Dogs On The Mayflower

The BullmastiffResearch confirms that pilgrims weren’t the only travelers that set sail on the Mayflower back in April of 1620. Turns out man’s best friend also made the transatlantic trip from Southampton, England to Plymouth, MA. The American Kennel Club  (AKC) commemorates the English Springer Spaniel and Mastiff, the two dog types who joined the pilgrims on their journey to the brand-new world and who were the first to make canines a part of everyday life for the earliest Western inhabitants.

The earliest mention of dogs in America appeared in a 17th century journal called “Mourt’s Relation” which told the stories about the first years of life in the new world. According to the accounts told in this journal two pets, an English Springer Spaniel and a Mastiff, were brought along for this epic journey by John Goodman. The dogs were a part of the first explorations of discovery on Cape Cod during that first winter ashore.

This Thanksgiving we would like to offer special thanks to the English Springer Spaniel and Mastiff.  These two dogs were an everyday part in helping the Pilgrims begin their life in this sometimes scary new world.  True to the spirit of dogs, I am certain they brought joy and comfort to all the Pilgrims during their time with them.  Both breeds having roots in hunting certainly lended a paw in finding as well as recovering game.  Today these dogs are likewise trusted companions and as well as hunters.  It is always amazing to think about how our forebears enjoyed the exact dogs as we do today.

The Mastiff is one of the most significant pet dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club.  Tipping the scales at 200 plus pounds these dogs made formative hunters.  Mastiffs were raised in Britain for more than 2,000 years being used as both watchdogs as well as hunting dogs by nobility.  No one in their right mind would dare enter a yard protected by one of these huge dogs.  Due to that huge size and need for space, a Mastiff is best matched for rural or suburban life with room.  The breed also needs regular exercise but due to the short coat needs minimal grooming. More information on the Mastiff can be found at

the springer spanielThe English Springer Spaniel is a fun-loving breed that adapts well to both city and rural life. The word “Springer” comes from the breed’s deep desire to hunt. Springers have long been prized for their eagerness and uncanny ability to locate and flush a huge variety of game birds in addition to rabbits.  These medium sized, powerful dogs are are light, lean and fast in the field and is recognized for his endurance even under adverse hunting conditions.  The Springer is also recognized by it’s cheerful and affectionate attitude, their love for their families and devotion to their owners. They make excellent house pets, but require daily exercise and need regular brushing and trimming to keep their coats neat and free of mats. Extra info on the English Springer Spaniel can be found online at

With Thanksgiving at the doorstep, the American Kennel Club offers safety suggestions for pet dog owners to make their Thanksgiving and other seasonal events or parties safe and fun for your dog. Among them:.

  • Never provide turkey bones to your pet; they pose a serious choking risk for pet dogs. All bones pose threats of intestinal piercing as well as causing blockages.
  • Always keep an eye on the Thanksgiving table as well as keeping leftovers and garbage and safe and secure to prevent your pet from ingesting foods, bones, or trash.
  • Do not give your pets “treats” from the buffet.  Stuffing, pies, cookies and fancy hors d’oeuvres are inappropriate foods for pet dogs and may make them ill.  Any foods containing or cooked with onion, garlic, or nutmeg could prove to be fatal to many dogs.
  • Keep burning candles on high tables or mantels out of the way of your dog’s wagging tail.
  • Liquor is toxic for canines, even in small amounts.
  • If you host a celebration, remember that some guests could be uneasy around your dog(s). Your dog may, in turn, be awkward or anxious around a huge group of unfamiliar people. You might want to restrict your canine to a crate or a space that will not be utilized by guests.
  • Stick as closely as possible to your typical routine. Try not to differ your pet’s feeding, walking and playtime schedule. Schedule some time for them during the busy holiday season.  They wont understand.