Many large and small dogs are on the brink of extinction. The worrying statistic of these dogs is often due to technological advances, demonization of breeders, and a public that has never heard of the world’s rarest dog breeds. In this article, you’ll learn more about these beautiful rare dog breeds and why they deserve a place in people’s hearts.
Overview of rare dog breeds
There are a lot of rare dog breeds. Some are even threatened with extinction. This is the list of the rarest dog breeds in the world:
With a population of around 7,000, the Stabyhoun is one of the rarest dog breeds in the world. Also called Stabijhoun or Stabji, it dates from the 17th century from the eastern and south-eastern Dutch province of Friesland.
Because of their Friesian roots, Stabyhouns have an affinity for water; they are not afraid of rivers and lakes. These dogs excel at their ability to track down any game and take it alive and undamaged. The versatile breed can also guard properties and catch vermin.
The Dutch dog breed’s name translates to “stand by me,” because these dogs remain loyal to their families no matter what life throws at them. These loyal dogs have a gentle disposition and tend to shut down emotionally when treated harshly. Well-behaved and socialized Stabyhouns are tolerant of children and other dogs.
The national dog of Israel is not only one of the rarest dog breeds of all, but also one of the oldest. When archaeologists excavated the Ashkelon Dog Cemetery, they found remains of dogs that bear anatomical similarities to modern-day Canaanites. The artefacts date back to around 4,000 years ago, when herding animals was the focus of everyday life. Therefore, we can assume that these dogs were an integral part of the pastoral life of ancient Semitic cultures.
But when the Romans attacked Jerusalem, many of these dogs were abandoned and took refuge in the Negev, where they lived untameably until the 20th century. In the years leading up to the establishment of the State of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces needed military dogs that could better adapt to the harsh climate than traditional European working breeds. dr Rudolphina Menzel suggested the semi-wild canines of the desert. The dogs proved to be agile and very trainable during the training program. Shortly thereafter, during World War II, the dogs served as minesweepers, messengers, sentinels, and trackers of wounded soldiers.
Canaan dogs are bursting with energy, making them great for people with active lifestyles. The breed doesn’t excel in any one area, but it is undeniably intelligent, and its vocal range is enviable among other breeds. The Canaan dog is a stubborn protector of his home, so you may need to be careful when introducing your furry friend to your guests.
The Catalburun is one of those rare dog breeds that, despite its uniqueness, doesn’t draw much attention. As rare as they are, the Catalburun is easy to spot, being one of the only three breeds with a forked nose. Also known as the Turkish Split Pointer, the Catalburun has a deep groove down the center of the nostrils that makes the nose appear forked.
The breed is not recognized by any of the major kennels and is unknown outside of Turkey. However, in its native land, the breed is valued as a partridge hunter.
Catalburun lovers are clamoring for recognition. In character, these dogs are affectionate and patient with their human companions, but they can become aggressive toward strangers and other dogs.
Also known as the Berber greyhound and Arabian greyhound, the ancient Sloughi is another canine sprinter with sharp eyesight and blistering speed. Like its cousin the Azawakh, it is a hound that hunted various game animals and was a companion of the nomadic Berber people in the North African deserts.
In 2016, the Sloughi was relatively new to the AKC canine group, but this African dog breed had been recognized by the UKC and FCI years earlier.
Rare dog breeds like the Sloughi are prized for their class, grace, and nobility, but these intelligent and complex dogs aren’t the easiest of dogs to deal with. Their athletic build requires plenty of supervised exercise, and their strong prey drive means walks should always be on a leash. The Sloughi has a lot of love for his human family, but strangers and small pets? Not so much.
With its long legs, slender build and expressive eyes, it’s easy to fall in love with the Azawakh’s elegance and delicacy. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 2019 and classified as a hunting dog.
At first glance, these dogs resemble greyhounds, but they are more closely related to the Saluki and Sloughi, which are also AKC gun dogs.
Azawakhs are persistent hunters from West Africa, where they hunt gazelles through the scorching sands of the Sahara. In accordance with its origin, the Azazwakh is an excellent coursing dog.
The gorgeous dogs are affectionate and loyal, but their affections are only for their family members. They refuse to accept the presence of strangers.
