Cool Dog Breeds: Awesome Dogs You Didn’t Even Know About

The Czeslovakian Wolfdog pair
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Among the 800 dog breeds that are officially recognized in the world these days, there are a few cool dog breeds that are less popular. These breeds are amazing from many points of view, starting with their origins, their physical characteristics and ending with their personalities. The most popular dog breeds have a myriad of qualities as well, but somehow these less popular ones are more interesting and cooler.

For example, the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is known to be the happiest dog breed, while the Hovawart is very much like the Golden Retriever. The following 13 examples of dog breeds are originated from Europe, but also from Africa and the Asian part of the world, from Japan.

13 Amazing dog breeds that are cool

The Azawakh #1

The Azawakh is known for centuries in the desert regions of the Sahel, where it has always been a proud partner of the Tuareg population. Its official name was established in 1982, but it is also known as the Greyhound of Mali or the Greyhound of Sudan. It was introduced to the European people through France. It was raised and used for hunting, as guard animal and for company. As for its other characteristics, the Azawakh is an intelligent, independent, proud, brave and vigilant dog with a very strong physique.

The Azawakh

It is gentle, affectionate and even playful with some family members except kids that might irritate it. It is reserved and sometimes aggressive with strangers. It gets along well with other dogs, but considering its strong sense of hunting, other animals from a household may be in danger around it.

Learn more about the trustworthy Azawakh in our breed profile.

The Bergamasco #2

The Bergamasco or Cane da pastore Bergamasco descends either from the Persian Shepherds or the Tibetan Moloss Shepherds. It resembles in appearance with the French Briard Shepherd, with which it is also supposedly related. After the World War II, this dog breed was on the brink of extinction, but a few kind animal lovers saved it. This type of dog is brave, alert, intelligent patient, balanced and tireless when it comes to doing different chores.

The Bergamasco

It has an elegant appearance although it is a medium sized dog. The Bergamasco gets along well with children, but it is cautious with strangers. Devoted to its owner, this dog breed needs daily exercise. It feels good in the presence of an owner who has experience when it comes to raising dogs. It should be socialized and trained in order to fully develop its abilities.

The Italian Bracco #3

The Italian Bracco, also known as the Italian Pointer or Bracci Italiano is the oldest breed of its kind from Europe. An Italian sculptor named Benvenuto Callin made a sculpture that represents this dog, which can be seen at the Louvre Museum from Paris. In the nineteenth century, this dog breed faced a decline when people’s attention turned to British dog breeds, but in the twentieth century it was invigorated and widespread.

The Italian Bracco in the grass

Besides being so cool to have a statue, the Italian Bracco is an intelligent, active and hardworking dog, as well as calm, quiet, sensitive, but sometimes stubborn. It is obedient and devoted to its owner, affectionate and fond of children, suspicious and wary of strangers. It gets along just great with other dogs and other animals. It has a very good hearing and sense of smell. In addition, it is a good hunter of birds, an excellent retriever and pointing dog. It is a good guard of the house and a pleasant companion too.

Our piece on the Bracco Italiano is an excellent way to get to know the breed.

The Czeslovakian Wolfdog #4

The Czeslovakian Wolfdog, also known as the Ceskoslovensky Vlčák or the Czech Wolfdog has its origins in the Czech-Slovak Republic, where it appeared in the 1980s as a result of crossbreeding between the German Shepherd and the Carpathian Timber Wolf. It was officially recognized at national level in 1982. The physical appearance of these dogs is really cool due to their striking similarity with the wolves. Tall and strong, these dogs are extremely agile and very fast.

The Czeslovakian Wolfdog

These days, they are mostly used as companion dogs. They have a life expectancy of 10 to12 years, but they can live up to 16 years in certain favorable circumstances. Unfortunately, they often suffer from hip dysplasia, just like other large dogs. When it comes to their temperament, they are very active and energetic. Because of their strong hunting instincts, they can become aggressive when they grow up if they are not properly trained.

