There are hundreds of dog breeds across the world. For different reasons, some of these breeds have become endangered and even extinct. With the advent of the internet, it has become easier for some breed lovers to keep the most rare dog breeds alive.

If you want to adopt a dog that will turn heads while you're walking them down the street, these unique breeds will do the trick. When you're out and about, you'll be stopped by admirers to ask what breed that is.

Below we've compiled a list of the most rare dog breeds and the pros and cons to owning each one. Before you decide that one of these dogs is right for your family, be sure to do your research so you know what you're getting yourself into.

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14 Most Rare Dog Breeds on the Planet

Most Rare Dog Breeds

1 Canaan Dog

The national dog of Israel, this breed is still endangered. When you read about dogs in the Bible, this is the dog. There is evidence of the breed as far back as the 5th century BCE, but they are believed to have been around longer than that. There are many programs to improve the numbers of these most rare dog breeds, but before you get one, know their traits.

A breed that was made to stay with the flock acting as a guard, the Canaan Dog (pictured above) does well with alone time. They are not hyper and needy. Tough and sturdy, these pups do great in even the hottest of temperatures, and they do pretty well in chilly temperatures as well.

Traditionally used to herd livestock and guard camps, this canine still retains much of its primitive instincts. They need proper socialization and obedience training using pack-leader methods. Even still, they generally do not get along well with other animals and children.

Curly Coated Retriever

2 Curly Coated Retriever

With tight curls, the coat of this pup is made for keeping him dry and comfortable. They are one of the oldest recognized retriever breeds, but the breed is now considered endangered. They are most popular in the United Kingdom, and they only had 83 of this breed registered in 2016.

The coat of the Curly Coated Retriever does double duty keeping them cool in the heat and warm and dry in the cold. They are rugged outdoor pooches and would be happiest with an active outdoors family. A friendly breed, they get along with all pets and family members.

Intelligence is usually a sought-after trait, but these most rare dog breeds are very intelligent. They need physical and mental stimulation to avoid becoming bored and destructive. Like many outdoor dogs, this four-legged friend loves to bark, dig, and wander the country-side. They are wary of strangers and can be aggressive if not socialized properly.

Scottish Deerhound

3 Scottish Deerhound

The popularity of this breed is actually what led to its decline. They were so prized that their value increased to the point that only a select few could own them. Their gentle affect and polite manners have led many people to act to keep the breed going. Their numbers have been steadily increasing.

Loving and loyal, this fur-baby is happiest with his friends and family. They are a great friend for any child to have. If you are a hunter, you can’t get much better than the Scottish Deerhound. Fast and determined, they are one of the best sight hounds in the business and one of the largest dogs.

These most rare dog breeds are huge. They can easily get anything off the tables and counters that they want; in fact, they stand taller than most surfaces. While intelligent, they are independent and need to be shown a perk to obeying. They like to be the only dog in the house, and may not get along with other pets.

Mudi4 Mudi

A rare Hungarian breed, the Mudi can herd and guard the flocks, kill rodents and other pest, and be a calm and loving companion. This breed was not developed but came about naturally in its homeland. Recognized as a specific breed in Hungary, they were not recognized elsewhere until the first dogs were brought to America in 1936.

Also known as the “Drive Dog” the original function of this breed has led to some great characteristics including independence and athletic ability. These traits make them great for casual sporting or competition events. They are friendly pooches and are great for large families. Work-oriented, they take to training easily.

While they are intelligent and take training easily, they are still independent, so they need a consistent trainer. The energy of these canines is endless. They are a working breed and are not suited to apartment life unless they have plenty of outdoor playtimes and activities.

Glen of Imaal Terrier

5 Glen of Imaal Terrier

With only 76 registered in the United Kingdom and 600 registered in the United States, the Glen of Amal Terrier is a disappearing breed. Known as a “turn spit” dog, one of this pup's main functions was to keep the kitchen clear of varmints. They are still tough little canines, and they haven't been turned into a lap dog like many small breeds.

