The 20 Least Popular Dog Breeds in America

Few living things have as high of an approval rating as our canine friends, I think. It’s a well-known fact that they are referred to as “man’s best friend” and that they all attend paradise. Throughout human history, there have been numerous tributes to their loyalty, ranging from Argos in Homer’s Odyssey to films like Beethoven and Balto.

However, because we are biassed by nature, some of the 195 registered breeds inevitably end up at the bottom. Stacker analysed the 15 least popular dog breeds in America using data from the American Kennel Club, which was released on March 16, 2021, to help understand what influences our decisions. For comparison, AKC rankings from 2013 were also added.

1. Redbone coonhound

– 2020 registration rank: #146 highest of 195 breeds
– 2013 registration rank: #133 highest of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: -13

As its name implies, these dogs were developed by American settlers to hunt raccoons. The breed played a crucial role in locating the tiny mammals that provided food for the pioneers as they travelled south and west. Redbone coonhounds are most famous today for being loyal family companions with incredibly amiable and inquisitive personalities.

2. Swedish Vallhund

– 2020 registration rank: #147 highest of 195 breeds
– 2013 registration rank: #147 highest of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: no change

This relative of the corgi has a unique characteristic that is uncommon in most breeds: it’s difficult to predict what kind of tail it will have. Certain Swedish Vallhund puppies are born with nubs, while others have long tails or none at all.

3. Sealyham terrier

– 2020 registration rank: #148 highest of 195 breeds
– Ranking at registration in 2013: #158 out of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: +10

Pheasants, otters, and badgers are among the small game that these white terriers were bred especially to hunt. Even the white coat of the breed contributed to its excellent hunting companionship, as the stark shade made the dog stand out in environments with lots of grey and brown tones. Sealyham terriers are known for their fearlessness and outgoing nature and can make great family pets as long as they’re kept away from any other, smaller pets, who they’re likely to hunt.

4. Spanish water dog

– 2020 registration rank: #149 highest of 195 breeds
– 2013 registration rank: unranked

Technically speaking, this breed is a herder and not a sporting dog. Still, Spanish water dogs are intelligent, trainable, and quick to pick up on herd dynamics.

5. Briard

– 2020 registration rank: #150 highest of 195 breeds
– 2013 registration rank: #127 highest of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: -23

Briards have a rich history of use as assistance dogs. During World War I, they helped the Red Cross, carried ammunition, and served as guards while soldiers slept. With a maximum weight of 90 pounds and a height of 27 inches, these massive herding dogs aspire to be the focal point of every family gathering.

6. Berger picard

– 2020 registration rank: #151 highest of 195 breeds
– 2013 registration rank: unranked

Because of their unusual coats, these dogs were perfect smugglers. There are rumours that the breed was employed to smuggle tobacco and matches over the French-Belgian border. Fuzzy bags filled with tobacco would be affixed to well-groomed dogs, who would steal the contraband without being noticed.

7. Entlebucher mountain dog

– 2020 registration rank: #152 highest of 195 breeds
– 2013 registration position: #155 out of 177 breeds, highest
– Change since 2013: +3

The majority of the time, Entlebucher mountain dogs are seen working in Switzerland’s mountains, where they are native. A cousin of the Bernese mountain dog, the two breeds can be hard to distinguish from one another.

8. Treeing walker coonhound

– 2020 registration rank: #153 highest of 195 breeds
– 2013 registration rank: #101 highest of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: -52

These dogs, who were originally bred in Virginia, are true hunters in the South. When a dog catches its meal, which is typically a raccoon, it will bark in a way that lets its owner know where to find it. Like other breeds on this list, these dogs get along well with children, but they’re not the best choice if you have smaller pets in your home than your hunting dog.

9. Icelandic sheepdog

– 2020 registration position: #154 out of 195 breeds, highest
– 2013 registration rank: #142 highest of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: -12

Iceland’s only native dog breed is also one of the world’s oldest. The medium-sized breed’s origin can be traced back as far as 8000 B.C. These dogs have a long life span of up to 15 years and a curious, energetic temperament.

#41. Wirehaired vizsla
SHAKARRIGRAFIE / SHUTTERSTOCK

10. Wirehaired vizsla

– 2020 registration rank: #155 highest of 195 breeds
– 2013 registration rank: unranked

The vizsla is an incredibly trainable, disciplined, and gentle breed. Not only was this breed the first to become an American Kennel Club quintuple champion, vizslas are also one of the TSA’s top three preferred bomb-sniffing dogs. If you’re considering this breed, be ready to give your dog plenty of exercise.