Bred by Arthur Treadwell Walden, the Chinook is the pride of New Hampshire. In the Intuit language, Chinook means “warm winter wind,” referring to the breed’s history as a sled dog. The polar explorer was keen to create a hardy husky breed that would have the strength of transport dogs and the speed of sled dogs.
Although the breeding program was successful and the dogs were taken on an expedition to Antarctica, their fame was immediately eclipsed by Siberian Huskies.
Rare large dog breeds like the Chinook were once on the brink of extinction. With only 125 documented specimens, the Chinook was listed as the rarest dog breed in the 1965 Guinness Book of World Records. Thankfully, Chinook advocates managed to revive the breed, and in 2013 it was accepted onto the AKC’s working group.
Kai Kens even climb trees and swim through rivers when hunting game. Discovered in the mountains of Kai, it is considered the purest of all Japanese dog breeds due to the geographic isolation of its province. But even in their homeland, these dogs are rare, and today advocates of the breed are working tirelessly to rebuild the endangered population of dogs.
Also known as the tiger dog, it has a distinctive brindle coat that comes in three variations. The strangest thing about the Kai Ken’s stripes is that they do not appear in young puppies and the pattern changes several times until the dog is five years old.
Despite their looks, these Japanese dogs make suitable family pets, although they aren’t as affectionate as other spitz dogs. Kai Kens are content to lounge somewhere in the same room as you, and while they are incredibly loyal, they tend to choose a favorite who will most likely be their primary caregiver during puppyhood.
The Norwegian Lundehund is an ancient breed that was bred for one purpose only: to hunt puffins. The inhabitants of the rocky island of Vaeroy depended on pickled puffin meat to sustain themselves during the long arctic winters. Back then, Lundehunds were the only ones able to pull the birds out of the screes and caves of the island’s coastal cliffs, as the dogs have interesting characteristics that make them particularly useful for puffin hunting.
The unique canines have elongated paw pads and six toes per foot, giving them a good grip when climbing up and down the steep terrain. Their neck and shoulder joints are extremely flexible, helping them crawl through narrow passages. The puffin dogs may also wiggle their ears or keep them closed to ward off debris.
The Lundehund population declined as the birds’ nests were replaced, and by the outbreak of World War II only 50 remained. In 1943, canine distemper broke out and there was only one survivor. Luckily, experienced English Setter breeder Eleanor Christie and her husband managed to save the Norwegian Lundehund with a dog from another line.
Otterhounds are large, lively dogs bred to protect fish in rivers and ponds that were being hunted by otters in medieval England. Their shaggy, waterproof coat, webbed feet, and fondness for swimming make them ideal dogs for the task. Most importantly, these hardy dogs have an incredibly keen sense of smell, which allows them to track an otter’s underwater scent trail over long distances.
Given its history, the hardy mutt appreciates swimming as a reaction. He’s not a good choice for fussy housekeepers, as he tends to slosh water and flop around awkwardly. But as you might expect, the Otterhound is one of the many rare large dog breeds that will become obsolete once they are no longer useful to humans.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
The Caucasian Ovcharka, also known as the Caucasian Shepherd Dog and Caucasian Mountain Dog, hails from the Kavkaz (Caucasus) Mountains in Eastern Europe. For centuries, the fearsome Russian dogs protected their families’ flocks and properties from large predators, including bears and wolves. In the 20th century, the landrace was further developed by the Soviets to create an extremely aggressive dog that could take on both animal and human threats. The powerful dogs were then used in military units from the 1960s.
The Caucasian Ovcharka is one of those rare large dog breeds that you’ll be hard-pressed to find outside of their home country as the breed is banned in many countries. If the breed is not banned in your region and you meet the keeping requirements, the Ovcharka will be a loyal and trustworthy companion.
The gorgeous dog is affectionate and loyal to his family, but he refuses to welcome friends and family, including your children’s playmates. A serious guardian can never be a personal guard dog that should accompany you in public areas.
The Mudi is a curly dog, intelligent and very trainable. They excel at herding cattle and sheep and in dog sports. Always up for new activities, these energetic and versatile dogs are best suited to active families that provide them with plenty of activity and variety. However, outside of Finland and its native Hungary, the breed remains rare.
dr Deszö Fényesi, a director of the museum in Balassagyarmat, discovered and introduced the Mudi as a breed in 1930, but the dogs almost became extinct as many of them were killed in World War II.
