, lively, sleepy … we love them all. But today, we’re shining a light on a list of uniquely Southern breeds. According to the American Kennel Club, there are actually 18 breeds that originated right here in the South. Who knew?!

18 Southern Dog Breeds to Know and Love

While many breeds are well-loved in our region, there are quite a few that can trace their Southern roots back by generations. Some may surprise you — others not so much. Gina DiNardo, Executive Secretary at the American Kennel Club, helped us dive into these “truly” Southern breeds, listed here in alphabetical order:

American English Coonhound

These sleek and muscular hunting dogs mirror their namesake as raccoon-hunters. They are extremely athletic and agile, medium-sized dogs loved by sportsmen for their speed and endurance. Coonhounds are commonly recognized as Southern dogs, and you’ll see several of the American English Coonhound’s close relatives on this list!

American English Coonhound

Though this breed was officially recognized as the American English Coonhound back in 2011, it’s still commonly referred to as an English hound. Image: American Kennel Club

American Foxhound

Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886, American Foxhounds, cousins to the English Foxhounds, are synonymous with the Revolutionary War and old Virginia, though their legs are longer and more finely boned than their English cousins. They need a great deal of exercise and have a strong, single-minded prey drive. Not to mention — cute beyond measure.

American Foxhound

The American Foxhound is a beloved Southern breed known for its affinity for hunting — and for breaking hearts. How cute is this pup?!

American Hairless Terrier

One of the lesser-known terriers, the American Hairless Terrier is a breed that is native to Louisiana. These small, hairless dogs are hypoallergenic and rather petite, only growing to be around 12-16 inches. Despite their size, they make alert watchdogs and are fiercely protective of their humans. Anyone else wondering what it feels like to pet one?

American Hairless Terrier, a Southern dog breed

The American Hairless Terrier is a lesser-known (hypoallergenic!) terrier breed.

American Leopard Hound

Part of the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service — a service that allows specific breeds to continue to develop and compete, but are not officially registered with the American Kennel Club — the American Leopard Hound is a medium-sized hound and one of the oldest tree dog breeds in America. They are versatile hunting dogs, hunting animals from raccoons and squirrels to bears and cougars, and are recognized by their distinct spotted coat pattern. (Hence the name!)

American Leopard Hound

The American Leopard Hound | Image: American Kennel Club

American Staffordshire Terrier

A small but sturdy bull-type member of the terrier group, the American Staffordshire Terrier was officially recognized by the AKC in 1936. Sometimes referred to as “AmStaffs,” these dogs are surprisingly agile and graceful, with glossy coats and sharp minds. They are confident, smart, and extremely loyal. Though they have been bred separately from the American Pit Bull Terrier for decades, they are often confused with Pit Bulls. (Like Pit Bulls, they are often subject to breed-specific legislation. But just look at that face!)

American Staffordshire Terrier, a Southern dog breed

American Staffordshire Terriers are often affectionately referred to as “AmStaffs” by loyal fans of the breed. Image: American Kennel Club

Black and Tan Coonhound

This floppy-eared coonhound was recognized by the AKC in 1945, but was already a pivotal part of Southern culture in America. They are equally skilled hunters and cuddlers, with a strong prey drive. Hounds through and through, these remarkably glossy-haired dogs make great family pets. Did we mention the ears?!

Black and Tan Coonhound

The Black and Tan Coonhound has distinctive long, floppy ears and a blinding glossy coat. Too cute to be true!

Bluetick Coonhound

A Tennessee native in the Hound Group, the Bluetick Coonhound is bold and single-minded when it comes to prey. Sleek and never clumsy, they are full of energy and deeply devoted dogs that love affection and thrive as members of active families. Affection, you say? Happy to oblige …

Bluetick Coonhound

A perfect addition to active families, the Bluetick Coonhound is a widely recognizable Southern breed.

Boykin Spaniel

This spaniel breed was once South Carolina’s best-kept secret. Not only are they fantastic hunters of Carolina waterfowl and turkey, but they also have webbed toes and can swim like seals. They are smart and easy to train, with medium-sized stature and a trademark brown coat. Where do we sign up for those highlights?!

Boykin Spaniel, a Southern dog breed

The Boykin Spaniel is an elite hunting dog, with webbed toes that make for superb swimming skills. Their coats are solid brown, but their sun-kissed highlights become absolutely enviable when they spend time outdoors.

Carolina Dog

The Carolina Dog is part of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service and can still be found living wild around the Georgia-South Carolina border. By nature, they are shy and reserved, but once they trust you, you’re part of the pack. Boasting a fox-like snout, these medium-sized dogs resemble other wild dog breeds like Australian Dingoes!

