Many aspiring pet owners opt to adopt classic, popular dogs. Some, though, are looking for a breed that is a little more unique.
The American Kennel Club publishes the most popular dog breeds list annually, with Labrador Retrievers always topping the list. With 197 dog breeds classified by the AKC, pet parents don't often hear much about the least popular dog breeds down near the bottom. Many are often overshadowed by their more popular cousins, but in many ways, they are very similar. Some of these lesser known dogs require a particular grooming or training regiment, while others simply aren't as widely found at rescues, shelters, or responsible breeders across the United States. While these pups don't make it into many top 10 or 20 lists, they still are lovable, sweet pups for the right owner!
15 Least Popular Dog Breeds To Adopt
1. Cesky Terrier
Cesky Terriers are a mix of a Scottish Terrier and a Sealyham Terrier. While their looks may be a little on the strange side, these sweet pups are very calm, quiet dogs, making them a great option for families.
2. Norwegian Lundehund
These pups are also a little on the odd side and round out the bottom of the AKC's dog list. These smaller-size dogs only get up to 30 pounds at their largest and live for up to 15 years. Norwegian Lundehunds are very aware and loyal. But these small pups are also full of energy. They were bred for puffin hunting in Norway and are a shorter hair spitz breed. Another unique trait is their six toes and extra paw pads, which were developed to help climb up and down rocky, uneven surfaces along the Scandanavian coast. If that wasn't unique enough, they also are contortionists; their bodies can fold down to fit into the smallest of spaces, which helped when climbing in and out of tiny spaces along the coastline.
3. Neopolitan Mastiff
Mastiffs, in general, are large dogs and don't usually find themselves on many trendy lists; the Neopolitan Mastiff is no different. These large pups weigh around 150 pounds but typically only live up to nine years. Their lineage can be traced back to the Romans, when they were used as guard dogs. The pups are not a big fan of strangers but are very loyal and sweet to their owners and families. They are also known for their numerous hanging wrinkles and extra skin.
4. Wire Fox Terrier
Wire Fox Terriers are known favorites at dog shows but are not as popular for the average dog owner. Males grow to weigh about 18 pounds, while females are only slightly smaller at between 15 and 17 pounds. They are incredibly affectionate with their families and do very well with younger children!
5. American Foxhounds
American Foxhounds get along with just about everyone in the family. They like to be around kids, cats, and other dogs, but dog owners need to understand what they are in for with this breed. Much like their cousin, the English Foxhound, these pups were bred in America to hunt. Their legs are built for running after prey, and they need a lot of daily exercise to be happy. Vocalizations like barking and being naturally born to run may be why this breed ranks among the least popular dog breeds.
This Hungarian sheepdog is very popular in its home country but has not taken hold in America. These pups are also far from hairless, as their iconic coat almost look like a raggedy mop. These pups need a specific grooming and care regiment, as it's not recommended to brush or bathe their corded coat more than is necessary. They were used to herd livestock, so they need a home with plenty of space to roam and a job to do.
Otterhounds are a larger pup. Males can weigh up to 115 pounds, while females weigh up to 80 pounds, and this breed lives anywhere between 10-13 years. These dogs have a mild temperament and are very easygoing overall. These pups are excellent swimmers since they were traditionally bred for hunting otters along coastal towns throughout England.
Sloughi pups resemble a slightly smaller Greyhound. Breeders created these pups to be the perfect sighthound. These medium-sized dogs are known to have aided in fox hunts, along with hunting wild pigs, gazelle, jackals, and hares, in the North African deserts. While these pups are a hunting breed, the breed's lean, sleek build can be regularly spotted at dog shows.
9. Skye Terrier
The Skye Terrier is a small, flat-haired dog with furry ears peaking out. These dogs stand at 9 to 10 inches tall with short little legs. The AKC notes how this breed's long, low build makes them susceptible to disk injuries, so they should avoid stairs or excessive climbing or jumping to minimize their risks.
10. Pyrenean Shepherd
These herding dogs started out taking care of sheep in the Pyrenese mountains. Today, many spend their time working as man's best friend and are still considered among the best dogs for working on farm. There are two different Pyrenean Shepherds, a smooth-faced and a rough-faced, both of which present similar breed standards and care requirements.
11. Sussex Spaniel
Dog owners may think these pups are grumpy, but don't let their faces fool you; these bird dogs were made for long hunts deep into the countryside. They are similar to a Cocker Spaniel in appearance, with wavy hair on their ears and large hazel eyes. While they may have a woeful expression, these pups are typically happy and love training and attention from their owners.
Greyhounds have long been associated with two things: dog racing, and buses. However, this breed is one of the most sweet and loyal pets you'll come across. Females can grow up to 65 pounds, while male Greyhounds can weigh upwards of 70 pounds, making them an incredibly aerodynamic, mid-size dog. It's surprising that these sweet pups are on of the least popular dog breeds considering how well known they are, but their high energy level and physical demands often means they are best suited for wide open spaces with lots of room to run.
13. Icelandic Sheepdogs
Number 154 on the AKC's dog breed list, these pups are friendly, smart, and incredibly playful. These fluffy puppies are part of the thick-coated Nordic spitz breeds. Much like other purebred spitz, these pups have the standard pointy faces, thick coats, pointy ears, and very fluffy tails.
Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced "show-low-eats-QUEENT-lee") is an ancient breed of pups dating back around 3,000 years and loves being a part of a family. However, they may need slower introductions with children. Xoloitzcuintli come in standard, miniature, and toy with a life expectancy of 13 to 18 years.
15. Afghan Hounds
Afghan hounds are known for their long flowing coats and regal air. However, their personality is more distant and can be quiet. These gorgeous pups were originally from harsh terrains in the Afghan mountains. While they may look delicate, these pups were hunting dogs with large paw pads to help them navigate the hard ground.
Which one of these pups is your favorite? Tell us on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page.
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