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15 Cute Dog Breeds You’ve Never Heard Of

| Published on September 7, 2015

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but most of us can agree that dogs are pretty darn cute. Especially when it comes to certain breeds, we just love their unique looks and adorable personalities. Just when you think you’ve seen them all, though, another breed comes around and shows us that dogs just keep getting cuter.

#1 – Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Photo credit: “Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen MWPR Katowice 2008 001” by Lilly Mreal name: Małgorzata Miłaszewska – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen looks similar to a wirehaired Basset Hound. They were originally bred as scent hounds and are very social, extroverted dogs that enjoy the company of family and strangers alike.

#2 – Portuguese Podengo Pequeno


The Portuguese Podengo is a sight and scent hound from Portugal that comes in three different varieties. The Pequeno is the smallest of them and is used for rabbit hunting. They are small, lively dogs that make great active companions.

#3 – Löwchen

Photo credit: Petful

The Löwchen, or Little Lion Dog, is a small but mighty breed that was once considered the rarest in the world. They get their name partly due to their lion-cut hairstyle but can be left with long, flowing coats. They are very happy, friendly dogs that make great companions and even do well in dog sports like obedience and agility.

#4 – Tibetan Spaniel


The Tibetan Spaniel is small but assertive and is not a true spaniel but more closely related to the Tibetan Terrier and Pekingese. They were bred specifically to be companions and lapdogs and still excel at this job today.

#5 – Boykin Spaniel


The Boykin Spaniel originated in South Carolina, USA and is a small gun dog still widely used for hunting. They make wonderful family companions but are very active dogs that enjoy having a job to do. They are very social and even-tempered, getting along well with family and strangers.

#6 – Lagotto Romagnolo


The Lagotto Romagnolo is popular because of its use in hunting truffles, but the breed was originally used as a water-retrieving gun dog. They are very affectionate but active dogs that need a job to do.

#7 – Norfolk Terrier


The Norfolk Terrier is somewhat popular but we needed it on this list because it’s so cute. Don’t be fooled by it’s looks, however, as the Norfolk has a true terrier personality. They are fearless, independent dogs that do best with an experienced owner.

#8 – Entlebucher Mountain Dog


The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is one of four regional Swiss herding breeds and is the smallest in the group. That said, the breed is still relatively large; standing 20 inches tall at the withers and weighing 45-65 pounds. They are powerful, athletic dogs that do best with a job but make excellent family companions.

#9 – Berger Picard

Photo credit: “BergerPicard” by Leanam – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Berger Picard is a French herding dog that nearly became extinct after both World Wars. They are rare today, but make excellent family companions so long as they receive enough physical and mental exercise. 

#10 – Russian Spaniel


The Russian Spaniel was developed by crossing various spaniel breeds to serve as hunting dogs in the Soviet Union. Although very popular in Russia today, the breed is still relatively unknown outside of its home country. They are active and fun-loving dogs that are always ready to play and make great family companions.

#11 – Alaskan Klee Kai

Photo credit: “Alaskan Klee Kai” by Just Chaos. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Alaskan Klee Kai was developed by breeders looking for a miniature Siberian Husky. They have a spitz heritage that is reflected in their looks and personality. Like their northern cousins, they are very active, intelligent and playful dogs that do well in various dog sports. Although small, they do best in active homes.

#12 – Mudi

Photo credit: “Mudi blue merle” by Taru T Torpström. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Mudi is a Hungarian herding breed that continues to excel at its original purpose, as well as in dog sports such as agility and obedience. They are affectionate but active and require ample physical and mental exercise to remain a suitable companion.

#13 – Pumi

Photo credit: “Hungarianpumi” by Taru T Torpström. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Pumi is a general-purpose farm dog from Hungary. Small and terrier-like, they are used as ratters and sheep herders. They are small- to medium-sized dogs that are active and affectionate. They excel in various dog sports and do best in an active home.

#14 – Biewer Terrier


The Biewer Terrier is a direct descendant of the Yorkshire Terrier, carrying with it similar looks and temperament. The first Biewer Terrier was an odd-colored Yorkshire out of a purebred litter and became the foundation dog for the breed. They are fun-loving, friendly dogs that are affectionate toward family and strangers alike.

#15 – Russian Toy


The Russian Toy is one of the smallest dog breeds in the world, rarely recognized outside its home country until the 1990s. They were originally bred as ratters and watch dogs and, like many toy breeds, still excel at this job today. Although similar to the Chihuahua, the breeds are unrelated.

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