Described as companionable, joyful, and intelligent, the Barbet is quick to learn and needs lifelong obedience training. This medium-sized French water dog has a wooly and curly coat which grows long and must be groomed regularly to avoid matting. This rare dog breed is great with people of all ages and prefers human companionship. Mental and physical stimulation is a must.
The lifespan of the Barbet averages 13–15 years. It is estimated that there are about 70 Barbets in the United States.
This rare dog breed is easy to train, eager to please and enjoys the companionship of people, making it an ideal companion dog and family pet. The small, white, compact dog has shorter hair on the face and a coat that falls in loose open ringlets all over the body. The hair’s texture is wooly, should never trimmed, but requires regular combing to prevent matting. While not yappy, they have an acute cute sense of hearing and will generally bark at strange noises.
The life expectancy of the Bolognese is 16-18 years.
The Hamiltonstovare, a Swedish breed, is a typical scent hound and will follow its nose. If the breed finds a scent or sees something interesting, they will not necessarily come when called. Best to practice the dog’s recall daily. Hamiltons have a soft fur that rarely sheds, and they have no “doggy” smell.
The average life span for the Hamilton is 10 to 13 years.
4. Hungarian Pumi
The Pumi is a medium-small terrier type of sheep dog from Hungary. Most Pumis are gray, but born black. The breed’s trademark is its ears, which are always alert and very lively. The Pumi is a lively, active and intelligent breed that is easy to train, but barks easily. Pumis are very protective of their families, and often slightly reserved toward strangers, so socialization must begin at early age.
The breed has a life expectancy of 12-14 years.
The Kooikerhondje is a small spaniel of Dutch ancestry that was originally used as a duck tolling dog. Described as intelligent, good natured, and quiet, the breed adapts to situations rather quickly. They will not always immediately like strangers, instead choosing to retreat.
The life expectancy of the breed is about 12-14 years. This breed is gaining popularity in the United States.
6. Lagotto Romagnolo
The Lagotto Romagnolo, originating from the Romagna sub-region of Italy, is a gun dog, specifically a water retriever. It is also used to hunt for Truffle.
Loyal and loving, they make great family dogs. If socialized from a young age, they get along with other household animals quite easily. Mental and physical stimulation is a must for this precocious breed. The breed loves to dig and many owners give their dogs a sandbox to satisfy their digging urges.
The life span of the Lagotto Romagnolo is 14-16 years.
The Mudi is a herding dog breed from Hungary. It is a very active breed and needs to be taken on daily long, brisk walks or jogs. Additionally, they need to be able to run free in a large safe area. Considered an average shedder, the breed is easy to groom, needing combing and brushing to remove dead hair from its coat.
The life expectancy of the Mudi is 13-14 years.
8. Portugese Podengo
The Portuguese Podengo is a sight and scent hound from Portugal. The Podengo comes in three sizes with two hair coats (smooth and wire coat). Described as hardy, intelligent, and independent, Podengos are amenable to training by experienced dog people.
They are very active and usually good with children and other animals, especially when socialized from an early age. They are watchful and observant and will bark when something gets their attention. They are excellent jumpers and climbers, and need a secure fence. The breed is a digger and will need much mental and physical stimulation. The breed does not require extensive grooming and its coat should never be trimmed.
The life expectancy of the Portugese Podengo is 10-14 years.
9. Swedish Vallhund
The Swedish Vallhund is described as fearless, energetic and alert. Although they enjoy either a rural lifestyle or suburban lifestyle, they crave human attention and are very devoted to their owners. The Vallhund is responsive and even-tempered with most people, but they can be wary of strangers. As a result, it should be properly socialized and trained as a puppy as to avoid over-protective behavior as an adult. They are known for heel nipping due to their instinctive herding traits. The breed, an average shedder, is easy to groom with a comb and firm bristle brush.
The Swedish Vallhund can live for about 12-14 years.
From Mexico, the Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-eats-queen-tlee ) comes in three sizes – toy, miniature and standard, and two varieties – hairless and coated. Described as calm, loyal and intelligent, the breed makes an excellent companion dog.
It is important that all family members play a role in rearing the Xolo, or it will bond to the one person who takes care of it. The breed is protective and aloof to strangers. Additionally, the coated and the hairless variety of Xolo are very easy to groom. For hairless dogs, bathe and lotion them twice a month; for the coated dogs bath them twice a month and brush them at least weekly to reduce shedding. A coat is recommended in the winter and a t-shirt is recommended in the warmer month as too much sunscreen may clog its pores.