Breeders worked hard to recover from this loss and in 1966 a new breed standard was created for FCI recognition. In 2000, the breed standard was revised to include some of the original colors. The Mudi is currently the only Merle colored breed in the Herding Group.
The Russkiy Toy, also known as the Russian Toy, has a turbulent history with two distinct stages of development. While the breed existed in Russia as early as the 17th century, its rise to fame continued until the early 20th century. The sweet four-legged friends became a huge success and adorned the laps of the aristocrats. In the 1950s, breeders developed a long-haired variant, and the breed’s population continued to increase for a few more decades.
As with many other Russian dogs, the Russkiy Toy’s numbers fell during the fall of the Iron Curtain. Fortunately, the petite dog recovered in the 1990s and was recognized by the FCI in 2006. Along with the Mudi, the Russkiy Toy is one of two breeds that have taken the spotlight at the AKC this year.
Russkiy Toys are bright but mischievous little dogs. While these delicate dogs aren’t the most energetic, they are full of love and character. Her wacky pranks and sugary, heartwarming demeanor will make you smile.
As the name suggests, the breed gets its name from the pronounced crest on its back caused by the opposite growth of the hair. The Thai Ridgeback is considered a partially wild, free-roaming dog that mingles on the outskirts of human civilization and reproduces through natural selection.
17th-century Thai writings show that these pariah dogs were used to pull carts, guard property, and hunt vermin and cobras.
The sturdy and athletic dog may intimidate onlookers, but Thai Ridgebacks are playful and fiercely loyal to their human companions. These energetic dogs are perfect for active owners who can provide them with rigorous but friendly exercise.
Mexican hairless dog (or Xoloitzquintle, Xoloitzcuintli, or Xolo)
The name of this breed is difficult to savor. He is a combination of two words: “Xolotl”, an Aztec god, and “itzcuintle”, which simply means dog in Nahuatl. The Xoloitzcuintli played an important role in ancient Mexican myths and legends. The head of Anubis also bears a striking resemblance to the Xoloitzcuintli and, like Xolotl, the Egyptian god is associated with the underworld.
While Xolos are known to be hairless dogs, not all are and they come in three sizes. A truly hairless Xolo’s skin looks like smooth skin that needs daily maintenance with sunscreen and moisturizer to protect it from UV rays. Some of the Xolo classified as “hairless” may have mustache-like hair on their head, paws, or tail. The hairy variant has a short coat that looks almost bald from a distance.
The character of the Xoloitzcuintli is still somewhat primitive. He thrives on structure and routine because he quickly becomes nervous or anxious in new situations. The Xoloitzcuintli makes an excellent watchdog as they are very aware of their surroundings and attentive to their owner. However, he becomes restless if he is too long without his family’s company.
The pointed ears and golden-red fur give the Finnish Spitz a fox-like appearance. These nimble, playful and perceptive dogs act like foxes too!
Affectionately called Finkies, these clever dogs have a particular way of chasing wild birds. The cunning dog tracks and surrounds its prey, running back and forth – back and forth like a broken carousel! Once the bird is mesmerized by its hypnotist, the finkie will bark louder and louder to camouflage the sounds of its human companion.
This particular method of tracking prey and escalating barking made these Nordic dogs famous. Without these qualities, a Finnish Spitz cannot win a championship.
Karelian Bear Dog
If there’s one word that best describes the Karelian Bear Dog, it’s fearless. It was bred as a Russian dog breed to track down large, aggressive game all by itself, and the stealthy hound can tell a seasoned hunter what type of animal it is pursuing by barking. Although this dog is not large, it can startle predators with its presence.
The cuddly looking Karelian Bear Dog is affectionate and loyal to its human family, but the breed is still considered primitive rather than tame. Although the caring breed can show self-control, his love of a challenge around other dogs may overwhelm first-time pet parents.
The origin of this rare Italian dog breed is shrouded in mystery, but these odd-looking dogs have lived in and around the Italian city of Bergamo for centuries. These hardy dogs are well suited to the rough terrain and harsh climate of the Italian Alps. Their flocked coat protects them from the elements, and their exceptionally long upper lashes keep them from going blind in the snow.
