Ever heard the phrase, “the dog days” of summer and wondered what it meant?

In the time of the ancient Greek and Romans, dog days referred to the time of the year when the star Sirius (or Dog Star) — the brightest star in the night sky and part of the Canis Major (or Large Dog) constellation — rose at the same time as the Sun. These were called the “dog days,” which coincidentally also occurred during the hottest days of summer. Because of changes in the Earth’s rotation, Sirius no longer rises with the Sun during summer. The association with the hot days of summer stuck and today, in the Northern Hemisphere, where the Chesapeake Bay is located, the expression “dog days of summer” is associated with the oppressive heat of July and August.

Here are some questions about dogs and other mammals associated with Chesapeake Bay states: New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia. (The District of Columbia is usually included in this group, but Bay Buddies could not find any mammal linked to DC.) Can you fill in the blanks? A state may appear more than once. Answers are on page 24.

1. Three of the Bay states have a state dog. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the state dog for _______________. (This state was the first in the country to name a state dog.)

2. The American Foxhound is the state dog for _______________.

3. The Great Dane is the state dog for _______________.

4. This state does not have a state dog. Its state wildlife animal is the gray fox, a canine relative of dogs. This state is _______________.

5. Only one state has a state cat: the Calico. This state is _______________.

6. The Beaver is the state animal for _______________.

7. The Black Bear is the state animal for _______________.

8. The White-tailed Deer is the state mammal for _______________.

9. The Thoroughbred is the state horse for ______________.

10. The Virginia Big-Eared Bat is the state bat for _______________.


1. Maryland
2. Virginia
3. Pennsylvania
4. Delaware
5. Maryland
6. New York
7. West Virginia
8. New York
9. Maryland
10. Virginia