Have you ever read or seen a dog breed and realized you haven’t heard about that breed much?
Do you often look at your precious pooch and wonder if he/she is a rare dog breed?
Has it ever crossed your mind to wonder how many rare dog breeds there are?
If one or more of these questions have been ones you have asked yourself (I know I have).
Then follow me as we take on large, rare dog breeds.
#1 tibetan mastiff: The Lion Of the dogs
In 2014, a tibetan mastiff sold for 1.9 million dollars.
Due to the breed’s rarity, which has been compared to that of pandas, the prices on a puppy become sky high.
They are also known as a status symbol in China.
#2 Otterhound: The Unheard Of Gem
There are less than 800 of these adorable dogs left in the world today.
So it is not a great leap to say that not many people have heard of them.
They were once kept in private otter hunting families, however, when otter hunting was outlawed they were spread out into other parts of the world.
Even so there are not many litters that are born per year and so make this a very rare breed.
#3 Chinook: The Versatile Rarity
All chinooks are named after one dog of the same name that was bred for sled pulling.
Since they all came from one dog in the 1900s, this breed has not had the time to expand out.
So as you can see this breed is still rare, even though their numbers are on the rise.
#4 Catahoula Leopard Dog:
The Hunter / Herder
While it may seem like there are a fair few of this breed down south, the actual purebred catahoula is quite rare.
The hardest part of this breed is being able to tell it apart from other breeds that look quite similar in size and color.
This produces higher numbers of representation than there actually are.
#5 Azawakh: An Infant In The Show Ring
With the breed only being introduced into america in the 1980s, the breed hasn’t been around long enough to come off the rarity list.
It is a beautiful and active dog in its own right and can make a wonderful addition to the household if found.
#6 Fila Brasileiro: The Rare Guardian
A small gene pool led to other breeds being added to the breed list as a way to pump up their numbers.
So to find a purebred fila can be very hard indeed.
However, should you find yourself with one, feel lucky, not only for having a rare dog, but also for having a fierce guardian and protector.
#7 Beauceron: The Companion Of Kings
This breed is almost completely unknown outside of France, and for a very good reason.
They almost went extinct twice! This happened because in both world wars they were used as sentry and bomb dogs.
The breed is now attempting to rebuild from 50 choice specimens left.
#8 Canaan Dog: One Of The Oldest Breeds
The official dog of Israel, this rare dog breed might just be the first dog breed to be domesticated by man.
It is still considered a natural breed, meaning that it is still the same biologically as when it was first found.
This is one of the reasons for its extreme rarity.
#9 English Foxhound: The Baying Hunter
The english foxhound was brought over by the british and were bred into the gene pool of hounds already in existence in America.
However, due to fox hunts that were popular when they were first brought over, they became quite rare.
#10 Ovcharka: The Caucasian Shepherd Dog
This breed has been known as a flock guardian, and yes there is a difference between a flock guardian and a herding dog.
A herder does just that, herds, he doesn’t need to know the animals he is herding, he just does it.
A flock guardian actually forms a bond with the animals he has to be around.
This standing is what makes this breed so rare.
#11 Komondor: The Ancient Protector
The Komondor was used as military guard dogs in WWI.
It is more than likely this reason that the breed became scarce after the war.
Today there are less than 10,000 left in the world.
#12 Czechoslovakian Wolfdog: The Vicak
Up until the 1990s the wolfdog was unheard of outside of the country it had been bred in, Czechoslovakia.
This breed was the result of a scientific experiment gone right.
It combined the gene pool of the german shepherd with the carpathian wolf.
However, they are still considered rare as there are so few of them in the U.S. today.
#13 Portuguese Water Dog: There Isn’t A Body Of Water He Doesn’t Love
This dog was bred to be a fisherman’s best friend, however, due to the danger of the sea, the breed became quite rare.
Although, recent numbers say this breed is on the rise.
#14 American Alsatian: Of The Dire Wolf Project, Not Game Of Thrones Related
This dog came from a project that was aimed at making the best companion dog, otherwise known as the Dire Wolf Project.
And no this is not a Game of Thrones reference, as the project took place in the 1980s.
As of now there are only 2 certified breeders of this dog, which is what makes it one of the most rare breeds.
#15 Bracco Italiano: The Loyal And Royal
Known in the U.S. only since 1994, this breed is considered rare in that aspect.
They were bred and still used as gun dogs.
There is some speculation that this may be another reason they are considered rare.
#16 Hovawart: Will Put Its Life On The Line
A fiercely protective breed that will injure itself to save its loved ones.
With this and the fact that it fell out of favor after a short space of time have accumulated into this being such a rare breed.
#17 Slovak Cuvac: Breed Of All Trades
This breed was found almost exclusively in mountain regions until traders who adored the puppies took them to the lowlands.
However, even with this popularity it still maintains a rarity level.
#18 Boerboel: The Guard Of The Mines
This breed was brought in to guard diamond mines.
After their successes there they were used in the military.
After both world wars and increased cross breeding, this dog became rare and has never quite recovered.
