The term 'rare' is often associated with something special and unique, and when it comes to dogs, this couldn't be more true. From the Norwegian Lundehund to the Telomian, there are a number of rare dog breeds that have been around for centuries, each with their own distinct characteristics and personalities. The Norwegian Lundehund is one of the rarest dog breeds in the world, with its ability to change the tone of its howls. This Spitz breed was nearly extinct during World War II, but was miraculously recovered by Norwegian breeders and remains in small numbers today.
Known for its fun nature and affectionate personality, the Norwegian Lundehund would be the perfect pet for active families. The Lagotto Romagnolo is another rare breed that was on the verge of extinction in the 1970s, but was revived by an Italian group dedicated to breeding that pledged to share their specialties outside Italy. Playful in nature and easy to train, the Lagotto wants to spend time with its owners and go on adventures on foot. However, keep in mind that the idea of this breed for a casual walk is an energetic expedition, eager to smell the ground in search of truffle treasures or to splash in any puddle it finds. The British Otterhound is another rare breed that is officially rarer than the white rhinoceros, with less than 1000 dogs worldwide.
It is believed to have been developed in The Borders during medieval times, and was bred to protect the fishing industry from annoying otters. After the ban on otter hunting in the United Kingdom, the specialized breed almost disappeared and is now considered a vulnerable breed. The Mudi is a Hungarian breed that is rarely seen outside its homeland of Eastern Europe. With pointed ears and wavy fur, this unique canine is thought to have originated in the 19th century and developed naturally from crosses between the well-known Pumi and Puli breeds. With their high intellect and quick steps, mudis are often used to herd sheep and cattle, and are also praised for being effective guard dogs. The Telomian is a rare breed from Malaysia that was originally raised by the isolated Orang Asli people.
This small to medium-sized dog has a passing resemblance to equally specialized terrier breeds, and can be identified by its distinctive black mask. Its most distinctive feature is probably its skilled claws, which it developed to climb stairs used to reach elevated homes of the Orang Asli. While there is a small population of these rare dogs in the United States, there are still not enough of them to qualify as members of the American Kennel Club. The Norwegian Lundehund is recognized by the AKC, and you can learn more about them here. The British Otterhound is also a large game breed native to England that was developed for otter hunting.
Because its quarry was found in land and water, it differs from other hounds by its rough double coat and legs spanking. The Polish Lowland Shepherd Dog (PON) is compact, alert and adaptable. Nicknamed PON for short, this beloved Polish guard dog is strong in body and mind. The Skye Terrier is shrewd, courageous and in a good mood. Agile and strong, this terrier is a breed with elegance and dignity.
Bred to hunt foxes along Scotland's Isle of Skye, they are stronger than you think because of their size. The Ibizan Hound is a tall hound from the dawn of civilization that was raised as a rabbit hunter on the rocky shores of Balearic Islands of Spain. Art history students will recognize its elongated head with large erect ears as a familiar motif from ancient Egypt. Finally, there's the Belgian Laekenois - one of four closely related Belgian shepherds - which is considered one of the rarest dog breeds on the planet due to its unique characteristics not shared by any other breed.
All these rare breeds have something special about them that makes them stand out from other dogs - whether it's their physical characteristics or their personalities - making them truly one-of-a-kind.