Rare Dog Breeds: 10 Dog Breeds You Might Not Know About

Unknown dog bread
Wyatt Robinson
Written by Wyatt Robinson

There aren’t many people who have not heard of Labradors or Poodles, but most of them might not have heard of rare dog breeds, such as the New Guinea Singing Dog or the Azawakh. Not all the representatives of the canine world are as notorious as the others. In fact, the information about the less known ones is quite limited in comparison with the common ones. This might be because of the geographical area from which they come from or, just like in the case of endangered wild animals, there are very few left of certain kinds.

Out of this top 10, the Tibetan Mastiff might be among the few that ring a bell.

The Chinook

The Chinook is among the rarest dog breeds, as certified by the Guinness World Records book not only once, but 3 times so far. The representatives of this breed descended from a single sled dog named Chinook. This breed was created in the early twentieth century, in the lands of New England by Perry Greene. After Greene’s death in 1963, they have been decimated. In 1981 there were only 11 Chinook dogs in the world.

A group of Chinook’s supporters decided to save this dog breed from extinction and started a breeding program. Currently, there are about 800 Chinook dogs on the planet. This breed was created for working purposes, namely to pull sleds on the harsh lands of New England. The combination between Saint Bernard, Belgian Shepherd and Eskimo resulted in the Chinook as we know it. Since then, it has become an excellent family dog and a devoted companion.

The Chinook

People who own a Chinook dog have described this dog breed as calm and friendly. It seems to be reserved with strangers, just like many other types of dogs, but it can get used with new people and interact positively with them and other animals alike. They handle children in the exact same way. The female representatives are more independent than the male ones, but they are both docile and a pleasure to be around. Their intelligence is high and they are very easy to train in order to follow certain very easy commands, such as “sit” and others alike.

To know about this wonderful dog, see our profile on the Chinook breed.

The Otterhound

The Otterhound is part of the rare breeds of dogs too. Unlike the Chinook, this breed is way older. It has appeared in the twelfth century, when it was used for hunting otters. Over the centuries, the Otterhound has enjoyed great success among the English nobility, which alone had the right to do that type of hunting.

However, in 1970, Britain banned the hunting of otters, and these dogs were left without the work that has consecrated them. Consequently, their number has decreased drastically. Currently, the Otterhound is a very affectionate and loyal dog that serves as a companion, but increasingly rare.

The Otterhound dog bread

The Otteround is a large and strong dog with a muscular body that is longer than it is tall. Its head is large, its nose is narrow and black, and its eyes are small and dark. As for its ears, they are large, long and covered with hair. It has strong legs, large paws and slightly wavy hair that forms a waterproof jacket, characteristic of this dog. Its fur can be gray, blue, straw yellow, brown, black and combinations of these colors.

When it comes to its personality, it can be described as an intelligent, cheerful, friendly and balanced dog. It gets along well with everyone, including children and other dogs or other animals. The Otterhound is a dog with a highly developed olfactory smell that loves to live outdoors in a fenced space where it can move freely. However, it can accommodate in an apartment as well if taken to daily walks. For more information on this breed, check out our profile on the Otterhound.

The Norwegian Lundehund

The Norwegian Lundehund was the Vikings’ favorite dog. They have a long history behind them, but unfortunately, they are an endangered species in our days. This cute little dog is very special from many points of view. Among others, it has the amazing ability to close its ear canals when swimming.

The Norwegian Lundehund is an excellent hunting dog. It does well both off-road and in the water, being a skillful climber and swimmer. That is probably how it managed to earn the respect of Vikings. Unfortunately, these dogs suffer from a specific hereditary condition, namely their digestive system has difficulties in absorbing nutrients. Because of this reason, their life expectancy is low.

The Norwegian Lundehund

According to a specialist, this dog breed has specific characteristics of primitive dogs that are not found in domestic dogs anymore. One curiosity about this dog it that is has the same type of jaw that the Varanger dog used to have over 5 thousand years ago. It is a very old breed that was used for hunting penguins, which were building nests on the rocks. A canine fever epidemic that took place in 1940 killed almost all copies, but a few enthusiasts of this breed managed to keep them from disappearing.

In our days it is known to be a lively, cheerful, smart, intelligent, independent, and sometimes dominant dog that barks quite a bit. It is devoted to its family, but cautious with strangers. It gets along well with other dogs and it needs socialization in order to become familiar with other animals because its hunting instincts are still strong enough.

The New Guinea Singing dog

At the moment, the New Guinea Singing Dog is perhaps the rarest one in the world. This dog used to live a wild life, but in recent years people have tried to domesticate it and they are close to fully succeeding. In nature there are just a few canine specimens belonging to this breed. Even in captivity, their number is not higher. The New Guinea Singing Dog is a primitive breed with a very independent and lonely personality. One remarkable thing about this dog is that it makes sounds similar to howling like wolves, whistling and barking in a melodious note.

