Rare dog breeds you’ve probably never heard of

Dogs And Owners Gather For 2014 Crufts Dog Show
Getty Images | Matt Cardy

Labs, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are America’s “top dogs” when it comes to breed popularity, according to the American Kennel Club.

But did you know that the AKC recognizes 190 different dog breeds? And many of them are those that even the most devout dog lovers may never have heard of before?

Here are some rare dog breeds you may have never heard of—but after reading about them you will surely want one (or all)!


Nickname: Arabian Greyhound

Stand-out features: With graceful features, a wedge-shaped head and a strong jaw, you might almost mistake this breed for a Greyhound. These dogs are also known to have melancholy expressions and deep eyes.

SLOUGHI, FI UCH SE UCH SE V-15 Al Suwiid Cemal
Flickr | Svenska Mässan

Fun Facts About Sloughis

Sloughis were sighthounds (dogs that use sight and speed to hunt, rather than scent) for the Berber and Bedouin people, according to the AKC. Also, sloughis were among three newcomers at the 2017 Westminster Kennel Club dog show, according to the Associated Press.

sloughi photo
Flickr | Lil Shepherd

Who To Follow On Instagram

@casimir_runs follows an adorable sloughi who lives in Austria.



Nicknames: Monkey dog or diablotin moustachu (French for “mustached little devil”)

Stand-out features: Could they be close cousins to Wookies or Ewoks? These terrier-like dogs are a tad shaggy and usually weigh about 7 to 10 pounds. Don’t let their size fool you. They’re filled with confidence and are rather fearless.

affenpinscher photo
Getty Images | Ben Pruchnie

Fun Facts About Affenpinschers

When the breed came about in 1936, these dogs were tasked with ridding kitchens and stables of rodents, the AKC says. The breed enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame in 2013 when an affenpinscher named “Banana Joe” won “Best in Show” at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. After the show, his handler told The New York Times: “This isn’t a breed you train. He’s like a human. You befriend him.”

affenpinscher photo
Getty Images | John Moore

Who To Follow On Instagram

@affenpinschersuperstar, an affenpinscher from Finland named Pyynö.



Nicknames: None yet! But nicknames take a little time, and this breed just gained AKC recognition in 2016.

Stand-out features: This Hungarian herding dog looks a lot like a teddy bear thanks to its curly coat, perky ears and whimsical facial expression.

Flickr | Jena Fuller

Fun Facts About Pumis

This breed is extremely rare in the United States, with only a few litters born each year, according to the AKC. But they’ve been herding livestock in Hungary for about 300 years.

Flickr | Jena Fuller

Who To Follow On Instagram

Meet @__uma_the_pumi__, an adorable Pumi puppy from Amsterdam that looks like a teddy bear with floppy ears.


Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

Nicknames: Teddies

Stand-out features: These medium-sized, muscular terriers have short legs and are set lower to the ground. They’re ferocious hunters, but also affectionate and loyal. And, as Instagram user @brianharmon1’s post shows, they’re pretty darn cute, too.


Fun Facts About Teddy Roosevelt Terriers

The breed was named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt to recognize his use of the terriers to ward off a rat infestation in the White House, according to the AKC.

teddy roosevelt photo
Flickr | The Library of Congress

Who To Follow On Instagram

Get a two-for-one at @funwithtrts, which features two Teddy Roosevelt Terriers.


Bedlington Terrier

Nicknames: Gypsy dog

Stand-out features: We wouldn’t blame you if, at first glance, you thought this dog was a lamb! Then, when you see them gallop, you might wonder “what kind of animal is this?!” These dogs have a fleece-like coat, arched back and slender head.

bedlington terrier photo
Getty Images | Jens Schlueter

Fun Facts About Bedlington Terriers

The breed was bred in England for hunting. Also, if you have allergies, this might be the right dog for you, as it landed on Mother Nature Network’s list of dogs that don’t shed.

bedlington terrier photo
Flickr | celesteh

Who To Follow On Instagram

You’ll find that @bambu_the_bedlington embraces his sheep-like features in the cutest way.


Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Nicknames: Dandie. No other nicknames needed because the breed name is already fun enough! The breed got its name from a funny character, “Dandie Dinmont,” in a book written in 1814 by Sir Walter Scott.

Stand-out features: These terriers have long bodies that are low to the ground and tails that are curved like swords. They have personalities more commonly found in big dogs, as they tend to be confident and independent.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier at Westminster Dog Show
Flickr | Petful.com

Fun Facts About Dandies

Queen Victoria owned a Dandie Dinmont terrier. The breed, for its 175th birthday, got its own party in the Scottish Borders in June 2017, complete with a tartan fashion show, according to BBC News.

Grupp 3, DANDIE DINMONT TERRIER, SE UCH SE V-15 Fairmac Wight Fire
Flickr | Svenska Mässan

Who To Follow On Instagram

This dapper Dandie, @rupertthedandie, is a rescue pup from Kentucky.


Nederlandse Kooikerhondje

Nicknames: Dutch Decoy Dog

Stand-out features: These small sporting dogs are spaniel-like and are predominantly orange or red in color. They tend to be friendly and well-behaved.

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje photo
Flickr | Svenska Mässan

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje/Dutch Decoy Dog Fun Facts

Legend has it that a Nederlandse Kooikerhondje that was owned by William of Orange saved his life by warning him of the Spanish attack.

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje photo
Flickr | Svenska Mässan

Who To Follow On Instagram

Follow this adorable, mountain-loving dog’s adventures over at @kooikertjejames.


Norwegian Lundehund

Nicknames: None that we know of.

Stand-out features: These small dogs originated on a Norwegian island, where they specialized in sniffing out puffins — making them the only breed of dog ever bred for this purpose, according to the AKC. They’re a type of spitz dog — recognized by their pointy ears and thick fur — making them distantly related to other spitz breeds like akitas and corgis.

norwegian lundehund photo
Getty Images | Gary Gershoff

Fun Facts About Norwegian Lundehunds

Norwegian Lundehunds have six toes on each paw: four that point straight ahead and two that point inward. These extra inward-facing toes surely helped them navigate Norway’s rocky terrain in search of puffins.

norwegian Lundehund photo
Getty Images | Gary Gershoff

Who To Follow On Instagram

@noah.norwegianpuffindog has many adorable adventures set to gorgeous backdrops like this one!



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About the Author
Brittany Anas
Hi, I'm Brittany Anas (pronounced like the spice, anise ... see, that wasn't too embarrassing to say, now was it?) My professional writing career started when I was in elementary school and my grandma paid me $1 for each story I wrote for her. I'm a former newspaper reporter, with more than a decade of experience Hula-hooping at planning meetings and covering just about every beat from higher-education to crime to science for the Boulder Daily Camera and The Denver Post. Now, I'm a freelance writer, specializing in travel, health, food and adventure.

I've contributed to publications including Men's Journal, Forbes, Women's Health, American Way, TripSavvy, Eat This, Not That!, Apartment Therapy, Denver Life Magazine, 5280, Livability, The Denver Post, Simplemost, USA Today Travel Tips, Make it Better, AAA publications, Reader's Digest, Discover Life and more. Visit Scripps News to see more of Brittany's work.

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