Top 10 Rare Dog Breeds from All Over the World

Dogs have been important companions to humans for thousands of years, often bred for unique characteristics needed at the time. Today we may recognize popular dog breeds for their cute looks or joyful personalities, but there are still many lesser-known breeds that exist for reasons that may surprise you! Check out our list of 10 rare dog breeds that have some of the more interesting backgrounds of any furry friends.

#1: Chinook

chinook dog standing on road

Country of Origin: United States

The Chinook is not only an uncommon breed, but they also have a very unusual history! Named after one dog that accompanied an Antarctic expedition in the late 1920s, the Chinook was bred by an explorer seeking a companion with speed, power, endurance, and a good temperament. Today, this rare breed is a member of the Working Group and one of the best sledding dogs around.

#2: Peruvian Inca Orchid

peruvian inca orchid standing on grass

Country of Origin: Peru

Travel back to 750 A.D. and you might spot this South American pooch depicted on pottery and textiles! Not only is the Peruvian Inca Orchid a rare ancient dog breed, but they are also unique because of their hairless physique. Also known as the “Peruvian Hairless Dog,” this pup is easy to groom. However, they can be sensitive to harsh climates and require proper skin protection in the cold and heat.

#3: Azawakh

azawakh dog running through grass

Countries of Origin: Mali/Niger/Burkina Faso

Despite their elegant limbs, the Azawakh is a deceptively skilled hunter. This West African native once relied on their speed and stamina to chase gazelle, hare, and wild boar in the Saharan desert. While their role has changed over time, this pooch still needs loads of physical stimulation. If you are looking to go running with your dog, then the Azawakh is the companion for you!

#4: Thai Ridgeback

thai ridgeback dog standing on road

Country of Origin: Thailand

The Thai Ridgeback may be one of the most easily recognizable rare dog breeds in the world! If you look at their back, you will notice the distinguished ridge pattern down the spine, which is formed by hair growing in opposite directions. You may see these furry friends with several different ridge patterns, along with a distinct spotted, blue, or black tongue.

#5: Catahoula Leopard Dog

catahoula leopard dog standing on grass

Country of Origin: United States

Protective, hard-working, and intelligent all describe this Louisiana native! The Catahoula Leopard Dog was initially bred to perform many roles, from herding farm animals to helping hunters track wild hogs and cattle. These loyal companions can still get their mental and physical exercise these days through lots of walks or chewing on some durable chew toys.

#6: Telomian

telomian dog standing on grass

Country of Origin: Malaysia

Although their rich history dates back thousands of years, the Telomian wasn’t officially discovered until 1963! Located in isolated villages near the Telom River, the Telomians or “Kampung Dogs” are considered one of the rarest breeds in the world. In addition to their athleticism, this pooch also developed extraordinary paw control to climb ladders used throughout villages in the Malaysian jungles.


#7: Otterhound

otterhound laying down on grass

Country of Origin: United Kingdom

They may appear laid-back, but the Otterhound was once an expert otter hunter in England! While this 19th century activity is no longer legal, this shaggy pup is still a dog breed that loves to swim. They have webbed feet and a waterproof coat that helps them excel at this activity. Plus, their nose is even strong enough to follow scent trails underwater. Although the Otterhound is no longer used for hunting, you may still find them intrigued by the scents of small creatures.

#8: Estrela Mountain Dog

estrela mountain dog standing on grass

Country of Origin: Portugal

These guardians are truly gentle giants at heart! The Estrela Mountain Dog hails from the Estrela Mountains in Portugal, where they were used to guard livestock from predators and thieves. This protective spirit remains as they are often used as police dogs and still cherished for their loyal and nurturing nature. Once the Estrela forms a bond with you, this rare breed of dog is a loving companion to have by your side.


RELATED: 9 Amazing Police Dog Breeds (And What They Do)


#9: Cirneco dell’Etna

cirneco dell'etna dog standing on grass

Country of Origin: Italy

The Cirneco dell’Etna has intrigued historians for decades! This rare breed of dog closely resembles an ancient Egyptian hound, but it is believed to have developed in the Mediterranean region. Their name even comes from Europe's largest active volcano, Mount Etna, which is located on the coast of Sicily. The athletic Cirneco is a sighthound, meaning they hunt by sight and speed rather than smell.

#10: Mudi

mudi dog running through grass

Country of Origin: Hungary

There’s nothing “moody” about the Mudi’s personality! This friendly pup is eager to please, and there will be loads of opportunities to do so. The Mudi is a new dog breed known for herding cattle and sheep, and they have even been used for search and rescue efforts.They are incredibly intelligent and athletic, which is why they excel at agility games and competitions.

An Uncommon Canine!

While these rare dog breeds may be less popular, they still have an equally large impact on our hearts! Whether they’ve been around for thousands of years or are newly recognized, these pooches all share special stories that help us understand them even more. If you’re looking to add a furry friend to your family, consider seeking one of these truly unique companions.



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