Pet Connection by Dr. Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton and Mikkel Becker

American Made

How much do you know about the history of dogs and cats? Take our quiz and test your knowledge.

By Kim Campbell Thornton

Andrews McMeel Syndication

Lots of dog and cat breeds have a history that seemingly stretches back into the mists of time. They adorned Renaissance royal courts, hunted with King Arthur, or were the favored pets of Chinese emperors.

But some breeds have a more recent origin. They were developed in the United States or have associations with certain American places or people. Take our quiz to see how much you know about pets who can claim to be among the country’s founding animals.

1. Name the states with which the following breeds are associated.

Catahoula leopard dog

B. Boykin spaniel

Plott hound


2. Which of the following groups of dogs cannot claim to be born in the USA?

A. American Eskimo, Australian shepherd, Boston terrier, Carolina dog

B. Cocker spaniel, Chihuahua, Labrador retriever, curly coated retriever

C. American pit bull terrier, Boston terrier, black and tan coonhound, American foxhound

D. Alaskan malamute, black mouth cur, blue lacy, treeing walker

3. The American water spaniel was developed in which state?



South Carolina


4. The blue lacy, also known as the lacy dog, is native to which one of the following states?





5. Popular early American farm dogs included which breed?

American pit bull terrier

English shepherd

Rat terrier

All of the above

6. What is the state cat of Maryland?

A. Baltimore tabby

B. Calico

C. Chessie

D. Maryland mouser

7. What is the state cat of Massachusetts?

A. Boston bobtail

B. American shorthair

C. Tabby cat

D. Patriot mewsile

8. In which state did the American wirehair cat originate?

New York




9. The Hemingway cats of Key West, Florida, named after the American author, are known for which unusual quality?

A. Short tails

B. Curly coats

C. Extra toes

D. Enjoying swimming in the ocean

10. Which of the following cat breeds did not originate in the United States?

A. Selkirk rex

B. Ragdoll

C. Havana brown

D. La perm


1. The Catahoula is the state dog of Louisiana; the Boykin of South Carolina; the Plott hound of North Carolina; and the Chinook of New Hampshire.

2. B. The original cocker spaniel was developed in Britain, although a distinct American variety was recognized in the U.S. in 1946. The labrador and curly coat were developed in Britain. The Chihuahua is native to Mexico.

3. The American water spaniel is the state dog of Wisconsin, where the curly coated breed was developed to hunt from boats.

4. The blue lacy is the official state dog of Texas where it is a herding, tracking and hunting dog.

5. All of these dogs found a home with American farmers, who prized them for their versatile working abilities and family friendliness.

6. Maryland named the calico -- a pattern, not a breed -- the state cat in 2001 because the orange, black and white colors match those of the Baltimore oriole and the Baltimore checkerspot butterfly.

7. The state cat of Massachusetts is the tabby. Tabbies aren’t a specific breed, but their stripes often form the shape of an M on the cat’s forehead, possibly the inspiration for their choice as state cat.

8. The American wirehair was developed from a cat with a natural mutation that was first seen in upstate New York.

9. The Hemingway cats of Key West are famous for polydactyly, the characteristic of having extra toes.

10. The Havana brown, an offshoot of the Siamese, was developed in the United Kingdom. The goal was to create a chocolate-colored cat.


Do sugar gliders

make good pets?

Q: I just saw the cutest picture on Facebook of a pair of sugar gliders. What are they, and do they make good pets?

A: They are awfully cute, with their big eyes, swiveling ears, bushy tails and black-striped markings. Sugar gliders are marsupials, native to Australia, Papua New Guinea and certain Indonesian islands. Think of them as small gliding possums.

As with any animal, whether sugar gliders make good pets depends on your individual situation and desires in a companion animal. They are nocturnal, so if you work during the day but have the time and inclination to spend with an animal in the evening, a sugar glider may be a good choice. They can be noisy and active at night, though, so you may not want them in your bedroom.

For mental and physical stimulation, they need foraging toys, a glider-safe exercise wheel, and areas where they can climb. In the wild they live in groups, so you should always have at least a pair. When handled appropriately, they can bond closely to family members, but this takes time -- in some cases up to a year. They are not appropriate pets for young children.

A rescue organization, SuggieSavers, warns that sugar gliders are messy eaters, cannot be potty trained, will mark people with their urine and scent glands, and they require fresh food daily. If they don’t get an appropriate balance of protein, fruits and vegetables, they can develop health problems. A veterinarian who is knowledgeable about exotics is a must.

Sugar gliders are not domesticated animals and are not legal as pets in every state. They can live 12 to 15 years, so they aren’t a short-term commitment. As you can see, there’s a lot to learn and consider before deciding to share your home with a sugar glider.

-- Dr. Marty Becker

Do you have a pet question? Send it to or visit


Cats may quash gene

triggering asthma

-- Danish researchers found that toddlers who grew up with a cat in the home were less likely to develop asthma, according to a study published last month in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The scientists reported that a variation in the TT gene appears to play a role in triggering asthma but seems to be neutralized in homes with cats. Lead researcher Jakob Stokholm suggests that beneficial bacteria, fungi and viruses in the cat’s skin microbiome may somehow affect the expression of genes. It’s an interesting take on the ways genes and the environment may interact and affect health.

-- Contribute to knowledge about pet health trends and emerging pet health issues by completing a 26-question survey for the One Health Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency. Questions include the type of water pets drink, the food they eat, where they live and health problems they’ve experienced. Surveys are completed separately for each pet in the home. The information, which will be collected until January 2020 or until 300,000 surveys are completed, will help to build a health and disease database for U.S. dogs and cats, including geographic patterns of disease. To take the survey, you can visit

-- Baby, it’s cold outside! To prevent pets from developing frostbite or hypothermia, gradually acclimate them to cold-weather conditions. For dogs, start with shorter walks than usual and build up to normal distances. While Nordic breeds and other furry friends will be in their element, pets with thin skin or little coat or very small animals may benefit from a sweater or coat for protection from wind and snow. Check paws to make sure they aren’t dry and cracked, and clean them to remove deicing chemicals or icy buildup. Pets need access to shelter that is 60 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. -- Dr. Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton and Mikkel Becker


Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet-care experts headed by "The Dr. Oz Show" veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and award-winning journalist Kim Campbell Thornton. They are affiliated with and are the authors of many best-selling pet-care books. Joining them is dog trainer and behavior consultant Mikkel Becker. Dr. Becker can be found at or on Twitter at DrMartyBecker. Kim Campbell Thornton is at and on Twitter at kkcthornton. Mikkel Becker is at and on Twitter at MikkelBecker.