From Azawakh To Vallhund: 40+ Rare Dog Breeds We’re Unlikely To Find At The Dog Park

By Larissa C

Let’s be honest; who doesn’t love dogs? Unless you’re a cat person, your heart likely flutters when you see cute dog videos or pictures on social media. But even the most passionate dog person has to admit that some breeds are cuter than others. In their defense, some breeds were made to elicit those awwws.

Many breeds were “created” out of a desire to have the most efficient dogs for given tasks (e.g., sheepdogs and waterdogs). Nowadays, breeders have been exploring what sort of unique dogs they can make. Nature, too, has given us some uncommon breeds. In fact, some are so rare that they can cost thousands of dollars.

We’re all for adoption, and we don’t think anyone should spend five thousand dollars on a dog when there are so many puppies waiting to find a family. Still, it doesn’t cost anything to take a look at some of the world’s rarest dog breeds, so here they are.

53. Telomian

When the Telomians came into the dog scene, they weren’t actually domesticated. This breed has such strong instincts that it took a while for them to join the list of pets one could have at home. They’re perfect for active people who want athletic pets.

Image source: ryzvonthierry/Instagram

The biggest downside of having one of these dogs is that they’re still not that used to being around other dogs or strangers. They can grow up to nineteen inches and weigh 28 pounds, so they need a lot of space to grow healthily and to run about.

52. Central Asian Shepherd

This dog is so beloved in Turkmenistan that it has its own holiday! The Central Asian Shepherd is a gorgeous dog that, as the name suggests, originates from the Asian continent. It’s also known as the Alabay or the Turkmen Wolf-Hound.

Image source: Christy Gatto/Pinterest

You may not be able to tell from this photo but this is quite a huge dog. It is said to grow to an above average size and is consequently quite strong. These pooches are also said to be quite curious, independent, and courageous, which explains why they’re often kept as guard dogs.

51. Thai Ridgeback

This is another canine breed that traces its origins in the Asian continent. The Thai Ridgeback gets its name from its country of origin and its unique feature of having a ridge of hair that grows in the opposite direction on its back.

Image source: Thai Ridgeback Kennel “Mani Daeng” FCI/Facebook

As you can tell from the photo, these dogs have a beautiful smooth coat. It just makes you want to run your hand all over the back. They are also quite intelligent and independent, seeing as they stayed away from human contact for quite a while before domestication.

50. Beauceron

If you’ve always dreamed of having a big and bulky dog that is also adorable, look no further than the Beauceron. These guys can grow up to 27.5 inches and weigh up to 110 pounds, which means they’re not suited for those who live in apartments.

Image source: scamanderpack/Instagram

One of this dog’s finest traits is the fact this breed is incredibly smart. They can easily learn new stuff, and they’re eager to please their humans. In other words, training these big guys is really easy. They’re also faithful, so don’t let your family be upset if your Beauceron follows only you around.

49. Catalburun

You might have noticed the dog’s double nose, but that’s only one of the features that make these dogs super rare. As you probably know, some breeds are a result of inbreeding, but this process is not always safe for dogs.

Image source: nelo_the_pointer/Instagram

Because the inbreeding that resulted in Catalburuns is so complicated and unsafe, there are only two hundred of these dogs in the world. These dogs might have to deal with health issues, but they are lovely companions that will do everything to make their owners happy.

48. New Guinea Singing Dog

Look, just because a dog has joined the list of domesticated breeds, it doesn’t mean you should get one. Some dogs have way too many “wild dog” genes running through their veins, and the New Guinea Singing Dog is one of them.

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If you have experience handling temperamental dogs, then it shouldn’t be a problem. If not, you’re better off staying away from them. These dogs can bond with their human owner, but they’re a handful — and they don’t get along with other pets.

47. Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

Do you know how some dogs, namely Chihuahuas and miniature Pinschers, tend to love and protect just one member of the family? Well, the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is also just like that. They’ll love everyone in your household, but they’ll choose that one special person to protect.

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These adorable babies don’t grow very large, so they’re perfect for smaller homes. But they’re also athletic dogs, so you’ll need to keep them active, or else your dog won’t grow to its full potential. The good news is that they’re pretty easy to train and will quickly adapt to any routine.

