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 Beethoven and Balto in motion pictures.
However, because we are biassed by nature, some of the 195 registered breeds inevitably end up at the bottom. Stacker dissected the 28 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.
It goes without saying that a breed’s size, upkeep, allergies, temperament, and disposition all affect its level of popularity in the country. However, brand recognition, or name recognition, is just as important; this is why labradors, retrievers, and bulldogs rank among the most popular breeds every year, while the fourth-least popular breed featured here debuted at the 2020 Westminster Dog Show and is descended from a nomadic West African breed that dates back to prehistoric Saharan times. Accessibility can also be a barrier to popularity; there are fewer respectable breeders of newer or less popular breeds, which reduces your chances of adopting one of the less well-known breeds into your home.
Find out about 28 adorable dog breeds you may not be familiar with, whether you’re adopting a dog and looking up breed traits or choosing a trustworthy breeder.
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Since they were literally raised to be royal pets, Leonbergers are the epitome of what is meant to be considered “gentle giants.” The maximum height for males is 31 inches and 160 pounds. Among their most well-known owners are Tsar Alexander II, Napoleon III, and King Edward VII.
2. Tibetan terrier
Although they are extremely gentle and intelligent, Tibetan terriers can be a little more reserved around strangers. Dogs have long been associated with good fortune for travellers.
3. Neapolitan mastiff
Neapolitan mastiffs are among the biggest dog breeds in the world, weighing up to 200 pounds. Owing to their size, it is advised that these dogs begin training as soon as possible.
4. English setter
This breed was created by a class of English gentlemen who were passionate about hunting. English setters stand about 25 inches tall with stunning speckled coats and a well-deserved reputation for getting along with everyone.
5. Flat-coated retriever
Flat-coated retrievers, one of the oldest breeds of retrievers, mature slowly and are energetic companions. This might be the breed for you if you want a dog that will never lose its puppy spirit.
With a build resembling that of a greyhound, borzois are tall dogs that can measure 32 inches from foot to shoulder. This large, sleek breed’s remarkable vision allowed it to find prey quickly and from a great distance. It was once used to find wolves in Russia. The dogs are renowned for being gentle, calm, and sweet.
7. Wire fox terrier
These little dogs hold a record 13 Westminster Kennel Club Bests in Show. They are poised, amiable, intelligent, and open-minded champions. Male wire fox terriers weigh up to 18 pounds and reach a maximum height of 15.5 inches.
8. Miniature bull terrier
Between 10 and 14 inches tall, miniature bull terriers are renowned for their goofy, vivacious personalities. These dogs are great companions, but they need careful, persistent training.
9. Belgian Tervuren
A Belgian Tervuren won the first-ever AKC herding championship, which speaks volumes to this breed’s work ethic and stamina. These creatures continue to support Belgian law enforcement as excellent working dogs, even though they also make wonderful pets.
10. Gordon setter
In 1878, the United States had nine dog breeds registered, with Gordon Setters being one of them. The Gordon, the biggest (and currently rarest) setter breed, gets along well with all family members, including your cat. Owing to the breed’s rarity, it might be difficult to locate a reliable breeder nearby.
11. Silky terrier
These little, spirited champions are frequently seen competing in show dog events, and not just because of their glossy coats. The silky terrier is an accomplished herder, tracker, and fly-ball competitor. They can start training as early as eight weeks old, and they’re also intelligent.
12. Norwich terrier
It’s not a good idea to let a Norwich terrier run loose in a public area due to its love of exploring, but it would be a shame to ignore this dog’s enthusiasm for the great outdoors. Norwich Terriers like to spend as much time as possible with their owners and are likely to be unhappy if left alone all day. They also tend to do well in agility training and competitions and form strong bonds with their humans.
13. Spinone Italiano
Given their name, which translates to “prickly,” one could forgive themselves for assuming these dogs had a certain disposition. But it was their prickly coats, not their dispositions, that gave these hunting dogs their nickname. The Spinone Italiano is a sweet, serene, and outgoing person.
