9 Super Strange Dog Breeds You’ve Never Heard Of

Dogs are known for their diverse breeds, each with unique characteristics and history. However, some breeds are so rare and unusual that they remain largely unknown to the general public.

In this blog post guide, we will explore 9 super strange dog breeds that are sure to intrigue and surprise you with their distinctive features and peculiarities. These breeds may not be commonly found at your local dog park, but they each hold a special place in the world of canines.

Key Takeaways

  • The Bergamasco Sheepdog is known for its distinctive ‘flocks’ or mats of hair, resembling a natural mop.
  • Biewer Terriers are gaining popularity and are recognized as a purebred breed through scientific advancements rather than traditional pedigree.
  • Cesky Terriers are one of the several rare dog breeds that may be difficult to find due to their limited numbers.
  • The Azawakh is a sighthound breed from West Africa, known for its elegant build and speed.
  • Norwegian Lundehunds are unique for their ability to tilt their head backward along their spine and for having more toes than the average dog.

1. Bergamasco Sheepdog

Bergamasco Sheepdog

 

The Bergamasco Sheepdog is a distinctive breed, known for its unique coat that resembles a mop due to its felted hair strands that form flat layers covering the body and legs. This unusual ‘flock’ coat is not only natural but also low-maintenance, as it doesn’t shed.

Despite their somewhat imposing appearance, Bergamascos are calm and vigilant guardians, always watchful over their families. They are intelligent and trainable, with a touch of independence characteristic of mountain dog breeds.

The Bergamasco Sheepdog is a robust breed, with a life expectancy of 13 to 15 years, and is considered healthy and low-maintenance.

Here’s a quick overview of the breed’s characteristics:

  • Height: 22 to 23.5 inches at the shoulder
  • Weight: 57 to 84 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13 to 15 years

2. Biewer Terrier

Biewer Terrier

 

The Biewer Terrier, often pronounced like “beaver,” is a breed that’s quickly capturing hearts. Its sole purpose is to love and be loved, making it an ideal companion. These dogs are known for their endearing habit of carrying around slippers or toys, exuding an air of innocence that’s hard to resist.

With their friendly and charming demeanor, Biewers easily make friends, both human and canine. They’re small in stature but big in personality, fitting perfectly into the lap dog category.

The Biewer Terrier stands out not only for its cuteness but also for its unique recognition by the AKC. It’s the first breed to be acknowledged as purebred through scientific advancements rather than traditional pedigree documentation.

Here’s a quick glance at the Biewer Terrier’s breed overview:

Height (at the shoulder) Weight Life Expectancy
7 to 11 inches 4 to 8 pounds 16 years

3. Cesky Terrier

Cesky Terrier

 

The Cesky Terrier, a national treasure of the Czech Republic, is as dignified as it is rare. With its contemplative eyes and notable beard, this breed exudes a stately presence. They are not just a pretty face; these dogs are known for their playful nature and companionship with their families.

Despite their pack breed nature, making them excellent with other dogs, Cesky Terriers are a rare sight, with only about 600 in the United States. Their rarity adds to their charm and exclusivity.

The Cesky Terrier is a breed that combines elegance with a spirited terrier personality, making it a unique and delightful companion.

Here’s a quick breed overview:

Height (at shoulder) Weight Life Expectancy
10 to 13 inches 14 to 24 pounds 13 to 15 years

4. Azawakh

Azawakh

The Azawakh is a true embodiment of elegance and grace, with a history as rich as the Sahelian sands it once raced across. Originating from West Africa, this breed has been a companion to the nomadic peoples of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, revered for its speed and endurance.

Despite its ancient lineage, the Azawakh is a newcomer to the American Kennel Club, having been recognized in the Hound Group only as recently as 2019. This sighthound, once known for chasing gazelles across the Sahara, now adapts to urban life with ease, preferring the companionship of its human and the smoothness of sidewalks to the harsh desert terrain.

With a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, the Azawakh is not only a loyal and affectionate breed but also one with a relatively long lifespan for a dog of its size.

Characteristics of the Azawakh include a height ranging from 23.5 to 29 inches at the shoulder and a weight of 33 to 55 pounds. Owners often describe the breed as distant or aloof, but those who have formed a bond with an Azawakh know of the deep loyalty and sweetness these dogs possess.

5. Mudi

Mudi

The Mudi is a remarkable breed, often unrecognized even among dog enthusiasts. Originating from Hungary, this medium-sized herding dog is known for its versatility and intelligence. Historically, the Mudi has been a shepherd’s companion, adept at herding not only sheep but also other livestock.

Characterized by its curly coat and alert expression, the Mudi is an active breed that thrives on physical and mental stimulation. Despite its working background, it adapts well to family life, proving to be a loyal and affectionate pet.

The Mudi’s ability to perform various tasks with ease makes it a hidden gem in the canine world.

While not as popular as other breeds, the Mudi’s admirers appreciate its unique combination of traits that make it an excellent working dog as well as a companion.

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6. Norwegian Lundehund

 

Norwegian Lundehund

The Norwegian Lundehund is a breed as unique as it is rare, originally bred for the purpose of hunting puffins on the harsh cliffs of Norway. These remarkable dogs are known for having six toes on each foot, a trait that aided them in navigating the treacherous terrain of their native land.

