If you live in a busy city, there’s a good chance you’ve run into 100s of dog breeds in your lifetime.
Common dog breeds range from small dogs like Yorkshire Terriers and Shih Tzu to the large Labrador Retrievers and Mastiffs.
However, every now and then you might encounter a different, maybe slightly unusual breed in the park that catches your eye.
At the time of writing, there are over 300 different dog breeds registered in kennel associations across the globe, but only a few of these breeds are considered truly rare.
These breeds only exist in specific places in the world, have traits that make very difficult to breed and tame, or simply are unpopular as pets.
In our list, you’ll see 10 of the world’s rarest dog breeds, dogs so unique that only hundreds of them exist in the world!
Also known as the Caucasian Mountain Dog, the Ovcharka is one of the largest breeds in the world and one of the most difficult to tame and handle.
They’re very territorial and aggressive towards strangers, and because they are so large (90 KG / 200 LBS) it’s very easy to see why they are difficult to keep as pets.
These guys were bred for hunting bears and wolves in mountainous regions of Russia, making them fierce watchdogs that require plenty of training and discipline for family life.
Unlike the widely popular Japanese breed, the Shiba Inu, the Kai Ken is a rare breed from Japan that is mostly unknown by most owners and breeders.
This dog was designated as a natural treasure in Japan in 1934 and owners of the breed are held in high esteem.
Kai Ken are loyal, active, and brilliant dogs who were bred for hunting, and now they serve as great companions for their lucky owners. They require plenty of exercises and moderate training.
Even in Japan, it’s very hard to find a pure breed Kai Ken.
A rare breed of the Turkish Pointer, the Catalburun, which translates to ‘fork-nose’, is a relatively rare breed of dog with split noses and wide eyes. They were the result of severe inbreeding to create hunting dogs, but were eventually kept for their unique looks.
They’re rarely found outside of Turkey, and even there it’s hard to find a purebred. Most kennel associations don’t recognize the Catalburun as a dog bree, simply because of their rarity.
The muscular, mid-sized Thai Ridgeback is a native dog of Thailand who is rarely seen outside of its home country. The unique ridge of hair that grows across the spine of the dog gives them their iconic name.
In Thailand, they’ve been breed as watchdogs and home protectors. Not usually found in the rest of the world as they’re not fond of cold weather and don’t get along with other dogs.
The Norwegian Lundehund was the dog of the Vikings, a hunting dog bred to chase birds and climb trees to get to their nests.
Most impressively, Lundehunds have 6 toes on each foot and two functional dewclaws on each leg, making them extraordinarily nimble and quick at climbing.
They require a lot of grooming but are fast learners and very loyal to their owners.
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One of the largest breeds in the world! An ancient dog whose story line goes back thousands of years.
The Tibetan Mastiff is the ancestor of many of the common large breeds found today, like the San Bernardo and the Mastiff.
Their huge sizes and protective nature made them natural watchers of ancient Chinese villages. Nowadays, Tibetan Mastiffs have become rare breed outside of China for their territorial nature, which makes them hard to keep.
Intensive breeding and mixing of Mastiffs and other races in Brazil created these large dogs with the purpose of hunting intruders and protecting their owners.
Recently, the Fila Brasileiro became a favorite breed in Brazil for its watchdog capabilities. However, other countries have banned the breed because of its mood swings and aggressive behavior.
Some breeders say that the dog is highly trainable and very territorial, but it’s completely loyal to its owners and family.
One of the few barkless dogs in the world, the Basenji is native to Central Africa, and a very rare breed. The Basenji makes howling noises (a yodel-like sound – commonly called a ‘baroo’) instead of barking.
Very hard to tame and frequently compared with wolfdogs, the Basenji is a dog with an individualistic nature that loves being alone, has a knack for mischief, and dislikes training.
Basenjis are loyal and lovable! They require plenty of effort to train, but can become an incredible partner.
Another native African breed, the Azawakh is an athletic dog that was used for hunting in the desert regions of Africa.
They’re very energetic and love running and chasing small birds and bicycles. They can reach insane speeds of around 40 MPH (70 KM/H)
They’re VERY uncommon in Africa (except some specific regions), everywhere else in the world it’s tough to see one.
Xolos, as the name is abbreviated, is a unique breed of dog native to Mexico.
Although they’ve gotten plenty of fame thanks to the Disney movie Coco, the breed is scarce and was recently on the brink of extinction.
Thanks to the aid of world wide dog breeding associations, the breed is now slowly gaining popularity and becoming more commonly available.
They’re brilliant dogs that live to explore, play, and love their owners. In Mexican culture, they’re revered as ancient mystical dogs that guided souls towards the underworld.
These are just some of the world’s rarest dog breeds, do you know one we missed? Do you own one of these breeds? What do you think? Let us know in the comments