10+ Rare Dog Breeds We Didn’t Even Know Existed

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Some things that are completely ordinary in one country may look exotic in the other one. In 2009, the film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale was released and the whole world found out about the Akita dog breed that is well-known in Japan. But there are some breeds that are difficult to come across, even in their homeland. In this article, we would like to tell you about these breeds, including the “universal” dog that can do almost anything and the cleverest dog that will try to run away despite all your attempts to make it stay.

Bright Side suggests you find out more about the most unusual dog breeds. Who knows, maybe soon everyone will be able to own a Catalburun.

The Pungsan

Handout / The Blue House / AFP / East News, Handout / The Blue House / AFP / East News

The Pungsan is the brave and clever character of many Korean fairytales, who’s managed to conquer the Northern Tiger. And there’s not too much fiction in these tales — this breed was developed for hunting big animals, including the Siberian tiger. The Pungsan is an extremely strong breed that hunts well in the mountains and can sleep in the snow.

Kim Jong-un presented the South Korean President with 2 dogs of this breed as a symbol of friendship. The Pungsan is part of the national Korean heritage but because of the small number of these dogs, they’re almost unknown outside the country.

The Stabyhoun

The name of the Stabyhoun comes from “Stabijhoun,” which roughly translates to “stand by [me] dog.” Traditionally, its owners were farmers who couldn’t afford to own several dogs for different purposes: for hunting, for protection, and for work. The Stabyhoun became irreplaceable and a very talented breed in many spheres: they hunted, protected the house, caught mice, and were even used instead of horses to pull a vehicle. They are also great swimmers who even feel comfortable in cold water.

Besides the fact that they’re the most “universal” dog we can even imagine, they have the perfect disposition: Stabyhouns are friendly, clever, get along with kids and animals, and always care about their owner.

The Pumi

Although this dog with curly hair may look extremely cute, it’s actually is a sheepdog. Pumi dogs are very good shepherds and it’s better to not keep them at home. They react to the tiniest movements, smells, and sounds, and their distinguishing feature is loud barking. Your neighbors won’t be happy about this surprise!

The Pumi is one of the cleverest dogs but they’re full of controversy. There are 2 great loves in their lives: their master and their passion for wandering. And in most cases, they choose the second one. For this reason, you can’t keep this dog on a chain. Pumi dogs need freedom and their own territory, overwise they may cause some problems for their owner: they often start fights with other dogs and are ready to bark at every stranger.

The Sapsali

The Sapsali are restless dogs with a great history. More than 1,000 years ago Koreans mentioned these dogs in their traditional tales and legends. There was a belief that the Sapsali could scare ghosts away. That’s why this breed didn’t have any duties at first — it was considered a mascot and people believed that this dog brought luck to the house.

Unfortunately, many dog breeds including the Sapsali almost completely disappeared during the Japanese occupation. Only 8 Sapsali dogs were left in the middle of the 20th century and there’s a debate about whether their descendants are pure-blooded. Anyway, these dogs are perfect for a family since they love children and get along with other animals.

The Catalburun

The distinguishing feature of these dogs is their nose which looks like it has been separated into 2 parts. This breed originates in Turkey, but you probably won’t come across one there today. The main advantage of these dogs is their running speed, their endurance, and their great sense of smell. That’s why no one can beat them when it comes to hunting!

The Catalburun acknowledges only one master and is loyal to them, but it’s still very friendly to the other members of the family. It’s almost impossible to trigger aggression in these dogs. They usually show aggression only in cases where there are some small animals in their territory. Their prey drive is the reason for that.

The Sloughi

Sloughi are a very rare and old North African breed of dogs. In 1835, French General E. Dumas visited Algeria where he noticed that these dogs were considered a part of the family, and the family members even grieved after their death. Sloughi are still used as hunting and guard dogs in their native countries.

The Kai

The Kai was selected for hunting and they attract attention thanks to their brindle fur. These dogs are loyal and friendly, but reserved around strangers. They’re famous for their brave and calm demeanor, ability to swim, and adeptness at climbing trees. The Kai work perfectly in a pack — that’s why these dogs can hunt a bear or an antelope. They aren’t just pets, they’re part of the traditional heritage of Japan.

The Kuvasz

The Kuvasz is a sheepdog from Hungary. After World War II there were only 30 dogs left and nowadays this is a very rare breed.

There are many scary stories about Kuvasz, but this is an extremely loyal and patient breed. Despite their tough character, it’s essential to bring these dogs up with love and pay enough attention to them. Most accidents that happened with these dogs were connected to the owners’ mistakes as they intentionally made the dogs aggressive, raising them in a cruel way. In these conditions, any animal can become dangerous and a dog as large and strong as a Kuvasz can do a lot of harm.

The Greenland Dog

These dogs like to howl and there’s a theory that they are connected to Arctic wolves. The Greenland dogs are famous for their strength, endurance, and sense of direction. Despite the fact that they’re one of the most ancient breeds of sled dogs, they were often used for hunting northern animals like deer, walrus, and bears.

The Portuguese Water Dog

This breed was selected in the Middle Ages and was spread all around Portugal’s coast. These dogs herded fish into fishermen’s nets, looked for broken nets, and delivered messages from one ship to another. But by the middle of the 20th century, Portuguese fishermen almost disappeared as a social class, so these brave, clever, and loyal dogs did too.

The Norwegian Lundehund

Puffins’ nests are located on rocks and it was difficult for humans to catch these birds, whose meat was considered very precious. So, the Norwegian Lundehund was bred for this purpose: thanks to its unique body composition, these dogs can climb rocks and get into caves. They brought not only the birds back, but their eggs as well.

The main distinctive feature of these dogs is a paw with additional toes. Dogs usually have only 4 toes that touch the ground, while Lundehunds have 5. And instead of one inner toe, they have 2: one with 3 phalanges and the additional one with 2 phalanges. They also have 8 toepads instead of 5. Their back legs consist of 7 toepads and 2 additional toes. This is why they can use their paws the way cats do.

The Carolina Dog

You can come across the Carolina dog in the South-Eastern part of the USA. It’s still unknown where these animals originate from: whether it was a wild dog originally or it just became wild like a dingo. Although these animals have gotten used to living by themselves, they are friendly and curious. That’s why some enthusiasts keep them as pets. These dogs don’t like the cold and they’re weaker and slower in comparison to ordinary dogs.

Which breed did you like the most? Share with us in the comments!

Please note: This article was updated in July 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
Preview photo credit leo Sano / pexels


Agree with Shannon-I have a Carolina Dog (CD) and the description is totally inaccurate. They are very muscular and fast enough to catch rabbits. Someone who reads this article and gets a Carolina dog will be in a big surprise.
This article has the CD all wrong! They are very strong and very fast dogs Whomever wrote this needs to do a lil bit of research because this article couldnt be farther than the truth when it comes to Carolina Dogs

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