Top 10 Rare Dog Breeds

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
It’s not likely that you’ve come across one of these rare dog breeds at the park!

When it comes to selecting a breed of dog, there are countless options to choose from. You are probably already familiar with some of the most popular breeds like the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle – but what about some of the less common options? There are purebred dogs out there that stay off of our radars. You may know someone who thinks that their pooch is mixed with one of these rare dog breeds, but they don’t know for sure. It was hard to narrow this list down, but here are our picks of 10 rare dog breeds (Note: For this list, rare means these breeds are hard to find in North America or that may be indigenous to a region we normally don’t visit. As well, a rare breed, for this list, is still in existence and carries a full purebred line). (Photo credit: David d’O/Flickr)

Carolina Dog: Also known as the American Dingo, the Carolina Dog may be the oldest species of dog native to North America. These dogs share some DNA with other rare breeds including the New Guinea Singing Dog as well as the Australian Dingo and they are depicted in rock paintings made by Native Americans. This breed has been domesticated, but they can still be found in the wild as well. ( Noloha/Wikimedia)

Norwegian Lundehund: This small breed originated in Norway where it was bred to hunt puffins. This breed has several unique features including its six-toed feet, an extremely flexible spine, and prick ears that they can control independently. These dogs are very rare but surprisingly easy to live with. (Photo credit: Dries Smulders/Flickr)

Chinook: The name of this Inuit breed translates to mean “warm winter winds” in reference to the breed’s thick, double coat that keeps it warm in even the harshest weather. These dogs originated in New Hampshire as a sled-racing breed and they are known for having the strength of a freighting dog combined with the speed of a racing dog.

Catahoula Leopard Dog: Known for both its hunting ability and its unique appearance, the Catahoula Leopard Dog is named for the Louisiana parish from which it originated. These dogs have a multi-colored, spotted coat and they were originally bred to hunt wild boar. Famous owners of Catahoula Leopard Dogs include Teddy Roosevelt. (Photo credit: Zuzule/Shutterstock)

Peruvian Inca Orchid: This particular breed is thought to have existed since 750 AD. Known for its agility and intelligence, this breed is incredibly rare. The Peruvian Inca Orchid is often completely hairless and is particularly good at hunting and lure coursing. (Photo credit: Paradais Sphynx/Wikimedia)

Thai Ridgeback: The Thai Ridgeback is similar to the Rhodesian Ridgeback in that it exhibits a thin line of hair growing in the opposite direction of the rest of its hair right along the spine. These dogs are strong-willed and dominant, commonly used to guard livestock in their Asian homeland. Though once unknown outside its home country, this breed is starting to gain popularity in other countries.

Azawakh: A type of West African sighthound, the Azawakh has an elegant appearance with a very slight build and a feline-like gait. These dogs are somewhat timid by nature but once they get used to you they can be very affectionate. Traditionally used to hunt gazelles in their West African homeland, these dogs are still very rare outside of Africa. (Photo Credit: Azawakh Preservation International)

Mudi: The Mudi is a Hungarian herding breed used to exterminate rodents, herd sheep, and guard livestock. This breed is very active and agile, making it useful for a variety of applications. As long as this dog has plenty of space to run and a lot of playtime every day it will be happy.

Telomian: Originally bred by the Orang Asli indigenous people of Malaysia for the purpose of catching vermin, the Telomian is the only native Malaysian breed found elsewhere. The fact that the Orang Asli indigenous people built their homes on stilts led this dog to develop a unique ability to climb. (Photo credit: June/Flickr)

Neopolitan Mastiff: This breed of dog was historically bred for the purpose of fighting alongside Roman warriors – they were outfitted with heavy armor and carried blades to disembowel horses. More recently, this breed was used to portray Fang, the dog belonging to the character Hagrid in the Harry Potter movie series.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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