While some dog breeds have achieved widespread popularity and recognition, there exists a fascinating array of lesser-known canine companions that deserve attention. These underappreciated breeds often possess unique characteristics and endearing qualities that make them stand out from the crowd. Despite their lower profile, the least popular dog breeds have the potential to form strong bonds with dedicated owners and bring a sense of novelty and charm to the world of pet ownership just the same as any pooch.
It is important to note that this is not a hater’s list. Rather, this is a ranking of the dogs that are less common with pet owners, whether that be because of behavior, rarity, or a simple lack of awareness of the breed. These pups are not at the top of people’s minds when it comes to choosing a new furry friend, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make great pets, too.
These underappreciated canine companions possess unique characteristics and traits that often go overlooked in the shadow of more well-known breeds. Exploring the world of the least popular dog breeds not only sheds light on their individual charm but also showcases the vast diversity present within the canine kingdom.
It would seem that with dogs, people tend to play favorites. Labradors and Golden Retrievers receive near-universal love, but what about the breeds on the other end of the popularity spectrum? We turned to our sources to learn that the five least popular breeds are all hunting dogs that are well-loved by people that need an active pup. Please let us know your opinions on these canines in the comments below!
The List: 5 Least Popular Dog Breeds, According to Experts
The lowest ranked dog, in terms of popularity with the American Kennel Club [AKC] is the Sloughi. This is not to say that these are bad dogs in any sense, merely that they are poorly ranked on the popularity charts. “Pronounced ‘Sloo-ghee,’ the Sloughi is also known as the Arabian greyhound. This rare and elegant sighthound originates from the northern part of Africa and comes in three different colors and four unique markings. This dog is loyal to its people but known to be standoffish with strangers,” explains The Dog People.
According to Hepper, “The Sloughi is basically a North African Greyhound, as they’re incredibly fast sighthounds with long, slender bodies… These dogs are still used for hunting in certain North African countries, but they’ve never really caught on outside of that relatively narrow geographic window. If you decide to bring one home, make sure you have plenty of space, because these dogs need room to stretch out their legs and occasionally hit top speed.”
“Sloughi pups resemble a slightly smaller Greyhound. Breeders created these pups to be the perfect sighthound. These medium-sized dogs are known to have aided in fox hunts, along with hunting wild pigs, gazelle, jackals, and hares, in the North African deserts. While these pups are a hunting breed, the breed’s lean, sleek build can be regularly spotted at dog shows,” adds Pets.
2. English Foxhound
English Foxhounds are working dogs that can be great for folks that have a need for an energetic working breed. For many suburban and city dwellers, these tenacious dogs might not be the best fit. Newsweek adds, “Unlike many hunting dog breeds, English foxhounds still haven’t completely caught on as companion dogs in the traditional sense. Generally, these dogs are kept by hunters and live in packs trained to chase foxes.”
— American Kennel Club (@akcdoglovers) September 13, 2017
“If you are wanting a dog that is inherently a hunter, then the English Foxhound is good. However, this quality also makes them highly independent and always looking for prey. Because of this stubborn streak in their character, English Foxhounds can be hard to train. Another reason why they aren’t a popular breed is the fact that their barking and howling can be heard from miles away. That’s okay if you [live] somewhere rural. Not so great if you live in the city,” writes Microsoft Start.
Reader’s Digest expands on this, “A unique cross-breed, taking qualities from Greyhounds, Fox Terriers and Bulldogs, the English Foxhound is a fast, intelligent hunter. English Foxhounds are a friendly, energetic breed, and considered gentle with other pets and children, but aren’t terribly popular in North America.”
3. American Foxhound
The American counterpart to the previous entry on the list, American Foxhounds might be a great choice for families that are ready for a more active dog. For the best results, American foxhounds need an outlet for their tremendous energy. Pawversity offers some fascinating detail on the history of this breed: “A scent hound which is a close relative of the English Foxhound, it was developed for hunting foxes. Originally from Maryland and Virginia, the American Foxhound has been traced back to a group of hunting dogs brought to the US in 1650, which are the ancestors of several breeds of American hounds.”
— Westminster Dog Show (@WKCDOGS) October 16, 2017
These cute fellas are also heavy shedders: “The American foxhound sheds regularly, requiring owners to vacuum frequently. Anyone living in an apartment will need to make sure this active dog gets a satisfactory amount of exercise daily,” according to Dog Breed List.
“As the state dog of Virginia, American foxhounds are a beloved hunting breed. These dogs are also valuable during search-and-rescue missions, thanks to their keen sense of smell. More than 300 of them helped recover victims after the 9/11 attacks in New York City,” writes Seattle Pi.
4. Norwegian Lundehund
The Norwegian Lundehund is a bird hunter that many Americans don’t know about. They have a small frame that aids them in their traditional puffin-hunting role. Click Orlando states, “Norwegian lundehunds boast two unusual characteristics that make them skilled at sniffing out puffins. These curious pups have six toes on each foot that seem to have developed to help them navigate slippery rocks. They can also fold their ears shut—which protects them from water and helps out when crawling into a puffin burrow.”
Dog Breed List claims, “The Norwegian Lundehund is an active dog that requires daily exercise to keep it healthy. It isn’t hypoallergenic, so anyone with allergies might not fare well with this dog in the house.”
“These pups are also a little on the odd side and round out the bottom of the AKC’s dog list. These smaller-size dogs only get up to 30 pounds at their largest and live for up to 15 years. Norwegian Lundehunds are very aware and loyal. But these small pups are also full of energy,” offers Pets.
Rounding out our list is the Harrier. This is another beloved hunting breed that doesn’t seem to be a popular choice with suburbanites and city folk. Microsoft Start details, “The Harrier was created to seek out hares and foxes. They have a lot of energy and are playful. These dogs are great with kids and get on well with other dogs. However, the amount of energy that they have does mean they need an outlet. That means they aren’t suited for apartment living. Open spaces where they can run and play are what they love. It is another breed of dog that can be challenging to train. Then there is the drooling. A lot of drooling…”
The Dog People writes, “Wait, is that a beagle? Nope, but the Harrier is related ancestrally to both the beagle and the English foxhound. Like those hounds, the harrier was bred to hunt, and it retains a strong hunting instinct. Its a social, handsome dog that definitely needs a securely fenced yard.”
“The Harrier represents a middle-ground between English Foxhounds and Beagles, at least in terms of size. They’re extremely muscular with large bones, making them ideal for long, strenuous activity… they’re loving and loyal, not to mention incredibly good with kids. They’ll get along smashingly with other dogs, but you don’t want to bring them into a home with smaller, non-canine pets, as they’ll never be able to fully turn off their hunting instinct,” adds Hepper.
You might also be interested in:
- Best Dog Breeds for Busy Owners
- Best Dog Breeds for Apartments
- Most Energetic Dog Breeds
- Best Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
- The Dog People
- Reader’s Digest
- Microsoft Start
- Dog Breed List
- Seattle Pi
- Click Orlando.com
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.