Although puffin hunting is no longer a necessity, and the birds are now protected, the Lundehund’s distinctive features make it an excellent competitor in agility courses. Their adaptability and intelligence, however, require that they be given plenty of activities to channel their energy.

The Lundehund’s history is one of resilience, having come close to extinction twice. Today, they face new challenges, as breeders consider crossbreeding to address genetic health concerns and increase their limited gene pool.

Despite their historical role, Lundehunds have transitioned well into family life, proving to be loyal companions. Their unique physiology and spirited disposition make them a fascinating, if not an unconventional, addition to the canine world.

7. Otterhound

Otterhound

The Otterhound is a unique breed with a rich history as a scent hound. Originating from England, this dog is known for its excellent tracking abilities, even under water. With a coat that’s waterproof and wire-haired, and the added advantage of webbed feet, the Otterhound is as adept on land as it is in aquatic environments.

The Otterhound’s keen sense of smell and love for water make it an exceptional companion for outdoor adventures. Whether you’re hiking through trails or splashing in the waves, this breed is ready to follow every scent and dive into every puddle.

Despite their many talents and endearing qualities, Otterhounds are among the rarest dogs globally. Here’s a quick glance at their characteristics:

Height (at shoulder) Weight Life Expectancy
24 to 27 inches 80 to 115 pounds 10 to 13 years

If you’re looking for a dog that’s both independent and affectionate, the Otterhound might just be your perfect match. However, finding one can be a challenge, as their numbers are alarmingly low, with only about 600 left worldwide.

8. Peruvian Inca Orchid

Peruvian Inca Orchid

 

The Peruvian Inca Orchid, often abbreviated as PIO, is a breed that stands out due to its hairless body and noble character. Originating from Peru, these dogs are known for their affectionate and loyal nature, making them excellent companions.

Despite their hairless appearance, PIOs require certain care, especially when it comes to their skin. They are predominantly indoor dogs and need protection from the sun with sunscreen during their outdoor excursions. Their sizes vary, with three recognized categories ranging from small to large.

The Peruvian Inca Orchid is a sight to behold, with a life expectancy of 14 to 16 years, they are a long-term commitment for any dog lover.

It’s important to note that PIOs are sighthounds and may instinctively chase smaller animals. Their temperament can swing from docile to somewhat feral, which means they might not be the best fit for every household.

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9. Swedish Vallhund

Swedish Vallhund

 

The Swedish Vallhund, often described as a ‘Viking dog’, is a breed that boasts a rich history dating back over a thousand years. Known for their striking resemblance to the Corgi, these dogs were originally bred for herding cattle in Sweden.

Despite their small stature, Swedish Vallhunds are robust and muscular, with a keen intelligence that makes them excellent working dogs. They are also known for their friendly and outgoing nature, making them great companions.

The Swedish Vallhund is a versatile breed, excelling in obedience, agility, tracking, herding, and flyball.

Here are some quick facts about the breed:

  • Height: 11.5 to 13.5 inches at the shoulder
  • Weight: 20 to 35 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Their unique feature is the presence of a double coat, which requires regular grooming to maintain its condition. With proper care and exercise, the Swedish Vallhund can be a delightful addition to any family.

Conclusion

In the vast world of canine companions, the breeds we’ve explored today stand out as some of the most unique and rare you’re likely to encounter. From the mop-like Bergamasco Sheepdog to the newly recognized Biewer, these dogs offer a glimpse into the incredible diversity that exists within the species.

While some may be hard to find and others may come with a heftier price tag due to their scarcity, the charm and distinctiveness they bring to a home are beyond measure. Whether you’re drawn to their unusual appearances, their storied histories, or their specialized abilities, each of these breeds has something special to offer.

So, the next time you’re considering adding a furry friend to your family, perhaps one of these lesser-known breeds will capture your heart and become your most loyal companion.

FAQs:

What makes a dog breed rare?

A dog breed can be considered rare due to a low population, a decline in the breed’s traditional roles (such as herding or hunting), or simply because they are lesser-known and not as widely bred or recognized.

Can rare dog breeds be good pets?

Yes, rare dog breeds can make excellent pets. They are often as lovable and personable as more popular breeds, but it’s important to research their specific needs and temperaments.

Are rare dog breeds more expensive?

Rare dog breeds can sometimes be more expensive due to their scarcity and the costs associated with breeding and maintaining a smaller population.

How can I find a reputable breeder for a rare dog breed?

To find a reputable breeder for a rare dog breed, look for breed-specific clubs, seek referrals from veterinarians or dog owners, and ensure that the breeder follows ethical breeding practices.

What is unique about the Bergamasco Sheepdog’s coat?

The Bergamasco Sheepdog’s coat is unique for its ‘flocks’ or mats of hair that resemble a mop. This occurs naturally as the strands of hair weave together into flat layers of felted hair.

Is the Biewer Terrier recognized as a purebred dog?

Yes, the Biewer Terrier is recognized as a purebred dog. It was the first breed to be recognized as such using scientific advancements rather than traditional pedigree documentation.