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24 Unique & Rare Dog Breeds You’ll Want to Know About: Pictures & Facts

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on April 2, 2024 by Dogster Team

Komondor laying down in the park

24 Unique & Rare Dog Breeds You’ll Want to Know About: Pictures & Facts

Whether you are looking for a new family dog that stands out from the crowd or you’re just a canine lover, you’ve come to the right place for inspiration. Many unique and rare dogs in the world stand out for one reason or another. It might be their bizarre fur coat, their personality, or their interesting history that makes a dog unique, and rare breeds are interesting simply because they are so few in number. Whatever the case, we found 24 unique and rare dog breeds that are worthy of greater attention. Check them out!

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How Are Unique & Rare Dogs Classified?

If a breed is rare, it means there aren’t many of them around, whether that means they can only be found in one or two locations or their worldwide population is low in comparison to most other breeds. A unique dog can also be rare, simply presenting as a novelty wherever they do show up, but they might also have an interesting coat, a noteworthy temperament, or another physical attribute that differs from the norm.

The 24 Unique & Rare Dog Breeds

1. Komondor

Portrait of komondor
Image Credit: muroPhotographer, Shutterstock
Origin: Hungary
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Weight: 85–130 pounds

The white cords of hair that drape their bodies make these dogs unique. They also happen to be extremely large, with the biggest males weighing 130 pounds! These happy-go-lucky dogs were bred to herd livestock, and they are extremely good at it.

2. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandy Dinmont Terrier
Image Credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock
Origin: The borders of Scotland and England
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Height: 18–24 pounds

With short legs and a long body, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is an adorable little dog with large bright eyes and shaggy hair. This intelligent and alert breed can make a great watchdog for families. They tend to bond quickly with human companions and display an air of confidence with every action taken.

3. Saluki

Image Credit: Artem Sapegin, Unsplash
Origin: The Middle East
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Weight: 40–60 pounds

The Salukis exudes elegance partly due to their looks and partly due to their personality. This dog has long ears with luxurious hair hanging off of them, making them look a bit like ponytails. They also sport a tall frame and long snout that gives them an aerodynamic look.

4. Alaskan Malamute

Image Credit: Liliya-Kulianionak, Shutterstock
Origin: Siberia
Lifespan: 10 to 14 years
Weight: 70–95 pounds

This impressive breed was brought to Alaska from Siberia when people were migrating and transporting goods. Due to their natural working instincts and heritage, this breed is strong, athletic, and adventurous. Their soft coat is fun to pet too.

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

female owner playing with her cavalier king charles spaniel dog at the park
Image Credit: Sabelnikova Olga, Shutterstock
Origin: The United Kingdom
Lifespan: 9 to 14 years
Weight: 13–18 pounds

While considered a toy breed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel weighs up to 18 pounds and can do many of the things that larger breeds can do, like hike, swim in lakes and oceans, and even work their way through agility courses. They also tend to like to snuggle up on the couch and lounge around on lazy weekend afternoons.

6. Husky

brushing a Husky
Image Credit: Yuriy Koronovskiy, Shutterstock
Origin: Siberia
Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
Weight: 45–60 pounds

The Husky is notable for their visual similarities to a wolf. They have erect ears, alert eyes, athletic builds, and well-defined muscles that make it possible for them to pull sleds and do other work in the snow under harsh conditions. This breed is featured in racing sports around the world, even in places where snow isn’t common.

7. Japanese Chin

dog, japanese chin, animal
Image Credit: GoranH, Pixabay
Origin: Japan.
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Weight: 3–15 pounds

These small dogs are the ultimate lap dogs, as they were bred as companions and have a natural instinct to build a strong bond with their human companions. The typical Japanese Chin is proud and easygoing, making them a great pet for families with children. They have cute little floppy ears, coats of soft fur, and short button noses that make them look endearing.

8. Bergamasco Sheepdog

Bergamasco Sheepdog
Image Credit: volofin, Shutterstock
Origin: Persia, then Northern Italy
Lifespan: 13 to 15 years
Weight: 55–85 pounds

The coat on the Bergamasco Sheepdog is long and grows in as mats of fur, creating a unique and rare texture that isn’t typical of a canine. These mats are normal and cannot be eliminated. This friendly, sociable breed enjoys the company of humans and other dogs.

9. Chinese Crested

Image Credit: Katerina-Morozova, Shutterstock
Origin: China, from African Hairless Dogs
Lifespan: 13 to 15 years
Weight: 5–12 pounds

You won’t find another dog in existence that looks quite like the Chinese Crested. Weighing in at no more than 12 pounds, this toy breed has a bit of a strange coat. Hair usually grows on the tail, head, and around the ankles but nowhere else. Their hairless bodies can be quite fragile in harsh weather conditions.

10. Basenji

Basenji in the forest
Image Credit: Verbitskaya Juliya, Shutterstock
Origin: The Democratic Republic of Congo
Lifespan: 12 to 16 years
Weight: 20–25 pounds

Thought to be one of the oldest breeds in existence, the Basenji hails from Congo, where they were bred as companions. Interestingly, female Basenjis only go into heat once a year, as opposed to the twice-yearly heat cycles that most breeds experience. This breed doesn’t bark much, as they prefer to communicate with whining and yodeling noises.

11. Brussels Griffon

Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock
Origin: Belgium
Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
Weight: 8–10 pounds

What’s different about the Brussels Griffon is their adorably funny “mustache” that grows over their snout. Some dogs even grow long “eyebrows” above their eyes! This breed is typically fun-loving and easygoing, but they can be extremely sensitive and fragile, so they are not ideal for families with young children living in the household.

