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Tomatoes, the Turnpike, big hair and Washington Crossing the Delaware. New Jersey is associated many things, both good and bad.  The state has an official insect (the honeybee), folk dance (the square dance), and even a state dinosaur (the Hadrosaurus Foulkii) but when it comes to man’s best friend and feline, New Jersey comes up short.

Inspired by New York City’s October 16 & 17 Meet the Breeds event™, the world’s largest showcase of cats and dogs, the American Kennel Club (AKC®) and Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA®) searched through the distinct personality and characteristics of more than 200 dog and cat breeds to determine the best fit for various stereotypes attributed to New Jersey. Weigh in and cast your vote now at by clicking “Vote Now,” or go to AOL Paw Nation and make your voice heard.  Among the choices:

SMALL YET MIGHTYThe fourth smallest state in the nation, yet the most densely populated.
Dog Breed: Yorkshire Terriers offer big personalities in a small package. Despite the breed’s small size, this portable pooch is the third most popular breed in the U.S. according the AKC Registration Statistics.
Cat Breed: The Burmese is a compact little cat, and so tightly muscled that it can take on all challengers. With its snub nose and big round eyes, you’d think he could do some damage. Burmese, however, are very affectionate cats; more lovers not fighters.

ITALIAN POPULATIONNew Jersey has the third largest Italian population by percentage according to the 2000 Census, but if you watched the Sopranos, the Real Housewives of New Jersey, or Jersey Shore, you might think everyone in New Jersey is Italian, or at least wants to be.
Dog Breed:  The highly adaptable Spinone Italiano originated in Italy and is known for its superior nose and robust, sociable and docile temperament.  As a naturally cautious dog The Spinone is the ultimate wash and wear breed and should remain in a natural state, with just occasional brushing.
Cat BreedNo cat breed originated in Italy, but the highly prized Abyssinian was thought to have been introduced from Ethiopia. Sleek and regal, any Italian gal would like to have an Aby riding shotgun in her Caddy convertible!

MISUNDERSTOOD IDENTITY While the Giants and Jets identify themselves as New York teams, they actually play their games in New Jersey.
Dog Breed:  Based on appearance alone both the Great Pyrenees and the Kuvasz look similar. Both are large, white, fluffy breeds that hail from the Working Group with similar livestock guard dog heritages.
Cat Breed: American Shorthairs and British Shorthairs look very much alike and yet there are subtle differences. Both are large, big boned cats with short hair. The Brit has a much denser coat while the American has a hard coarser coat. Both breeds are considered the working cats of their countries.

BIG HAIRA popular hairstyle for women in New Jersey – think teased out, dyed, and hair-sprayed until the hair reaches several inches in height.
Dog Breed:  It’s all about the hair for Shih Tzu’s!  Their long, flowing double coat is always coiffed with a lovely top knot sporting a beautiful bow. The word Shih Tzu means “lion” and although sweet and playful, this breed isn’t afraid to stand up for himself! This portable pooch has a distinctively arrogant carriage with his head well up and tail curved over the back.
Cat Breed: Nothing can top “Big Hair” better than the Persian! These beautiful, laid-back cats have been the lap cats of royalty for centuries. After being introduced to Europe from Persia, they eventually found the USA and became CFA’s most popular breed! With long flowing coats that reach the ground, these big-eyed beauties were first to put the “Big” in “Hair.”

Learn more about these breeds and place your vote online at by clicking “Vote Now” or at AOL Paw Nation for the dog and cat breed that best represents New Jersey.  Polls close September 27.  Log onto to find out what dog and cat America chose as the best match for New Jersey.

From the Afghan Hound to the Turkish Angora, the Meet the Breeds event will showcase 160 AKC registered dog breeds and 41 CFA registered cat breeds in booths individually decorated to depict each breed’s country of origin, historical purpose/function, and attributes as a family pet.  The family-friendly event is an opportunity for potential pet owners to interact with responsible breeders and play with dogs and cats while educating themselves about responsible pet ownership and choosing the right pet for their lifestyle.

Tickets allow admittance for one day and can be purchased online at

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