A trip to the dog park guarantees an encounter with at least one Beagle, Poodle, German Shepherd, or Lab. But what about those lesser known breeds—the uncommon ones you may never come across, much less hear about?
Here are the five most uncommon dog breeds in the world.
As of 2013 the Stabyhoun, or Stabij, is one of the five most uncommon dog breeds. Hailing from the Netherlands, this alert, curious dog known for its gentle and friendly temperament is a Dutch national treasure. Only a few thousand Stabyhouns exist today.
The Stabyhoun finds its origins in literature dating back to the 1800s. With hunting roots, this dog chased after foxes, small game, and birds. Stabyhouns also served as working dogs, guarding farms and catching rats and moles.
This versatility shines through today across all types of trials and activities—agility, obedience, hunting, Frisbee, and more.
This breed is neither muscular nor slender, but average in size. Most Stabyhouns have a black and white coat with a solid-colored head and a white tip on the tail. Less common is the brown and white Stabyhoun, with the orange and white ones growing increasingly rare.
Hailing from Hungary is the athletic Mudi. Bred to herd, the Mudi also excels at dog sports like Frisbee and agility training. Today this breed is used for work, sport, and show, and still maintains its roots in herding.
The Mudi’s origins reach far back to the 15th and 18th centuries, but its exact timeline is unknown. Discovered in Hungary in 1936, this breed nearly faced extinction as many died throughout World War II.
Today you’ll find the Mudi alongside their shepherd masters, herding flocks of up to 500 sheep in their homeland.
With a big personality and a larger-than-life bark, the clever Mudi stands at only 15 to 19 inches high, around 18 pounds. Their short-haired coat falls in waves and sometimes curls in black, brown, white, fawn, or black-and-grey. The Mudi’s tail varies in length: from a bob to being full in length.
One of the five most uncommon dog breeds, the Tibetan Mastiff is one of the largest dog breeds in the world—originally used to protect local villages. Despite (or due to) its rarity, this dog is highly esteemed in China, where one was sold for a record-breaking $1.5 million.
Tibetan Mastiff Origins
The Tibetan Mastiff is a large dog breed from the nomad tribes of Tibet and its surrounding areas. Nomad tribes utilized these large dogs to protect their sheep from prowling predators—wolves, leopards, bears, and the like.
But don’t be fooled by its name. This breed is not a true Mastiff, but rather a mountain dog.
Tibetan Mastiff Appearance
Bred in the mountains, Tibetan Mastiffs have a long, double coat found in a variety of colors—black to black and tan, reddish-brown to bluish-gray. Breeders in 2014 began to market a “white” version, which is not white but more so pale gold.
With a slender, athletic build, the Azawakh is used to hunt game like gazelles. A sighthound livestock guardian breed, this dog is compelled by movement and will chase anything in motion—bikes, cars, and children alike!
The Azawakh hails from the Sahara Desert and is rare outside this region for a few reasons. First, they are intolerant of cold weather. Second, they do not tolerate strangers. A hunting sighthound, this dog loves to run, eliminating any chance of being confined to city life.
A standard Azawakh weighs from 33 to 55 pounds; its height, 24 to 29 inches. Its short coat and protruding bones mark a thin, muscular body. In Africa, this dog comes in a variety of colors: from red, blue fawn, and grizzle to the less-likely blue and black.
Rounding out the 5 most uncommon dog breeds is the Thai Ridgeback. You may have even seen one; a hundred live in the U.S., with only a thousand total outside of Thailand.
Thai Ridgeback Origins
The Thai Ridgeback is an ancient breed, formerly unknown outside of Thailand until it gained attention in the Western world. Bred as hunters and guard dogs, this dog is valued for its loyalty and protectiveness.
Thai Ridgeback Appearance
Muscular and medium-sized, this breed is extremely agile; its tail is held upward like a sword. The Thai Ridgeback has a coat of blue, black, red, or fawn, and is one of only three breeds with a ridge of hair on its back running opposite its coat.