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20 of the Rarest Dog Breeds in the World

20 of the Rarest Dog Breeds in the World

If you’re a dog lover, then you likely recognize popular breeds such as poodles, bulldogs, Dobermans, and dalmatians, among others. You might even be familiar with some of the more modern mixes like golden doodles and puggles. But, have you ever heard of a Mudi? What about a Lagotto Romagnolo? There are several dog breeds that are very rare and would make even the most avid dog expert pause as he tried to match a canine to a name. 

20 of the Rarest Dog Breeds in the World

What makes a dog rare? It might possess extremely unique features, come from a distant land, or it could be the fact that there are only a small number of them in existence. In fact, sometimes, there are so few of a particular breed that it isn’t even recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). 

Here is a look at 20 of the rarest dog breeds from around the world:

  • Akita

This dignified pup originates from ancient Japan and lives to be about 10 to 13 years old. The Akita is very loyal to his family but he is wary of strangers and other animals. This breed has often been on the brink of distinction, and it is believed that Helen Keller brought the first Akita to the United States. 



  • Azawakh

This dog is an elegant, lean hound that comes from various countries in West Africa, including Niger and Mali. This pooch is a strong hunter with a life expectancy of roughly 12 to 15 years. This breed makes a good companion animal as well as a good guard dog for his family.


 Canaan Dog

  • Canaan Dog

This bushy-tailed pooch is one of the oldest breeds recognized by the AKC and is also the national dog of Israel. Ever-alert and at attention, this pup requires early socialization and an owner that knows how to be the boss. This pup has a lot of energy, making him a great companion for avid runners and hiking enthusiasts, and he has an average lifespan of about 12 to 15 years. 



Catahoula Leopard Hound
  • Catahoula Leopard Hound

This independent hound dog originates from Louisiana, and he is a dedicated worker and watchdog. With proper socialization, this pup is also very gentle and affectionate with his family. The Catahoula has a lifespan of about 10 to 14 years and is sometimes called a Catahoula Hog Dog. 




  • Catalburun

This rare pup is native to Turkey and you would be unlikely to find one anywhere else. It has a distinctive split-nose and is one of only three breeds to possess this unique feature. This pointer has an excellent sense of smell and a lot of stamina, along with a lifespan of about 12 to 17 years. As long as this pooch has ample opportunities for exercise, he makes a calm and friendly companion.


Cesky Terrier

  • Cesky Terrier

This adventurous pooch is the national dog of the Czech Republic and is a wonderful playmate for children. This tiny hunter is fairly laid-back, especially for a terrier, and has a lifespan of about 12 to 15 years. The Cesky also loves to accompany its owner on walks, so make sure to have a leash ready and waiting!




  • Chinook

This muscular, hard-working pup loves children and pleasing his owners. Once on the verge of extinction, this breed is one of the rarest breeds recognized by the AKC. Chinooks are popular in Wonalancet, New Hampshire, and are often used for sledding, carting, and search-and-rescue work. 


Kai Ken

  • Kai Ken

This rare breed is one of only six breeds native to Japan. This pup is very intelligent and was originally used to hunt game in the mountains of Japan. It is a very devoted and faithful companion and extremely intelligent. The Kai Ken has a lifespan of about 12 to 15 years. 



Lagotto Romagnolo

  • Lagotto Romagnolo

This Italian pooch sports a fluffy coat and a nose for truffles. This breed is often used to find truffles in the ground and these pups are hard workers but also very affectionate. The Lagotto Romagnolo has a lifespan of about 15 to 17 years. 


  • Mudi

This herding dog hails from Hungary and has a lifespan of about 12 to 14 years. Mudi are very intelligent and alert, often used as working dogs on farms in Hungary. This pup is protective of his family, and he excels at many activities including agility-training and other dog sports.



Nederlandse Kooikerhondje

  • Nederlandse Kooikerhondje

This friendly pup originates from the Netherlands and has a good-natured disposition that makes him an excellent family pet. He is also an agile and alert sporting dog, very quick and full of stamina. This pup loves to play and work and has a lifespan of roughly 12 to 15 years.



New Guinea Singing Dog

  • New Guinea Singing Dog

Hailing from the New Guinea Highlands, this pooch is a close relative to the Australian dingo. It gets its name from its unique vocalizations in which it combines a series of howls, yips, and whines in various pitches, sounding like he is singing. These dogs have a lifespan of about 16 to 19 years, and since they are closely related to wild dogs, are not the best choice for house pets.


 Norwegian Lundehund

  • Norwegian Lundehund

This pup hails from Norway, specifically the island of Vaeroy, and was bred for puffin hunting. Today this pooch has traded in puffin hunting for playing with toys, like the Rolly Cannoli, and makes a faithful and active companion. This pup also possesses unique features including 6 toes and extra pads on its feet and has a lifespan of about 12 to 15 years.




  • Otterhound

This amiable pooch makes a great hunter both on land and in the water thanks to its webbed feet. This dog hails from the United Kingdom and is a large breed that can weigh up to 115 pounds. It makes a great pet for families with children and lives to be between 10 and 12 years old. 


 Peruvian Inca Orchid

  • Peruvian Inca Orchid

This sighthound hails from Peru and is very similar to the Greyhound, with a similarly lean and elegant build. This pup can either be hairless or sport a coat, is very alert and noble, and can be small, medium, or large. It has a lifespan of 12 to 14 years and makes a faithful companion, although it should be watched closely around young children and other pets. 


 Skye Terrier

  • Skye Terrier

This small, yet courageous terrier has a lifespan of about 12 to 14 years and hails from Scotland, specifically from the Isle of Skye. Originally bred as an exterminator to control the fox and badger population, this distinctive-looking breed soon became noticed by British nobles and was a favorite of Queen Victoria.



  • Stabyhoun

This retriever and pointer is one of the rarest breeds in the world and is a gentle pooch that is an avid duck hunter and swimmer. The Stabyhoun originates from the Dutch province of Friesland and has a lifespan of about 13 to 15 years. Its affectionate nature also makes it an excellent family pet.



  • Telomian

Originally from Malaysia, this rare breed is believed to be the only Malaysian breed bred away from its native land. This athletic and intelligent pup makes an excellent watchdog and has a lifespan of roughly 12 to 15 years.


 Thai Ridgeback

  • Thai Ridgeback

This tough, independent pup is very strong and intelligent and is a loyal family dog. However, they have a strong survival instinct and need a lot of socialization and understanding, making them a better choice for experienced dog owners. The Thai Ridgeback has a lifespan of about 12 to 13 years and is a hunting breed that originates from Thailand.



Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Dog)

  • Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Dog)

This pooch is considered a national treasure of Mexico and has been around for 3,000 years. Once the ancient Aztec dog of the gods, today this pup makes a faithful companion and alert watchdog. Despite its reputation as a “hairless” dog, this pup can also come in coated varieties and has a lifespan of about 13 to 18 years.

Think you would want to own one of these rare breeds? Whether you opt for a rare pooch or a popular favorite, your pup is sure to have a personality that makes him one-of-a-kind! To learn more about amazing pets, check out the rest of our blog! We’re always adding valuable resources and information to help you learn everything you can about your amazing furry friends!

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