Special Report

Newest Dog Breeds You've Probably Never Heard Of

Bigandt_Photography / iStock

Every year, the American Kennel Club, the country’s purebred dog registry, considers new breeds to add to its index. It’s a rigorous vetting process as the AKC has stringent eligibility requirements for full recognition.

Among these, the prospective breed must have a demonstrated U.S. following — that is, here must be a national club with at least 100 members. There also must be a substantial population in this country of at least 300 dogs of the same breed and all with a three-generation pedigree. There are geographic requirements, too. The breed must be found in at least 20 states. Other considerations include observations by AKC field staff, competitions, and specialty shows. The process often takes years.

These requirements largely explain why only 34 new breeds have been recognized by the AKC in the last 10 years. Many of these breeds originated outside of the United States and are already recognized by organizations in other countries. Some of the breeds, such as the Xoloitzcuintli, are ancient and little changed over millennia, but perhaps only recently introduced to this country. Other breeds, such as the miniature American shepherd, really are “new” and have been around for just a few decades.

Most of the newly recognized breeds are working dogs, hunters, and herders, bred for challenging climates and conditions in Scandinavia, Central Europe, and elsewhere. There are dogs especially developed to herd reindeer, and others intended to retrieve puffin birds from remote island cliffs.

A few of the breeds originated in the U.S. and are bred for a specific local purpose, such as the Boykin spaniel, which was bred to hunt ducks in South Carolina’s Wateree River Swamp. Some of the breeds, like the giant Leonberger, almost went extinct as a result of the hardships caused by the two world wars but were revived by the efforts of dedicated breeders.

Before they were recognized by the AKC, two of the breeds on our list had already achieved doggie stardom: a dogue de Bordeaux co-starred with Tom Hanks in the movie “Turner and Hooch,” while a berger Picard appeared in “Because of Winn-Dixie.”

To identify the 34 newest dog breeds, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the dog breeds recognized as registrable in the last 10 years by the American Kennel Club. Information about breed weight is from the AKC.

Click here to see the newest dog breeds you’ve probably never heard of.

Source: olli95 / iStock

34. Beauceron
> Year registered: 2007
> Weight: 70-110 pounds

The Beauceron is a powerful, athletic herding dog of the lupoid, or wolf, type and can weigh up to 110 pounds. It is very active, and needs to be challenged physically and mentally. It is characterized by a black or dark gray coat and red markings.


Source: CaptureLight / iStock

33. Swedish Vallhund
> Year registered: 2007
> Weight: 20-35 pounds

Vallhund means “herding dog” and the breed dates back to the time of the Vikings. It almost went extinct but was revived in the 1940s and first brought to the U.S. in the 1980s. It is similar in appearance to the corgi, but not as stocky.

Source: Bigandt_Photography / iStock

32. Dogue de Bordeaux
> Year registered: 2008
> Weight for males: 110+ pounds
> Weight for females: 99+ pounds

Dogue is French for “mastiff,” and this is a big, muscular breed with a massive head. While it is not aggressive, it is not great with other dogs. Dogue de Bordeaux was featured in the 1989 Tom Hanks’ movie “Turner and Hooch” but was not recognized by the AKC until 2008.

Source: Tim Chilcott / Wikimedia Commons

31. Redbone Coonhound
> Year registered: 2009
> Weight: Proportionate to height

As its name suggests, this is a red-colored hunting dog best suited to rural areas. It is descended from red hounds brought to the U.S. by early settlers from Scotland and Ireland. It is a cold-nosed dog, meaning it is good at following old, or cold, trails.


Source: herreid / iStock

30. Pyrenean Shepherd
> Year registered: 2009
> Weight: 15-30 pounds

The Pyr shep originated in the Pyrenees Mountains and is still used today as a sheep herder. It is extremely devoted to its owner and needs to be kept busy. It comes in rough-faced and smooth-faced varieties that can be born within the same litter.

Source: Jon-Eric Melsæter / Flickr

29. Norwegian Buhund
> Year registered: 2009
> Weight for males: 31-40 pounds
> Weight for females: 26-35 pounds

The buhund is an extremely intelligent herding and guard dog, with a lot of energy, strength, and stamina. It is very obedient and can be trained for police work and to aid the hearing impaired. It is also a good watchdog and likes to bark.


Source: Wavetop / iStock

28. Irish Red and White Setter
> Year registered: 2009
> Weight for males: 42-60 pounds
> Weight for females: 35-50 pounds

Despite its name, this breed’s base color is white, with islands of red. It is a hunting dog and its distinctive coat makes it easier to spot from a distance. It is active, eager to please, and good with children as well as other dogs.

Source: redsidephoto / iStock

27. Boykin Spaniel
> Year registered: 2009
> Weight for males: 30-40 pounds
> Weight for females: 25-35 pounds

The Boykin spaniel is named after L.W. “Whit” Boykin of South Carolina. It was first bred in the early 1900s for hunting ducks and wild turkeys in the Wateree River Swamp. Conditions there required a rugged dog that could retrieve birds on land and water and could fit in a small boat.

Source: Avondell / iStock

26. Bluetick Coonhound
> Year registered: 2009
> Weight for males: 55-80 pounds
> Weight for females: 45-65 pounds

Named for its mottled coat, the bluetick is a sleek, strong, nocturnal hunter with an exceptional nose. It can be challenging as a pet because it needs a job and plenty of exercise. It has a very strong drive to pursue prey, and it likes to bark, especially when in pursuit.


