Dogs That Came on the Mayflower

dogs and thanksgivingTruly, dog lovers are not surprised to learn that research confirms pilgrims weren’t alone when they set sail on the Mayflower back in April of 1620. That’s right! Dogs were right by man’s side for that epic transatlantic trip from Southampton, England to Plymouth, MA. The American Kennel Club  (AKC) commemorates the English Springer Spaniel and Mastiff, because those are the two recorded dog types joining pilgrims on their journey to the brand-new world. They were also the first to make canines a part of everyday life for the earliest Western inhabitants.

In the 17th century journal called, “Mourt’s Relation,” you will find the earliest mention of dogs in America in stories about the first years of life of the pilgrims in the new world. According to the accounts told in this journal, John Goodman brought his two pets, an English Springer Spaniel and a Mastiff. These two dogs were part of the first explorations and discovery on Cape Cod during their first winter in the new world.

As dog lovers, we like to take time to offer special thanks to the English Springer Spaniel and Mastiff as these two dogs were an everyday part in helping the Pilgrims begin their life in this sometimes scary new world.  No doubt these two dogs brought joy and comfort to all during good and bad times of this new life. Both the Spaniel and the Mastiff have roots in hunting and no doubt pulled their weight when it came time to recover game and protect livestock and humans alike. To this day the two breeds are trusted companions as well as brilliant hunters. What a thrill it is to think that our forebears enjoyed the exact dogs as we do today.

And while we cannot say for certain those two dogs were present at the first Thanksgiving feast, we know for certain dogs have been a part of our great country from the start and will always hold a place next to man forever.