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5 Rare Dog Breeds You May Not Know

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Dog ownership around the world is growing, but in the West, we’re used to seeing mostly the same breeds, the popular American dogs, everywhere. However, if you’re looking to adopt a dog that’s unique and a little unusual in its appearance, the below-mentioned strangest dog breeds will have you and those around you doing a double take. These breeds are not only strange and unique looking but also extremely rare.

Key Takeaways

  • The Catalburun is known for its distinctive split nose, a rare genetic trait.
  • The Otterhound is a large, scent hound breed originally bred for hunting otters.
  • The Lagotto Romagnolo is a water retriever breed known for its truffle hunting abilities.
  • The Mudi is a Hungarian herding breed with a unique coat texture.
  • The Azawakh is a sighthound breed originating from West Africa.

1. Catalburun

The Catalburun, also known as the Turkish Pointer, is one of the most distinctive dog breeds due to its split nose. This unique feature is not just for show; it’s believed to enhance their sense of smell, making them excellent hunting dogs. Originating from Turkey, these dogs are rare outside their homeland.


  • Split nose
  • Strong sense of smell
  • Skilled in pointing and retrieving prey

The Catalburun breed is not only valued for its hunting abilities but also for its loyalty and companionship. Despite their rarity, they make excellent family pets for those lucky enough to find one.

The Catalburun’s split nose and keen hunting skills have been honed over generations, making them a prized possession among hunters in Turkey.

2. Otterhound

2. Otterhound

The Otterhound is a breed shrouded in rarity and mystique. With fewer than 800 individuals worldwide, it is graver endangered than the Great Panda. This large, scent hound breed, known for its shaggy coat and amiable disposition, was originally bred for hunting otters. Its keen sense of smell and sociable nature make it a cherished companion for those few who own one.

Despite its endangered status, there are dedicated breed enthusiasts tirelessly working to preserve the Otterhound. Their efforts are a testament to the breed’s unique qualities and the importance of maintaining canine diversity.

The Otterhound’s rarity is a call to action for breed conservationists and dog lovers alike.

Here are some quick facts about the Otterhound:

  • Large breed with a shaggy coat
  • Exceptional sense of smell
  • Friendly and sociable temperament
  • Originally bred for hunting otters
  • Less than 800 specimens worldwide

3. Lagotto Romagnolo

3. Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo may not be well-known in America, but in Italy, where it hails from, it is a treasured breed with ancient roots. Evidence suggests that these dogs were assisting in Italian marshes as far back as the 1600s. Their name, derived from the Italian word ‘lago’ meaning lake, nods to their original role as retrievers in wetlands.

This breed is not only steeped in history but also boasts unique features. They are renowned for their hypoallergenic, woolen, curly coats and require regular grooming. A standout trait of the Lagotto Romagnolo is their exceptional ability to hunt for truffles, a task they have inherited from pigs.

The Lagotto Romagnolo combines intelligence with robust health, making them not only easy to train but also delightful companions. Their adaptability and affectionate nature render them perfect for families or individuals seeking a loyal pet.

Here are some quick facts about the Lagotto Romagnolo:

  • Hypoallergenic with a thick, curly double coat
  • Skilled truffle hunters, taking over the role from pigs
  • Intelligent and easy to train
  • Strong yet adorable companions

4. Mudi

4. Mudi

The Mudi is a versatile and energetic breed, originating from Hungary. Known for its ability to perform a variety of tasks, the Mudi excels in herding and guarding livestock, as well as being an effective hunter of rodents and pests. Despite its working background, the Mudi is also a devoted companion, offering a calm and loving presence in the home.

This breed emerged naturally in Hungary and was officially recognized there, but it wasn’t until 1936 that the Mudi was introduced to America. Its rarity and multifaceted abilities make it a unique addition to the canine world.

The Mudi’s adaptability and intelligence make it suitable for various dog sports and activities, reflecting its herding heritage and problem-solving skills.

While not as well-known as other breeds, the Mudi’s distinct characteristics and history contribute to its status as one of the rarest dog breeds on the planet.

5. Azawakh

5. Azawakh

The Azawakh is a true embodiment of elegance and grace, known for its slender build and swift movements. Originating from Burkina Faso in West Africa, this breed is often considered one of the rarest in the world. They are known for their loyalty and have a distinctive presence that sets them apart from other breeds.

Despite their rarity, Azawakhs have a growing number of admirers who appreciate their unique qualities. Here are some key characteristics:

  • Tall and lean physique
  • Deep chest and long legs
  • Affectionate with familiar faces
  • Reserved around strangers

The Azawakh is not just a pet, but a companion that carries the heritage and spirit of West African culture.

Owners of Azawakhs often speak of a deep bond that forms with these dogs, highlighting their intelligence and sensitivity. While they may not be the right fit for every household, those who welcome an Azawakh into their home find a loyal and majestic friend.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the origin of the Catalburun breed?

The Catalburun breed originates from Turkey.

What is unique about the Catalburun’s nose?

The Catalburun has a distinctive split nose, which is a rare genetic trait.

What was the Otterhound originally bred for?

The Otterhound was originally bred for hunting otters.

What is the Lagotto Romagnolo known for?

The Lagotto Romagnolo is known for being a truffle dog.

What is the primary role of the Mudi breed?

The Mudi breed is primarily used for herding livestock.

Where does the Azawakh breed originate from?

The Azawakh breed originates from West Africa.

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