Delaware’s State Dog (for a year)

The State of Delaware designated the Golden Retriever as its official state dog on August 3, 2016, but allowed the designation to expire exactly a year later on August 03, 2017.

It all began when fourth-grade students at the Learning Express Academy in Newark wrote letters to their legislators as part of a combined lesson on state symbols and persuasive writing. The students had also considered the Beagle and the Bull terrier, but the Golden Retriever ultimately won the class “election.”

The letters landed on the desk of House Majority Whip John Viola, D-Newark who said at the time, “I loved the way they went through the democratic process in their school to pick a winner.”  The House of Representatives heard the bill which brought a moment of levity to a chamber that would later consider weighty bills including one on sexual assault reporting on college campuses. Still, some lawmakers joked that they were conflicted because they owned dogs of other breeds. “Our black Lab is adamantly opposed to this bill,” said Rep. Lyndon Yearick, R-Dover South. The legislators’ concerns were assuaged by the fact that the state dog designation would only last for one year which would allow other breeds to get a bit of legislative glory.

You can read the wording of the bill here.

Image: “Simba” by Hannah Steedman
Stockbridge Gallery


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