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:
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!
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.
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?
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!)
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!)
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?!
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 …
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?!
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!
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.”
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
How adorable are these Southern dogs!?
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