Also called the Stabij or Friesian Pointer, this long-coated Pointer is native to Friesland in the northern Netherlands. Possibly a descendant of the Spanish conquistadors Spaniels, the Stabyhoun was used to catch small game, as a watchdog, and as a draught dog. The name “Stabij” means “stand by me”, which perfectly describes this loyal and affectionate dog breed.
The Hungarian Mudi is closely related to the Puli and Pumi. They are incredibly versatile and are used for herding, sports, and many other reasons. The Mudi is rare even in Hungary. Some speculate that this is because of the popularity of the Komondor and Puli, traditional old Hungarian breeds that inadvertently push the Mudi out of the spotlight. Fortunately, the Mudi has dedicated fans that have recognised its talents and work hard to preserve the breed.
This massive Mastiff was used to protect sheep from leopards, tigers and other predators in the Himalayas. These enormous furballs are also prized as watchdogs, sleeping during the day to be ready for a night’s work. Although intelligent, their size and stubbornness means they need experienced owners.
The Azawakh is diamond of a dog, both valuable and strong. Bred for hunting in the Sahara by the Tuareg, Fula and other nomads of the region, the Azawakh is proud and brave, yet incredibly gentle towards family members. As well as hunters, they are loyal guard dogs and constant companions to their humans.
A muscular dog with loose skin, the Thai Ridgeback has a characteristic ridge of fur on its back. The Thai Ridgeback has lived in Eastern Thailand since the Middle Ages where it was a valuable guard dog. They were only imported to the USA as late as 1994 by Jack Sterling.
Catahoula Leopard Dog
Also called the Catahoula Cur or Catahoula Hog Dog, this American breed hails from Lousiana. Thought to be the descendants of Native American dogs and the French settlers’ Beauceron dogs, the Catahoula is used for hunting and herding. As their name suggests, they have stunning leopard-like coats in a variety of colours.
New Guinea Singing Dog
This unique breed is a close relative of the Australian Dingo. Native to New Guinea, the Singing Dog could often be found living in villages or wandering in the wild. Breeding with imported dogs pushed the Singing Dog to the brink of extinction. Thanks to the efforts of conservationists, their numbers have increased in New Guinea, but the Singing Dog is listed as a Vulnerable animal. The Singing Dog is named for its unique and sonorous voice, with its strangely beautiful howls.
The Telomian is also related to the Australian Dingo, and is native to Malaysia. Named for the Sungai Telom valley where American scientists discovered the breed, the Telomian was bred by the Orang Asli to protect their stilt homes from rats and snakes. These dogs are great climbers that can easily scale the wooden ladders leading to their humans’ homes.
This Norwegian breed has very unique feet, with six toes on each foot, all of which are double or triple jointed! These dextrous digits enable the Lundehund to scale cliffs and steal puffin eggs, hence its other name: Puffin Dog. The Lundehund also loves to bark and dig, and is difficult to house train.
An old British breed, the Otterhound was bred to hunt otters during the Middle Ages – no easy feat, considering the otter’s intelligence and size. Otters are now a protected species, and so the number of Otterhounds has dwindled. A few hunting packs still exist, used for hunting mink (a non-native species), and some are kept as pets. The Otterhound is now as endangered as the otters they once hunted.