Say, are you a dog person? What a coincidence – so am I! Dogs are really awesome. One of the things that makes them truly unique is just how diverse their species is. They come in all sizes, colors, and appearances.
With so many different dog breeds to choose from, which one we ultimate adopt depends on a variety of factors. If you live in a small, confined apartment, opting for yorkie makes more sense than, say, a St. Bernard. If you’ve got children, more than likely you’ll agree that a gentle border collie is more appropriate than a pitbull. You’d also want to decide whether you want a German shepherd to serve as a guard dog or a cocker spaniel who will basically roll on their backs and request belly rubs from even the most random of strangers. Then there are those who are looking for something completely different: an exotic dog that nobody else on the block owns. If that sounds like you, you’re in luck! Here’s a look at 10 unusual breeds that will definitely make you stick out from the typical dog owner.
Also known as a Turkish Pointer, the Catalburun is known for its distinct split nose, possibly caused by inbreeding due to the rarity of the breed. If so, that’s kind of sad! Although it was originally believed that their unusual noses gave them super smelling abilities (which is why they became popular as hunting dogs), modern science would seem to dispel this notion.
2. Tibetan Mastiff
These large beasts have been bred in Asia for around 2,500 years, initially to protect nomadic tribes from tigers, bears and the like. Not a surprise given that they pretty much look half bear and half tiger. Fun fact: this breed isn’t actually even a mastiff! It’s just that when Europeans saw them for the first time, they decided to lump them together since they were big. The same mistake was made when they first encountered Tibetan “Spaniel” and Tibetan “Terrier.” What a bunch of breed-misidentifying goofballs, eh?
This breed is native to Africa and originally served as hunting and herding dogs for the Tuareg, a nomadic people who live principally in the Sahara. Let’s get one thing out of the way: while the Azawakh vaguely resembles a greyhound, they are not one in the same, understood? They are speedy and have long legs, but their bones are flatter than their greyhound counterparts. In addition, they walk with something of a feline gait. Meow?
4. New Guinea Singing Dog
Is it a wild dog? Domesticated? A dingo? All of the above? Scientists aren’t entirely sure how to classify this rare breed native to New Guinea. As their name indicates, they are most known for their distinct, high-pitched howl. They are known to be very gentle around people, with no recorded incidences of biting.
5. Swedish Vallhund
Looking for a dog befitting of a mighty Viking such as yourself? Well, here you go! The Swedes have been breeding Vallhunds for more than a millennium and they serve all sorts of purposes. They’re ideal for herding cattle. They can catch rats in your basement. They can protect you from fearsome burglars. They’re also agile, obedient and athletic, so whenever you toss a tennis ball across the room and immediately regret it, no problem! Your Vallhund will gladly fetch it for you!
This curly dog originated in Hungary and was bred to herd livestock, a function that it continues to serve among the country’s rural inhabitants. It is also popular as a show dog due to its intelligence and trainability. While it becomes deeply attached to its owners, the Mudi has been known to act hostile towards strangers. Gotta get them properly socialized as puppies is what we’re getting at.
7. Bergamasco Shepherd
Part dog, part throw rug, the Bergamasco Shepherd is – as the name suggests – a herding breed that originated in Bergamo, Italy, along the foot of the Alps. They are considered to be intelligent, patient, and have self-control. If observed to be overly shy or aggressive, it is regarded as a personality flaw since Bergamascos are by nature very well-socialized.
8. Bedlington Terrier
If you adopted a Bedlington terrier thinking you were bringing home a lamb, you can be forgiven. Although the confusion would still be a bit silly since most normal people would first confirm that it was indeed a dog before making the purchase. In any event, this unusual breed – originating in British mining town of Bedlington – is ideal for hunting vermin and serves as a fierce guard dog in spite of its lamby appearance.
9. Karelian bear dog
Regarded as a national treasure in its native Finland, the Karelian bear dog was once raised to protect against real bears and other aggressive animals. They are very devoted to their owners and are prone to suffering from separation anxiety due to their highly social behavior. They are known to be territorial and will act aggressive towards strangers, although they are not known to bite humans.
One of the rarest of all dog breeds, the Telomian is believed to be the only dog native to Malaysia to also be found elsewhere in the world. They were original bred as hunting dogs the Orang Asli indigenous people, who lived in stilted houses as a way of protecting them from the dangerous jungle animals. These elevated homes resulted in Telomians evolving climbing abilities that are not typical of dogs. How about that!