Five Rare Breeds You’ve Never Heard Of!

Everyone's heard of Beagles and Boxers. But what about the Polish Owczarek Nizinny or the Leonberger? In this article we profile five breeds that most people haven't heard about. Our hope is to increase awareness of the lesser known breeds that are out there waiting for the perfect family, but which don't get any media attention.

Polish Owczarek Nizinny: This breed is also known as the Polish Lowland Sheepdog (we find this much easier to pronounce!). PON’s are a medium-sized dog, usually weighing between 35-55 lbs. They are considered a “non-shedding” breed as they have hair instead of fur; don’t let this fool you, they do lose a bit of hair every day. The PON is an active working dog, bred for herding, and needs a good amount of stimulation and activity to be a family pet. PON’s are the only breed on this list recognized by the AKC.

Chinook: This is a rare breed of dog was developed in New England in the early 20th century for dog sledding. Chinooks are large and muscular, bred and built to withstand the rugged winters of the northeast. The breed standard states their size can range from 55 – 90 lbs. Chinooks are hardworking dogs, as well as good family pets, and are instinctively gentle with children. Currently the Chinook is eligible for AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS). FSS is an optional recording service for purebred dogs that are not yet eligible for AKC registration.

Leonberger: The Leonberger (one of our personal favorites!) is a giant rare breed, with males weighing up to 200 lbs. They have a thick, medium length coat that is water resistant. They are extremely loving with children and don’t require a great deal of exercise. Unlike most giant breeds, Leos don’t drool excessively. A warning to those of you who fear fur- the Leonberger sheds HEAVILY! As with other rare breeds, they are not yet AKC-recognized, though at least one U.S. club is working towards that goal.

New Guinea Singing Dog: The New Guinea Singing Dog is a relative of the Dingo (the Australian wild dog) that is native to New Guinea. These dogs have the unique ability to howl like wolves. Unlike wolves, Singers can modulate pitch, hence their name. They have a fox-like appearance (much like a Basenji). Wild populations of Singers are thought to be extinct and captive dogs are extremely rare. Singers exhibit very primal behaviors and are quite clever, which makes them very hard to keep as pets. There is an ongoing debate as to whether this breed is domesticated at all. They are recognized by the UKC, but not by the AKC.

Catahoula Leopard Dog: You may have seen this dog on a farm somewhere across the U.S., but did you know what you were looking at? Also called the Louisiana Catahoula, this breed was declared the official state dog of Louisiana in 1979. The Catahoula is a working dog through and through, so appearance varies widely. Many sport, as you may guess, spots or patches, though they do sometimes present with solid coats. They are strong-willed and independent, and thus need solid training and lots of activity. Catahoulas are also not AKC recognized, but may be recorded in FSS.

We’ve posted a corresponding blog entry with pictures of each of these breeds - check them out!

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