6 Dog Breeds You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Swarms of setters, hordes of herders, oodles of Poodles— with the seemingly endless variety of dogs gaiting around AKC show rings, you might assume every breed in creation is represented. Actually, hundreds of breeds from around the world are outside the AKC orbit. Here are just a few:
 

Estrela Mountain Dog

ESTRELA MOUNTAIN DOG

Birthplace: northern Portugal

Job Description: livestock guardian; watchdog

Tools: alertness, strength, courage

Coat: two varieties, smooth and long

50 Words or Less: An ancient breed, the Estrela is thought to be descended from the mastiff-type war dogs of Caesar’s conquering legions. He is still a favored flock guardian in his homeland. Calm but steadfast, the Estrela is wary of strangers but loyal and loving with family, especially kids.

Learn more about the breed, here.

Grant Basset Griffon Vendeen

GRAND BASSET GRIFFON VENDÉEN

Birthplace: the Vendée region of coastal France

Job Description: pack hunter

Tools: great nose, stamina

Coat: rough and shaggy (protection from bramble and briers of the French countryside)

50 Words or Less: The Grand Basset is larger than his cousin, the AKC-recognized Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen. Both these happy-go-lucky hound breeds were developed for hunting rabbits and hares in packs. The GBGV is a playful, outdoorsy dog who enjoys nothing more than a good backyard romp with their people or canine pals.

Learn more about the breed, here.

Kooikerhondje

KOOIKERHONDJE

Birthplace: The Netherlands

Job Description: duck hunter

Tools: boundless energy, intelligence

Coat: white with red patches, soft and silky; distinctive black-tipped ears

50 Words or Less: The quick and athletic Kooikerhondje (Koi-ker-hond-yuh) is a duck toller, a type of retriever that lures waterfowl into gun range by frolicking at the lake shore. He shares this peculiar avocation with his Canadian cousin, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, a former FSS breed now fully recognized.

Learn more about the breed, here.

Mudi

MUDI

Birthplace: Hungary

Job Description: herder, all-around farm dog

Tools: versatility, trainability, work ethic

Coat: medium long, wavy or curly, in several colors

50 Words or Less: The Mudi is a true “can-do” breed that still works flocks in Hungary. Strong, swift, and smart, the Mudi can be trained for any number of dog sports. His expressive face and alert eyes shine with intelligence. Where grooming is concerned, this low-maintenance dog is an easy keeper.

Learn more about the breed, here.

Bolognese

BOLOGNESE

Birthplace: Italy

Job Description: laptop companion

Tools: charm, loyalty, intelligence

Coat: soft and fluffy

50 Words or Less: The grace, beauty, and balance that characterize Renaissance art guided the creation of the little white dog of Bologna. For centuries this Bichon-type breed was associated with European monarchs and their courtiers, who were captivated by the noble bearing and steadfast devotion of this hearty, long-lived aristocrat.

Learn more about the breed, here.

Thai Ridgeback

THAI RIDGEBACK

Birthplace: Thailand

Job Description: guardian, hunter

Tools: Toughness, resourcefulness, independent thinking

Coat: short, smooth; the ridge is formed by hair growing in the opposite direction from the rest of the coat

50 Words or Less: This ancient breed, classified as a hound, shares his most distinctive physical trait with an African relative, the Rhodesian Ridgeback. The Thai is a muscular, loose-skinned bruiser built for hard work, who’s been known to take on such dangerous foes as cobras in defense of home and family.

Learn more about the breed, here.