The New Guinea Singing Dog

The New Guinea Singing Dog looks very much like a fox and it is a medium sized dog. Since it resembles a fox, it fur is reddish and of average length. It needs little to no care because it has learned to adapt in the wild. It is not a dog that makes a great companion since it lived in the wild for such a long time, but it can definitely be tamed and get accustomed with having an owner.

Aloof with strangers, the New Guinea Singing Dog should not be left alone in the presence of someone it does not know. Its hunting instincts are as lively as possible, so there is no reason to take chances. There is little known about these dogs’ life in the wild, but they were never seen grouped in packs. It is said that they are usually alone or walking in pairs. The number of these dogs was less than 50 when it was counted almost 10 years ago.

The Azawakh

The rarest of greyhounds, the Azawakh is an appearance that might leave anyone breathless. This dog is tall, full of pure muscle mass and that enjoys great respect in its native territory from Africa. It is considered a family member there and it is used for hunting gazelles because it can run very fast. Outside the African territory, this dog breed is less known. There are some kennel clubs in Europe that are concerned about multiplying this exceptional dog that is known to have a primitive character. Also, it is smart and very independent fact which makes it difficult to train.

The Azawakh

The Azarakh is originated from arid Sahara. It was raised and used for hunting, as guard animal and as a companion by the Tuareg population. It is a proud, brave and vigilant dog that is also physically very strong. Moreover, it is gentle, affectionate and even playful with family and children. As for its interaction with strangers, it is aggressive most of the times. The same cannot be said about other dogs, fact which is a quality, but it fades when it comes to other animals, which are in danger around it.

This type of dog feels best in a fenced yard where it can move freely and where it can consume its energy. An active owner with a firm attitude is ideal for the Azarakh. This is because it needs someone with a severe and imposing personality to dominate it.

Learn more about the Azawak in our profile page of this breed.

The Catalburun

The Catalburun is a dog breed originated from Turkey. It is a type of pointer that is almost unknown outside its country of origin. Although its qualities are recognized and high appreciated in Turkey, people from other countries know nothing about it. Among its general characteristics is its chipped nose, which has appeared as a result of the hard work of inbreeders and because hunters used to believe that such characteristic would improve its smell.

The Catalburun dog bread

There are 2 other dog breeds also from Turkey that present the same split nose feature. They are also agile, just like the Catalburun is. Moreover, this dog’s fur is short and presents a combination of white and brown. Since there is not a wide variety of this dog breed, they all look almost the same. Their split nose sometimes takes the shape of a little heart. The hypothesis that they could have a better sense of smell was never proven.

The Thai Ridgeback

The Thai Ridgeback is related to the famous Rhodesian Ridgeback. These 2 dog breeds take their name from a physical feature of theirs, namely a line that traverses the spine from neck to tail where their hair grows in the opposite direction. In its places of origin, this type of dog is used as a guard dog and it is said to be excellent at it. It is also known to be extremely loyal, agile, powerful and able to control itself when needed. Its face is wrinkled and it comes in brown, black, silver and blue. It is a medium sized dog with a muscular body and a head proportional to its body.

The Thai Ridgeback sign

The Thai Ridgeback is an ancient dog breed that has appeared about 350 years ago and that is the most common dog breed in the eastern part of Thailand. This dog is alert, active, energetic, intelligent and quite independent. It is protective and devoted to its owner, accepts children and it is reserved with strangers. It can be dominant with other dogs and animals if it was not socialized when it was young.

Moreover, this type of dog likes live outdoors, in a not too cold climate and somewhere with the possibility of exercising daily, alone or together with an active family. Training is not a problem for the Thai Ridgeback, but since it is independent, it needs a firm, consistent, balanced and friendly dressage style.

The Stabyhoun

The Stabyhoun is Netherlands’s treasure. It is both a pointer and a retriever in the same dog. As for its general characteristics, it is a great hunting dog that is still used for doing certain chores. In the rest of the world it is less known, but in the Netherlands it is closely monitored by several specialists. It is believed that this dog is descended from dogs brought from Spain, such as the Cocker Spaniel and was developed in the nineteenth century in the province of Friesland. There is not much information about this breed or details about its past.

The Stabyhoun is a medium sized dog, with a powerful body that is longer than it is tall. Its head is rather long than wide, with a slightly domed skull, tapering snout and black nose. Its eyes are brown and round.

As for its ears, they are of medium length, covered with long hair at the base and short hair at the top. Its coat is of medium length, shiny and slightly wavy. It may be black or white, black spotted, brown with white and reddish brown mixed with black and white. There is a notable diversity for that matter. It should be brushed and combed regularly to avoid getting tangled. The excess hair from its paws must be removed.

