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List of 10 Least Popular Dog Breeds Was Just Released

Written by: Arlene D.
Arlene A. Divina, a resident of the Philippines, is a devoted fur mom to two adorable dogs: a Shih Tzu and a Beagle. With a passion for animals and storytelling, Arlene has channeled her love for dogs into her career as a content writer at iHeartDogs. Her writing captures the essence of the bond between humans and their furry companions, offering insights, tips, and heartfelt stories to a wide audience of dog enthusiasts. Read more
| Published on March 24, 2024

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is renowned for its extensive work in the registration, recognition, and promotion of dog breeds. Each year, it sheds light on the shifting landscapes of dog breed popularity across the United States, revealing which breeds are the current favorites among dog lovers and which remain on the periphery of public affection. In 2023, a surprising list emerged, highlighting the least popular dog breeds of the year. This list not only uncovers the varied tapestry of canine diversity but also spotlights those breeds that, despite their unique qualities and historical significance, have not found their way into the mainstream of canine popularity. Among these breeds are the Sloughi, English Foxhound, Norwegian Lundehund, Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, Azawakh, Belgian Laekenois, Finnish Spitz, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Cesky Terrier, and Canaan Dog. Each of these breeds offers a window into different cultures, histories, and functionalities, showcasing the breadth of roles dogs have played alongside humans throughout history. This article delves into each breed, exploring their origins, characteristics, and what makes them distinct in the vast world of canines.

1. Sloughi

The Sloughi, often shrouded in mystery and elegance, is a breed that hails from North Africa. Known for its incredible speed and agility, the Sloughi is a sight hound that was traditionally used for hunting game such as gazelles. This breed possesses a quiet dignity and a reserved nature, often forming a strong, loyal bond with its owner while maintaining an independent streak. Despite its beauty and noble demeanor, the Sloughi remains one of the lesser-known breeds, its quiet grace a hidden gem within the canine kingdom.

2. English Foxhound

The English Foxhound, a breed synonymous with the traditional British hunt, is characterized by its stamina, robustness, and gentle demeanor. Bred for the rigors of fox hunting, this dog is a paragon of endurance and sociability, thriving in active environments and requiring significant physical exercise. Its amiable nature makes it a wonderful companion, yet the English Foxhound’s popularity in urban settings remains limited, overshadowed by more familiar breeds.

3. Norwegian Lundehund

The Norwegian Lundehund is a marvel of evolutionary adaptation. This small, agile breed was bred for hunting puffins along the Norwegian coast, possessing unique physical traits such as extra toes and the ability to tilt its head backward. These characteristics, fascinating from a biological perspective, make the Lundehund a breed of interest for those curious about canine diversity. However, its specialized nature and rarity contribute to its status as one of the least popular breeds.

4. Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen

Originating from France, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen is a breed known for its tenacity, keen sense of smell, and shaggy, noble appearance. Bred for hunting, this dog showcases remarkable determination and a friendly, outgoing nature. Despite its many admirable qualities, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen remains a breed admired more by enthusiasts and hunters than by the general pet-owning public.

5. Azawakh

The Azawakh, another sighthound on this list, is distinguished by its elegant build and deep, affectionate bonds with its owners. Originating from the Sahel region of Africa, this breed is valued for its speed, grace, and loyalty. While it may capture the hearts of those who know it, the Azawakh’s reserved demeanor and need for regular, vigorous exercise make it a rare sight in typical home settings.

6. Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois is the rarest of the Belgian shepherd dogs, distinguished by its rough, wooly coat and versatile intelligence. Originally bred for herding and guarding, the Laekenois excels in obedience, agility, and as a loyal companion. Despite its many talents, the breed’s rarity and specialized care requirements contribute to its position among the least popular breeds.

7. Finnish Spitz

The Finnish Spitz, with its fox-like appearance and lively temperament, was traditionally used for hunting small game in Finland. Known for its keen senses and vocal nature, this breed is a dedicated family member and a vigilant watchdog. However, the Finnish Spitz’s need for engagement and exercise, along with its distinctive barking, may limit its appeal to the average dog owner.

8. Polish Lowland Sheepdog

The Polish Lowland Sheepdog, characterized by its shaggy coat and intelligent, alert eyes, is a breed of both beauty and brains. Valued for its herding abilities and adaptable nature, this dog makes a wonderful companion for those who can match its energy and need for mental stimulation. Despite these qualities, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is not widely recognized outside of its enthusiast circles.

9. Cesky Terrier

The Cesky Terrier, a small but sturdy breed from the Czech Republic, combines the traits of a terrier with a unique, silky coat and a gentle, accommodating temperament. This breed stands out for its calm and friendly demeanor, contrasting with the high-energy nature typical of other terriers. Bred for hunting in packs, the Cesky Terrier is sociable with both people and other dogs. Its distinctive appearance and amiable nature make it a wonderful family pet. However, its rarity and relative obscurity outside its country of origin have kept it from climbing the ranks of popularity. Despite this, the Cesky Terrier remains a cherished breed among its small but dedicated following, who appreciate its mild manners and affectionate companionship.

10. Canaan Dog

The Canaan Dog, one of the oldest and most historically significant breeds, offers a living link to the past. Originating in the Middle East, this breed was traditionally used for herding and guarding. With a strong survival instinct and a highly adaptable nature, the Canaan Dog is intelligent, loyal, and independent, with a protective demeanor towards its family. Its versatility and resilience make it a capable companion in various roles, from watchdog to family pet. Despite these admirable qualities, the Canaan Dog’s independent streak and need for a job to do mean it is best suited to an experienced dog owner, contributing to its status as one of the least popular breeds.

In conclusion, the list of the least popular dog breeds of 2023, as released by the AKC, reveals not just the preferences of pet owners but also the rich tapestry of canine diversity. These breeds, from the elegant Sloughi to the ancient Canaan Dog, each have unique qualities that make them special. Their histories, physical characteristics, and temperaments offer a glimpse into the wide-ranging roles dogs have played alongside humans. While they may not enjoy the same popularity as other breeds, their uniqueness and rarity make them treasures of the canine world. For those willing to look beyond the familiar, these breeds represent an opportunity to explore new facets of canine companionship and to enjoy the distinct pleasures that come with owning a less common breed.