1984 20¢ Dogs
· Four stamps feature eight dog breeds that are popular in the US
· Stamp issue coincided with 100th anniversary of the American Kennel Club (AKC)
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Value: 20¢, rate for first-class mail
First Day of Issue: September 7, 1984
First Day City: New York, New York
Quantity Issued: 216,260,000
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Photogravure
Format: Panes of 40 in sheets of 160
Why the stamps were issued: To pay tribute to dogs, man’s best friend. 1984 was also the 100th anniversary of the American Kennel Club (AKC), though the USPS said that the stamps weren’t issued to commemorate that event.
About the stamp designs: In selecting the eight dogs to be featured on these stamps, the USPS wanted to picture dogs that originated in America and were widely found across the country. While a few of the dogs are American breeds, many grew from dogs brought over from other countries. These stamps were designed by Roy Anderson, who based his paintings on photos provided by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
The stamps feature:
Beagle – Likely originating in Wales in the 1600s, their name comes from the French word beigle, which means small. They usually weigh between 18 and 30 pounds. They’re popular hunting dogs, especially for rabbits, squirrels, and pheasants.
Boston Terrier – The Boston terrier is one of a handful of breeds to be developed in America. It was originally a pit terrier used in fighting formerly known as the “round-headed bill” and “American bullterrier.”
Chesapeake Bay Retriever – These sport dogs originated in the US in the 1800s. They’re notable for their rugged endurance – able to survive in freezing temperatures and rough seas. They also have great memories and are popular for duck hunting.
Cocker Spaniel – These have long been one of the world’s most popular dogs. American cocker spaniels are descended from English cocker spaniels that were named after their primary prey – the Eurasian woodcock. When they were brought to America, they were trained to hunt the American woodcock.
Alaskan Malamute – This dog is named for a group of Eskimos that live along the shore of Kotzebue Sound. The Malamutes bred these arctic dogs as far back as 1000 BC. They have been featured prominently in the stories of Jack London, but are seldom seen in the lower US.
Collie – Collie’s are believed to have originated in Scotland in the 1800s. It’s been suggested they’re descended from the sheepdogs of Ancient Rome.
Coonhound – Black and tan coonhounds were likely first brought to the US in the 1700s. Their name comes from one of animals they frequently hunt – raccoons. They’re also known for their prowess in hunting opossum.
American Foxhound – Believed to be the oldest sporting dog breed in America. De Soto brought hounds with him when he explored the Mississippi River in 1541. And Robert Brooke brought the first hounds to America in 1650. He’s considered the first Master of Foxhounds in the US.
First Day City: While the USPS stated that these stamps didn’t specifically commemorate the 100th anniversary of the AKC, they were issued at the AKC headquarters in New York City New York.
Unusual fact about these stamps: These were not the first US stamps to picture dogs. In fact, the first US stamp to picture a dog was the 1893 30¢ Columbian stamp, in which a large dog can be seen at the foot of a man near the right end of the table. Dogs were included as small parts of larger scenes for several other stamps. The first stamp to feature a dog as the main subject was the 1966 Humane Treatment of Animals stamp.
History the stamps represent: The American Kennel Club (AKC) was founded by a small group of twelve dog owners in 1884. Their goal was to protect and maintain the integrity of bloodlines by registering the lineage of purebred dogs. That means the offspring of AKC-registered dogs have the best chance of inheriting the ideal traits of their breed – and owners get a pet that conforms to the behavior admired in each breed.
Today, the AKC is the largest and most well-known kennel club in the world. It benefits purebred dogs and their owners by distributing information, monitoring key legislation, recognizing new breeds and much more. The club maintains a pedigree registry. In order for a dog to be included, his parents must be registered with the AKC. A mixed breed dog may be accepted if the owners wish to compete in AKC agility or obedience competitions.
Each year the AKC hosts many dog shows. There are competitions for different groups of breeds, such as field trials for hounds and sheepdog trials for herding dogs. Some of the most popular events for champion show dogs are the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship; both generally televised.