Man’s best friend has evolved alongside his two-legged companions through the years. Many dogs were specifically bred to suit human purposes, such as animal herding, personal protection or tracking. However, in the modern world, the need for hunter pals and herding companions has lessened in many corners of the globe. Unfortunately, this leaves many dog breeds without a proper job and declining in popularity among those looking for a domestic companion or yard dog.
The American Kennel Club maintains a list of the most popular dog breeds among the 190 it recognizes. Of those, faithful companions like the Labrador retriever, golden retrievers, German shepherds and bulldogs top the list. At the bottom of the ranking are many breeds few people likely realize exist. These rare dogs are some of the most unusual breeds and typically served very specific roles in years past. Many would face extinction without the attention of dedicated breeders.
A Norwegian buhund is type of spitz dog native to Norway. Historically, the dog was used to herd sheep and cattle and serve as a protector on a farm. They are a medium-sized canine with a dense fur coat able to withstand the cold weather of their native land. The coat can range in color from light to dark. For the family, the Norwegian buhund can serve as a good watch dog but needs lots of exercise to burn off excess energy.
While many other retriever types top the list of most popular dogs, the curly-coated retriever nears the bottom. Much as it names implies, this a retriever breed with a tight, curly coat. It was originally bred as a dog for water bird hunting. It is the tallest retriever and among the oldest. The curly-coat retriever loves to play and exercise due to its former hunt companion status but can also be a calm house dog.
Picture a small terrier with a beatnik haircut and you have the Skye Terrier. Native to the United Kingdom island of Skye, the dog was once favored among the country’s elite, including royalty, but now is considered one of the most endangered dogs in the U.K. In fact, it could disappear completely in the future. While the Skye Terrier enjoys daily outings, it prefers to live indoors as a house pet.
Another spitz breed declining in popularity, the Finnish lapphund is native to Finland and most popular in its home country. Originally a reindeer herder, the dog is now a happy house pet in Finland and is a favored family animal. It is a good watch dog and capable of competing in various canine sports.
Named due to a belief it is an ancient Egyptian hunting dog, many scientists believe the Pharaoh hound is a slightly more modern breed. It serves as the national dog of Malta and was traditionally used to hunt in rocky areas. The hound combines the thin frame of a greyhound with a chiseled head and muscular frame and is still used to hunt. It is also a close relation of several other rare dogs.
The Canaan dog belongs to a breed of dog known as the pariah that has lived in the Middle East for millennia. Sometimes considered sacred animal, the Canaan is a guard and herd dog historically. Fur color and patterns vary, but the dog is primitive looking — or more closely resembles wild canines. Perfect as a guard dog, the Canaan loves its family but is wary of strangers at all times. Lots of energy means the Canaan craves a good walk and sporting activities.
Polish lowland sheepdogs
As its name implies, the Polish lowland sheepdog is native to Poland and has lived their for several hundred years as a herding dog. Some canines were later transported to Scotland where they were crossbred with local dogs to create several Scottish herding dogs still in existence. The dogs are able to live in a variety of conditions, including as house dogs in apartments.
Another entry for the spitz breeds, the Finnish spitz is native to Finland and was historically used to hunt game ranging from animals the size of rats to bears. Still largely used as a hunting dog in Finland, the animal’s ancestors could date back over 8,000 years. The dog has two coats, an undercoat and an outer coat of guard hairs that require regular trimming for show. The Finnish spitz averages about 25 pounds in weight and around 18 inches in height at the withers — the space in between the shoulder blades.
American English coonhounds
The American English coonhound is a redtick dog descended from foxhounds. It made its appearance in the southern United States and was recognized as a formal breed in 1905. A hunting dog, the coonhound tracked raccoons in the darkness and foxes by day. Color variations can include bluetick and tricolored coats.
The Chinook is a very rare type of sled dog that was first bred in the state of New Hampshire in the 1900s. It originally descended from a crossbreeding of huskies with Mastiff-type dogs. Subsequent breedings included German Shepherds and other canines suited to arctic climates. The Chinook grows up to 27 inches to the withers and can weigh up to 90 pounds. It remains the state dog of New Hampshire where it is largely enjoyed as a family pet.
