The stunning foliage and sparkle of the first, fleeting snowflakes has me full of New England pride these days. Did you know that there are some true blue New England cat and dog breeds?
The Chinook was named after the “founding father” of the breed, a strong yet agile mixed breed owned by New Hampshire farmer and dog sledding enthusiast Arthur Walden. He and his offspring were bred with German Shepherds, Belgian Sheepdogs, Canadian Eskimo Dogs, and perhaps others to produce an athletic working dog. Chinook led the first dog sled team up Mount Washington and accompanied Admiral Byrd on his famous 1929 Antarctic expedition. Chinooks weigh 55 – 70 pounds, are characterized by their tawny coat, almond eyes, and focused yet friendly demeanor. The Chinook Owner’s Association website provided much of the above information and you can read even more about this amazing New England dog here.
Known for their size and fluff, Maine Coon cats can trace their roots back to their namesake state but they’re not telling us humans all the details. This article from the Cat Fancier’s Association shares some of the most common theories, like that they are descendants of the Vikings’ cats as well as the smirk-worthy theory that they’re the product of a cat meets raccoon love connection. Regardless of their history, one thing’s for sure: these are tough cats. But they’re also considered “gentle giants” by many!
While the Boston Terrier has English roots, the tuxedoed gentlemen (and ladies!) became the Boston Terrier right in Massachusetts. The Boston Terrier Club of America (BTCA) explains that these small but sturdy, fun-loving pups originate from a stocky fellow named Judge, who was an English Bulldog /English Terrier cross and his low-riding lady, Gyp. Believe it or not, the BTCA explains that in its early years, the breed was named by it’s cranial shape and were dubbed Round Heads. In 1891, they mercifully changed the name to the Boston Terrier!
Thankfully, people across the country adopt cats and dogs in need but New England has a long-standing history of standing up for them and have a special pride in their rescued pets. According to a presentation by Iowa State University Associate Professor, Dr. Millman, Massachusetts passed the first animal protection law in the nation before you could even call us that – in 1684! A few years ago, New Hampshire became the first (and only) No Kill state meaning, with few exceptions for extreme illness and behavior issues, New Hampshire shelters do not euthanize their adoptable pets. New Englanders’ love for rescue pets has saved thousands of dogs and cats from rural areas of other states that are struggling with overcrowded shelters.
A very special “thank you” to Amy Peterson, owner of River Rose Photography, who has allowed the use of many of her photos throughout the course of this blog!