This rare dog breed may live for about 15 to 20 years.
Ah, our canine counterpart. Where would man be without the domestic dog? (Canis familiaris). I think we’d all be still scavenging off the land, with no form of government or civilization. But, that’s a list for another day!
By selective breeding practices and geographic isolation, hundreds of dog breeds have been created to do man’s bidding. Some breeds never came into vogue, others never had large population numbers, and more have had their livelihoods phased out, and are now considered rare.
This breed is a Turkish Pointer, and is readily identified by its “split-nose”. This may be the result of severe inbreeding, or because the local hunters prized the fabled hunting prowess of split-nosed dogs over pointers with normal appearing noses. Either way, they are virtually unknown outside of Turkey, although they are prized in their homeland for their hunting abilities.
This is a Hungarian Herding dog of superior herding quality! Their soft, curly coat and smooth faces can identify these mid-sized little wonders. Fortunately for the Mudi, they have been gaining momentum and recognition in the dog world for their excellent herding abilities and they excel at canine agility. There is already a Mudi Club in Canada and the U.S. This breed is still very rare outside of its native Hungary.
8. Thai Ridgeback
This breed was introduced into the United States back in 1994, and has been seeing a rise in awareness and popularity ever since. This wrinkly-faced, Asian dog is identified by the ridge of hair growing against the lay of the coat along the spine, a characteristic shared with the Rhodesian Ridgeback. They are a strong-willed and powerful breed, and are still used in their native home as livestock guardians and protection dogs.
7. Norwegian Lundehund
Also known as the “Puffin Dog”, this little hound was kept by the Vikings and used as an agile hunter. They have amazingly flexible joints, and are recognized as having double dewclaws on all four feet. Unfortunately, this breed has a very serious digestive condition that makes the absorption of nutrients from food difficult and shortens their life spans.
6. Carolina Dog
This breed is also known as the “American Dingo”, and has been genetically linked with such primitive dog breeds such as the Australian Dingo and New Guinea Singing Dog. They are an amazingly versatile breed. Unlike other domestic dogs, who have an estrus cycle twice a year, Carolina dogs have a single estrus cycle during the year like other wild dogs. . It is a pariah dog of the American Southeast, and I can remember seeing these “yellar dawgs” running through the woods of Lexington County during my teenage years in South Carolina.
5. Tibetan Mastiff
This breed is a direct descendent from the original Mastiff dogs of ancient times. These huge, wooly dogs are fierce guardians in their native Himalayans. When this breed was first removed from their high mountain environments to the valleys for trading and breeding, numerous health problems resulted. Fortunately, today’s Tibetan Mastiffs are far removed from their original mountaintop posts, and have also been bred for better temperament. These dogs are massive-males can be over 160 pounds!
This sighthound is very rare outside of it’s native Africa, but is finding favor in the United States, where between 100-200 dogs are said to live. This hound appears to be a stretched-out greyhound, and is more pack oriented than other sighthounds. It is used for hunting gazelles and other fleet animals of the African deserts.
This noble hound breed can be traced back to the 1100’s. They where once a favorite dog of the hunt, and were used in packs to hunt otter, hence the name. Unfortunately, after otter hunting was banned in England in the late 1970’s, these large hounds had to be re-homed from their country estates into homes as pets. It is estimated that there are only 350 Otterhounds in North America.
This dog is considered a national treasure in the Netherlands. This dog is both a pointer and retriever, and is used as a gundog today. The Dutch Dog Registry carefully monitors breeding of this rare treasure, and there are only 100 dogs in the United States at this time.
This rare dog is the direct descendent of one famous sled dog, named Chinook. After the breed founder’s death in 1963, this breed went into rapid decline and looked as if it would be lost forever. A dedicated group of dog lovers found the remaining 11 breedable dogs in 1981 and worked diligently to restore this breed. Today’s Chinook is primarily a housedog, although a few enjoy being used as sled dogs.
Bonus: Australian Stumpy Tailed Cattle Dog
I had to include the Australian Stumpy Tailed Cattle Dog. This dog closely resembles the more familiar Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), but in fact, the Stumpy Tailed Cattle Dog was a recognized breed almost 50 years before the development of the Australian Cattle Dog. The Stumpy was used for herding cattle and helping ranchers. They do not have long tails, and their tails are born naturally short. This breed lacks the tan points commonly seen on the legs, face, and belly of most ACD’s, and they also lack the characteristic white forehead blotch, or “Bentley’s Mark”, present on almost 80% of ACD’s.