The Estrella #5

The Estrella is known as one of the oldest dogs that were found in the Iberian Peninsula. It is a reliable friend for pastors and extremely vigilant when it comes to guarding the sheep. This dog breed was developed in the Serra da Estrela Mountains from Portugal, a place where dogs are still used for working purposes. The Estrella arrived in Britain in 1974 where is has proven its guarding skills.

The Estrella puppy

These days they serve as companion dogs and multiple owners participate in different competitions and exhibitions with their copies. Moreover, the Estrella is a large and very strong dog. It is very vigilant, independent and stubborn, although, at the same time it is extremely affectionate, very attached to its family and to those people who they meet often.  The Estrella is very suspicious when it comes to strangers, but it gets along well with children and other animals. In terms of personal protection, there are probably a few dog breeds that are so cool and so good at guarding.

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen #6

Under the cute appearance of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen hides a skillful and dedicated hunter. This dog breed is one of the over 20 dog breeds of French hounds that are still used for hunting purposes. It has a lot of energy and it is always concerned about something. Jovial and loyal, the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen can be an ideal companion. Less known than it deserves, it is really cool and very happy all the time.

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

It was originally used for hunting small animals, usually wild rabbits and sometimes birds. Dogs used to hunt together running after rabbits until they caught them. These days, they are known for their love for life and people and for their enthusiasm. They are always in motion, frantically sniffing and moving their tails. Bold and fearless, these dogs also love to explore. Intelligent, but also very stubborn, the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is not a dog for a beginner or a soft owner. It energy level is a really cool feature for a person who is also very active.

The cute Petit Basset may be a wonderful addition to your family so find out more in our previous article.

The Hovawart #7

The Hovawart is a very old dog breed of German origin. Since 1922, dog breeders turned their attention to dogs that looked almost identical to those working at the old farms. Therefore, its characteristics are very similar with those of a Golden Retriever. Its fur is long, dense, slightly wavy, golden or reddish with black spots that give it a special kind of elegance. Its head is large, somewhat square, and its snout is rectangular.

The Hovawart

Its eyes are small, round and barely noticeable because of their brown color. Like many other dog breeds, purebred Hovawarts may suffer from hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism or eye problems. In addition, these dogs have a very calm and balanced temperament, with an extraordinary will and strength for working.

With its self-confidence and its fiercely protective nature, this dog breed is devoted to and happy within a family. The Hovawarts are quiet companion dogs that are also used for tracking and search and rescue missions. This dog breed is essentially rustic, therefore it needs training.

The Kai Ken #8

Medium sized dog, the Kai Ken is raised for hundreds of years in Japan. It is met in large numbers in the city called Kai, located in a region surrounded by mountains. Dog breeders from Japan prefer this breed because it is one of the oldest. The Japanese people appreciate these dogs as companions, but they also use them occasionally for hunting purposes. A Kai Ken has a vigilant and courageous temperament. It is friendly and very attentive with its owner.

The Kai Ken dog breed

It is also devoted, affectionate and loyal. At birth, puppies have a single color, which changes when they reach maturity. It is not the type of dog that can accommodate in an apartment. It lives best in a rural environment where it can run freely and where it may hunt. All its cool features make it a unique type of dog.

The Dutch Decoy Spaniel #9

The Dutch Decoy Spaniel or the Dutch Decoy Dog is a Dutch dog breed bred to hunt ducks that exists for a long time. When its number decreased, this breed was on the brink of extinction, but a few animal lovers managed avoid that. Therefore, these days, is quite prevalent in the Netherlands, but not so much elsewhere. The Dutch Decoy Dog is intelligent, courageous, lively, energetic, sensitive and barks quite a bit. It is affectionate, devoted to its family, but mostly to a particular person.

Dutch Decoy Spaniel

If it is teased too much by children, it becomes irritated. Even so, it can be friends with everyone, except strangers. If socialized with other dogs and other small animals, it accepts them. This dog feels best outdoors in a fenced yard where it can move freely. It is recommended for active people because it likes to move around a lot, to run, play, swim and participate in other activities alike.