A quiet dog, they needed to be able to control their noise to be able to effectively catch their prey. These most rare dog breeds are not fragile. Independent, these little guys handle alone time well. With great agility, they make excellent competition pets.

The independence of these dogs comes with a lack of patience and tolerance. They are usually not good for homes with young children or other pets. While they can be kept as a “house pet”, these canines still retain the drive to work and stay busy. They need plenty of stimulation to avoid becoming aggressive or destructive.

Dandy Dinmont Terrier

6 Dandy Dinmont Terrier

This breed has a lot of good traits, but has seen a steady decline over the years. It could be occurring from the fact that these are not pack animals. They do better in homes with only one or two owners and no other pets. This is another small dog that was not streamlined into a lap dog role.

These little dynamites love to play, but they are not overly energetic. While they enjoy the outdoor farm life, they can easily adapt to apartment living as long as they get walks and playtime. While they don't participate in nuisance barking, they have a “big dog” bark and make excellent watch dogs.

With willfulness and independence, these intelligent dogs are still hard to train. The training that works best for them is consistent reward-based training. The Dandy Dinmont Terrier has a distinctive look and will need weekly, possible bi-weekly grooming to stay looking well-kept.

Pyrenean Shepherd

7 Pyrenean Shepherd

Called a “Pyre Shep”, these were the herders of the Pyrenees Mountains. They needed to be brave, loyal, and tough. While they have a distinct pleasing look, they are not house pets. They have many qualities that make them not appropriate for family life or city life. This is the reason for their low numbers.

These adorable canines are smart and take training easily. With agility and speed, they take to obstacle courses and hiking trails easily. Pyrenean Shepherds do not naturally do well with strangers, but if socialized properly, they will tolerate them without becoming aggressive.

Energetic and mischievous, these fur-babies need daily exercise and “work”. They can become aggressive and destructive if left alone. Although intelligent, they are hardheaded and need a dedicated owner. They do better being the only pet in the family.

Peruvian Inca Orchid

8 Peruvian Inca Orchid

Also known as the “Peruvian Hairless Dog”, the “Pio” is not always hairless. Due to the genetic marker that causes hairlessness, some of these pups will have some hair or a full coat. Only recently have these rare canines been allowed to participate in shows and events. There are only about one thousand dogs worldwide.

Like other sight hounds, this breed has great speed and agility. They love learning new things and performing the tasks assigned to them. This breed has 3 sizes, so prospective owners can pick the one that works best for their situation. Loyal and protective, they make excellent watch dogs.

If you get a pet that has white or pink skin, you must apply sunscreen if it will be in the sun for very long. They can sunburn which makes them susceptible to skin cancer. With the right training, they can get along with everything and everyone, but in their natural state, they do not take well to children, strangers, or other pets.


9 Otterhound

With fewer than 800 specimens around the world, the Otterhound is gravely endangered. Rarer than the Great Panda, these canines are considered by many to be the rarest breed in the world. With its many attributes, there are breed lovers who are tireless trying to keep the breed alive.

These fur-babies have webbed feet and excel in water activities. Their keen sense of smell makes them excellent hunting, and search and rescue, dogs. Friendly and affectionate, they are great for families with kids and other pets. They do better with alone time than other breeds, so they are usually not destructive when left alone.

These four-legged family members spend a long time in puppy hood. You can expect to wait up to three years before your pet is mentally and physically matured. With shaggy oily coats, they can be hard to keep clean. This is good for keeping them dry in water sports but not for keeping them clean for the house.

New Guinea Singing Dog

10 New Guinea Singing Dog

One of the oldest “pariah dogs,” and one of the more beautiful breeds, they are still mainly used for protecting villages and eating scraps. There are very few of these pups outside their native lands of New Guinea. In their home country, there are programs to try to avoid having this breed become extinct.