46. Vallhund

If you live in a rural area and are looking for a dog to help with chores around the farm, look no further than the Vallhund. These beautiful and dutiful dogs make for efficient shepherds and will easily handle a flock.

Image source: valo.vallhund/Instagram

The Vallhund is not very large and has really short legs, but we assure you that these dogs are dependable and they love work, so they’re great at doing chores. They’re also really friendly and will love to play with you and the kids, so let them play hard after a hard day’s work.

45. Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

If you’re looking for a tiny dog that can be treated like an actual baby, you should definitely look into getting a Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka. These adorable creatures are really charming, spirited, and good with kids — plus they also have noble roots.

Image source: bellyonka/Instagram

If you’re wondering how a dog can have noble roots, the answer is simple. This breed came into existence after a French king donated the breed’s ancestors to noble families in Russia. After lots of inbreeding, the Bolonka was born. They’re playful dogs and will have all your guests wrapped around their little paws.

44. Russian Toy

Some dogs are meant for families with kids, so if you want a quiet dog to chill around with you… skip the Russian Toy. They’re perfect for smaller households because of their size, but they’re also active dogs who love to run around.

Image source: russiantoy.vivabossa/Instagram

Whether you have kids or are just a playful adult, you’ll love this dog. But do keep in mind that Russian Toys tend to pick one person to be their favorite, so don’t be hurt if your dog picks your spouse over you.

43. Pumi

Pumi dogs are really active and intelligent dogs, but they’re not for everyone. And we’re not even referring to the fact that they can weigh up to 32 pounds and grow up to 18.5 inches. We meant that because they’re reserved dogs.

Image source: bruna_the_rockin_pumi_/Instagram

If you don’t want a dog that will be all over you and will want your attention all the time, the Pumi is perfect. They do perfectly well on their own, so you can head out to work knowing that your dog won’t miss you terribly.

42. Lowchen

But if you do want a clingy dog, the Lowchen might be the best option for you. They absolutely love laying on their owner’s lap, and they’ll do anything to be around humans. While it’s nice to have a loving dog, keep in mind that the Lowchen can get really attached to you.

Image source: winston.lowchen/Instagram

Do not get one of these dogs if they’re not going to have company throughout the day. These dogs are one of the happiest you’ll ever meet, but you still need to train them well. They might be naturally joyful, but that doesn’t mean they’re born well-behaved.

41. Kromfohrlander

Who wouldn’t want to have a cheerful dog at home? If you have a happy dog, it means that you’re doing something right. And if you get a Kromfohrlander, you’ll always feel like you’re doing something right. That’s because these dogs look like they’re smiling all the time.

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A Kromfohrlander will learn new tricks faster than other dogs, so they’re a great breed to have around kids. They’re really friendly and can live well into their teenage years, not to mention that they adapt to most environments. Pretty awesome, right?

40. Jagdterrier

If you want a Terrier dog, you should consider getting a Jagdterrier. They don’t grow that much, so they’re perfect for smaller homes. However, they won’t be too happy if you just leave them inside all the time. They’re active dogs.

Image source: rieka_jagdterrier/Instagram

You shouldn’t get a Jagdterrier if you are not too into going on walks or playing with your pets. These dogs were originally bred to be hunters, so they need a purpose in life, or else they won’t be too happy.

39. Dutch Smoushond

If you have never heard of this breed, don’t worry. They’re most popular in their home country, Holland. In case you’re on the look for a loyal and affectionate pet, look no further than these dogs. They’ll love you with all their might, and they’ll also make you laugh constantly.

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These clumsy and adorable dogs only have one problem, and that’s barking. If you don’t train your dog early on, you’ll get lots of complaints from your neighbors because of your pet’s barking. Another thing to keep in mind is that these dogs are really friendly with strangers, so they’re not efficient watchdogs.

38. Danish-Swedish Farmdog

As you can probably tell by the name, these dogs were originally bred to work on farms and do other manual labor. However, these days they’re more like active companions to keep around the house. If you have a herd of animals, they can help with that. If not, that’s fine, too.

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They’ll be more than happy to just go out to the dog park and run around with you, but a large backyard will also suit them well. That being said, if you don’t have a lot of open space for your dog, you shouldn’t get one of these.

