From the Sahara Desert to the Norwegian islands, there are many amazing dog breeds that have kept a dedicated local fan base throughout centuries. And even though they are yet to reach the world fame of the beloved Golden Retriever or the popularity of the Poodle breeds, they are special in so many ways. These are the rare dog breeds, saved from going extinct but still not with us in large enough numbers to make dog lovers comfortable.
So, whether you’re looking for an unusual dog breed to add to the family or are just curious to see what are some of the rarest dogs on the planet, here is an introduction to the world of precious canines and their fascinating abilities.
Azawakh is an elegant, rare dog breed and if you’re wondering how come you’ve never heard of these long-legged canine beauties before, that’s because until recently they’ve been roaming the lands of Western Sahara, where they originate. Although you’re still unlikely to meet one of them on their daily dog walk through the neighbourhood, Azawakh dogs are no longer confined to their homeland since the 1970s, when this unusual dog breed started to be introduced to other parts of the world as well.
If you’re lucky to welcome this amazing sighthound into the family, keep in mind that their ancestors have been chasing gazelles in the desert for centuries. So, expect a born-to-run spirit and a fiercely protective nature, complete with elegant looks that’s guaranteed to make the Azawakh breed a dog lover’s favourite.
One of the world’s rarest dog breeds, the Otterhound is a British native that was once the trusted otter hunter partner of many Medieval fishermen. Their numbers are unfortunately dwindling, with less than 1,000 Otterhounds in existence around the world, making them quite an unusual sight these days. But you’ll have no trouble recognising them. A shaggy mane of hair, boisterous personality, waterproof coat and extremely affectionate nature – that’s the beloved Otterhound in a nutshell.
Water retriever, truffle hunter, excellent companion – is there anything this dog can’t do? The Italian cutie Lagotto Romagnolo hides many impressive skills underneath their teddy-bear looks. They’re smart and easy to train, with impressive sniffing abilities and waterproof coats for the occasional water adventure. They are the ultimate working dog, and even if these days they mostly sit curled up on the sofa, they’re always ready to go on an expedition. But, as with anything precious, they’re quite a rare dog breed. The Lagotto Romagnolo breed almost went extinct in the 1970s. Luckily, Italian dog enthusiasts managed to save them just in time, giving us all a chance to marvel at their amazing abilities and beautiful looks to this day.
If you love high-energy dogs that are a bit on the unusual side, you’ve got to meet this Hungarian herding dog. Specially bred for farming, Mudi dogs are pros at hunting and herding. Plus, they’ve been used as trusted watchdogs in the past too, making them one of the best rare dog breeds to have around the house.
These days, Mudi dogs have mostly left their hunting days behind to become wonderful pet companions. But they love nothing more than a big yard where they can roam freely and, if given a chance, they’ll quickly become dog sport champions, especially when it comes to agility competitions.
Did we also mention their curly coats make them one of the most stunning-looking dogs you’ll ever see? They’re cute, like to work hard and will shower their owner with kisses and cuddles. The only flaw these dogs have is that they’re mostly to be found in their homeland, Hungary.
Looking for an unusual dog breed? How about one that has been around since before the last Ice Age? Although it nearly went extinct at one point, the Norwegian Lundehund is still around and mesmerising us all with their unique abilities. They are able to flip their head so far back that it reaches their backbone and they can even close their ears to protect them from water or dirt. If that wasn’t enough to make us all fall in love with this rare dog breed, the Norwegian Lundehund also makes the ultimate hiker thanks to their unusual paws that have one extra toe each. No wonder they’re masters at puffin hunting, a job that once used to keep them in the good graces of Norwegian islanders. These days they make wonderful pet companions, full of energy and affection.
This unusual dog breed might make you do a double take. But no, the Finnish Spitz is not a fox. Despite the red coat and the plumed tail, they’re full members of the canine club. And you’ll be convinced as soon as you meet them because these dogs won’t hold back when it comes to barking. They’re smart, active, fearless and come with Instagram-ready looks. Unfortunately, they too came close to extinction at one point, and these days they’re with us in only small numbers.
Want to keep exploring the fascinating world of dog breeds? Here are 9 small dog breeds you’ll fall in love with.