Unique Dog Breeds – Characteristics Not Seen In Other Breeds

What makes these 14 unique dog breeds so unusual? To answer that we should define “unique”.  Unique, as the dictionary tells us is “Being the only one of a kind:  Unlike anything else.”

All dogs are unique and anyone who has ever owned a dog or two knows that all too well.  Even closely related dogs, dogs from the same dog breed, or even two similar breeds will never be the same.

Own a pack of 15 dachshunds and you will have 15 truly unique personalities even though all be blood relatives.  Dogs are just like people in this regard.

Unique Dog Breeds

Most of these unique dog breeds have something about them that sets them apart from the norm.  Whether it is their appearance, a special ability, or a quirk of nature, these breeds are unique if not rare and are likely dogs you may never have heard of. 

Here are those unusual traits I found.  Can you guess the breed?  Can’t stand the suspense, just scroll down and begin reading about these 14 unique dog breeds.

Fourteen Unique Dog Breeds:  Traits:  Guess the Dog…

  1.      Bizarre Looking Nose

2.      The First Dog Bred in the U.S.

3.      Peculiar Sounding “Bark.”

4.      Big Game Hunter

5.      Dogs that Sport a Mohawk

6.      A Lamb on a Leash

7.      A dog Hidden under a Mop of Dreadlocks

8.      A dog with Six Toes on Each Foot

9.      A Scruffy Looking Mutt that’s Really a Purebred Dog

10.   Renowned Otter Hunter

11.   Truffles Anyone?

12.   A Vegetarian Dog

13.   Towering Six Foot Tall Dog

14.   Is it a Wolf, is it a Dog, no, it’s  a Wolfdog.

14 Unique Dog Breeds

A Dog with a Bizarre Looking Nose:  Catalburun

Catalburun: Dog with a Split Nose

So the Catalburun with its split nose is not entirely unique, but only three breeds in the entire world show this trait including the Pachon Navarro and Andean Tiger-hound.

They are native to Turkey and are nearly unheard of outside of the country. This special nose is likely a genetic mutation that has been passed down through close interbreeding practices.  The thought was that two noses would be better than one when it comes to hunting ability. Is this true? 

I couldn’t find any scientific studies that have been done on these dogs, so much of this is hearsay.  Whatever you believe, you have to admit, this is a unique trait in the dog world.

First Dog Bred in the U.S.:   Catahoula Leopard dog

Catahoula Leopard Dog

First Dog Bred in the U.S.?  Maybe. There is one theory that suggests that these dogs descended from “war dogs” brought to Louisiana in the 16th century by Hernando de Soto.  Any dogs left behind by the explorers interbred by the natives’ domestic dogs.

It is equally possible that these dogs developed in the 1800s when French settlers arrived in Louisiana with their Beauceron dogs and bred with local dogs.  You be the judge.

Peculiar Sounding Bark: New Guinea Singing Dog

New Guinea Singing Dog

Sometimes called the “Stone Age dog” this breed is probably one of the most primitive breeds in the world. They may be older than the dingo and most are still in the wild.

Many things make this breed unusual, but their strange vocalization is rightly unique in the canine world.  Their sound is similar to a howl, and if put together in a pack, the sounds that each dog makes can be different, almost harmonious.

They are still considered to be wild animals and are not recommended for family pets.

Big Game Hunter:  Karelian Bear Dog

Karelian Bear Dog

As the national treasure of Finland, these dogs are known for their ability to hunt aggressive game such as bears, moose, and wild boar.   

Today, the Karelian Bear Dogs have been used for bear control at in Yosemite and Glacier National Parks in the U.S. and with Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Here is a great example of a dog with an ancient ability still being used in the 21st century for the same job. That in itself might qualify this dog to be on our unique dog breeds list.

They have never caught on as being a good companion dog because of the potential for aggression and their territorial tendencies. This would not be a good choice for a novice dog owner.

Dogs that Sport a Mohawk:  Cambodian Razorback

Cambodian Razorback

Perhaps a breed in its infancy, the Cambodian Razorback is little known outside its home in Cambodia. There are other ridgeback dogs around, including the Rhodesian Ridgeback from Africa and the Thai Ridgeback, but this one’s back ridge of hair is the most pronounced.

Being developed by the Berger family, they received their name from the breeder because locals didn’t have a name for them.

They are friendly and good-natured with their family, but protective and territorial when it comes to strangers. They can be loving, but are not recommended for first-time owners.

A Lamb on a Leash:  Bedlington Terrier

A Lamb on a Leash: Bedlington Terrier

March may come in like a lion and out like a lamb, this lamb-ish animal is a dog through and through. First bred to kill rats, badgers, fox, and even otters in nineteenth-century England, this is one of the fastest terriers. 

The curly coat was perfect for keeping the dog comfortable and protected from the weather while they chased their prey.  What a surprise when owners found out that this amazing hair could be bathed and brushed and trimmed into something resembling a lamb. 

Today, the Bedlington Terrier is an loyal affectionate companion, They can also double as a watchdog and do well with children. As unique dog breeds go, this one can honestly say that it is the only one that looks like a baby sheep.

