In elementary school we learned all about Michigan's state symbols, many of which are animals. If the robin is our official state bird, our state fish the trout, and Michigan's official state game mammal the white tailed deer, what is our official state dog breed?
I started delving into this answer after a recent trivia night at Lucky Girl Brewing in Paw Paw. In one round, a question was asked about the official state dog of Pennsylvania. I didn't even know having an official breed of dog was an option! Pennsylvania's state dog is the Great Dane, for the record. It made me curious to know if Michigan has an official state dog?
The short answer is: not yet.
Only twelves states in the U.S. have official state dog breeds in addition to Maine, which is the only state to have an official state cat. Unfortunately, Michigan is not one of those twelve. However, I was surprised to learn that Michigan legislators are working on a proposed bill to designate "shelter animals" as Michigan's official state pet.
In April 2021 Michigan House Representative Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) re-introduced a previous resolution from 2019 to designate shelter animals as the official state pet of Michigan. Kuppa says she was inspired to create the bill by the students in her district and she wanted to call attention to euthanasia rates among shelter animals.
The 2021 bill was referred to a Committee on Government Operations. If passed, Michigan would join states like California, Tennessee, Ohio, and Oklahoma who have all declared shelter animals as official state pets.
If Michigan were to have an official state dog breed, which would you choose and why?