The most distinctive feature of the Bergamasque Shepherd Dog is undoubtedly its coat, which consists of three different textures: dog, goat and wool. The goat and wool hairs don’t appear until the dog is at least a year old and when they do appear they naturally form loose mats. The Bergamasco’s adult coat is easy to groom because it doesn’t need to be brushed. You only need to bathe this dog two or three times a year. As tempting as it may seem, you should never shave the coat because it helps with thermoregulation.
The Bergamasco Shepherd Dog was admitted to the AKC’s herding group as an Italian dog breed in 2015, but it’s still one of the rarest dog breeds in the world. The breed’s population began to decline right after World War II.
Have you heard of Mark Zuckerberg’s dog Beast? He’s a Puli, a giant pug with an infectious smile! The charming dog was bred in Hungary to herd sheep. The breed’s coat, which looks like dreadlocks all over its body, is a hallmark of the Puli. Like the Bergamasco Sheepdog, the Puli’s unique coat is the result of a gradual matting process. Puppies don’t have matted fur until they are one year old. Some people think Puli are ugly dogs, but luckily that’s a matter of taste.
While the Bergamasco Sheepdog is a low-maintenance breed, the Puli will test your patience. Grooming is the most difficult aspect of owning this rare breed, even more so than exercise and training. Even bathing and drying a Puli with a cord requires special methods.
Pulis are fantastic family pets as they remain fun-loving and happy into old age. While they don’t get along well with cats, they do enjoy playing with children.
Catahoula Leopard Dog
The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, also known as the Catahoula Cur and Catahoula Hog Dog, is the state dog of Louisiana and also the only dog breed associated with that state.
The Catahoula’s trademark is its short, sleek coat, which comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Some have multicolored spots that look almost like leopard fur, hence the breed’s name. Also, many of these dogs have iridescent “glass eyes” in shades of light blue or golden brown.
The visually striking Catahoula was bred to work on farms. This energetic breed is better suited to experienced pet owners who can cater to his needs. Thankfully, even without a farm to guard or livestock to herd, there are plenty of ways to keep this working dog happy.
The Cesky Terrier, also known as the Bohemian Terrier, is the national dog of the Czech Republic. He is a cross between a Scottish Terrier and a Sealyham Terrier and was developed by Czechoslovakian geneticist Frantisek Horak.
The short, stocky, handsome hunter has a wavy face and a fine, silky coat that comes in platinum and various shades of gray.
Cesky Terriers can easily adapt to virtually any situation. These dogs can be very energetic when around children, but they also know when it’s time to rein in their wanderlust and playfulness.
The Telomian is not recognized as a breed by any of the four major breed societies because it is a pariah dog. These dogs are originally from the jungles of Malaysia, particularly the villages near the Telom River, where they are rewarded with food for eating vermin.
The villagers also share their prey with the dogs as they help them hunt game and fish.
Because the houses in the village are built on stilts, the dogs have learned to climb ladders with ease. Another interesting trait of Telomians is that bitches only have one heat cycle per year.
The Great Pyrenees is a hardworking herding dog descended from the ancient shepherd dogs of the French Pyrenees. He is enthusiastic, cheeky and quick-witted. The feisty shepherd is also known as Pyr Shep.
Two Great Pyrenees are more than enough to tend a flock of 1,000 sheep. In their homeland, the dogs work alongside the much larger Pyrenean Mountain Dog, which is kept as a livestock guardian.
The breed comes in two coat varieties: wire-haired and smooth-haired. Rough-haired have luxuriant, windblown hair above the snout and a rough coat; Smooth dogs have a slightly longer, more pointed snout, short facial hair, and a finer coat. Great Pyrenees are considered to be one of the most beautiful white dog breeds.
New Guinea singing dog
The New Guinea dingo feeds on marsupials and wild birds, making it the island’s most important land predator. However, little information is available about these canines and opinions differ as to their origins. Little is known about how many of these roaming pariah dogs exist.
If there’s something they’re famous for, it’s their unique howl. Also known as New Guinea Singing Dogs, these dogs emit collective howling sounds that people refer to as “overtones” or “ringing chords.”
New Guinea dingoes are reportedly shy of people and will run away as soon as they see a human, making them almost impossible to interact with.