Carolina Dog

The ‘Carolina Dog’ is a pack-oriented animal — shy at first, but they love their people once you’ve earned their trust. You can still find these dogs running wild around the Georgia-South Carolina border!

Catahoula Leopard Dog

Another member of the AKC Foundation Stock Service, the Catahoula Leopard Dog is native to Louisiana. These medium-sized working dogs have independent personalities and need firm guidance. Fun fact: Catahoula is the Choctaw word for “sacred lake.”

Catahoula Leopard Dog, a Southern dog breed

Catahoula Leopard Dogs are independent-minded working dogs. But we could get lost in those striking eyes! Couldn’t you? Image: American Kennel Club

Mountain Cur

The Mountain Cur is yet another breed that is part of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service. This dog was a popular choice among early pioneers, settlers, and homesteaders, especially in mountainous regions. They are extremely fast and talented hunters, and they make great companions and watchdogs.

Mountain Cur

The Mountain Cur was a popular choice among early pioneers, settlers, and homesteaders, especially in mountainous regions. Image: American Kennel Club

Plott Hound

This rugged scent hound is North Carolina’s state dog. A descendant of German Hanover Hounds, this breed was originally introduced to NC in 1750 and was officially recognized by the AKC back in 2006. Back in the 1700s, these dogs were bred by an immigrant named Johannes Plott and his son Henry, and were originally called “Plott’s Hounds.” Thank you, Plotts!

Plott Hound, a Southern dog breed

The state dog of North Carolina, Plott Hounds are recognized by their distinct brindle coat.

Rat Terrier

A newer addition to the Terrier Group, the Rat Terrier was recognized by the AKC in 2013. These dogs originated in America, with the breed name coined by President Teddy Roosevelt. They are easy-going, playful dogs with smooth, efficient muscles. They are quick and agile, allowing them to catch rats and other small creatures since their introduction. You’ll see two of its close cousins a little further down the line!

Rat Terrier

A favorite of Theodore Roosevelt, Rat Terriers are known for their ability to hunt rats and other rodents — along with their curled tails and pointy ears.

Redbone Coonhound

Recognized in 2009 by the AKC, this member of the Hound Group hails from Georgia. Fantastic sporting and hunting dogs, Redbone Coonhounds are fast, sleek, and energetic. They have the regular coonhound spirit and shape, with a beautiful red coat and pleading eyes. Oh, and they are remarkably handsome.

Redbone Coonhound, a Southern dog breed

Just get a load of the luscious copper coat on this Redbone Coonhound! If petting this guy is wrong, we don’t want to be right.

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

Another Foundation Stock Service-recognized breed is the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier. This breed is named for the late president and is a close relative of the Fox Terrier, with shorter legs and tails. They learn quickly, and like many terriers, they are expert catchers of rats and mice in the barn and the home. Coming in under 25 pounds, they make excellent companions on the couch!

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is named for the late president and is a close relative of the Fox Terrier. Image: American Kennel Club

Toy Fox Terrier

These tiny dogs are part of the Toy Group, recognized by the AKC in 2003. Like many terriers, they began as rat-catchers in barns, but their big personalities also make them fun and eager. An all-American breed, these terriers boast sparky personalities and silky coats and are directly descended from the larger Fox Terrier. Sweet and petite!

Toy Fox Terriers

Toy Fox Terriers are a descendant of the larger Fox Terrier. These pups are petite and sweet (unless you’re a barn rat or other small rodent — their prey of choice). 

Treeing Tennessee Brindle

An AKC Foundation Stock Service breed, these dogs originated in the United States near the Appalachian and Ozark Mountains. They have a strong instinct for hunting with incredible scent abilities and can tree all kinds of game. Similar to the Plott Hound, this breed has the same distinct brindle coat but is smaller. Just look how alert this little guy is!

Tennessee Treeing Brindle

The Treeing Tennessee Bringle is similar to a Pott Hound, but smaller. Both can be recognized by the distinctive brindle pattern of their coats. Image: American Kennel Club

Treeing Walker Coonhound

This member of the Hound Group was first AKC-recognized in 2012 and tends to be on the smaller side, standing at a maximum 25-27 inches. They are great with families, young children, and other dogs, as well as being fast and capable hunting dogs. They are known for their ability to run and hunt with the best of them — and then curl up in your lap with their big eyes to cuddle after a long day.

Treeing Walker Coonhound

Treeing Walker Coonhounds love to hunt — as much as they love to cuddle.

How adorable are these Southern dogs!?


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