Have You Heard of These 15 Rare Dog Breeds?
In the 1980s, the Chinook dog breed faced extinction. The equally sturdy and speedy breed had originated in New Hampshire less than 100 years prior, and yet by 1965 the Guinness Book of World Records listed the Chinook as the “rarest dog in the world.” By 1981, the population had dwindled down to just 11 breedable dogs total. That is, until the Chinook Owners Association stepped in. The organization has since returned the rare breed’s numbers into the hundreds, and the Chinook was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2013. But it’s not the only dog that’s come back from the brink of oblivion. Many of these rare dog breeds have seen their populations dwindle to abysmal numbers due to everything from international war to industrial evolution. Luckily, the hard work of breed clubs (and in some cases, benevolent aristocrats!) has paid off and preserved these unique dog breeds for generations of dog lovers to come.
This hard-working herding breed can be either “smooth faced” or “rough faced,” depending on the coat. Both result in a charmingly shaggy appearance worthy of the big screen.
Although this breed’s lineage dates back centuries, it was only found in southern Italy until 1988.
Not to be mistaken for a doodle at the local dog park, this rare, truffle-hunting breed hails from Italy.
Nobody loves a comeback story more than the Chinook, which is now the official state dog of New Hampshire.
Standing less than a foot tall and sporting a sassy hairdo, this breed may be rare but it’s certainly unforgettable.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
With a charmingly whimsical name and looks to match, this previously declining breed can attribute its revival to the hard work of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club.
Reminiscent of both the wolfhound and the greyhound, this regal Russian breed can run up to 40 miles per hour.
You may know this endearingly scruffy breed from its lead role in the movie adaptation of the book, Because of Winn Dixie. The film provided a welcome boost to the breed, which has worked its way back from near extinction.
Ranked 179 out of 195 on the AKC’s most popular list, this ancient sighthound was saved by Dr. Maurizio Migneco, a veterinarian who wrote about the breed’s decline. A Sicilian aristocrat, Baroness Agata Paternó Castello, took notice and worked over the next 26 years to restore the Cirneco’s population.
The AKC estimates there are only 600 Cesky terriers living in the U.S.; a shame, given their mellow, family-friendly nature.
Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
If the name sounds like a mish-mash of other breeds... well, that’s for good reason. It roughly translates to “large, low, shaggy dog of the Vendée.” (And explains the names and looks of those more familiar breeds, like basset hound or the Brussels griffon!)