A medium-sized dog, the Pyrenean Shepherd calls the mountainous areas of southern France and northern Spain home. Often used as herding dog, the shepherd is the smallest herding dog found in those regions. A high-energy animal, the Pyrenean likes to work and play and is very protective of children. A perfect lifelong companion for a family, the Pyrenean is very well suited to training.
The Bergamasco sheepdog presents a very unique coat due to its origin in the Italian Alps. A cold weather hunting dog, the Bergamasco shepherd has a felted coat with three different layers — a wooly outercoat, a midcoat of long hair and a fine undercoat. These hairs layer together into tufts that look like ruffles across the body. A dedicated companion, the Bergamasco is also capable of competition in dog shows. A fun fact about the Bergamasco is that it shares a common ancestor, the European herding dog, with various other breeds including the ever-popular German Shepherd.
Dandie dinmont terriers
The first unusual dog native to Scotland, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier certainly looks as “dandy” as the name implies. First bred around 1600, the dog was used as a hunting animal in its home country. The dog is typically eight to eleven inches tall and weighs 18 to 24 pounds on average. It is noted for a fun little “topknot,” or tuft of hair on the top of the head. The Dandie makes a fine companion for adults or families with older children or cats.
Another hound on the list, the Harrier is a more classic hunting dog in appearance and is often referred to as a bigger version of the beagle. A native of the United Kingdom, the harrier is related to the English foxhound but is a smaller option. It was first recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1885. It is a packdog that finds a human pack a perfectly suitable option but be prepared to invest time in keeping the Harrier healthy. The dog requires a nice, long walk daily or would love to tag along on a run. Left alone without regular exercise, the pooch will become hyper, so it requires an active family.
The unusual dog with the most unusual name, the Cirneco dell’Etna greatly resembles the Pharaoh hounds of Malta. Found on the island of Sicily in Italy, the dog is also a favorite for hunting rabbits on harsh terrain. The canine is also noted for the ability to stay out on the trail for extended time periods without needing food or water. Average height for the Cirneco dell’Etna is between 17 and 20 inches, and the average weight is around 23 pounds.
The Cesky is a terribly fancy terrier native to Czechoslovakia. It was first bred in 1948 from a Scottish and Sealyham terrier. The plan was to create a dog for hunting in the Bohemian forest. The Cesky is now one of the top six rare breeds in the world. A small dog, the Cesky became a favorite among terrier enthusiasts in the United States after it was first imported in the 1980s. By 1988, the Cesky Terrier Club of America had launched, and the AKC recognized the breed in 2004.
Another dog native to the United Kingdom, the Otterhound is a hunting dog who belongs to the scent hound class. The breed developed in the northwest section of England in the mid-1800s. Otterhounds are a large dog with a big head bred specifically for hunting. A strong body coupled with the ability to cover great distances made it perfect for long days in the field or the water. Unique features, such as webbed feet, make them a perfect water companion. Capable of tracking for nearly three days, the dogs are non-stop when investigating scent. Less than 600 otterhounds are believed to be in existence as of 2019.
A second hound native to America on the list is the American foxhound, the parent dog of the also rare coonhound. The American foxhound is a hunting dog that relies on scent to track other animals. It is believed to date back to the 1600s when several hunting dogs were transported to colonial America and later crossbred with other hounds. The American variation of the foxhound is slightly taller than its United Kingdom relation at approximately 23 inches in average height. Weight averages are between 55 and 71 pounds. Obedience training is recommended with the foxhound. It loves children and other animals so can be an ideal family pet.
While the Sloughi is a North African breed of dog, it favors its other Mediterranean cousins, like the Pharaoh hound and the Cirneco dell’Etna. It is most commonly found in the area of Morocco and is a sight hound. It was primarily used for hunting historically but also serves admirably as a guard dog, much like its canine friends in nearby countries. The Sloughi bonds greatly with its owner and family and appreciates a sensitive master.
