13 states have designated an official state dog breed. Is Ohio among them?

You're basically taught "Ohio 101" in grade school: the state bird is the cardinal, the state flower is the red carnation, and the official state fish is the walleye. Heck, Ohio even has an official state drink-- tomato juice!

But do you remember anything about an official state dog?

great dane Pennsylvania

I only ask because after a recent round of pub trivia I found myself wondering this very thing. The original trivia question was in regards to Pennsylvania and their official state dog breed--the Great Dane-- but I think this is the first time I even realized a state even could have an official state dog!

In fact, Maine even has an official state cat breed, the Maine Coon. So what about the Buckeye State?

After much debate regarding which dog breed should be chosen as the official breed of the State of Ohio the options were narrowed down to two breeds:

Labrador Retriever vs. Shelter Dog

animal shelter

In a 2018 interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer Ohio Rep. Jeffery Rezabek of Clayton said the Labrador Retriever embodies the values of the Buckeye State.

However, noted animal-rights group PETA objected to the proposal citing fears over fueling puppy mills. In a press release PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said,

The last thing that Ohio’s already severely crowded animal shelters need is a deluge of yet another type of dog...If Ohioans’ hearts are set on naming an official state dog, PETA suggests the humble, healthy, and 100 percent lovable all-American mutt.

Instead Ohio has chosen to designate an official state pet. 

State Pet of Ohio

In 2019 Senate Bill 86 went into effect designating the shelter dog as the official state pet of Ohio. According to the Ohio Secretary of State website,

Every year, about 6.5 million companion animals are sent to shelters across the nation. The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that of that number, only about half are adopted. To raise awareness of the cats and dogs waiting for homes, Ohio lawmakers named The Shelter Pet the Official Pet of the State of Ohio in 2019.

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