14. Japanese Chin
Japanese chins hail from the palaces of Japan and China where they even occasionally had servants of their own. Their devoted personalities endure to this day, which makes them the ideal breed for someone seeking a companion dog that enjoys spoiling themselves.
15. Welsh terrier
The Welsh terrier is inseparable from the history of Wales. The pups didn’t get given their name until 1855, but the breed was first mentioned about a millennium ago. Welsh terriers are now more likely to be seen entertaining the crowd at a dog show than they were when they were first bred to hunt foxes and rodents. It’s well known that these tiny dogs are more subdued than other terrier breeds.
16. Toy fox terrier
This tiny breed’s original purpose was as a ratter, just like that of most terriers. These dogs are excellent candidates for another career as clown assistants due to their high level of trainability and eagerness to learn. Due to their endless energy and excellent jumping abilities, toy fox terriers are popular circus animals.
Schipperke, which translates to “little captain” in Flemish, is a fitting name for a dog breed that enjoys the sea. In the past, these puppies were barge dogs who accompanied their owners on long boat rides. Shipperkes make great watchdogs, are highly active & extremely smart. These are dogs who would prefer to live with their owners full-time than spend their days in a crate or by themselves.
18. Parson Russell terrier
Despite their inherent similarities, the Parson Russell and Jack Russell terriers were recognised as distinct breeds in 2003. The English priest John Russell is credited with creating both of these energetic and resilient breeds.
Pointers never go out of style—countless paintings dating back to ancient Egypt depict this hunting breed. Although pointers make excellent family dogs, they can be stubborn and independent, so early and regular training is crucial.
20. Belgian sheepdog
Belgian sheepdogs served alongside soldiers in World War I and World War II. They are incredibly loyal dogs, but also love the thrill of the chase. Belgian sheepdogs require a yard that’s fenced in to keep them from scaring cyclists or runners.
21. Tibetan spaniel
The Tibetan spaniel, a beloved by monks in Tibet, was occasionally employed as a security dog in monasteries. Over the years, this instinct hasn’t vanished: Tibetan spaniels are still very assertive when it comes to alerting their owners when someone is approaching their territory.
22. American Eskimo dog
The best in the class when it comes to training abilities are American Eskimo dogs. Since this breed was the first to be documented to have mastered the art of tightrope walking, it gained notoriety as a circus dog in the 1800s. Although your American Eskimo dog doesn’t need to be trained for the circus, the breed does appear to enjoy picking up new skills. Standard, miniature, and toy are the three sizes available for this breed.
23. Irish terrier
The Irish terrier is a true farm dog. They enjoy working in all capacities, including family protection, flock guarding, and hunting. These terriers are such adept workers, they were used as messengers and watchdogs during World War I.
For many years, these French shepherd dogs have supported the armed forces and law enforcement. During World War I, the Germans employed these steady, placid animals to sneak into the British trenches.
25. Afghan hound
These graceful canines can run as fast as a purebred racehorse, with the average Afghan hound reaching 40 mph. Although these hounds are gentle, it is still advisable to exercise caution around smaller animals due to their strong hunting instincts.
26. Popular Dog Breeds : Boerboel
Boerboels are big dogs that have a 200 pound maximum weight. Although they were developed as watchdogs, they have also been utilised in South Africa for big game hunting. Boerboels are fiercely loyal, smart, and possess a strong sense of territory.
27. Smooth fox terrier
In America, fox terriers are still trying to become more popular. The feisty dog’s have been member’s of the AKC since the late 1800s but are still hard to find stateside. Although very loving, this breed can be too rough and boisterous for homes with small children due to its high level of activity.
28. Bearded collie
The history of the bearded collie is intrinsically tied to farm life. These herding dogs were originally bred to tend to flocks of sheep, but they also have friendly personalities that have made their transition to family pets a smooth one.