Georgia Looking to Adopt Canine Mascot
Photo: Spot Us

Lawmakers in Georgia are kind of known for creating official state designations. They’ve named the brown thrasher as the official state bird and the green tree frog as the official state amphibian. They even have an official state vegetable. Yes, the Vidalia sweet onion is the official vegetable of the Peach State. Now they want to add an official state dog to that list.

Yesterday, February 16th 2016, Georgia House members voted 172-0 to pass House Bill 561, which would officially “designate the adoptable dog as the official state dog.” Of course, in a state full of bulldog fans, you may think that house members would want to pit one breed over another, but that isn’t the case.

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State Representative Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs) is the bill’s sponsor and he said that he chose the adoptable dog because it is the best compromise. It is an effort to bring attention to the thousands of animals currently in adoption throughout the animal shelter system in the state. He also says that it is an effort to promote rescuing and adopting over purchasing pets.

Georgia Looking to Adopt Canine Mascot
Photo: LionKnots.

The bill is now on its way to the state Senate for consideration. According to, there are 12 other states that have officially passed laws to name a state dog. Is your state one of them?

  • Alaska – Alaskan Malamute
  • Louisiana – Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog
  • Maryland – Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Massachusetts – Boston Terrier
  • New Hampshire – Chinook
  • New York – Service Dog
  • North Carolina – Plott Hound
  • Pennsylvania – Great Dane
  • South Carolina – Boykin Spaniel
  • Texas – Blue Lacy
  • Virginia – American Foxhound
  • Wisconsin – American Water Spaniel

Lawmakers in virtually every state are looking at dog-related laws this year. With the number of pet dogs in this country (and all the world) increasing at a very steady rate, it’s expected that more laws will be passed relating specifically to the species. Unfortunately, most of these laws are not represented in a positive light.

There are laws being written to stop puppy mills, protect people from aggressive animals and to protect animals from people who will neglect and harm them. Sadly, lawmakers typically deal with the negative side of things. Laws are usually passed to protect society from harmful things. Many of these laws are put into place as a result of something bad happening.

So why not put something positive in front of them? Even lawmakers need to have a little fun, right? Selecting a state dog would not only put a smile on the face of the lawmakers, but it may also bring a little attention to the breed. I think Wilkinson had a great idea when he decided to choose adoptable dogs as the official state dog of Georgia.

Georgia Looking to Adopt Canine Mascot
Photo: Dave Parker

There are more dogs in need of adoption in the Southern United States, so why not try to draw a little attention to that? It may also help Georgia residents realize the benefits of adoption. If it spurs just a few people to adopt a pet, that’s a few more pets who won’t be spending another night at a shelter or rescue organization.

RELATED: How to Choose a Dog Breed: Make the Best Choice

As you probably noticed, a lot of states have chosen their state dog because it is named after the state or after a city in the state. That won’t work for many states, but it’s a good idea for the ones that can get away with it. Of course, other states have chosen breeds that are popular in that area.

I’m from Maine, and Labradors are probably the most common dog around here. Then again, they’re one of the most common dogs in the world, so that won’t do us a lot of good. Labs are used a lot around our state as hunting dogs. Unlike Southern states where hounds are more commonly used to hunt, labs are traditionally used in Maine to hunt small animals like rabbits and birds.

What would you suggest to lawmakers as the best choice for the official dog of your state?