A Dog Hidden Under a Mop of Dreadlocks:  Komondor

A Dog Hidden Under a Mop of Dreadlocks: Komondor

He may look like a mop, but under all those dreadlocks is a dog.  The Rastafarian-style coat hangs in long mats, called cords, which are created when a curly undercoat gets trapped by a rougher outer coat.

The cords continue to grow as the dog grows and can reach and then drag on the grown. This coat once protected the Komondor from predators while keeping him dry and warm.  

This breed is not the only one with dreadlocks, but the Bergamasco has the most  interesting coat.

A Dog with Six Toes:  Norwegian Lunderhund

A Dog with Six Toes: Norwegian Lunderhund
The Paw of a Norwegian Lunderhund

Here is a unique dog breed, not only the only breed that has six toes but perhaps the world’s only double-jointed canine.  He can bend his head backward so that the top of his head touches his back. 

Don’t try to train your dog to do this trick.  The Lunderhund was once bred to catch puffins off the sharp rocky cliffs near Norway’s Lofoten Island, and this ability took generations to develop.

A Scruffy-looking Mutt that’s Actually a Purebred Dog: Berger Picard

A Scruffy-looking Mutt that’s Actually a Purebred Dog: Berger Picard

This charmingly mangy looking dog may look like a mutt, but in fact, the Berger Picard claims a French heritage as noble as the next. First bred as sheepdogs, they almost disappeared after the ravages of World War II.

Luckily enough breed fanciers were able to re-establish their numbers in France and soon the world took a notice of these cute dogs.  They are quiet, loyal and athletic and with a clownish side, they make an excellent companion.

Those that have seen the movie, Because of Winn-Dixie, know that the dog used in this film was a Berger Picard.

Renowned Otter Hunter: Otterhound

Renowned Otter Hunter: Otterhound

This is an odd member of the hound group first developed to hunt otters in England, even though the breed may have originated in France because it closely resembles the French Vendeen Hound. 

Their history dates back to 1212 when King John kept a pack of Otterhounds to search out otters who were depleting the fish in local streams.

Today he does well with other dogs, loves to hunt and swim that can make a quiet companion.  They do well with children but may need extra time when training.

Truffles Anyone:  Lagotto Romagnolo

Truffles Anyone: Lagotto Romagnolo

Here is a very sweet ordinary looking dog with an unusual occupation.  They have an inborn instinct to hunt swim and retrieve making them an excellent water and hunting dog, but early on, people found that they could also train them to look for underground tubers called truffles, a very expensive delicacy.

Today, they are very loyal and loving and easy to train, making them an excellent choice for a family pet.

Biggest Dog on AKC List – The Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound

At up to 35 inches at the withers, this is the tallest dog breed on the American Kennel Club list, being slightly taller than a Great Dane. The modern day Irish Wolfhound is actually a relatively recent recent re-creation of the ancient Big Dogs of Ireland used for hunting Irish Elk and then Wolves.

Genetic testing has shown that these dogs are a very close replica to the size and appearance of the original breed, but with the DNA from the Scottish Deerhound, Great Dane and Greyhound.

This breed is very calm, dignified, and walks around with an air of aloofness. But they love human company, and make great (if very big) family dogs. They live up to their motto – “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked”.

A Vegetarian Dog – the Bakarwal

 Also known as the Kashmiri Sheepdog, the Himalayan Sheepdog or the Kashmiri Mastiff, this old breed is a working and herding dog.

They are found in the Pir Panjal mountain range of the Kashmir Himalayas, where it has been bred by the Gujjar nomadic tribes as a livestock guardian dog and settlement protector.

Peculiar for being vegetarian, these dogs do not eat meat but are fed milk and bread made of maize. The rationale behind this diet was to keep these dogs from attacking the sheep they are guarding.

Towering Six Foot Tall Dog:  Caucasian Ovcharka

Caucasian Ovcharka

Also known as the Russian Shepherd in Europe, Russian Bear Dog or the Caucasian Mountain Dog in America, these are one of the oldest and largest of the Mastiff type dogs. These dogs are not for the faint of heart. 

Only highly experienced dominant type owners should even consider this breed. They are big, very aggressive, and territorial. They are extremely loyal to their family and will be protective, but are liable to attack anything else, even your children’s friends.

A Wolf?  A Dog?  No, It’s a Wolfdog:  Czechoslovakian Vlck

Czechoslovakian Vlck

Dogs and wolves are capable of breeding and conceiving viable offspring, but this breed was the result of a planned experiment that was done in 1955 in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic).

They were looking to create an attack dog for military operations that would have the trainability of the German Shepherd but the physical build, strength, and stamina of the Wolf.  They used a working line of German Shepherd Dogs and Carpathian wolves.

These dogs were later used for search and rescue and now compete in agility, tracking, herding, obedience, and drafting.

Do you have some unique dog breeds to add to this page?

We’re always on the look out for something new and different.  Add your breed below.  Don’t forget to upload a few photos.  If it is not a “real” breed, please let people know but if the breed is currently under development, that is fine.

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