Top 20 Rarest Dog Breeds
This page contains affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More
Looking to adopt a new best friend? Popular breeds maybe easy to come by but there are also so many loveable and unique dog breeds out there that may go unnoticed.
While many of the breeds mentioned in this article may come from far off lands, you may find one that is worthy of a hunt.
Keep reading to learn more about our list of the top 20 rarest dog breeds around the world, in no particular order.
1. Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terriers are fun, vivacious dogs that were originally bred in English mining towns to assist with labor labor. These small and playful pups are now great family dogs who barely shed and enjoy learning tricks. Bedlington Terriers are usually patient and tolerant around children and can live almost anywhere as long as they have the room to run and play.
The Schapendoes or often referred to as the Dutch Sheepdog, is a breed that originating in the Netherlands. The Schapendoes was initially a herding dog and traditional farm dog. These medium-sized sheepdogs make great family pets and are good-natured dogs. They get along well with both children and other animals but beware, because they are herding dogs, they may try to “herd” around children and other animals.
The Stabyhoun is one of the rarest dog breeds in the world and originated in the Dutch province of Friesland. Farmers wanted a dog that could work independently and that’s what this breed is known for as well as being a little bit stubborn and even cocky. Stabyhoun’s are an excellent breed for families looking for a loyal, tolerant, gentle dog that’s good with other animals and children. This breed is known to sometimes be energetic, but are well behaved when exercised enough.
4. Lagotto Romagnolo
The Lagotto Romagnolo is often mistaken for a goldendoodle not only because of their appearance but also demeanor. This Italian breed was bred to sniff out truffles in Italy as well as used to retrieve waterfowl from the water for hunters. The Lagotto Romagnola’s vibrant personalities mean they are dedicated to their families, children and other pets. They are protective and do tend to bark at strangers who enter their territory. They do best when they get enough exercise and companionship but they will dig, bark, and engage in other unwanted behavior if not.
5. Norwegian Lundehund
The Norwegian Lundehund is the only dog breed designed for the job of puffin hunting. They are unique due to thier six fully developed toes on each foot. Four point forward and two point inward, like a human thumb which provide more traction and grip when the dog is navigating steep or slippery rocks and peaks of his Norwegian homeland. With puffins now being a protected species, Lundehunds are now a loyal, outgoing family dog. This breed can be shy around strangers but with proper socialization will be friendly.
6. Thai Ridgeback
The Thai Ridgeback is one of only three breeds that has a ridge of hair that runs along its back in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. Until recently the Thai Ridgeback was hardly known about outside of eastern Thailand. This breed makes a good watch, guard and hunting dog, but needs a dominant owner who understands the breed because they are not always easy to train. The Thai Ridgeback is tough, active, alert, and is an excellent jumper, but without socialization can be a bit aloof toward strangers.
7. Peruvian Inca Orchid
The Peruvian Inca Orchid dog is an ancient Spanish breed depicted in Moche, Chimu, Chancay and Incan pottery, as well as Chancay textiles. Also known as the Peruvian viringo, naked dog, or Chimú dog it is one of several breeds of hairless dog. Loving and loyal, the Peruvian Inca Orchid is a lively silly dog who loves to make his family happy. This breed is a bit timid around strangers but he warms up in his own time, so don’t try to push the issue.
Otterhounds are noble, ancient scent hounds whose job was not to kill its quarry, but they will nonetheless give chase to small animals. The Otterhound loves to sniff, hunt, and, swim. However, this dog is exuberant, friendly, laidback, as well as affectionate with their family. They do well with children and are great family companions. This breed does adapt to their environment and surroundings remarkably well but can be stubborn and goofy.
9. New Guinea Singing Dog
New Guinea singing dogs are best known for their haunting and unusual vocalizations, which sound like a mix of a wolf’s howl and whale song. The New Guinea Singing Dog is not like any other domesticated dog and is more closely related to a wild dog so not for everyone. If properly socialized, this breed can be tame enough to cohabitate with humans, and learn to love their owners.
The Telomian is an very rare breed of dog and one that most people have never even heard of. They are indigenous to the jungles of Malaysia, and only a small number have been exported internationally to date. Telomians are often mistaken for the Basenji breed of dog. While this dog does adapt well to most situations, it is not recommended that they live in a home with young children due to being unpredictable. The earlier and more thorough this breed is socialized, the less likely they will develop behavioral problems.