– Of 195 breeds, 2020 registration rank is #156, the highest.
– 2013 registration rank: unranked

The Pumik dates back to the year 800 AD in Hungary. A Pumi, who was officially accepted by the American Kennel Club in 2016, can be recognised by his remarkable intelligence and corkscrew curls. Due to their background as sheepdogs in rural Hungary, Pumiks are best suited for active, outdoor lifestyles where they receive plenty of care from their owners.

12. Portuguese podengo pequeno

– 2020 registration rank: #157 highest of 195 breeds
– 2013 registration rank: #153 highest of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: -4

The official Portuguese dog was once frequently seen aboard the ships of Portuguese explorers from the Middle Ages. Even though they are no longer as good hunters, these little dogs still enjoy being their owners’ closest companions. The breed is classified in three size categories of small, medium, and large and is known to be playful and energetic.

#38. American water spaniel
STEVE BRUCKMANN / SHUTTERSTOCK

13. American water spaniel

– 2020 registration position: #158 out of 195 breeds, highest
– 2013 registration rank: #144 highest of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: -14

The American water spaniel is the state dog of Wisconsin. Living around the United States’ Great Lakes, these gentle hunting dogs are beloved by locals. They were bred to jump off boats in pursuit of lunch.

14. Curly-coated retriever

– 2020 registration rank: #159 highest of 195 breeds
– 2013 registration rank: #163 highest of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: +4

Thes’ retrievers are known for their spectacular curly coats. While they look like they’ve been crossed with Poodles, curly-coated retrievers share no relation. As with all retriever breeds, these dogs are loving, make great family pets, and are eager to please.

15. Field spaniel

– 2020 registration rank: #160 highest of 195 breeds
– 2013 registration rank: #140 highest of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: -20

The main purposes of these dogs’ breeding were as pets and show dogs. They continue to be regarded as the best companions because they are submissive, devoted, and happiest when they are with their humans.

#35. Lowchen
VOLOFIN / SHUTTERSTOCK

16. Lowchen

– 2020 registration rank: #161 highest of 195 breeds
– 2013 registration rank: #154 highest of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: -7

The literal translation of “little lion dog” is “Löwchen,” a fitting moniker for a breed that frequently sports an impressive mane. Löwchens are primarily companion dogs, and their gentle natures make them ideal for work as therapy dogs, as well.

17. Nederlandse Kooikerhondje

– Of 195 breeds, 2020 registration rank #162 is the highest.
– 2013 registration rank: unranked

The tongue-twisting name of this breed belies its Dutch heritage, as these gregarious and energetic spaniels were originally employed by hunters to entice ducks into traps. Though Nederlandse Kooikerhondjes weren’t recognized as a breed in the U.S. until 2019, these dogs have been showing off their watchdog abilities for centuries—even allegedly saving the Dutch prince William of Orange from assassins in the 16th century. Its characteristic orange-red and white coat, along with its black-tipped ears, help identify the breed.

18. Affenpinscher

– 2020 registration rank: #163 highest of 195 breeds
– 2013 registration rank: #143 highest of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: -20

This breed has been described in French as “diablotin moustachu”—mustached little devil. The loving moniker is more a reflection of the dog’s coat than of its character. The name Affenpinscher means “monkey-like terrier,” which is appropriate given that the breed is renowned for its agility and capacity to grasp objects with its front paws.

19. Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

– 2020 registration position: #164 out of 195 breeds, highest
– 2013 registration rank: #138 highest of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: -26

Every word in the name of this French breed makes sense given the characteristics of the dog. These are French dogs from the Vendeen region, small with wiry coats and short legs. This breed is happiest when it is among other pets and family members, as it is a true pack dog.

2. Finnish Lapphund

– 2020 registration position: #165 out of 195 breeds, highest ranking
– 2013 registration rank: #171 highest of 177 breeds
– Change since 2013: +6

Reindeer were once herded by these dogs. Well, that’s a big job, but these talkative puppies were ready for it. Even though they used to be employees, they are amiable and wonderful companions.

Scottish Deerhound
NEMORIS/GETTY IMAGES

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