The dog is one of the most beloved animals on earth. Of the over 150 breeds currently recognized by the American Kennel Club, most people are familiar with a good number of them, especially the popular breeds like the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever, the Poodle, and the German Shepherd. However, there are also dogs out there that most people don’t even know exist. These rare dog breeds are a wonder to behold, and owning one will likely earn you lots of attention when out on walks or during visits to the park. If an eye-catching companion appeals to you, consider one of these exceptional dogs.
These French herding dogs are rarely seen within the United States, but if you can find one, they make excellent pets and courageous watch dogs. Beaucerons are intelligent, easy to train, and friendly, and their tall and muscular build comes in handy during guard duty.
The Finnish Spitz has been the national dog of Finland since 1979, and in their native land they are still mostly used for hunting. This breed is very friendly and gentle with children, so they also make good pets. The Finnish Spitz is a medium size dog and resembles a large fox with a curled tail and golden-red coat.
The Komondor is a striking dog. First, they are gigantic, weighing up to 125 pounds as adults. Second, they are covered in huge amounts of white, corded hair that resembles dreadlocks. The extraordinary appearance of these dogs matches their idiosyncratic personalities; they are serious and independent, and make better guard dogs than family dogs. However, if socialized early, they are capable of living a domestic life.
The large, white Kuvasz was nearly extinct after World War II, but a few survivors revived the breed, and they have since become a rare but highly sought after companion dog. These dogs have a great sense of humor and are highly intelligent, but with that intelligence comes an independent streak that can make training more challenging. However, they make great pets and vigilant guard dogs if taught not to be too aggressive or territorial.
These “little lion dogs” have a history going back to the 1500s, when artists like Francisco de Goya featured them in his paintings. After the two World Wars the breed nearly went extinct, and in 1960 was named the rarest breed. There are more of these dogs now, but the breed is still unique. The Löwchen is friendly, playful, and responds well to training, and makes a good guard dog with an intense bark that will warn of any danger.
A large and shaggy dog, the Otterhound is a cross between the Bloodhound and the rough-haired Terriers, Griffons, and Harriers. These dogs were once popular among British royalty, and served as hunting dogs who went after -- what else -- otters. Today, these dogs are relatively rare but make excellent companion pets with jovial, affectionate, and devoted personalities.
The Sealyham Terrier originated in Wales, and since its official recognition in 1923 the breed’s numbers have dropped significantly. Once used as a working dog, the Sealyham Terrier makes an excellent family pet if you can find one. These small dogs are loyal, loving, and friendly, but may be wary of strangers. Training can help to reign in any stubbornness that is sometimes seen in this breed.
Alaskan Klee Kai
The Alaskan Klee Kai is a breed similar to the Spitz, developed in the 70's to be similar to a Husky, but more managable in size. They are traditionally an energetic, smart, and friendly breed, with a knockout personality befitting a dog that cute. And, given their pocket size, the Klee Kai is perfect for anyone looking for a sled dog they can fit in their studio apartment.
For more rare breeds and popular ones, too, head over to our Dog Breed Guides.
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