If you’re interested in dogs of all sort, you probably take great delight in trying to work out what breed the dogs that you see out and about are, and then possibly checking with their owners to see if you were right, or very wide of the mark! However, even if you are very knowledgeable about dogs and know your Lurcher from your Labrador, there are no doubt still several breeds that would have you stumped, mainly due to their comparative rarity, which lowers the chances of you getting the opportunity to see them in person!
Some breeds too are not recognised or are relatively unheard of within the UK, but may still be prolific and widely known in other parts of the world… So, which breeds are the least common overall, and why? Well, it can be very difficult to find out the exact numbers, or a reasonable estimate of the total number of dogs of any given breed worldwide, but in this list, we will cover some of the breeds that are known to be very uncommon.
Read on to learn a little more about ten of the rarest dog breeds in the world.
The Azawakh is an African sighthound dog, with a lean, lithe build and superior hunting ability. The Azawakh descends from native African pariah dogs, and while the breed is recognised by The Kennel Club in the UK (a relatively recent development) there are thought to be less than 100 dogs of the breed in the country at the time of writing.
The Catahoula leopard dog is also known as the Catahoula hound or Catahoula cur, and originated in the American state of Louisiana from local coursing and hunting dogs. The breed is not currently recognised in the UK, and outside of their home state, they are very uncommon. There are currently no known imported Catahoula leopard dogs within the UK.
The Chinook dog was developed in New Hampshire as a sled dog, and despite being the official state dog of New Hampshire, is rare even within its home area. It is thought that there are currently no Chinook dogs within the UK, even among sled dog clubs and enthusiasts.
It is easier to pronounce the name of this breed than it is to find one offered for sale! The Xoloitzcuintli or Mexican hairless dog has a known history in their country going back for at least 3,000 years, but despite this, the breed only gained worldwide interest and recognition in the 1950’s. Efforts to promote the breed and increase their numbers are gaining slow but steady momentum, but even so, there are still only an estimated 3,000 or so dogs of the breed living outside of Mexico.
The Pachon Navarro is a pointing dog breed that originated in Spain, and which has the distinctive facial feature of a split up the centre of the nose, meaning that should you get to see one, you will never forget it!
While the breed is very uncommon in the UK, they do occasionally come up for sale, and are often valued for their superior scenting ability. Up to 200 dogs of the breed are thought to be within the UK at the time of writing.
The Stabyhoun is one of the rarest breeds in the world, and hails from Holland. Up until the 21st century, the breed could not be found outside of their native country, an even today, it is estimated that less than 5,000 Stabyhoun dogs are extant worldwide.
The Mudi is a Hungarian breed that is rarely found outside of dedicated pockets of rural Hungary, and while the breed is recognised as distinct from other Hungarian breeds such as the Puli, all of the Hungarian herdsmen’s dogs are still often grouped together as one. This can make it challenging to find out for sure how many dogs of the breed are extant, but it is thought that there are less than 2,000 dogs of the breed of viable breeding age even in their home country, and so the chances of seeing one further afield are low!
The Thai ridgeback is an ancient landrace dog from Thailand, descended from pariah dogs and valued for their intelligence, loyalty and working ability. However, outside of Thailand the breed is very uncommon, with less than 100 dogs of the breed being found in the USA, and possibly, none at all in the UK.
The Catalburun is the second of our two rare dogs with a split nose, and again, this breed has a highly evolved scenting ability! Originating in Turkey, the Catalburn is extremely rare even there, with an estimated 200 or fewer dogs of the breed extant worldwide.
The Otterhound is a British dog breed that is classed as one of our vulnerable native breeds, due to their modern rarity. Originally prized for their ability to hunt otters, as otter populations fell, so did demand for this ancient hound breed. Today, just 1,000 or so Otterhounds are thought to remain extant worldwide.