There is a long list of dog breeds out there (almost rivaling that of horse breeds). Each breed has their own unique characteristics and history, usually based on the conditions of their natural habitat.
You Don’t See That Dog Every Day
I’ve collected some of the more unusual dog breeds and decided to learn a little bit more about them.
Our Histories Merge
Dogs have had their place next to mankind for a very long time and it is interesting to see how some of the more unusual breeds have been shaped by humanity as well as Mother Nature.
Interestingly enough, this breed originated in Africa, which goes a long way towards explaining their curious “naked” bodies. Chinese traders picked them up along trade routes to catch rats on their ships. In fact they became quite popular for this and the name Chinese Crested stuck with them.
A very old breed, the Chow Chow has been bred in China for thousands of years. Known for several distinguishing characteristics like their black tongue, their almost straight hind legs, and their thick fur. They were traditionally bred for their fur and their meat (which used to be a delicacy in China).
A Brazilian Mastiff, the Fila Brasileiro is very loyal to their (dominant) master, however they have been bred through the centuries to have a mistrust for humans they don’t know. Their faithfulness to their master became a Brazilian proverb.
The Jindos were originally bred as hunting dogs and those traits have lived on in their bloodlines. They are independent and enjoy solitary hunting. Although when they bring down prey they always carry the catch to their master or lead their master to the catch. Their loyalty to their master has made them legendary and the Korean government considers them a national monument.
There are several theories about where Newfoundland dogs came from, they could have been Viking “bear dogs”, nomadic Indian dogs or perhaps a close relative to the Labrador. This breed loves the water and has webbed feet. They are also very protective of their owners and may try rescue you from the water whether you need it or not.
This is an odd little dog with six toes on each foot (that’s right – two dew claws) which help them to climb. They also have been bred for extra joints in their neck and flexible shoulder joints so they can turn their head at a 180 degree angle. This is a smart little dog, but still rather primitive and difficult to housebreak.
All you have to do is look at the Puli to understand why it is unique, they are an ancient breed from Hungary that were originally used as sheep dogs. During WWII the breed was almost totally decimated and their numbers dropped to two figures. Today dedicated breeding programs have brought the breed back and protect its bloodlines.
The history of this breed is full of speculation, because of the purple tongue they are thought to be descendants of the Chow Chow. However evidence has been found that shows the breeds existence even in 206 BC. The wrinkled skin and rough coat made the animals good fighters and they were bred as fighting dogs for many years.
Often possessing a mottled coat and wild blue eyes, the Catahoula is thought to have originated from Nordic Wolfhounds brought to Louisiana. They are tough as nails and were used in teams of 3 to round up feral livestock that had escaped to take refuge in the woods & swamps.
This is a very rare breed and until recently was not often seen outside of Thailand, known for the characteristic ridge of hair growing the wrong direction on their back. The ridgebacks have been in eastern Thailand since the middle ages and were once known as simply “the cart-following dog”.
Trouble In The Family
Be sure to read up about the cousins to these animals who are facing extinction. Sadly, domestic dogs are public enemy #2 to many of the wild dogs, wolves and foxes who face low numbers. Second only to humankind.