11. Biewer Terrier
Pronounced “beaver,” the small breed Biewer terrier originated in the 1980s when Yorkshire terriers, produced a puppy with unique black, tan and white coloring. They are known to be excellent hunter of vermin. This coloring is the result of a rare, recessive gene called the piebald gene. The Biewer Terrier is a loyal family member and does well with strangers. Most display a happy-go-lucky attitude, and appear to smile when happy. The Biewer is a very exuberant, and athletic dog.
Azawakh dogs are a rare breed of sighthound that actually first emerged in West Africa as many as 8,000 years ago. They can outrun most dogs and rival the greyhounds. These speedy pups The fast Azawakh was originally bred as hunting dogs can be very protective because they were initially bred for guarding and hunting. This breed sometimes gets mistaken for more popular types of sighthounds like an Italian greyhound or whippet. This rare dog breed has a fierce loyalty for its human companions which means early socialization is crucial to prevent aggression.
The Mudi dog breed is smart, vigilant, and can be trained as an all purpose helper lineage dating back to the 19th century but were killed in large numbers during the Nazi invasion and occupation of Hungary during World War II. These Hungarian farm dogs are very useful for working with even the most stubborn and unmanageable livestock. This breed is known to be loyal, protective, and some what laid back and they make great family pets. The Mudi has gained some interest as a rescue dog in Finland and North America and the population has risen to a few thousand.
14. TelomianThe Telomian is less domesticated than most dog breeds and there is a small population of these rare dogs in the United States. This breed was originally bred by the isolated Orang Asli people of Malaysia and has learned some important tricks to serve their community. This medium-sized dog has a reputation for hunting snakes and rats but their most distinctive feature is probably their deft paws which they use as a means to climb the ladders used to reach the raised domiciles. The Telomian resemble other terrier breeds which also makes them a more difficult to integrate into the role of family pet. While they can be a loving member of your family, they can be fierce protectors if not trained.
15. Cesky Terrier
Sometimes called the Czech terrier, this breed was bred to sniff out and chase vermin. the Cesky is a charming, intelligent dog who are eager to please and may be less stubborn than other terriers. They make good family dogs and love to play as well as take daily walks. These dogs do not trust strangers but socializing them early and consistent positive training is highly recommended. They are very protective of their families, and make good watchdogs.
16. English Foxhound
The English Foxhound is one of the four foxhound breeds of dog and is the cousin of the American Foxhound. They were bred to hunt foxes by scent and typically kept as hunters in packs. It is rare to see one living alone as a pet. These dogs are very friendly and can be quite affectionate but have been bred for fox hunts so they need a lot of exercise. This breed is laid back, and good-natured, especially those trained in a home. They do get along very well with kids and with other pets.
17. Finnish Spitz
The Finish Spitz was nearly extinct in the late 1800s, but these pups are much more popular in the 21st century. This dog originated in Finland and was originally trained to hunt all types of game from squirrels and other rodents as well as bears. This breed loves people but also loves to bark. The Finnish spitz is a great family pet and friendly with strangers usually. This breed of dog is loyal to his family, playful, and does well with children, and other pets.
Chinook dogs are the state dog of New Hampshire, and were bred to be similar to a sled dog without the unpredictable natures of huskies and malamutes. Chinooks are a popular breed due to their gentle, and calm personality. They are great for families and love to get out hiking or camping with their people and lead the pack. They are very smart and loving pets and do well with kids and other dogs. They do not do well when left alone and can be destructive.
19. Dandie Dinmont Terrier
The Dandie Dinmont terrier was originally bred to hunt small game and earned a reputation for tracking otter. These little dogs are independent, intelligent, and very vigilant. Dandie Dinmont Terriers have a loud bark and make great watchdogs. Dandies make great family pets and love playing and cuddling with children. They tend to be eager to please, but just like other terriers, they can be stubborn, which means consistent training is needed.
20. Catahoula Leopard Dog
The Catahoula Leopard Dog, also known as the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, is believed to have originated in northern Louisiana and became the state dog in 1979. The Catahoula Leopard Dog makes a great watchdog. This breed tends to be aloof toward strangers but is not a shy or aggressive dog. They are loyal family dogs, gentle, and affectionate with children as well as a bit of a clown.
You may have never heard of some, or all, of the rare dog breeds mentioned in this article but some have been around for thousands of years. Because of committed breeders and dog lovers their lineages live on today. Many of these breeds have been bred specifically for their strength and ability, which has resulted in certain skills becoming associated with them. Each of these canines have a distinctive personality and story. We hope after reading this article you found your next best friend.