The Stabyhoun

The Stabyhoun is intelligent, eager to learn, alert and calm. Obedient and devoted to its owner, tis dog is loving and affectionate with children, careful and noisy with strangers, and sometimes stubborn. It gets along well with other pets and other dogs as well. It likes to be very active and to move around a lot.

Only active people should consider getting a Stabyhoun since it needs long walks, running with or without a leash on, swimming and also participating in various canine sports. It can be kept in an apartment, but it feels much better in a fenced yard where it can move freely. It needs to be trained and that has to be done by a specialist, because even if it is a fast learner, this dog type gets stubborn.

Are you an outdoor enthusiast? Check on our profile of the Stabyhoun to see if this is the right dog for you.

The Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is considered the ancestor of all Mastiff dog types. It was raised to guard herds and the homes of Tibetan people. In 1877, Queen Victoria awarded a copy of this breed, and so did President Eisenhower. In our days, these dogs might not be that renowned, but they are still excellent at guarding and protecting their owners or other larger areas. It is a rudimentary dog that can get stubborn and must be left alone to do what it knows best. It can reach over 170 pounds, so it is definitely a massive type of guard dog.

The Tibetan Mastiff is a large dog, with a strong, rectangular body. It has a large and broad head. As for its lips, they are also large and hanging on the sides of its mouth. Its eyes are medium sized and usually dark brown. Its tail is long, bushy and arched to the back. Double coated, with a thick inner layer, this type of Mastiff has fluffy hair that can be black, black with brown, golden brown, gray with or without brown areas around its eyes and lower legs. It requires regular brushing, especially during its shedding periods when brushing must be done daily.

Tibetan Mastiff infographic

This dog is calm, reserved and somewhat stubborn. Balanced, brave, dignified, very devoted to its family, it is fond of children, but may become overprotective and may misinterpret some harmless interactions. It is very cautious with strangers and aggressive with animals it does not know or has not interacted with before in the past.

The training of a Tibetan Mastiff must be done by a person with experience in dressage, who should be firm without being harsh. He or she should remain calm and balanced because this animal feels confident enough in order to respect and follow the lead of an authoritative figure. Our profile on the Tibetan Mastiff will give you more insight on this dignified breed.

The Mudi

The Mudi is a dog breed that appeared in the late nineteenth century, so it is a relatively young breed. It was first recognized in 1930, but it is not often met. The Mudi is a herding dog, very appreciated in its homeland, Hungary. In fact, it enjoys great popularity there. However, it begins to be recognized around the world as a skillful sheepdog. It is the type of dog that loves swimming, learns easily and is thankful to its master. It excels in sports that are based on agility and obedience, but it is also a great companion dog that acts very affectionate with its family.

The Mudi dog bread

The Mudi is a medium sized dog with a slightly elongated body. Its head is long with a domed skull and a tapered snout. Its eyes are shaped like an oval, slightly slanting and dark too. As for its ears, they are medium sized, triangular, sharp and kept high. The line of its medium body is inclined towards its tail, which short and which can be cut shorter. On its head and legs, it has short and smooth fur. When it comes to the shades of its fur, it can be found in white, black or a combination between these 2 non-colors.

The Mudi is an intelligent, very active, obedient, brave and careful dog. It takes pleasure out of learning new things and is extremely lucid. It is less resistant to exercising when that happens for an extended period of time. It loves the family it lives with, but it gets attached to a certain person in particular.

This dog gets along well with other dogs and other animals too. It is sympathetic with energetic and annoying children, but it is cautious and suspicious when it comes to strangers. Not picky at all, the Mudi is quite resistant to weathering and needs training. The dressage of such is not difficult because it likes to perform exercises, such as those of agility and flyball.

Do you really need such dog?

With a history that does not help when it comes to drawing conclusions, these 10 dog breeds are definitely the rarest. In our days, they are not only rare, but they are also unknown. The number of people who know about them or who afford to own one copy is insignificant. Owning such a dog would necessarily have to mean multiplying such dog because otherwise its entire breed would disappear for good.

In case you ever have the chance of getting a dog so rare, you should think of the implications and make sure that you could handle raising it and ensuring the multiplication of its breed. Having a rare pooch is a responsibility like having any other doggy, but somehow it requires your attention regarding other aspects that would not be important in other situations. In any way, these 10 dog breeds are worthy of your attention even if you are only keeping yourself up to date when it comes to knowing more about different types of dogs.

For more rare dog breeds that you might be unaware of, head on to our article on cool and awesome canine friends.

About the author
Wyatt Robinson
Wyatt Robinson

Wyatt Robinson had a great 25-years career as a veterinarian in United Kingdom. He used to be a member of British Veterinary Association and worked in 3 pet hospitals in London and Manchester. He is shining when he sees his pets healthy and full of energy and it is his duty to help other dog owners to keep their best friends full of life.