The lithe and sinewy Cirneco dell’Etna is an ancient hound from Sicily. For thousands of years, these explosively fast hunters have hunted rabbits and game birds on the rocky slopes of Europe’s largest active volcano. In the early 1930s, the breed was on the verge of extinction.
Thankfully, Dr. Maurizio Mignecow wrote an impassioned article about this rare Italian breed of dog, which caught the attention of Baroness Agata Paternó Castello. The Sicilian aristocrat spent nearly three decades saving the breed from its impending demise.
Since 2015, the Cirneco has been an AKC-recognized breed.
Also known as the Swedish Vallhund, the Västgötaspets is a reminder of Britain’s Viking past. However, when and where exactly the breed was developed is a lost milestone in history. The stocky, short-legged dog could be related to the Welsh Corgi as they share a similar appearance and working instinct. The tough little dog can have any tail length, from no tail at all to a full curl.
This Nordic dog breed almost became extinct in 1942, but careful breeding and promotion by Swedes Bjorn von Rosen and K.G. Zettersten managed to revive the breed and save it from impending extinction. In 2007, the AKC accepted the Swedish Vallhund as its 157th dog breed.
Brazil’s national dog, the Fila Brasileiro, was developed in the 1600s as a big game hunting and livestock guarding dog. These heavy and powerful dogs can fend off jaguars and other vicious animals. The dog’s fearsome presence is enough to scare away human threats. While the Fila’s beginnings are not well documented, it can be said to have been created by crossing Molosser breeds.
The giant dog is famous for its legendary loyalty, embodied in a Brazilian proverb: “Loyal as a Fila”. But just like other rare large dog breeds, the Fila Brasileiro isn’t suited to the typical home. The breed needs an experienced dog owner who will take plenty of time to ensure their needs are met.
He doesn’t need a strict disciplinarian, but a loving alpha who knows how to tame his untamed curiosity and keep his fighting spirit in check with consistency and friendliness.
Why are these dog breeds so rare?
There are many reasons why dog breeds are no longer welcome on earth. Some reasons are simple while others are a bit more complex.
The most common reason dog breeds go extinct is that they have served their purpose and are no longer useful. An example of this is the Turnspit, an extinct breed that inspired the creation of organizations like the RSPCA and PETA. Another example is the Norwegian Lundehund, which could have become extinct years ago because its original purpose no longer makes sense.
Some breeds have simply gone out of fashion while their flashier cousins have risen to fame. Many working breeds have fallen out of favor with advances in technology and most dog owners today prefer a low-maintenance breed that is particularly suited to apartment living.
What is the risk of these rare dog breeds becoming extinct?
As society changed, many dogs lost their jobs and took a one-way train to oblivion. Many dogs are still at risk of a significant decline today, and while that doesn’t affect us directly, it shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Dogs are an expression of cultural heritage. The loss of certain races is tantamount to the loss of history and art.
What can be done to preserve rare dog breeds?
Irresponsible, uncontrolled breeding is one reason why a breed could become extinct. One of the most recent examples of this error is the Hawaiian Poi Dog, which used to be an integral part of Polynesian culture. Unfortunately, the islanders didn’t care that the breed bred with wild animals on the island, so the dogs eventually wiped themselves out.
You don’t have to be a professional grower to make a difference. If you’re thinking about getting a pet soon, why not consider one of the rare dog breeds above? You can also help protect and preserve these rare dog breeds by sharing useful and accurate information on social media. The age of social media will help increase the popularity and vitality of these incredible dogs.
Rare Dog Breeds: Why Are Some Dog Breeds Dying Out?
Various dog breeds can become extinct because the dog’s former work simply disappears or no longer exists. There are now only about 40 registered Great Spitz, which used to be bred to guard houses and yards. The breed hunted pests such as rats or mice in the yard. In the past, dogs were very well known, but nowadays they hardly exist anymore.
However, other breeds of dogs that used to have just as important tasks as guarding the house or yard are now finding new tasks. For example, the German shepherd dog can be used in many different ways and finds different tasks with the police, and can prove its skills. The Pinscher used to be a classic pest control dog, which is very popular with riders today and has become more widespread again. Nonetheless, it is threatened with extinction.
