The 20 Rarest and Most Fascinating Dog Breeds

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Rare dog breeds are for those looking for different types of dogs that are not very common household pets. Usually, people adopt famous dogs like Golden Retrievers, Labrador, boxers, etc. But some people are willing to adopt something extra and rare.

You see people walking their dogs around every time but the dogs on this list are rare to spot on the sidewalks. They come from different parts of the world and have unique features and talents as well.

1. Azawakh

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The Azawakh famously known as the West African sighthound was originally from Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. They have a refined appearance but they are very strong and agile hunters. They used to hunt in the blistering sands of the Sahara desert for thousands of years.

This rare dog breed makes a fiercely protective guardian and companion for any family. They are elegantly built and feature a short coat in a wide variety of markings and colors.

2. Telomian

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They are one of the rarest dog breeds in the world that were originally bred by the Isolated Orang people of Malaysia. They are small or medium-sized hunting dogs that were mostly used for hunting rats and snakes.

All Telomian dogs can be distinguished by their distinctive black masks. Their most unique feature is their deft paws which they developed as a means to climb the ladders to reach the topmost part of the house of the Orang Asli.

3. Otterhound

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Otterhounds are a large English hunting dog breed developed for hunting otters, as their name suggests. They are different from other hound dogs because they are rough, double-coated, and webbed feet dogs adaptable on both land and water.

Their strong mind, powerful body, and great-smelling abilities make them excellent hunting companions. When there was a brief ban on hunting otters in England in 1979, they were almost on the verge of extensions. Today their numbers are only in the hundreds.

4. Norwegian Lundehund

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The Norwegian Lundehund was bred for the specific motive of hunting puffins. This made it diverge greatly from other hunting dog breeds. They are a small Spitz breed that originally belonged to remote islands in Norway capable of climbing steep, vertical cliffs.

They have unique six-footed toes and paws that help them navigate the dangerous cliffs and slippery slopes where puffins are known to roost. They also can be used to dig into the burrows where puffins live.

5. Catahoula Leopard Dog

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Only found in some parts of the United States, these are some of the rarest dog breeds in the world that are almost impossible to find outside the United States. It is believed they are the first dog bred in the United States.

They were named after the Catahoula Parish in Louisiana and were mostly used for hunting wild boar. They are often spotted or multi-colored. They are known to be aggressive, but early socialization will help them adapt into great house pets.

6. Bergamasco Sheepdog

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The Bergamasco sheepdogs are a unique breed easily recognized by its coat. Their coat forms flocks of hair that weaved together to give them a felted look. They were first recognized only in 2015 by the American Kannel Club.

They are an ancient sheepdog breed from Persia’s harsh mountain climates, where their coat kept them safe from the harsh environment. Bergamasco is an intelligent and independent rare breed dog that needs regular exercise to make a good house pet.

7. Ibizan Hound

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The Ibizan Hound is a sighthound initially used in hunting rabbits and small game found on the Balearic island of Ibiza. These big rare dogs are still used for the same purpose in Spain and many other countries.

They excel in various training exercises like obedience, conformation, agility, lure coursing, tracking, etc. Despite their high energy levels, they can be good apartment pets if their exercise needs are met. Especially if not left alone for a long period.

8. Lagotto Romagnolo

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These almost extinct dog breeds are slowly gaining population but are still rare around the world. The Lagotto Romagnolo is also known as a lake dog which was originally bred to hunt waterfowl through the wet marshlands of Romagna in Italy. However, today it is famous for its truffle-hunting skills.

They have a great smelling ability and are easily trainable dogs. They have thick coats that help them stay warm in both winter and fall and also protect themselves while running in the forest.

9. Mudi

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The Mudi dog breed is one of the youngest among the three types of herding dogs originating in Hungary. They are now used as rescue dogs mostly in Finland. During the Nazi invasion of the Hungry large number of Mudi were killed. This nearly made them a rare dog breed that almost went extinct.

However, with conscious effort, this breed of dog was brought back gradually increasing their number. Though they are still rare, they have managed to get recognized by The American Kennel Club only in 2022.

10. New Guinea Singing Dog

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Another rare dog breed on this list is the New Guinea Singing Dog. They were never fully domesticated. Their beautiful haunting howls that they use to communicate amongst their tribe have made them popular as a singing dog.

Until recently, it was reported that the only living dogs of this breed were the roughly 200. They are now protected in sanctuaries and zoos. They were increasingly becoming inbred due to the lack of variety within the isolated breeding pool.

