Ever see an unusual dog and wonder what kind it is? Ever give up and resign yourself to the belief that it has to be a mutt? That may not be so! here’s a list of the top 10 rarest and most unusual breeds known. Some are in such few numbers that many breed organizations don’t even acknowledge their existence!
10. Azawakh – This West African sighthound makes a fiercely protective companion and guardian, and an extremely intelligent lure courser. The breed is elegantly built and features a short coat in a wide variety of colors and markings.
9. Lagotto Romagnolo – Hailing from the Romagna sub-region of Italy, the Lagotto Romagnolo was named as a lake dog and traditionally used as a gun dog. Its most interesting occupation, though, is truffle hunting.
8. Mudi – This Hungarian herding dog is as active as it is versatile. It makes a talented hunter, rodent exterminator, herding dog and flock guardian, but as a pet the Mudi is happiest when given long walks or jogs and a large area in which to run free.
7. Stabyhoun – The Stabyhoun comes from Friesland, a province in the Netherlands, and today there may be fewer than 4,000 in existence. Stabyhouns make excellent hunting and guard dogs, and they’re also great at catching vermin like moles and rats.
6. Karelian Bear Dog – The Finnish Karelian Bear Dog is one of the top 10 most common breeds in its home country. Originally used for hunting and as a watchdog, it has quick reflexes and a fearless nature, and is still popular with big-game hunters.
5. Carolina Dog – Also known as the American Dingo, the Carolina Dog actually started out as a wild and free roaming dog. It was discovered in the cypress swamps of the Southeastern United States around the 1970s, and is now bred in captivity.
4. New Guinea Singing Dog – The New Guinea Singing Dog gets its name from its unique vocalization, but the once-wild breed gets its reputation as an excellent companion from its intelligence and physical ability.
3. Catalburun – Possibly because of severe inbreeding due to their rarity, the Catalburun is one of the only dogs in the world featuring a split nose and suspended ears. They were originally bred for hunting in Turkey.
2. Fila Brasileiro – The Fila Brasileiro is believed to have origins in a number of breeds like the Mastiff and Bloodhound, which could explain its large bones, loose skin and smooth coat. The working breed is known for its tracking ability, but also for its sometimes aggressive temper.
1. Telomian – The Telomian is the only known Malaysian breed to live elsewhere, but originally it was bred by the Orang Asli indigenous people to catch vermin. Because the Orang Asli built homes on stilts to stay safe from dangerous animals, Telomians developed an unusual climbing ability.