While not large in number, these 14 unusual breeds are mighty in looks and personality.
One of the messages of the American Kennel Club (AKC) is, “a dog breed for everyone.” In other words, everyone can find the right combination of personality, activity level, trainability, body type, hair length, and overall size wrapped up in a canine package. And while most people are familiar with the wonderful traits of popular breeds such as the Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Dachshund and English Bulldog, many less common ones make equally charming and attractive pets. Here are 14 uncommon breeds, most of which are recognized by the AKC, that you might not have heard of before.
A sweet, affectionate, and friendly dog, the English Foxhound enjoys a lot of exercise and appreciates room to cavort. With a height of about 24 inches and a weight of 60 to 75 lb., this shorthaired breed is good for active families.
Some might describe the Harrier as the smaller cousin of the English Foxhound—and the larger cousin of the Beagle. This breed is also gentle and sociable, but not as active as other hounds. This shorthaired dog reaches a height of about 20 inches with a weight range of 45 to 60 lb.
Described by the AKC as one of the rarest breeds native to America, the American Foxhound is typically an easy-going, friendly breed, but can have a stubborn streak. The medium-sized dog (reaching 21 to 25 inches in height and 60 to 70 lb.) loves running and needs frequent exercise. The tight, short coat requires occasional grooming.
The Otterhound can reach 27 inches in height and weigh up to 115 lb. This enthusiastic, cheerful, athletic dog loves the water—and needs plenty of exercise. The breed’s thick, double coat needs occasional grooming, and can come in any color or combination of colors.
Reaching not much higher than 13 inches, the Cesky (pronounced “chess-kee”) Terrier resembles the Scottish Terrier in its background. This muscular, short-legged breed likes to play but is not overly active. Its shorthaired coat requires occasional grooming.
A smaller breed that reaches 12 to 15 inches in height, the Norwegian Lundehund enjoys an active lifestyle and responds well to training. The breed’s medium-length coat requires occasional grooming, but it’s the dog’s unique characteristics that help him stand out: six toes on each foot, and ears that the dog can fold closed, backward or forward.
This breed stands out right away because of its dense, golden red coat, curved tail, and alert, fox-like expression. At a height no more than 20 inches and a weight up to 33 lb., this friendly, very active breed does well with children because it loves to play. The distinctive coat requires occasional grooming.
Described as patient, smart, and eager to please, the Chinook makes a great family pet with its somewhat active personality and devoted nature. The dog can grow up to 26 inches tall and weigh up to 90 lb., and its tawny coat needs weekly grooming to look its best.
As its name implies, the Pyrenean Shepherd hails from the Pyrenees Mountains of Southern France, where it has worked as a herder for hundreds of years. Available in two coat types, the breed can reach 21 inches tall and weigh up to 30 pounds. This dog is used to being active and does well with exercise and games that challenge it mentally.
This calm, dignified breed also can have a stubborn streak, but fans of the Skye Terrier praise its loyalty and devotion. Weighing in at 35 to 45 lb. at a height of 10 inches, the breed has a long coat that requires weekly grooming. This somewhat active dog enjoys playtime and walks.
This Bergamasco Sheepdog’s most unusual trait is its coat—which forms felt-like mats that resemble dreadlocks. This calm, smart, patient dog doesn’t need as much exercise as most of the other dogs on this list. It reaches over 23 inches and can weight up to 85 pounds.
Peruvian Inca Orchid
Also called the Peruvian hairless dog by some, the Peruvian Inca Orchid can actually have hair. This distinctive breed comes in three sizes—small, medium, and large—and is known for being agile, smart, and swift. The dog can trace its history back to 750 CE.
Hailing from Thailand, the Thai Ridgeback is thought to be one of the world’s first dog breeds. Available in four colors—red, black, blue (gray), and yellow (fawn)—the dog is known for its large upright ears, wedge-shaped head, wrinkled forehead, and long legs. Many of this breed have a “ridge” of hair running down their back in contrast to the smooth coat over the rest of the body.
English Toy Spaniel
The sweet snub-nosed face of the English Toy Spaniel belies the breed’s sweet, joyful personality. A true toy breed, the dog weighs no more than 14 pounds and grows to only 10 inches tall. The somewhat active dog is curious but well-behaved, and gets along well with children and other dogs.
About the Author: Stacy N. Hackett is an award-winning writer with more than 25 years’ experience in the pet industry. She is the former editor of Pet Product News and a former staff editor with Cat Fancy, Cats USA, Critters USA and Ferrets USA. To learn more about her work, visit stacynhackett.vpweb.com.