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Rarest Dog Breeds

At A Glance

Unlike labradors, chihuahuas , or golden retrievers, these dog breeds are not household names but they have colorful histories. While most rare breeds are endemic to their place of origin, some are rare even in their birth countries.

Azawakh, Bedlington Terrier, English Foxhound, Kai Ken, Thai Ridgeback, Lagotto Romagnolo, and Mudi are 7 of these rare dog breeds little known to us.

Last Updated on: Aug 12, 2022

They say every dog has its day, but out of 350 breeds of dogs known to mankind, quite a few are unheard of. Most of us have never known about them or seen them strolling the sidewalk. But the rarest dogs breeds pack in quite a punch – from their appearance to their unique characteristics.

Today, let’s discover seven of these rare breeds.

Bedlington Terrier dog

Bedlington Terrier

One glance at a Bedlington Terrier would make you notice its uniqueness. You could come across this breed in your neighborhood and wonder why a sheep is being led by a leash. Their trademark white fleecy coat gives these dogs a lamb-like appearance.

Bred in Bedlington, a mining town in North East England, they are related to the Dandie Dinmont Terrier and the Otterhound.

Don’t underestimate these dogs as meek – they have sharp hunting instincts.

Formerly bred to hunt, today these dogs are adored for being tiny and quick on their feet.

Also Read: Top Exotic Dog Breeds

English Foxhound

The English Foxhound is one of the oldest dog breeds in existence, dating back more than 200 years. Despite their ancestry, they are quite rare.

The bark of this breed is powerful and commands respect.

Their stamina and energy must frequently be matched by powerful trainers who can handle them. Raised to be hunting dogs, it’s hard not to feel intimidated by their stout build.

Because of their rarity, the greatest features of this dog are hardly acknowledged. Except for a poet who wrote — “There are few such combinations of grace and strength as in a fine Foxhound.”

Kai ken dog

Kai Ken

The Kai Ken is one of the rarest dog breeds on this list.

They are Japanese natives hailing from a region near the mystical Mount Fuji. They are purebreds and are one of the six native Japanese spitz-type dogs.

This sturdy breed is also known as Kai Uni in Japan, and they exist in small numbers even in their home country.

Kai Kens can reach up to 20 to 22 inches in height and weigh between 25 to 55 pounds.

Their appearance and demeanor can intimidate even the bravest of humans.

Do not mess with these dogs because they have stoic and stubborn personalities. They are even referred to as Tiger Dogs for their striped tiger-like coat.

On the plus side, they are very intelligent and have a soft spot for children.

Azawakh dog


Standing tall at 25 to 30 inches, this lean breed of dog originates from Africa.

The Azawakh takes its name from a Saharan valley bearing the same name. They were originally bred to be guard dogs by nomads in the Sahara and Sub-Saharan Sahel.

Their greatest distinctive feature is their height.

Their skin has a frugal fur coat, which reveals their bone structure and muscles. This coat can also come in a variety of colors such as red, black, gray, blue fawn, white, grizzled, and brown.

Unlike many dogs, they exude elegance with their smooth and light gait. Besides their lean and tall frame, these dogs are fast runners, very energetic, and tough.

These incredible qualities make them perfect companions for athletes and runners.

Thai Ridgeback dog

Thai Ridgeback

Native to Thailand, this rare breed is distinguished by a tuft of hair that runs along their back.

Thai Ridgeback has a history of living without human ownership in any form. As a result, they have high survival instincts and skills.

These canines are tall, standing between 22 and 24 inches tall at the shoulder. They tend to shed very little because of their short coat. They are perfect for people with allergies.

In spite of being independent dogs, they make great pets since they are clever, loyal, and active.

However, they have an aggressive and overprotective temperament that can be difficult to deal with around strangers.

Lagotto Romagnolo dog

Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo is one of the rarest dog breeds to originate from the lakes of Ravenna in Italy.

They were formerly used as water retrievers. However, their occupation has shifted to truffle hunting in recent years. 

The name translates to “lake dog from Romagna”.

The breed is a small dog measuring between 15 to 19 inches in height. Their fluffy coat gives them a wooly appearance. The wooly coat is typically white and comes in hues of orange, grey, and brown patches.

While they may appear cute and docile, this breed is a force to be reckoned with. They are exceptionally strong and agile.

Mudi dog


Coming from a herding background, this breed has excellent instincts and is distinguished by its shaggy coat.

Since Mudis are so rare, little is known about their origins other than the fact that they are from Hungary.

About 1000 Mudis exist today, and they can mostly be found in Hungary, Finland, and Canada.

In appearance, these dogs have fox-like heads and stand tall between 16–19 inches. Their coat is medium in length and slightly curled. Their fur comes in a variety of colors including black, brown, fawn, grey, and hues of blue.

These dogs are exceptional dog sport competitors. They are agile, intelligent, and easy to train.

This is the reason why they make for excellent watchdogs, as well as search and rescue dogs.

Also Read: Popular Working Dog Breeds

Mudi Puppy

These rarest dog breeds are ideal for you if you want to own a dog with a fascinating history. However, some of them are so rare that you might not be able to find one in a shelter!

But in case you chance upon one, do consider giving a rare dog a home. You’ll be turning heads every time you take your pet for a walk.


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Paul Andrews

A digital marketing expert by profession, Andrews is a gifted writer and animal lover at heart. A self-confessed "pawrent", Andrews is well-versed in all things dogs. He uses his years of experience of raising puppies into show-quality dogs to help guide first-time pet parents. He believes in spreading the joy that comes with being a dog dad and advocates more families to adopt pets.