#19 Dogo Argentino: The Large Game Hunter
Dogos were bred by brothers in Argentina specifically for hunting boar.
Even though they have done nothing but grow in popularity, they are still rare given that they have only been recognized since the early 1980s.
#20 Neapolitan Mastiff: The Gentle Giant
Made popular by the movie The Hulk, this breed was relatively unheard of until then.
The main reason for this being the fact that there is only one known acceptable breeder recognized by the AKC at this time.
If you are getting a mastiff from anyone else, you more than likely are being scammed.
#21 Bouvier Des Flandres: The Farmer
Bred in France to be a sturdy and versatile farming dog, the exact gene pool and history is up for debate.
However, what is not disputed is the fact that they were pressed into military service during WWI which brought down their numbers drastically.
They never fully recovered.
#22 Leonberger: Calm And Quiet
Another breed used for military service during WWI, this breed didn’t fare well at all.
Of the 25 dogs left after the war, only 5 were of breeding quality.
The rest of the lineage comes from these five, and as such are still considered to be quite rare.
#23 Brazilian Bull Mastiff: A Modern Breed
As this breed has not been around nearly as long as many of the others, it is of course rare and small in number.
A strong protector and loyal companion, it is hoped that this breed’s numbers will rise in the years to come.
#24 Tamaskan Dog: Dog In Wolf Clothing
Although this dog looks very much like a wolf, it is not, it is specifically bred to look that way.
SInce it is so new and not well known, for the meantime it gets added to our rare list.
#25 Estrela Mountain Dog: The Beautiful Protector
Since usually this breed is found in the mountains, it is an unknown breed pretty much everywhere else.
However, with breedings advances it should not be as rare as it is now.
#26 Dogue de Bordeaux: The DDB
As a dog of the royals, when they fell so did the breed.
They were put to death alongside their royal masters, putting them unto the rare breed category.
#27 Redbone Coonhound: The Primary Hunter
These specific hounds were bred first for appearance and then for hunting ability.
However, hunting is where they are their best.
This is one of the reasons they are rare, you may not see them much in the city but out where the hunting is good they can often be found.
#28 Spanish Mastiff: The Large And In Charge
The spanish mastiff was originally bred to protect flocks from larger predators, however, they have lately found themselves to make good pets to those with the room to house them.
If you look around here in the U.S. you may not see many, making them rare, yet if you traveled around the Iberian Peninsula they become a bit more prevalent.
#29 Kuvasz: The Guards Of Royalty
In Hungary is maybe not where this breed started, but it is certainly where it became popular and more refined.
These working dogs were originally bred for protecting flocks, but soon were favoured to protect Hungarian Royalty.
However, due to the fact that they were hunted because of their closeness to the royal family their numbers declined.
#30 Goberian: The Outgoing Socialite
A mix between the siberian husky and the golden retriever, this breed is relatively new.
Being so new their numbers are low, however, breeders are doing their best to boost numbers as the breed gains in popularity.
#31 Afghan Hound: The Legend
Legend has it that the afghan was the dog that was rescued aboard Noah’s Ark.
Whether or not this is true, this breed still stands on its own four paws.
With a beautiful, silky coat and an attitude to match, this dog turns heads.
However, as this breed was once used as a hunting breed, there are not that many left.
#32 Saluki: A Rare Treasure
Fast as the wind, and strong in body and will power, the saluki is a challenging breed.
For this reason it was slow to take off in the U.S. and thus are quite rare here.
#33 Akita: The Survivor
This breed has faced extinction several times during its long history.
If not because of sickness and condition, but also because of various wars.
#34 Labrador Husky: Not What You Think
To look at the name of this breed, you would think it is a cross between a labrador and siberian husky.
However, that is not the case.
This particular breed of husky was bred in a town in Canada named Labrador, and that is how they got their name.
However, as cool as the history of their name is, they were hunted almost to extinction by the Inuit people.
Unfortunately this has led to low numbers.
#35 Gordon Setter: Not All Setters Are The Same
You probably have heard of the english and irish setters.
You might think that there is no difference, especially since you may not have even heard of the gordon setter.
However, this mistake is easy to repair.
The Gordon is the largest and most muscular of the setters.
For this reason this breed was not as favoured for the pointing jobs they were given, and as such were not bred as widely as other setters.
#36 Clumber Spaniel: Yes That Is Spelled Right
No, I did not spell Cocker spaniel wrong.
This is a heavier, beefier version of the spaniel.
No one is quite sure where this breed originated from, and for this reason when numbers began to decline had a hard time boosting their numbers.
They are also not as popular as their other spaniel cousins and this may be another reason for their low count.
Which Rare Large Dog Breed Like Most?
Well there you have it, a whole list of dogs you may not have heard of before.
I had tons of fun researching this one as there were many breeds I had not heard of before.
With that in mind, which breed was your favorite?
Do you own one of these dogs or have thought about adopting one?
Are there any rare breeds you know of that I might have missed?
Give me your answers down in the comments below and if you liked this list or know someone who might go ahead and share, share, share!
Until next time!