There are many different breeds of dogs that have developed in the United States. Like dog breeds developed the world over they all started from cross breeding and then selective breeding to enhance the reproduction of like traits, appearances and behaviors. Like many of the dog breeds developed in other countries, dog breeds native to the United States can be found in almost any size, color, type and group. This diversity of dog breeds is one of the reason canines are such a popular pet, only being outdone by cats as the most popular pet in the USA.
Some of the more uncommon or rare American dog breeds listed below are only available within specific geographic areas of the United States. Some are so few in numbers that they are only bred in one or two kennels, while others are becoming more popular and clubs and associations are being formed to promote and educate people about the breed.
Alapaha Blueblood Bulldog
This relatively rare and unknown American dog breed is native to the southern state of Georgia. It was originally used as a plantation dog for both protection and hunting, but also as a companion dog. They are very athletic and have the typical wide chest, short neck and strong, muscular body of the bulldog/mastiff types. Typical weights for these dogs at maturity are up to 80 pounds for females and 100 pounds for males. Males should be larger and more masculine in appearance than females, with a definite sex difference obvious even from puppies.
The Alapaha Blueblood Bulldog is a calm, even tempered dog that is considered excellent with children and other animals it is raised with. They are very intelligent dogs but also have the typical stubborn streak associated with the bulldog type, as well as the same dominant personality type. While an outstanding dog they will protect to the death and are not considered a good match for a first time dog owner or someone that is inexperienced with dominant dog breeds.
The coat is very short and sleek, making care easy year round. They are often merle in coloration, which is preferred, however white with chocolate or black markings is also possible. The most desirable eye color is blue, especially in the merle coloration, however mismatched blue and brown eyes or both blue and brown coloration in the eyes is also encouraged and desirable.
It is estimated that there are fewer than 300 Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs left in the United States, however their number is on the rise. Breeders in other countries have also started breeding programs, although the small gene pool of the breed has led to some challenges in increasing numbers quickly.
The Shiloh Shepherd was developed in New York State in the 1970s. A group of German Shepherd Dog breeders were unhappy with the current trends in the GSD shows and the increasingly smaller and more refined GSD types that were being promoted. They were also concerned about the increasing problem with genetic condition such as hip dysplasia that were becoming problematic within the lines. They revised their breeding programs to move back to the heavier, larger and lankier GSDs of the early 1900's, attempting to turn back the genetic clock and reestablish the original breed standards.
The modern version of the old German Shepherd is now known as the Shiloh Shepherd. While not recognized by the AKC they do have their own registry and there are other clubs and associations that also provide registration options. As a larger dog the males may weigh up to 130 pounds and females up to 100, with a strong, long and heavier skeleton and frame than a typical GSD. The significant drop off at the hips that results in the almost crouched appearance of some GSD is not evident in the Shiloh Shepherds. Conformation and health issues have been in the forefront of breeding efforts and less emphasis is placed on a polished appearance. The colorations are typical of the GSD, with longer coats and a heavier ruff possible.
These dogs are loyal and loving, good protectors and typically very good with children and companion pets. They are natural herding dogs but can also be used in a wide variety of obedience, agility and even tracking work. They are good watchdogs and are considered to be very easy to train and housebreak.
As a medium to small sized dog the Alaskan Klee-Kai is sometimes called a Miniature Alaskan Husky. There are several different sizes and coat types to this breed, however the slightly larger Standard size is the most common. The Standard weighs up to 23 pounds; the Miniature up to 15 pounds and the Toy is a mere 10 pounds at maturity. They are a very loving dog that will bond strongly with their owners, often making them ideal for older individuals and those families with older children.
The Alaskan Klee-Kai can come in colors of brown and white, black and white and a silver and black color combination. They have dense thick double coat and shed heavily twice a year and remain moderate shedders for the rest of the year. While they are a small dog they still have the northern spitz need for lots of free time and exercise and really do need to have a fenced yard to exercise in on a daily basis. They have a high energy level and will require long walks on a routine basis if kept indoors or in a small living space.
Early and consistent socialization is important for this breed. They can howl and they have a sharp, piercing bark that can be problematic if the dog is poorly socialized or bored. As with any dog they will become destructive and chew and dig if they are not given adequate attention and exercise. The Klee-Kai may be somewhat dog aggressive, especially intact males, and both males and females have a high prey drive. If you have cats in the house it will be essential to raise the dog with the cats for the interaction to be successful. These dogs will roam if not confined to a fenced yard and they are often not aware of their smaller size, potentially putting them at risk.
A toy sized companion dog the Mi-Ki is a loving and friendly pet. There are several theories as to how exactly the breed developed. One of the theories or origins is that it was developed in the 1980 in Wisconsin by one breeder named Micki Macklin. In this origin several toy breeds were crossed in the lines including stock from the Yorkshire Terrier, Papillon, Shih Tzu, Japanese Chin and Maltese lines. Other theories of origin from different clubs include the same general foundation breeds, however not all include the Shih Tzu lines and some have almost no records of the exact toy breeds used to develop the Mi-Ki. Regardless of the foundation lineage the Mi-Ki does have breed standards and is recognized by many of the individual registries although not currently with the major Kennel Clubs.
The Mi-Ki is a toy size companion pet, not typically weighing more than 10 pounds at maturity. It can be long or short coated, either variety is acceptable, but on both coat types the ears have to feathered and highly mobile. The tail is carried high over the hips and is fringed, giving a balanced appearance to the dog. They can come in a variety of colors from fawns to browns and even blue colored coats. Eye colors vary from dark brown to blue and should correspond with the coat color.
As with any toy breed dental problems can occur in the Mi-Ki so regular dental hygiene is essential. The shorter muzzled dogs are prone to the same respiratory problems as Pugs and should be carefully monitored when exercising.
Other articles under "Rare and Unusual Dog Breeds"