Which are the Rarest Dog Breeds in the World? VOSD

The Rarest Dog Breeds in the World

For a long time, people have been absolutely fascinated by different breeds of dog, especially unique dog breeds. While we are still trying to figure out what the rarest dog breed is (we think it’s the New Guinea Singing Dog), dog breeds rarely make the news these days for being one of a kind. In a way, the focus on breeding can cause medical issues because of unethical methods, inbreeding, and bad treatment meted out to dogs in puppy mills. But it still helps to know about ancient and rare dogs to understand the rich and diverse history of the canine species. 

We talked about the new guinea singing dog here, and the fascinating story behind its rediscovery. But people have been breeding dogs for centuries, and now there are certain breeds that have become rare dogs and hard to spot. We give you the lowdown on some unique dog breeds here. Take a journey with us to understand rare Ridgebacks, Sighthounds, Spaniels, Terriers, and other cool dog breeds. 


The Basenji actually looks very much like an Indian breed of dog! It is one of the most ancient breed of dog, originating in the Congo. The Basenji was used for hunting. It is named after the original pygmy tribes that bred and raised them. One of the most interesting facts about the Basenji is that it has maintained certain “primitive” characteristics, like being unable to bark. Colonisers from England (where else?) were interested in bringing the dog and widening its gene pool to England, but they were unsuccessful for a long time because all the dogs started to suffer from distemper. 

Basenjis have short coats, are of medium height, and are lean. They are extremely active (usefulf for hunting) and need to be physically and mentally stimulated often. They can be stern and aggressive. (source: https://www.petfinder.com/dog-breeds/basenji/)

Bedlington terrier

This adorable and distinctive breed of dog is originally from Northumberland, in the English countryside. These terriers look like lambs, with a curved back and a gentle face. They love to run around and play, but are also gentle and sweet in disposition. Bedlington terriers were the possible result of crossing a few other breeds – the Rothbury terrier, the Dinmont terrier and the Whippet. Bedlingtons are some of the cutest dogs in the world and have been bred since 1825. They are popular in dog shows. Bedlingtons have been used for dog sports, dog racing, and to hunt for vermin like rats, mice, rabbits, small foxes, and other pests that are considered harmful to farms. 

Tibetan mastiff

One of the most interesting histories belongs to the Tibetan Mastiff. These large, hairy, shaggy dogs with somber faces may have originated anywhere, but somehow ended up in Central Asia after traveling with invading armies. According to petfinder, there has been evidence of the existence of these rare dogs from as far back as 1100 BC, which is really cool! They could have also come to China with the legendary invader, Gengis Khan, or even Attila the Hun. 

Tibetan mastiffs then ended up in Tibet, near the Himalayas, and became effective guard dogs for the mountain folk. During British Raj, the Viceroy of India is said to have gifted Queen Victoria with a Tibetan Mastiff. 

This Mastiff is large and thick, and has a double coat that allows it to endure extreme weather conditions from cold to warm. They are quiet and reserved dogs but can be friendly towards their families, human or otherwise. 

Related Article – Know Your Indian Dog Breeds

Thai ridgeback

Firstly, a ridge on the back of a dog is a line of hair that grows against the general direction of the rest of the hair on a dog’s body. The Rhodesian Ridgeback has this feature and is more well known than the Thai Ridgeback. The Thai Ridgeback possibly originated in Thailand, as the name suggests, and is said to have been bred on the Asian island in the 17th century. They are medium-sized dogs with short, dark hair, and are very agile and athletic. They have a skinny, upward-curving tail. The Thai Ridgeback is great for guarding and hunting due to its athletic nature. It is one of the more rare breeds of dogs in the world. 

Lagotto Romagnolo

This little cutie is super-rare and one of the best known Italian breeds of dogs in the world. The Lagotto Romagnolo is also known as the Italian Water Dog and was bred to hunt for waterfowl in the marshlands of Italy (specifically Romagna). They are hairy with thick coats, and have an extremely keen sense of smell. Today, they are used to spot truffle for Italian restaurants! They are small (growing up to a height of about 15 cms). An interesting fact: Lagotto Romagnolos might have been around for centuries, and are found in a few Italian paintings. Could they have been a part of Italian royal families? Hopefully someone will find this out for us!

Norwegian lundehund

The catchily named Norwegian Lundehund is a type of Spitz, and is medium sized. These dogs are found in Norway. “Lundehund” means “puffin hound” or “puffin dog”. They are flexible, agile, and clever dogs, able to climb into the ridges of cliffs and caves in Norway to hunt for puffin birds. How are these dogs adapted to this role you might ask? The Norwegian Lundehunds have some evolutionary genetic traits that allow this to be possible – they have two extra toes (one on each foot) and are so flexible they can flex or bend their head in order to touch their back. The Lundehunds are highly independent dogs, and could be difficult to train. They also have two less teeth than other dogs. 

New guinea singing dog

We already spoke about the return of the New Guinea Singing Dog here, and yes – they might be making a comeback. These dogs are known for their distinctive “singing” sound and the way they synchronize with other dogs from their pack. Efforts have always been made to breed these dogs in captivity, but now there are signs that they might be around and thriving in the wild! It is closely related to the Australian dingo, and is considered one of the most unique dog breeds in the world.

Czechoslovakian wolfdog

Bear with us while we try to pronounce this mouthful. The Czechoslovakian wolfdog is a beautiful, graceful dog that looks like a wolf, with grey fur and light eyes. They make great guard dogs, and are strong, agile, and intelligent. The breed is relatively new, having been bred in the 1950s to guard the Czechoslovakian border. They are now imported to the United States for similar border patrol duties and other active roles. 


These sighthounds look like proper royalty, with their tall, lean, and dignified presence. They are thin dogs, and have high back and long legs. The Azawakh originated in West Africa, in the Azawagh Valley near the Sahara desert. The Azawakh was bred by nomadic tribes and has been around for many centuries. These tall dogs can grow up to a height of 75 cm and look regal when they hunt or walk or do anything, really. The Azawakh is dark brown or fawn in colour, with a white belly. But they or their cousins, are seen around Africa in different colours as well. The Azawakh is also related to the Basenji (see above) and pariah dogs from the African continent. 

Bergamasco shepherd

Another Italian breed, the Bergamasco Shepherd dog is one of those beautiful breeds that resemble sheep. They are, as a result, used to guard flocks of sheep and can often disappear into that role! They are medium sized dogs with fur that becomes matted up into clumps. These Shepherd dogs are muscular and broad, and are strong enough to withstand cold winters. These rare dogs are related to German Shepherds, and could have originated in the 1800s, in order to perform herding tasks. 

Brazilian mastiff/ fila brasileiro

The Fila Brasiliero is one of the largest dog breeds in the world. They are huge, energetic, and make great guard dogs. It is likely that they were bred from Bloodhounds, the English Mastiffs, and Bulldogs in the 17th century. Brazilian Mastiffs are banned in several countries because of their potential aggressive nature, but just like all dogs, early socialization can help the dog get along with humans and other dogs. They are mostly found in Brazil and can be brown, fawn, or black in colour. They are suitable to large, open spaces. These dogs are instinctively guarded and wary, so it might take a while to socialize them. 

There you go! Some of the world’s rarest breeds in the world are definitely also the most fascinating. It’s strange to think that many of them might not exist in a few years, which is why it’s important to conserve their genetic traits (without inbreeding and other unethical methods). Still, as they say, “adopt don’t shop” and if you come across these rare breeds and want one, don’t purchase them from a puppy mill (or at all!). 


Did you find this information useful? Do you want to learn more about dog breeds? Visit the VOSD website for more fun facts.