37. Biewer Terrier

Some people prefer bigger dogs, while others love small ones. If you love tiny, adorable creatures, you should definitely consider getting a Biewer (read: beaver) Terrier. They kind of look like Yorkies, but they’re way more active than their furry relatives.

Image source: biewerboy_anderson/Instagram

These dogs are really playful, which makes them great companions for energetic children and active adults. And if you’re dealing with mice issues, these dogs will be perfect for your home, as they love hunting mice. They can live for well over a decade, so that’s another plus.

36. Bolognese

If you’re looking for an affectionate dog and you’re not worried at all about your budget, you should consider getting a Bolognese. Sure, we know that the breed’s name is not exactly charming, but these dogs are easily one of the most adorable pets you can ever have around.

Image source: pal_bolognese/Instagram

If you need a dog that will make you feel happy when you’re sad, get a Bolognese. But if you spend a lot of time out of the house and there’s no one to keep your dog company, you’re better off saving that money to get a different breed.

35. Basenji

If your landlord tells you you can’t get a dog because of all the barking, the Basenji is perfect for you. This breed is unique in the sense that they don’t bark at all! Well, they do make other noises, but at least they don’t bark

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Aside from that, these dogs are really active and will need to exercise on a daily basis. If you’re not up for that, you’re not fit for these independent and energetic dogs. Also, when we say they make random noises, we mean that they’re louder than Huskies, so keep that in mind.

34. Carolina Dog

Now, if you’re looking for a big dog that kind of looks like a wolf, you have to go with the Carolina Dog. This breed is native to North America, and they are great hunters. However, they don’t hunt with scent; they do it with sight.

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These big boys can grow up to 19.5 inches and weigh up to 55 pounds, which means they’re big and need plenty of space. They can be really shy when they first meet you, but once they get used to you, they’ll love you forever.

33. Karelian Bear Dog

So far, we have shown you a lot of hunters that need a lot of physical activity. However, not every adult [human] is active, and they probably don’t want to go on walks every single day. If you’re one of these people, don’t worry. You can always get a Karelian Bear dog. 

Image source: zoey_the_karelian/Instagram

These big guys don’t really need daily activity, so you can easily get away with exercising together two or three days a week. Karelian Bears are also a bit shy and like to mind their own business, so don’t feel offended by that.

32. Stabyhoun

We can’t talk about big dogs and not mention the Stabyhoun. These guys can grow up over twenty inches and weigh up to 60 pounds! And just like most big creatures, they’re incredibly sweet and affectionate. As a matter of fact, they’ll do everything to get you to love them.

Image source: chasing_ches/Instagram

In spite of their size, Stabyhouns are really gentle, which makes them great to have around kids. But we do have to mention that they were originally bred to hunt moles, so don’t be upset if you come back one day to find them digging holes in the garden!

31. Mudi

Despite their name, these dogs aren’t moody at all. Well, maybe a little around strangers, but once they get used to someone, they’re literally the most loyal dogs you have ever seen. On top of that, they’re really brave dogs, so they’ll face anything and anyone to keep you safe.

Image source: caseytrainsdogs/Instagram

But while they will always put themselves on the line for you and your family members, they are not friendly with strangers. If you have friends or neighbors who come over a lot, you’ll have to get your dog used to them first.

30. Azawakh

Anyone who is looking for a skinny dog has to at least consider getting an Azawakh. These leggy dogs can grow up to 29 inches (or 27 inches if it’s a girl) while weighing somewhere between 44-55 pounds. They’re really elegant and run faster than you can imagine.

Image source: the_azawakhs/Instagram

While they’re totally independent, these dogs are also really affectionate and will be loyal to every person in the household. They were originally hunters, and they still like to keep active. Azawakhs are also incredibly smart, so they need to be trained from a young age.

29. Thai Ridgeback

Looking for a muscular dog but everyone in your neighborhood already has a Pitbull? Well, you can always get a Thai Ridgeback. These muscular dogs are rare and look really unique, as they have a patch of hair that grows in a different direction!

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While they’re loving and incredibly intelligent, not everyone can raise a Thai Ridgeback at home. If you have never had a medium-sized dog before, you probably won’t know how to handle your Ridgeback, and that can deeply affect their development.