The name comes from the wide variety of sounds this canine makes. Owners say it is fun to try to figure out what each sound may mean to the pet. Rugged and independent, these dogs do well with alone time and outdoor living. They are great for active singles or couples, with ranch or farm life being their ideal situation.

Considered by some to be a wild dog, their pack instincts are pretty strong. They need a pack-leader trainer to show them where they belong in the pecking order. With other animals and children, they will try to show their dominance in sometimes aggressive ways.

American Foxhound

11 American Foxhound

With breed development beginning in the English Colonies in the 1600's, it is possible that this is the oldest American dog breed. Now, they are also one of the rarest. Similar to a Beagle in appearance, they do have longer legs than their scent hound cousins. There are many rescue groups that focus on these most rare dog breeds due to the fact that people choose this pup without having the appropriate living situation.

Affectionate and kind, the American Foxhound gets along well with children, animals, and even strangers. They are a healthy breed that easy to groom and maintain. In fact, they are almost self-sufficient except they still need feeding and watering. They do well in all sorts of temperatures and weather conditions.

These scent hounds need a strong, sturdy fence. Once they catch a trail, no amount of calling will make them come back. Energetic and playful, they need lots of things to do are they will become destructive. These most rare dog breeds love to chew and bark and howl. Needing to live in the country, these pups aren't for city life and leash living.

Tibetan Mastiff

12 Tibetan Mastiff

Even in its home country of Tibet, it is difficult to find a canine that is a full bred Tibetan Mastiff. If you do see one, these most rare dog breeds are usually performing their original functions as a traveling companion for caravans and guardians for homes and livestock. Working in teams with other breeds such as Lhapso Apsos, the small dog would sound the alarm, while the massive Tibetan Mastiff took care of the threat.

If you are looking for a calm dog that is not yappy or needy, this may be the breed for you. They are great for mountain living and frigid temperatures. These furry family members have a low prey drive and prefer to stick close to the house. They are friendly and loving to their human family members of all ages.

These giants do not do well in small yards or apartments. They love to chew and dig. Territorial, they are suspicious of other animals and strangers. This can lead to dangerous aggression if they are not trained properly. These canines are highly intelligent, but their independent and stubborn traits make them hard to train.


13 Chinook

If you want one of these rare fur-babies, it could be a wait of 6 months to 2 years. In 1965, there were only 125 known canines in this breed. That was the first time that it rated as the most endangered dog breed, but it wasn't the last. Developed in New Hampshire, it is the official state dog.

Developed by Arthur Walden for polar excursions, this four-legged family member is a jack of all trades. They can sled and cart, even if they are just carting the grand kids. Highly trainable, these pups also do well in search and rescue jobs. They are the ideal pet for active families that want to put the time in to have a trick dog.

Bred for frigid temperatures, they do not do well in hot climates. They are calm, but they still need regular exercise to be at their best. These are big dogs with big appetites. Care must be taken so that they do not become overweight.


14 Stabyhoun

Descendant of spaniels brought over during the Spanish Occupation, these fur-babies where created in Friesland. While they are more numerous in their home land, the numbers are dwindling there as well. There are only 300 of these pups in all of North America. A few people dedicated to the bred have kept it from completely dying out.

Developed to work on farms, many farmers couldn't afford to have a dog for every task, so they needed one that could do it all. The Stabyhoun is that dog. These most rare dog breeds can herd, guard, hunt, point, retrieve and track. After all that, they are also a loving family companion.

With intelligence and ability, this pooch needs to be kept busy. If you don't things for it to do, it will find things to do that you may not like. The retain a high prey drive and will chase anything that moves. A fence and leash are always needed when you own these most rare dog breeds if you don't have acreage for them to run on.

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15 of the Most Rare Dog Breeds

Amy is a writer who lives with her husband and daughter on the United States Gulf Coast. She has a BA in Behavioral Sciences, and volunteered for shelters through various activities, as well as fostering animals. Amy currently has 3 dogs and 5 cats.