The great Dane was designated the official state dog of Pennsylvania in 1965. A portrait of William Penn and his great Dane hangs in the Governor's reception room (Best Friend, by Pennsylvania artist Violet Oakley). Great Danes were used as a hunting and working breed in frontier Pennsylvania. PA Legislation states that naming an official dog of the Commonwealth would "recognize the steadfast service and loyal devotion of all dogs in Pennsylvania."
The Great Dane came from England, as did William Penn (the founder of the Commonwealth of Pennsylania). A giant breed described as noble, robust, powerful, elegant, responsible, dependable, brave, and loyal - as legislature noted:
"...WHEREAS, the physical and other attributes of the Great Dane, to wit: size, strength, beauty, intelligence, tolerance, courage, faithfulness, trustworthiness and stability exemplify those of Pennsylvania;..."
Quote from State Representative Sam Rohrer;
"When the Speaker of the House called for a voice vote to designate the great Dane, yips, growls and barks assaulted his ears from every part of the chamber! With a rap of his gavel, the Speaker confirmed that the "arfs have it" and the "Barking Dog Vote" entered the annals of legislative history."