Much like its American cousin, the English foxhound is also declining in popularity. It is also a scent hound that chases foxes by scent. The foxhound is a pack dog that is happiest with other animals or a pack of humans, such as a family or other family pets. The English foxhound was first bred in the late 1500s for sport. As other wild animal populations dwindled, the idea was to start hunting foxes for amusement. A new dog was needed to assist with the pursuit, and the English foxhound was bred. Its decline is likely fueled by the ever-changing concepts of sports.
Spitzes and hounds dominate the most unusual dogs ranking, and the last entry is fittingly a spitz. The Norwegian lundehund is a dog native to Norway where it was used to hunt puffins, a type of bird, and their eggs. Unique biological features, such as additional flexibility and the presence of six toes instead of four, made the lundehund perfect for accessing bird’s nests in remote locations. The Lundehund is several centuries old but almost went extinct in the 1900s. Luckily, some dogs remained on remote fishing islands and started to be bred. The dog was first entered into the AKC non-hunting group in 2008.
The Rescue of a 46-years-old Elephant after Years of Life in Captivity
Karma, a 46-year-old blind elephant, had been a captive all her life as a victim of human abuse and neglect. She had been used by her owners as a tool for begging for many years. Karma was also forced to carry heavy loads through the busy and chaotic streets of India and give rides to tourists. Since she was absolutely blind, any interaction in the streets was extremely fearful and hard for her. As time passed, Karma lost her hope of experiencing freedom.
However, miracles do happen. In December 2019, Karma was rescued by volunteers of the group Wildlife SOS. The mission of this non-profit organization is to rescue wild captive animals, help them to rehabilitate, and contribute to preserving India’s natural heritage. They have helped thousands of animals so far, including elephants.
In the touching video Wildlife SOS shared, Karma is getting out the trailer helped by two volunteers and taking the first steps towards her long awaited freedom.
Karma received a totally new life at an animal sanctuary and rehabilitation center Elephant Conservation and Care Center located in Northern India. She loves her new home and environment and feels confident by strolling around the sanctuary’s green grassy plains and peaceful fields. Because of her blindness, Karma is cautious and takes every step slowly by using her trunk to guide her. This is the only tool she has for smelling and feeling the ground in front of her. For now, caregivers are trying not to leave Karma alone and stay close enough while she is becoming familiar with the new environment and discovering the sanctuary.
She has to stay under quarantine for a while, until it will be safe for her to see other animals. However, the staff of the sanctuary hopes that once the quarantine is over Karma will be able to meet other elephants and become a part of her new elephant family.
Caregivers say that she has a long way to recover. However, already after a month at the sanctuary, she is feeling much better, getting stronger and becoming more confident. The organization has also started a fundraising company and has already raised money to cover Karma’s medical expenses.
Karma definitely benefits from freedom and life in a safe, natural environment. She finally looks like a happy elephant enjoying every second of her existence.
According to statistics, there are over 4,000 elephants living in captivity in India today. The average life expectancy of elephants is 60-70 years. However, captive elephants usually die before 40 due to such chronic disorders as tuberculosis, foot abscesses, and arthritis. Moreover, most of the keepers do not understand the needs of these giant animals and fail to provide them with proper living conditions.
Wildlife SOS was established in 1995 as a group of people inspired to preserve India’s natural heritage and protect the wildlife of the country. They have launched dozens of initiatives with the purpose to protect India’s endangered animals and prevent their extinction. Karma became the seventh rescued elephant at the sanctuary in 2020.
Local Hero UPS Driver Saves Dog Trapped In Ice
What’s your normal work day like? For Ryan Arens, a UPS driver in Bozeman, Montana, a normal day would be delivering packages to people. He’s been working for UPS for 14 years, so his day is pretty routine and he likes to stick to a schedule.