28. Peruvian Inca Orchid

Most dogs need to spend some time outside so they can release all their built-up energy. However, that’s not the case with the Peruvian Inca Orchid. Actually, these dogs don’t do well at all outdoors, which is quite peculiar. This is definitely good news for people who don’t like going outside, either.

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This breed was initially meant to be hunters, and they haven’t lost that trait. However, they have been mostly companion dogs for a while, so they’re perfect for keeping you company as they’re loving and affectionate (but not with small children).

27. Catahoula Leopard Dog

Another muscular dog that you can get is the Catahoula leopard dog. These guys can grow up to 24 inches, but they can weigh up to 95 pounds, which means they’re huge. A fun fact about these dogs is that they’re originally from Louisiana. Oh, and they have beautiful eyes.

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Now, as you can probably tell by their size, these dogs are really powerful. In other words, you need to train them from a young age, so they know how to behave when hanging out with strangers and other dogs.

26. Bedlington Terrier

Having a unique-looking dog is a really interesting experience. Every time you step outside your home, someone will compliment your dog and ask you about the breed. If you revel in the constant attention your dog gets, you should totally get a Bedlington Terrier.

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With the right haircut, you can make your Bedlington look even more unique! These dogs are perfect for families who are looking for affectionate, charming, and playful dogs. They’ll certainly keep everyone entertained when it’s time for the annual family reunion!

25. Tibetan Mastiff

Living in freezing weather means that you need to get furry dogs, and no dog is furrier than the Tibetan Mastiff. These dogs are so big that you literally cannot predict just how big they will get. You can only tell their minimum height, which is around 26 inches. 

Image source: Svenska Mässan/CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

Tibetan Mastiffs can weigh over a hundred pounds, so be aware that they will need to grow up in a big house. In spite of their size, they’re pretty agile dogs. They’ll love you and your family deeply, but they’re not so friendly with strangers, so start getting them used to others early on.

24. Finnish Lapphund

Nobody adopts a dog thinking of how reserved or distant it will be. We see cute dogs on social media doing loving stuff for their owners all the time, and that is what we want. In this case, you should consider getting a Lapphund.

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These dogs were originally herders, so they love working and can learn new tricks pretty easily. They’re a bit wary of strangers, which means they will always try to protect you. But keep in mind that they need to go on daily walks.

23. Glen of Imaal Terrier

Terrier dogs are really popular among dog owners, and this breed should definitely be a favorite. These rare dogs are really gentle and lively, so they are perfect for any household that has young children. They were originally farm dogs, so they love having “work” to do.

Image source: gergus_the_glen/Instagram

If you get one of these terriers, you will need to have enough space for them to run around. They’re spirited dogs who love to keep things active. But if you have kids, this shouldn’t be a problem as they’ll play with your dog and keep them exercised.

22. Norwegian Buhund

Some spitz breeds can be really tiny, and others can be huge. But the Norwegian Buhund is like a moderate version of these furry dogs. They’re medium-sized animals that are built specifically for cold places. In other words, Floridians and tropical country folks should stay away from them!

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According to historians, these dogs literally sailed with Vikings — back when they still existed. See why they’re so rare? But unlike their original owners, these dogs are really affectionate and gentle, and they’ll make your home much happier with their presence.

21. Scottish Deerhound

For the ladies who love scrawny boys, you will definitely love this next dog. Though the Scottish Deerhound is one step above those guys because they were literally considered royalty back in the day. Apparently, you couldn’t get one of these unless you were at least an Earl.

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The Scottish Deerhound can grow well over 32 inches, and they weigh up to 110 pounds. This obviously means that you cannot get one of them unless your house has enough space for them. Also, they need exercise to develop fully, so you better get ready for long walks on a daily basis.

20. Curly-Coated Retriever

If you want a Retriever, but not the Golden one, you should look into getting a Curly-Coated Retriever. As you can tell by the name, these dogs have curly hair, which definitely makes them stand out in a crowd. That and the fact that they are one of the first Retriever breeds.

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Once upon a time, these dogs were really popular among sportspeople in Europe. When they got to Oceania, they became the favorite breed for hunters. They’re really smart dogs, but they’re also proud, so you don’t want to hurt their feelings.

19. Cirneco dell’Etna

If you watched (and loved) the second season of The White Lotus as much as we did, you have probably already booked your flight tickets to Italy next summer. But did you know that you can bring a piece of Sicily to your home if you adopt a Cirneco dell’Etna?

