The Great Dane was designated the official state dog of Pennsylvania in 1965, but why a Great Dane?
Ten reasons for selecting the Great Dane are outlined in the preamble that introduced the act proclaiming the Great Dane Pennsylvania’s state dog (you can read that preamble here), but one of the big reasons is that Pennsylvania’s founder, William Penn, owned a Great Dane. A painting of Penn and his dog by Pennsylvania artist Violet Oakley can be found in the Governor’s Reception Room of the State Capitol in Harrisburg:
Another reason given is that the history of the Great Dane, a hunting dog that was transformed into a working dog, parallels the history of the Commonwealth from that of a state of hunters to an industrial, working Commonwealth.
Our personal favorite reason given, however, is that “the outline of the Great Dane’s head resembles the outline of the Commonwealth’s boundaries.” We suspect that using this reasoning, Wyoming will never select a dog as its state animal.