The Mudi #10

What is really cool about the Mudi is that it is a very rare dog breed. Originally from Hungary, it was first raised as a shepherd, then as a guard dog and as a companion dog in our days. The Mudi is a medium sized dog, has a triangular head and an elongated snout. Its eyes are small, its ears are pointy and its senses are sharp. As for its fur, it is long and mostly black with a few white spots. The Mudi is a fearless dog that has the ability to defend its owner.

Mudi dog coat colors

It is very intelligent and trainable. It is eager to thank its owner and always needs something to do. Any activity is meant to strengthen its relationship with its owner, but even so it gets bored easily. The Mudi loves to run, so it needs a large space to accommodate in, not an apartment life. The Mudi gets along well with other dogs, but when taken out for a walk, it should wear a leash and a muzzle.

The Pumi #11

The Pumi looks as cute as it sounds. This dog breed was formed during the twelfth and the thirteenth century by Hungarian people. The breeders crossed specimens brought from France and Germany. It is a very active dog, lively, daring, intelligent and with an excellent sense of smell. Although it is quite noisy, it is devoted and affectionate with its family. As for strangers, it behaves shy, not aggressive. If the Pumi is socialized with children, it can understand them if they do not tease it too much.

The Pumi dog

It is happy with a very active owner who gives it something to do all the time. The ideal place for such a cool dog is a farm. It needs socialization, training and exercises in organized environments. The Pumi is relatively easy to train. It is smart and clever and it can understand easily what it is required to do. Because it is a bit noisy, teaching it how to be quiet is among the first steps. Before it became a companion dog, it was guarding herds of cattle.

The Schapendoes #12

In its country of origin, namely the Netherlands, the Schapendoes was widely used as a guard dog for herds and appreciated for its intelligence and willingness to work hard. Especially after World War II, when there were fewer herds to guard, the number of dogs belonging to the Schapendoes breed began to decrease as well. Things have not changed much in our days. The Schapendoes is a very rare dog breed kept alive by some devoted dog breeders. As for its personality, this type of dog is lively, very active, energetic, intelligent and courageous.

The Schapendoes

Loyal to its family, playful and affectionate, the Schapendoes is cautious with strangers. It gets along well with other dogs and other animals, as well as with children. It feels best outdoors because it needs plenty of exercise on a daily basis in order to consume its energy. However, it can be kept indoors after exercising. Sports, games and other organized activities are its favorites. Although it is white and fluffy, it does not avoid muddy situations.

The Finnish Lapphund #13

The Finnish Lapphund is part of the shepherd dogs category. Due to their particularly cooperative nature, they are excellent guard dogs and companions too. They were used in their country of origin to guard flocks of sheep, which is exactly what some of them are still doing these days.

They are also a constant presence in competitions or exhibitions, fact which is a delight for the lovers of this dog breed. Besides other characteristics, what is really cool about this dog is its health state.

The Finnish Lapphund

Even the diseases that are transmitted from generation to generation do not affect them very much, so any person would be pleased to own such a dog. The personality of the Finnish Lapphund is characterized by calmness and friendliness. This dog is very sociable and likes to work, but it has an exaggerated tendency to bark without being aggressive. In addition, it is a dog that needs serious exercise. Thus, it is mandatory to take it out for 60 to 80 minutes per day. A big house or a small apartment are both great for this dog breed for as long as it gets to run over an hour daily.

This dog is know for  herding reindeers and have been admired by many, as seen in our article on the Finnish Lapphund breed.

Conclusions for cool canine specimens

As shown, all these 13 dog breeds have cool characteristics and they are not similar at all. Dog breeds are just as varied as people are, so there is a dog with cool features for everyone. In addition, dogs can be trained and they can adapt in different living environments for as long as their minimum requirements are met. It’s important to start training early and our post on training schedules for pups is a must-read.

You might be amazed of how much energy and happiness a small dog can emanate and how long a massive dog can live without having any health problem.

At their origins, dogs were used for certain purposes that were not companionship, so they mostly have innate instincts related to hunting or to guarding. This is something you can use in your favor, depending on your personality as well and on what you like to do.

As seen, most of these 13 dog breeds are active and ready to participate in different activities together with their owners in no time. Overall, there is something cool about every type of dog, but it is up to each individual to decide which is the coolest according to their own preferences and likings.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.