Image source: cirnecoduo/Instagram

These unique-looking dogs are great at hunting animals like rabbits and hares. Why are they good at that? Because they’re incredibly fast. We mean, look at that athletic physique! Is it really that surprising that these skinny queens and kings can outrun their prey?

18. Spinone Italiano

Another Italian dog that is super talented at hunting is the Spinone Italiano. However, these dogs are really furry, so they’re better off living in cold places. The Spinone is also really fancy, considering that they originally lived in the Alps!

Image source: jack_spinone/Instagram

If you’re looking for a patient and sociable dog, these guys are perfect for you. They’re also perfect for anyone who is looking for a cute dog that they can snuggle with all day. Just look at that face. Who can say not to cuddle time with this dog?!

17. Sloughi

If you’re a fan of tall dogs, you’ve probably already looked into getting a greyhound. The Sloughi is one of the rarest breeds you can find, but they are definitely worth your buck and your time — if you’re looking for a rare pooch, that is.

Image source: sloughiboyz/Instagram

These doggos used to belong to Arabian kings and Egyptian nobles, so they are graceful. They’re pretty good at hunting, and they’re really fast. However, you need to be gentle when training them, or else you’ll have a lean 2-foot-tall dog to deal with.

16. Lagotto Romagnolo

Another Italian pup that will give you White Lotus feels is the Lagotto Romagnolo. They’re adorable, curly-coated dogs that will do anything to make you happy. Doesn’t that sound great? They’re literally one of the most low-maintenance breeds on this list.

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If you can’t take your dog on walks all the time, that won’t be a problem. And if you can’t spend every waking moment showering them with affection, that’s also fine. These guys are not demanding at all, and they’re good at finding truffles. They’re perfect!

15. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

If you’re looking for a very tiny dog with a fancy name, look no further than the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. They don’t grow over 11 inches, which makes them one of the smallest breeds on this list. And they have been around since the 1800s, so this is an incredibly rare breed.

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While the Dandie Dinmont is a small baby, they’re really proud dogs that make up for their lack of height with their personalities. While they’re really tiny, they can weigh up to 24 pounds, so you need to keep them active to avoid weight-related health issues.

14. Bergamasco Sheepdog

If what you really want is a dog that will get everyone’s attention, you should totally get a Bergamasco Sheepdog. With one of these adorable creatures, we can assure you that every walk at the park will be like an event.

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See what we’re talking about? These dogs have a very distinct coating that literally looks like dreadlocks. These unique dogs can weigh up to 70 pounds and grow up to 23 inches, and they’re really smart. Though they can be pretty lazy, they’ll muster up the energy to protect their owners.

13. Skye Terrier

According to some anecdotes, one of the earliest Skye Terriers became popular in the 19th century because it refused to leave its owner’s grave for over a decade. While this is a heartbreaking story, it just goes to show that these dogs are loyal.

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Skye dogs are really tiny, but that doesn’t mean they’re companion material. If you’re looking for a family dog, keep in mind that you will need to find the right person to train your puppy. That’s because a Skye Terrier has a lot of personality.

12. Pyrenean Shepherd

Shepherd dogs weren’t originally meant to be companion dogs, but that’s what they have become over the years. And the Pyrenean Shepherd is no different. It was originally meant to be a sheepdog, but now it is an active and naughty companion dog.

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These dogs come from the Pyrenees, and they’re really intelligent. A Pyrenean Shepherd doesn’t grow that much physically, but its energy certainly will. As such, you should not get one of these if you don’t plan on taking them to the dog park regularly.

11. American Foxhound

When you take a look at this dog, you will probably think that it is a Beagle. As you probably know, Beagles are not rare, so this is not a Beagle. It’s an American Foxhound, and it’s one of the best hunters you can find in North America.

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While these dogs are really sweet, they are also not easy to handle. If you have never had a dog before, you’re better off choosing a different breed. They need lots of attention, and they make weeping noises all the time, so they’re not good for apartments either.

10. Coton de Tulear

If you want a tiny dog that will live with you for a very long time, look no further than the Coton de Tulear. They are one of the most charming breeds you’ll ever find, and it will take seconds for you to fall in love with them.

