Best in snow? Bill would make Labrador retriever Minnesota's top dog

TV host Ron Schara's dog Raven
TV host Ron Schara's dog Raven lent her star power to legislation that would name the Labrador retriever Minnesota's state dog. Here she is at the Capitol on Tuesday.
Tim Pugmire | MPR News

A Minnesota lawmaker says she wants to bring some joy and humor to the State Capitol this session by getting people talking about dogs.

State Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, unveiled legislation Tuesday to designate the Labrador retriever as Minnesota's official dog breed. During a news conference with some fellow lawmakers and some dogs, Ruud said the bill can help build relationships.

"We look at the dogs down here and they're having a good time getting along together and maybe we should take that as our example," Ruud said.

TV host Ron Schara's dog Raven
TV host Ron Schara's dog Raven lounges at the press conference. Schara says even though people will debate the choice, Labradors are worthy of the recognition that comes with the bill.
Tim Pugmire | MPR News

It's the latest proposal in a long history of state symbol-designating that began with the state seal in 1861. More recently, lawmakers designated hockey as the official state sport in 2009 and Lester soil as the official state soil in 2012.

In addition to the dog breed designation, Ruud said she wants her bill to help educate school children on how a bill becomes law. She said children will be able to track the progress of the legislation on a special website.

"It might not be fun to follow a tax bill or maybe an elder abuse bill, but they might be really excited to follow a dog bill," she said.

Ruud said she is also trying to raise awareness about rescue and service animals. She encouraged Minnesotans to donate to the charitable organization called Pawsitivity Service Dogs that works with children with autism.

TV host Ron Schara and his sidekick dog Raven lent their star power to the cause. The legislation is named Raven's bill. Schara said the bill will likely open a Pandora's box among dog lovers. But he said Labradors are worthy of the recognition.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt poses with his dog, Lucy.
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt poses with his dog, Lucy. Daudt is backing the legislation called Raven's bill.
Tim Pugmire | MPR News

"They're very popular in the United States and have been number one for many, many years," Schara said.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Zimmerman, is backing the legislation. Daudt, who appeared with his dog Lucy, said the "not-so-serious" bill is the kind he would normally be against. But Daudt said he supports the proposal and its goals.

"I think everybody at the Capitol knows I am the biggest dog lover in the world," Daudt said.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.