When it comes to dogs, many of us are familiar with breeds like the German Shepherd, the Poodle, or the Beagle. But there are many other breeds of dogs that aren’t so well known … and can in fact, be quite rare. So let’s give a bark out to some canine friends that aren’t exactly household names … at least, not yet. Here are 25 rare dog breeds you probably never heard of
#9 Cirneco Dell’Etna Originally from Sicily, this is the smallest of the hunting hounds found in the Mediterranean islands. They have historically been used to hunt rabbits, thanks to their sense of smell and endurance over rugged terrain around Mount Etna … in fact, that’s where the dogs get their name. The breed has changed little over time, and tends to be free of inherited health problems.
#8 Miniature American Shepherd The breed was developed in the 1960s in California from unregistered dogs that were mistaken for Australian sheepdogs … in fact, they were initially known as the Miniature Australian Shepherd. After attaining popularity in the 1990s, the dogs were later recognized by the AKC as the Miniature American Shepherd. While they are used to herd smaller stock like sheep, their smallish size an genial temperament makes them ideal household pets and companions.
#7 Lagotto Romagnolo Its name translates from Italian as “Lake Dog from Romagna” … Romagna being a sub-region of Italy. Its hunting skills and highly developed nose have been used in search and rescue operations, as well as to hunt truffles. It’s a working dog, but known to be quite shy, so it’s important that they socialize. Did you know that this ancient breed of water retriever has been depicted in paintings from the 15th century?
#6 Cane Corso It’s also known as the Italian Mastiff, and were originally bred as guard dogs … you might guess that from its intimidating appearance. A lot of sources have cited the dogs as having a demeanor as cool as a professional bodyguard. Like its cousin the Neapolitan Mastiff, this animal is thickly muscled, although not as bulky at around 110 pounds. Did you know this breed is descended from dogs that Romans used in warfare? Only around 500 are thought to live in the US.
#5 Cesky Terrier This dog was created in Czechoslovakia when a breeder crossed a Scottish Terrier with a Sealyham Terrier … the goal was to create a dog that could effectively hunt in the Bohemian forests. The animal that resulted had a long body and short legs, and comes in two colors -- light brown and blue-gray. And it’s a hairy critter, with lots of facial hair and a long coat that requires attentive grooming.
#4 Xoloitzcuintli Xolo Does the name ‘Xoloitzcuintli’ ring any bells? Most people (like your narrator) prefer the shortened version of this dog’s name, which is simply Xolo. But it’s most often referred to as the Mexican Hairless Dog. It’s an ancient breed, thought to trace its lineage back some 3,500 years when the Aztecs and other indigenous groups considered the dogs to be sacred. Those peoples believed the dogs were animal guardians that would banish evil spirits and supernatural intruders. In addition to the hairless variety, there is also a coated variety … and both versions can show up in the same litter.
#3 Pumi They were originally bred in Hungary to herd semi-wild livestock and sheep over rugged terrain. Its thick and curly coat doesn’t shed, but it does require regular combing and brushing. They’re considered active and lively animals, and are easily trained. In the US the Pumi is considered a relatively rare breed since so few litters are born there each year.
#2 Sloughi Mainly found in Morocco, this North African dog belongs to the sighthound family. FYI sighthounds are dogs that hunt mainly by speed and sight, rather than scent. Also known as the Arabian greyhound, they’re similar to dogs that were prized as tributes by the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. Historically, the Sloughi has been used for hunting, and as guard dogs.
#1 American Hairless Terrier This rare breed is a variant of the rat terrier … and was initially documented in 1972 when a hairless pup was born in a litter of rat terriers in Louisiana. It was registered by the American Kennel Club in 2016, after a successful program to breed the animals. The intelligent and social dogs are the first hairless breed to originate in the US. Because they lack hair, they’re not adept at hunting or ratting. But their hairless quality does make the dogs a potentially good choice for allergy sufferers.