Other large dog breeds, such as mastiffs or wolfhounds, were once used to hunt bears, deer, or boar. The dog breed no longer has these tasks either. In addition, large dogs rarely get really old and usually die around the age of seven years. However, families who get a dog prefer a four-legged friend that will accompany them for a few years and not die so early.
Last but not least, there are always phases in which certain dog breeds are popular/”in” or rather unpopular/”out” in a society. In the 1950s, for example, the pug was rather unpopular and was ridiculed. In the meantime, he has become a fashion dog again. The same applies to the dachshund, which used to be mainly used for hunting – these are enjoying increasing popularity again today.
When is a dog breed considered endangered?
As soon as less than 300 puppies per year of a dog breed are entered in the studbook or the total worldwide population of the breed is less than 3000 dogs, it is considered rare. Some breeds such as the pinscher, sheep poodle, or spitz are already endangered dog breeds. For example, there are over 750,000 Golden Retrievers worldwide. Accordingly, this is one of the most common breeds.
Why are some dog breeds dying out?
Dog breeds that used to have specific jobs that are now rare, such as pest control, housekeeping, and yard maintenance. are becoming increasingly rare. Also because demand for certain breeds is falling, some are becoming fewer and fewer.
What Does It Mean: “rear breed”?
- Dog breeds are considered rare if the global population is less than 3000.
- The number of endangered dog breeds is around 50.
- Getting a dog of rare pedigree can be a very expensive and time-consuming affair.
- Most of these dog breeds were bred for specific tasks.
- Many of the rare dogs require intensive training and special care.
Background: What you know about rare dog breeds
Rare dog breeds are not an umbrella term for different breeds that belong together in one category, as is the case with Nordic dog breeds, for example. So that you can still keep an overview, we have explained the most important things about rarities in the dog world.
When are dog breeds considered rare?
Dog breeds are considered rare if the global population is less than 3,000. For comparison, the population of Golden Retrievers living in the world is about 750,000. A striking difference, isn’t it?
Why Are Certain Dog Breeds Rare?
The relationship between humans and dogs has changed tremendously in recent decades. Dogs used to be working animals. They were taken along to accompany people on hunts, acted as guard dogs to scare thieves and shady people off the property, or helped to keep the sheep in check.
It often happened that a field of work slowly disappeared. Help from the dog was no longer needed, which is why the number of dogs decreased more and more. This happened, for example, with the Otterhound. This almost died out because the otter hunt, for which it was actually used, was forbidden, and therefore no need for the four-legged population. Furthermore, many dog breeds often fail to become “popular” outside of their home country. So the breeders are always spread out in one country and the breed has no chance to spread. Since the age of the Internet, we have been fortunate to discover dog breeds that are not only native to us and thus opportunities to keep the breed in other areas as well.
What else you should know about rare dog breeds
In order to make your impression of rare dog breeds even more worth knowing, here is some more interesting information for you!
How & where to buy rare dog breeds?
Depending on which dog breed you have decided on, it makes sense to look around in the country of origin of the breed. Often there are only recognized breeders there. It is generally difficult to find a suitable breeder for rare dog breeds. So if you’re thinking of bringing a rare dog into your home, do your research first to find a trustworthy breeder who breeds affiliated with an FCI-approved club.
You can often find helpful information in clubs. For some dog breeds, a “fan community” has built up over time, which deals intensively with the breed and may have members who breed or have contacts with breeders. When choosing a breeder, seriousness should have the highest priority! There are often black sheep who see the sale of rare dogs as a source of money and cheat the customers. It is best to visit the breeder yourself and get an insight into the breeding grounds and the parent animals.
This is the only way you can be sure that you will receive a healthy and thoroughbred dog that will stay by your side for a long time. Long ways to your dog’s happiness, long waiting times, and high costs are things that you have to accept if you decide to get a rare dog. It’s all the nicer when your new companion finally moves in!
Indeed, owning a rare breed of dog can have its charms. But before you decide to get a rare dog, you should find out about the characteristics of the dog and the possible care and training costs.
One important last concern for us is to make it clear that every dog is great! It doesn’t matter whether it’s a common breed, a mixed breed, or a rare breed. Every dog is a great friend in everyday life and has its own special characteristics and behaviors that make us dog lovers happier people at the end of the day, right?