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Unusual Dog Breeds
(Uncommon, Unique and Strange Dog breeds)
Under unusual dog breeds we have classified these breeds which show a singularity, i.e. either a physical peculiarity or a typical behavioral trait, not usually seen in other dog breeds. We have also included some dog breeds with an intriguing or unusual history. Some of these breeds also tend to be rare, but not all of them are. For rare dog breeds, see our separate article. Actually, some of these canine breeds can be quite common in their home country (to the point that they have been chosen as the national dog of a state or country).

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The Basenji descends from dogs that came from Zaire in the 1930s.
The peculiarity of this dog is the singular yodel it produces (a bit like a Swiss Alpine yodeler). Like the wolf, the Basenji has only one breeding cycle a year. See also: Carolina dog, Primitive dogs, primitive dog breeds, Canaan dog and Dingo.

Chinese crested dog
Chinese crested dog
A typical spitz temperament in the body of a shepherd dog. An American breeder named Arthur Walden crossed Eskimo dogs with St. Bernards and Belgian shepherds to obtain a breed with immense pulling power. The breed was named after Walden's favorite dog. See: sled dogs.

See also: dog breeds named after a reference dog.

Chow Chow:
One of the most unusual dog breeds for its patchwork appearance: the mane of a lion, the black tongue of a bear and the fur coat of a dowager. It was once bred for its flesh and fur. More about the Chow Chow and other Chinese dog breeds.

Fila Brasileiro
One of the few breeds that includes temperament tests in the breed standard and the only dog breed that has been purposely developed over centuries to deeply dislike the humans they were not raised with. Filas also have a very typical camel gait. More about the Fila.

See also: South American dog breeds

Korean Jindo: a pecularity of this hunting spitz-type dog is that it does not assist the hunter, but goes hunting on its own, always carrying his quarry home. If the game is to heavy for him to carry, it will remember the spot and go fetch his master. Another amazing trait of this breed is his incredible homing ability, meaning that it always finds his way back home even over very long distances. More about the Korean Jindo >>

See also: Asian dog breeds.

New Guinea Singing Dog
Like many primitive (pariah) dogs the New Guinea Singing Dog produces a singular howling sound. See: primitive dogs and New Guinea Singing Dog.

Newfoundland: A breed with webbed feet used to assist emergency services in sea rescue. A drawback in this breed are overzealous Newfoundlands who tend to 'rescue' anyone in the water regardless of their need to be rescued. There are some other  dog breeds with webbed feet, especially water dogs. See: Newfoundland.
See also: Phu Quoc dog

Norwegian Lundehund peculiarities of this breed would be considered a fault in other dog breeds, but were purposely bred for in Lundehund's native Norway. The Norwegian Lundehunds have six toes on each foot that allow them to climb on vertical cliffs and their neck joints enable them to bend their head backward over their shoulders so that their forehead touches its back.

The Norwegian Lundehund can also close their ear canals at will (to protect them against dirt and moisture) and are able to bend their head 180 degrees backwards over their shoulders. Their fore-shoulder joints are extremely flexible and empower both front legs to be stretched straight out to both sides, for greater ease in swimming and maneuvering in the narrow crevices in Norwegian sea-side cliffs where their avian prey lives. For this and other Norwegian and Scandinavian dog breeds, see Scandinavian dog breeds

A herding breed native to Hungary.
Pulik (the Hungarian plural form) have a characteristic corded coat. As it takes many years for a dog to acquire these typical long cords, many Pulik are at their best in dog shows at an age when most other dog breeds are retiring from competition.

See also: Hungarian dog breeds.

With its cat-like agility and unusual morphology half-way between a spitz-type dog and a primitive hound, the Thai Ridgeback undoubtedly deserves its place in this list. This ridge-backed breed was used as a guard dog and hunting companion in his home country where it is known as Mah Thai. See: Thai Ridgeback and other ridgebacked dogs.

Dog Breeds of the World > Unusual dog breeds
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Chinese crested: a hairless dog with a typical crest (tuft of hair) on the head and tufts of hair on the feet and tail called respectively 'socks' and 'plume'. More about the Chinese crested dog and other hairless dogs.
Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog
Double Ott Catahoulas
Catahoula Leopard Dog:
A dog with a sixth sense, (often) with intruiging bleu eyes and a strange coat, and capable of climbing trees. The breed name comes from its unique leopard-spot pattern overlaid on a background of almost any color or marking.  Read more about the Catahoula leopard dog.
See also: Merle dogs.

A Turkish hunting dog breed having the very unusual distinctive trait of being split nosed or double nosed. In their home country this characteristic is not considered a genetic defect and was probably deliberately bred for as these dogs were said to show superior scenting instincts. They are also known for their fast and swift movements and are very talented in partridge hunting in difficult areas.
See: Split-nosed dogs.
See also: Turkish breeds

Catahoula leopard dog climbing up a tree
Source: Catalburun...Perro de Turquia
Thai Ridgeback:

cute shar pei puppy
Silver Thai ridgeback
Thai ridgeback "Mawgli"
Photo by Strawansky
Some dogs are unusual because of their coat colors. See: Blue dogs.

A blue Pit Bull Terrier
Photo: Chris Johnson
White German Shepherd Dog
Photo: Joop Snijder
The coat color may be either a rare, but recognized, color variety within a breed, or a color variety that evolved into a separate breed. See: White shepherd.

Not all unusual breeds are necessarily rare dog breeds, although some experimental or rare dog breeds can be unusual in their origin.
The Saarloos Wolfdog and Shiloh Shepherd, rare dog breeds developed from the German Shepherd dog, were each created by a single person. The Saarloos Wolfdog was created by a Dutchman named Leendert Saarloos who began a lifelong breeding experiment in 1921 introducing wolf blood in the German Shepherd dog. More about wolf-dog hybrids and wolfdogs >>
See also: Dog breeds named after a person >>

An american breeder called Tina Barber decided to create a breed with improved size, sound hips and a more steady temperament as compared to the current German Shepherd. The breed received formal recognition in 1990 as the Shiloh Shepherd. See also: shepherd dogs >>

For other rare dog breeds, see rare dog breeds >>

Shar Pei:
With its blue tongue and loose wrinkled skin the Shar pei resembles no other dog. The abrasive, loose skin is a reminiscence of the Shar pei's dog fighting ancestry. See: Shar pei.

Telomian Dog: A characteristic of the breed is the use of their paws for opening doors, holding toys and chewbones, much like a human infant. Another particular trait of this breed is their blue tongue. See: Telomian dog.

Chinese crested
by Juliette Cunliffe
More information

Chinese crested
by Juliette Cunliffe
More information

Chinese Shar-Pei:
A Comprehensive Guide to Owning and Caring for Your Dog (Kennel Club Dog Breed Series)
by Juliette Cunliffe
More information

The Book of the Shar-pei
Book of the Shar-Pei
by Joan Brearley
More information

Chinese Shar pei (book)
See also:
Dog breeds named after a person
Dog breeds chosen as official State dogs
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