Image source: groomer_ameri/Instagram

This rare breed used to belong to aristocrats only. The rich folks loved the happy-go-luck nature of these dogs and kept them all to themselves. The best thing about Coton de Tulear dogs is that they can live up to 19 years!

9. Chinook

Another breed that is native to North America is the Chinook. These adorable guys are the official dog of New Hampshire and are widely known for their adorable nature. Male Chinooks tend to grow much more than females, but they’re all cute in the same way.

Image source: attie_the_chinook/Instagram

These dogs are so rare that they once almost became a mere memory in history books. However, breeders managed to help the devoted and patient breed escape extinction. These guys are really smart and will easily learn new tricks, and they’re great to have around kids.

8. Otterhound

When they first came into existence, Otterhounds had the sole purpose of hunting, well, otters. They have a waterproof coating, so they can easily hunt in rivers. While they’re not hunters anymore, they make great companions if you want a swimming buddy.

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These big guys are really easygoing in terms of temperament, but they do love getting rowdy every once in a while. Otterhounds are amiable and won’t act reserved when meeting strangers, which means you can have your friends over without worrying about your dog’s behavior.

7. Norwegian Lundehund

If you’re looking for a medium-sized athletic dog, you should definitely adopt a Norwegian Lundehund. Like many dogs on this list, these guys initially had the purpose of hunting other animals back in the day. But don’t worry — this breed is pretty friendly.

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The one thing to keep in mind before adopting a Norwegian Lundehund is that they’re really athletic. They love running and literally need exercise on a daily basis. If you’re not willing to take your dog to the park every single day, you’re better off without one of these guys.

6. Harrier

The Harrier is yet another breed that resembles Beagles. But unlike the Otterhound, Harriers had the purpose of hunting hares, which explains the name. These dogs are easily one of the friendliest out there, but they certainly need some proper training to get there.

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Once again, it’s important for us to highlight that these dogs are really active, so they need constant exercise. If you’re not an athletic person, but you want a Harrier, you should find a dogsitter that can take your dog to the park for you.

5. Cesky Terrier

When you take a look at this next dog, you will find it hard to believe that they’re one of the best hunters out there. After all, how many hunters are only 13 inches tall? Well, despite their stature, these dogs can hunt.

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The Cesky Terrier only came to America in the late ’80s, but they were already popular in Europe long before that. These dogs are friendly and playful, which makes them perfect for a household with a large family. They’ll get along with kids and other pets, and you can also train them to have good manners.

4. Canaan Dog

For some reason, it’s kind of hard to imagine that some dog breeds have existed for thousands of years. Perhaps it’s because we never see dogs in old portraits… Well, one breed that should’ve been included in those paintings was the Canaan Dog.

Image source: mollythecanaan/Instagram

These beautiful dogs are always alert, as you can tell by their standing ears. They’re confident and vigilant dogs, but they also need a lot of activity. If you like running or hiking, these dogs will be the best companion you could ask for.

3. Afghan Hound

This dog is the Farah Fawcett of the dog world, thanks to its beautiful, silky, long hair. We bet “Cruella” would be obsessed if she ever chanced upon it! Afghan Hounds are recognized as one of the world’s oldest dog breeds and are originally from the mountains of Afghanistan.

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Aside from their unique beauty, they are also quite fast, which makes them a popular choice for show dogs. Like the one pictured here, most of them have black masks and require a lot of grooming to maintain their coats. They’re also playful but don’t get along well with smaller animals.

2. English Foxhound

We cannot talk about rare breeds and not mention the English Foxhound. According to some, these dogs are the rarest breed in England, and they’re also the top breed. The only problem is that these dogs are so into hunting that they don’t want to live with humans.

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In case you want to welcome an English Foxhound into your home, you better be ready to take it running or hiking. On top of that, you need to have lots of space on your property, or else your dog won’t be very happy. 

1. Finnish Spitz

One of the oldest breeds in the world, the Finnish Spitz will remind you of a fox thanks to its color and facial features. However, these dogs are actually related to one of the oldest wolves to walk this planet. But don’t be frightened; the Finnish Spitz is friendly and good-natured.

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If you have kids at home, you can rest assured that they will get along with this dog. They’re very patient with the kids, and they get along pretty well with other pets. While they’re friendly with the family, they will bark if a stranger comes around.