In January of 2019, he broke routine when he heard something strange during his route. He thought he heard a dog in distress. He could hear it yelping and crying, but it was getting dark so he couldn’t see it. There was a pond near the neighborhood he was in. He went around to the other side of it to get a closer look. That’s when he saw the dog. It was a wire-haired pointing griffon and it was in the middle of the pond. It had fallen through the ice into the cold waters and was trying to stay near the surface. He didn’t know how long the dog had been in the water, but he knew he had to do something.
There was another good Samaritan on the water in a rowboat that was trying to save the dog as well, but he was having no luck. Ryan always keeps a dry change of clothes in his backpack, so he would do what any rational person would do, jump in the freezing cold water and save the dog.
Getting the dog out of the water was easy and the dog was very thankful. Ryan brought the dog to the good Samaritans house where they tried to get her warm. She had been in the water for a very long time and her legs were weak. She could barely stand when they put her in the tub in warm water. Ryan held her up while the homeowner gently bathed her in warm water to get her blood flowing properly again. They then dried her off and gave her food and Ryan showered and changed his clothes before heading back to finish his route.
The next day, he thought about whether the good Samaritan was able to find the dogs owner. He thought about going by after work to check, when the dog he saved from the frigid waters came bounding over to his truck during a delivery. The package he was delivering belonged to the owners of the lucky dog and they were happy to thank the man who saved their Sadie, which is the dogs name.
Ryan Arens did want any person would do, especially one whose an animal lover. He has a dog himself, a 14 year old Malamute Shepherd mix. They love going on walks and snuggling on the couch together. His dog is his world and he hopes that if his dog ever got out and got themselves in a sticky and scary situation, that someone would be there to save her, like he did Sadie.
How to Name Your Male Dog in 2020: 10 ideas
Getting a dog is always exciting because you are adding a new member to your family. However, one of the biggest questions that most new dog owners have is “How to name him?”. If you are having trouble thinking of a name for your male four-legged friend, here are some ideas based on popular trends of 2020.
If you are a fan of Star Wars, this name is familiar to you. In 2020 it is one of the most popular names for male puppies. Moreover, Luke was also the name of Staffordshire Bull Terrier who acted in silent films at the beginning of the 20th century.
If you grew up in the 90s, you must be familiar with the Scott Wolf’s character in Party of Five named Bailey. Puppies named Bailey are characterized as strong, good-natured and loyal canines.
If you want to have not just a dog but a best friend, name your pooch Max. It was the dog’s name from the movie of the same name Max released in 2015. The movie was about the dog who has to relocate from Afghanistan to Texas after his owner passed away.
It is another great name for a loyal dog. It is also a great choice if you have Jack Russel Terrier. Fans of the NBC drama This is Us might also want to name their male dog Jack after the heroic character played by Milo Ventimiglia.
It is a great name for a dog because it is classic, and is easy to remember and pronounce. Milo was the name of the orange tabby cat in the 80s movie Adventures of Milo and Otis that tells about the friendship between a cat and a pug.
According to the statistics provided by PetPlace, dogs named Toby are loyal, friendly, and playful. Even though it is a human name, it is more known as a male dog name in 2020.
Charlie is the third popular dog name today. Charlie was also a dog character in the animated comedy series Looney Tunes produced by Warner Brothers in the period from 1930 to 1969. Therefore, if you are looking for a really old, classic name for your pooch, here is the one.
If you have a large and strong dog, you can name him Rocky – after Rocky Balboa. You might also remember the animated comedy The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle – one of the most iconic shows in the 1960s. Rocky was the name of one of the main characters – a flying squirrel.
For those who do not like the name Jack but still want their dog’s name to start with J here is an option – Jake. It is among the top 10 most popular names in 2020. If you are a fan of animated television series Adventure Time, you should remember its main four-legged character named Jake, who is a great example of a human best friend.
Being a classic name, this name is good for both dogs and babies. It is also capable to produce many different cute nicknames, such as Ollie, Olly, or Olley. Most dogs named Oliver are active and curious pooches with a lot of energy.
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