There are many gorgeous dog breeds around, some of which are incredibly popular as family pets, others are talented working dogs and then there's a heap of others in-between. However, there are a number of dog breeds which are less well known outside of their native lands but with the advent of the Internet, this is all changing very fast with images and breed information being more readily available to people all over the world.
Below are seven breeds which boast being firm favourites in their native lands and which boast fascinating histories.
Svelte, sleek and very, very fast, the Azawakh is a breed you may never have heard of but in their native lands of the Sahel which is a desert region of Africa located in Mali and Niger, these dogs are highly prized by the Touaregs where they are still found guarding tents. These dogs are also supreme hunters, very capable of chasing down hare, antelope as well as wild boar.
Temperament wise, the Azawakh is loyal and forms very strong bonds with their owners. However, they need to be socialised early in their lives and then consistently trained so they adapt to their surroundings. They are also quite thin coated which means they do feel the cold during the winter and to keep them well balanced and happy, they need plenty of daily exercise.
When it comes to stunning coats, the Bergamasco has one of the most glorious ones on the planet. You may be forgiven for thinking their dreadlocks take a lot of looking after, but in reality, the Bergamasco's coat is very easy maintenance. The coat is actually made up of three types of fur, namely dog hair, goat hair and wool which forms into ringlets that look rather like the head of a mop.
Temperament wise, the Bergamasco is known to be very patient, they are obedient and love to please which has seen the breed become a very popular choice as therapy dogs. This sees them visiting children in hospital as well as keeping people who suffer from any disability entertained.
The Cirneco dell'Etna is one of the rarest dog breeds in the world and boasts an interesting heritage and past. It is thought the breed is a descendant of dogs that were left in Sicily by the Phoenicians around the 3rd century BC. The breed takes their name from Mount Etna and for centuries has been renowned for their hunting skills.
This lovely looking dog loves to be in the great outdoors and running which means they need a lot of daily exercise. They are also very capable at jumping high fences which means gardens need to be very secure to keep a Cirneco dell'Etna from escaping. Because they have very thin coats, they do feel the cold in the winter and are prone to injuring their toes due to the fact they adore running around so much.
As their name suggests, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is native to Portugal and comes in three sizes with the Pequeno being the smallest measuring only around 8 to 12" high at the shoulder and weighing in at anything from 9 to 13 lbs.
Originally bred to hunt rabbits, these lovely little canines are affectionate and friendly characters that love to please making them a great choice as a family pet. However, they are busy dogs and need a lot of entertaining and exercise if they are to stay happy, healthy and fit.
The Miniature American Shepherd boasts a bit of a complicated lineage. These attractive dogs are the result of crossing an Australian Shepherd with a Miniature Australian Shepherd which is also called the North American Shepherd because that's where they originally come from! This makes things even more complex!
They are very intelligent dogs that love to work boasting a gorgeous coat which can be black, blue merle, red merle or red. They are affectionate and form very strong bonds with the people they love. However, they need lots of exercise and are best suited to people who live in the country and who love spending time in the great outdoors.
Bred as a working dog, the Spanish Water Dog as their name suggests just loves to be around water. They are extremely loyal and will protect the people they love without hesitation. However, they need to be well socialised and trained consistently throughout their lives so they understand who is boss.
Their coat is made up of gorgeous ringlets and the breed is considered as being hypo-allergenic because they don't shed. However, they are not the ideal choice for first time dog owners because they need a firm but gentle hand so they know who is boss. Because they are so intelligent, Spanish Water Dogs need lots of mental stimulation to keep them occupied, well balanced and happy.
This gorgeous breed boasts being clever, affectionate and a real pleasure to have around. The Lagotto Romagnolo was bred as a working dog in Italy where they are highly prized for their talents at tracking down expensive and delicious truffle mushrooms. They boast wonderful curly coats with very mischievous looking expressions on their faces which gives them a very endearing appearance.
Although the breed is a wonderful choice as a family pet, the one thing they really do not like is to spend too much time on their own. This can lead to all sorts of unwanted behavioural issues which includes being a little destructive. However, for people who spend a lot of time in the great outdoors, the Lagotto Romagnolo could be the perfect choice as a family pet and companion.