The Top 10 Dog Breeds You’ve Never Heard Of

The Top 10 Dog Breeds You’ve Never Heard Of

Even someone who knows nothing about dogs can tell you that a Great Dane and a Chihuahua look nothing alike (hint: the Great Dane is the big one). According to the World Canine Organisation (better known as the Fédération Cynologique Internationale or FCI) there are more than 300 breeds of dogs. While most of us are familiar with plenty of breeds from poodles to pugs, I bet not too many could tell you the difference between an Ovcharka and an Azawakh. Check out these ten unusual breeds so you can impress the other owners next time you strike up a casual conversation at the dog-park.

1. Presa Canario

presa canario by jay jones rip.presas on IG rawmate

Photo Credit: Instagram Jay Jones @rip.presas


Also known as the Dogo Canario, this breed resembles a mastiff and hails from the Canary Islands. Fierce and loyal, the dogs were bred to protect cattle and humans. Self confident with a deep bark, these dogs are intimidating and, like any breed with strong protective instincts, need to be well socialised and trained to ensure they becomes loyal family companions that know their place in the family hierarchy.

2. Xoloitzcuintli

insta: @adourxolos

Photo credit - Instagram:  @adourxolos


When you go in search of your own Xoloitzcuintli, you actually have a choice between a hairless and a coated variety and three sizes - Standard, Intermediate, and Miniature. Hairless dogs are preferred and breeders are only allowed to cross hairless dogs with coated dogs. Coated dogs must not be bred to other coated dogs. In pre-Hispanic cultures, the ancestors of these dogs were believed to be descendants of the god, Xolotl and were eaten in special ceremonies in his honour. Lean, well-muscled and sturdy, these dogs were rescued from the brink of extinction. They rarely bark and, obviously, the hairless varieties never shed which make them an interesting option for condo-dwellers.

3. Azawakh

Photo credit, Ines Blix, el Adini Azawakh

Hailing from the Azawakh Valley these sighthounds have been used to hunt African game like ostriches and gazelles (yes, they are running machines) and protect nomadic families and their livestock from predators like lions and jackals. Slim and delicate, images of the ancestors of these regal dogs have been found in Central Saharan wall paintings dating back several thousand years. Gentle and calm with their human companions, these dogs are vigilant with a strong chase instinct.

4. Bully Kutta

Also known as the Beast of East, this powerful breed from Pakistan is believed to descend from the Alaunt, a breed that’s now extinct. A working dog, the Bully Kutta are used for hunting and guarding. Not recognised by the Kennel Club of India, the dogs are sometimes used illegally for fighting. Knowledgeable owners, responsible breeding, and good training prevent any problems that might result from overly aggressive dogs being mishandled.

Bully Kutta Breeders


5. Yuzhnorusskaya Ovcharka (South Russian Shepherd Dog)

Herding dogs bred to protect livestock, these dogs are usually white and are the result of cross-breeding Spanish herding dogs with sighthounds found in southern Russia. Their long, thick, shaggy coats disguise the fact these are fast, nimble dogs, thanks to their sighthound ancestors. Great guard dogs, they are wary of strangers and naturally protective of their flocks, human and hooved alike.

6. Catalburuns

Hailing from Turkey, these unusual dogs are rarely seen beyond the borders of their homeland. Their unusual noses are a distinguishing feature - they are split down the middle! Hunting dogs, they are well known for their exception sense of smell, though the double nose and sense of smell are not believed to be related.

7. New Guinea Singing Dog

Similar to Australia’s Dingo, this rare breed of wild (or possibly feral) dog lives in a small area of Papua New Guinea. These stocky, broad-headed dogs are perhaps best known for their unusual vocalisations that include melodious howling. While mating, the females will sing with a yelping scream that lasts about three minutes during copulation. Only a few of these dogs survive and are sighted only rarely.

8. Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog)

This ancient breed was originally used for retrieving, but after the lowlands of their Italian homeland were drained, the dogs found a new purpose: truffle hunting! Sturdy, medium-sized dogs with curly coats, they are believed to have influenced several other water dog breeds including poodles and Portuguese water dogs. With superb noses and a dogged persistence when searching for their target, they excel in their new calling. Affectionate and easy to train, Lagottos make excellent family dogs.

9. Kangal Shepherd Dog

Photo credit, instagram: @from_elysium_fields

The Kangal Shepherd Dog originates from Turkey where it is used for herding and guarding sheep. Very resilient, this breed can withstand temperature extremes, handy given they spend their lives outside in all seasons. With their distinctive black masks and tails carried high and curled over the back when alert, these handsome dogs are considered to be Turkey’s national dog.


10. Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff)

A brindle-coated watchdog, the File Brasileiro has a large, powerful body. From Brazil, the breed was developed as a hunting and guard dog. Rather than attacking their prey, these dogs hold the quarry until the handler arrives. Believed to have some bloodhound ancestry, it’s no surprise that these dogs have excellent noses and excel as trackers.

All Dogs Deserve Top Quality Nutrition!

Regardless of whether your canine companion of choice is a mixed breed, a lab, or one of these rare gems, your dog will appreciate a top quality food made from fresh, local ingredients. Have a look at our Rawmate raw dog food subscription meal plan, customised for your special four-legged friend!


Do you own one of these breeds? Maybe you would be willing to share a pic of your dog for inclusion on our blog? If so drop a comment below, or fill the quick form on Rawmate Contact Us


Matt Joseph

Staff writer

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