12. Skye Terrier

Skye Terrier standing on the grass outdoors
Image Credit: Lourdes Photography, Shutterstock
Origin: The Isle of Skye in Scotland
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Weight: 25–40 pounds

Shaped a bit like a hot dog, this dark-coated dog grows hair that covers their eyes and hangs down the sides of their mouth. So, a bit of trimming may be necessary as part of the grooming process, especially as old age sets in and their eyesight becomes less efficient. Although they are small in size, these dogs are known for having a big attitude.

13. Leonberger

leonberger dog lying outside
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 8 to 9 years
Weight: 100–170 pounds

This giant dog breed has other large dogs, including the Newfoundland, in their heritage. They can weigh up to an amazing 170 pounds when fully grown, but unfortunately, they have an average lifespan of only up to 9 years. These are extremely loving dogs that get along well with kids. They love adventure and are always down to play in mud puddles.

14. Belgian Laekenois

Image Credit: Francine parent, Shutterstock
Origin: Belgium.
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Weight: 45–65 pounds

This is an extremely rare breed and one of only four that are native to the great country of Belgium. Belgian Laekenois has a dense, choppy coat that looks a bit unkempt, but regular brushing and bathing can keep it in check. Their erect ears grow short hair, making them stand out from the rest of their features.

15. Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulear
Image Credit: Lunja, Shutterstock
Origin: Madagascar
Lifespan: 14 to 16 years
Weight: 7.5–9 pounds

The Coton de Tulear is a charming little breed that stands at about 10 inches tall and is much sturdier than they appear to be. Their favorite things to do are goof around and interact with their human companions. They have luxuriously soft hair that requires daily grooming and regular trims. They’re great with kids, and their intelligence makes them generally easy to train.

16. Cane Corso

Cane Corso
Image Credit: George Trumpeter, Shutterstock
Origin: Ancient Rome
Lifespan: 9 to 12 years
Weight: 100–110 pounds

The Cane Corso is large and intimidating looking, but they’re actually known for being extremely friendly and affectionate in their day-to-day lives. These dogs have large, blocky heads and short coats that are designed to protect them from the elements. In some places, the dog’s tail is docked during puppyhood.

17. Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terrier
Image Credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock
Origin: Northumberland, England
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Weight: 15–25 pounds

This is one of the most unique-looking breeds on this list, partly due to the way that their ears and the sides of their face are hairless. That said, tufts of hair typically grow off the tips of the ears. This breed has an arched back and a wide, long snout that are not found in other Terriers. These energetic dogs love to run and explore their surroundings.

18. Puli

Gray hungarian puli dog in the green park
Image Credit: SasaStock, Shutterstock
Origin: Hungary
Lifespan: 12 to 16 years
Weight: 20–30 pounds

The Puli is believed to have been developed during the Middle Ages and is an ancestor of the Poodle. They have a coat of corded hair that gives them a shaggy look and a big button nose that’s hard to resist rubbing. They almost became extinct at one point, but enthusiasts brought them back into the fold in the early 1900s.

19. Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen

Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
Image Credit: Wild Carpathians, Shutterstock
Origin: France
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Weight: 40–45 pounds

While there is nothing out of the ordinary about their looks, this dog’s shaggy coat does grow in such a way that they have dramatic eyebrows and a “beard.” What really sets the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen apart from other breeds, though, is their high-strung nature and energetic personality. These are not the kind of dogs that will lounge around the house all day. Their impressive stamina makes them excellent hunters.

20. Thai Ridgeback

Thai Ridgeback
Image Credit: Sbolotova, Shutterstock
Origin: Thailand
Lifespan: 12 to 13 years
Weight: 35–75 pounds

The name of the Thai Ridgeback tells two stories. The first is the origins of the breed, and the second is the pattern of their fur. The hair tufts up on the back, creating a “mohawk” ridge along the spine. There are multiple ridge patterns that this breed might develop, depending on their genetics.

21. Field Spaniel

Clumber Spaniel dog waiting in a field training
Image Credit: Alistair McDonald, Shutterstock
Origin: England
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Weight: 35–45 pounds

Similar in looks to other Spaniels (e.g., Cocker and Springer), the Field Spaniel is special in that they have long flowy ears that due to their shiny soft tufts of hair, look like feathers are growing out of them. This breed was originally developed as a show dog with an entirely black coat but has since been recreated to have different colored coats and better working temperaments.

22. Norwegian Lundehund

young norwegian Lundehund dog
Image Credit: LensLyric, Shutterstock
Origin: Norway
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Weight: 13–15 pounds

The typical Norwegian Lundehund looks eerily like a fox, with a thick double coat and reddish brown and/or tan fur that has black tips on the tail, ears, and sometimes feet. What’s unique about the breed is that they have six toes on each of their paws, making them look wider than those of the typical dog.

23. Schipperke


Image Credit: Sharon Snider, Pexels
Origin: Flanders, Belgium
Lifespan: 13 to 15 years
Weight: 10–16 pounds

The Schipperke looks like a smaller version of the Sheepdog, though some experts argue that they are part of the Spitz family of canines. Originally developed to work as a barge dog in the 1800s, this breed is energetic and driven, so they’re always looking for work to do. These dogs adapt well to family life and are known for maintaining good grooming habits.

24. Pekingese

Pekingese dog standing on grass
Image Credit: T.Den_Team, Shutterstock
Origin: China
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Weight: 7–14 pounds

The Pekingese were developed as companions for the royals and the ruling class in China, so it’s no surprise that they have lusciously long hair and cute short snouts that give them a “teddy bear” look. These small dogs love being close to their human companions and don’t mind the company of children.


There are so many different dog breeds, but not all stand out with unique or rare attributes like the ones featured here. Whether tiny or giant or somewhere in between, dogs of all shapes and sizes can stand out from the crowd in one way or another. Hopefully, some of these dogs inspire you!

Featured Image Credit: Everita-Pane, Shutterstock

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