11. Biewer Terrier

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A 2007 genetic study proved that the Biewer Terrier is a unique breed distinct from the Yorkshire terrier. However, the two continue to be quite similar in terms of behavior, appearance, and personality. There are approximately 1,500 Biewer Terriers in the United States.

They are a rare dog mix between Yorkie litter and other similar-looking dogs. They have a unique coloration of gold, white, and blue. This affectionate, energetic, and intelligent animal is a loyal human companion that makes a great house pet.

12. Skye Terrier

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The Skye Terrier has an incredibly striking and unique appearance, but a lot of people might never have seen them. That’s because they are such a rare breed that they have status as endangered. They are a fascinating and charming breed.

They are known to be agile, strong, courageous, canny, and very relaxed dogs that were bred with elegance and dignity. They are stubborn at times but very loyal and devoted to their family. Skye can also be a good rare dog name for females.

13. Cirneco dell’Etna

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The Cirneco dell’Etna is pronounced as  “cheer-NECK-oh del et-na," This purebred dog originated from the island of Sicily. They are very gentle, independent, and alert animals that few dog breeds possess today.

Cirneco dell’Etnas has many other name like Sicilian Hound, Sicilian Greyhound, Cirneco, Sicilian Rabbit Hound, and Sicilian Rabbit Dog. These dogs can make great pets as well as show dogs. They are also great around kids and love to cuddle with their owners.

14. Komondor

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Komondor is a  powerful and large flock guardian dog breed. They are covered in profuse white cords from head to tail. These Hungarian dogs are often mistaken for the Puli dog breed.

The Komondor are an ancient dog breed. They are also sometimes referred to as 'mop dogs' due to their appearance. They are steady, fearless, gentle, and affectionate pets to have roaming around the house.

15. Peruvian Inca Orchid

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The Peruvian Inca orchid is a classic breed of dog also known as the flower dog. It's famous for its usually hairless body and elegant, thin build. They show some features that are similar to other breeds, especially greyhounds and whippets.

Mainly due to their unusual appearance, they haven't enjoyed the vast amount of popularity as other breeds making them a rare breed. Peruvian Inca Orchid dogs are not widely bred around the world. As a result, there are only about a thousand in the world.

16. Harrier

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The Harrier is an ancient British dog that is very reliable in hunting usually in packs for rabbits and hares. They have all the qualities required to be a scenting pack hound. Strongly built with large bones and full of energy, Harriers can work like a machine in any condition.

They have been among the rare dog breeds since their first arrival in the United States in 1700. They are an extremely loyal companion. They can also make a great watchdog and can socialize around children.

17. Pyrenean Shepherd

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Also known as the Pyr Shep, they are a French, medium-sized herding breed with almond-shaped eyes, upright ears, and lean bodies. They can have either rough-faced or smooth-faced coat types. They are considered very athletic and intelligent.

The Pyrenean Shepherd has an excited and playful personality that best suits well for active families. Only a few walks each day are not enough to keep them occupied. As a skilled worker, Pyrenean Shepherd needs exhausting exercise and mental stimulation. 

18. Sloughi

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The next one on the extremely rare dog breed list is the Sloughi.  They are also known as the Arabic Greyhound. They are slender, fast, coursing dogs used for hunting a variety of game in the North African deserts. They have a strong and athletic build.

The Sloughi is a traditional sighthound who is distant from strangers yet loving with family. They are extremely affectionate toward their human family members only and nobody else. This is why this type of dog is known for being aloof.

19. Cesky Terrier

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Cesky Terriers are a rare dog breed that is only around 600 in the United States. The Cesky Terrier has a true terrier heritage and is a gusty and strong animal while working. They were initially bred to hunt in packs.

Originating from Cecz Republic, this rare dog breed is small in size, with short legs and long body, distinct facial hair, and silky fur. Also known as the Bohemian Terrier, the Cesky Terrier is national dog of the Cecz Republic.

20. Belgian Laekenois

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Belgian Laekenois is the rarest dog breed amongst the four varieties of Belgian herders. Originally from Belgium, they are a medium-sized herding breed that has an athletic body, a double coat with wiry, curly fur, and pointed ears.

The personality and work ethic of these breed makes them great protectors and caring companions. Also, something to note is that this dog breed is not suited for a new dog owner as it requires a lot of mental and physical exertion.

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