Source: fotojagodka / iStock

25. Leonberger
> Year registered: 2010
> Weight for males: 110-170 pounds
> Weight for females: 90-140 pounds

The Leonberger was popularized by Heinrich Essig of Leonberg, Germany in the 1800s. This very large breed caught the attention of artists and celebrities and was even used in theater productions in the U.S. It almost went extinct after World War I but was revived in Europe and re-established in America in the 1970s and 1980s.

Source: HunterBliss / iStock

24. Icelandic Sheepdog
> Year registered: 2010
> Weight for males: 30 pounds
> Weight for females: 25 pounds

Known as the “Dog of the Vikings,” the Icelandic sheepdog is a Spitz type with a foxy face and friendly expression. Spitz characteristics include pointy ears and bushy tail. The Icelandic sheepdog can have a long or short coat, but both types are thick and weatherproof. A true herding dog, it is athletic and very active.


Source: DevidDO / iStock

23. Cane Corso
> Year registered: 2010
> Weight: Proportionate to height

Originating in Italy and bred as a guard dog, the cane corso is described by the AKC as a peerless protector. Notwithstanding its intimidating appearance, it is also intelligent, loyal, and docile in the company of its owners. However, that docility may not extend to others, and the cane corso requires intensive socialization and training.

Source: Thinkstock

22. Xoloitzcuintli
> Year registered: 2011
> Weight for toy: 10-15 pounds
> Weight for miniature: 15-30 pounds
> Weight for standard: 30-55 pounds

The Xoloitzcuintli was named after an Aztec god — the Aztecs revered the breed and believed it to have healing powers. One of the world’s most ancient breeds, it was actually registered with the AKC from 1887 to 1959 as the “Mexican Hairless” dog, but was dropped because of insufficient numbers being bred and registered. The Xoloitzcuintl was subsequently revived and officially recognized in 2010.

Source: CaptureLight / iStock

21. Norwegian Lundehund
> Year registered: 2011
> Weight: 20-30 pounds

Also known as the Norwegian puffin dog, this breed was originally used to retrieve birds from steep cliffs on remote islands. It not only has extraordinary climbing abilities, but also some unique physical characteristics, including at least six toes on each foot and a remarkably flexible neck that enables it to turn around in narrow caves.


Source: animalinfo / iStock

20. Finnish Lapphund
> Year registered: 2011
> Weight: 33-53 pounds

The Finnish Lapphund is an ancient breed that was used by indigenous people to herd reindeer. It has a tendency to bark, which makes it a good watchdog but also means it requires careful training. The Lapphund is used as a therapy dog and in search and rescue.

Source: IvonneW / iStock

19. Entlebucher Mountain Dog
> Year registered: 2011
> Weight: 55-65 pounds

Originating in Switzerland, the Entlebucher was used to herd cattle in the Alps. It is small, muscular, athletic, and agile. The Entlebucher has a beautiful coat — black with symmetrical white and tan markings — that requires minimum upkeep.


Source: onetouchspark / iStock

18. Cesky Terrier
> Year registered: 2011
> Weight: 14-24 pounds

The Cesky terrier was first bred in 1949 by a Czech geneticist, who started with Scottish and Sealyham terriers. This little hunting dog has a long body and short legs. The Cesky terrier comes in two colors: blue-gray and light brown. It has a lot of facial hair and a long coat that requires regular grooming.

Source: BurnAway / Wikimedia Commons

17. American English Coonhound
> Year registered: 2011
> Weight: 45-65 pounds

Bred to hunt raccoons and foxes, American English coonhounds have been around for centuries. George Washington, an avid fox hunter, may have been the first in the U.S. to have one. They are great hunters and can follow their prey up a tree.

Source: Birute / iStock

16. Treeing Walker Coonhound
> Year registered: 2012
> Weight: 50-70 pounds

The treeing walker coonhound is another dog that was bred to hunt raccoons. In fact, it has been called the “people’s choice” of coonhounds. Its name may be misleading as it is a very strong runner and has a competitive character.


Source: alexei_tm / iStock

15. Russell Terrier
> Year registered: 2012
> Weight: 9-15 pounds

The Russell terrier breed originated in England and was developed in Australia. It is a strong working dog and requires lots of exercise. It is also very intelligent and good at tricks. The Russell Terrier has a weatherproof coat that can be smooth, broken, or rough.

Source: jude / Wikimedia Commons

14. Chinook
> Year registered: 2013
> Weight for males: 55-90 pounds
> Weight for females: 50-65 pounds

The official state dog of New Hampshire, the Chinook was developed as a sled dog by polar explorer Arthur Treadwell Walden in the early 1900s. One of the pups in the first litter was named Chinook, and today all of the members of this rare breed are descended from him.


Source: Emily Ranquist / Shutterstock.com

13. Rat Terrier
> Year registered: 2013
> Weight: 10-25 pounds

The rat terrier was bred to hunt vermin and for farm work. It is energetic and needs exercise. It is intelligent and trainable and does well in agility and obedience events. Its coat has a pied pattern that comes in various colors in combination with white.

Source: Canarian / Wikimedia Commons

12. Portuguese Podengo Pequeno
> Year registered: 2013
> Weight for grande: 44-66 pounds
> Weight for medio: 35-44 pounds

The podengo was bred as a hunting dog in its native Portugal and was well adapted to harsh terrain. It was also used by explorers to rid ships of vermin and to catch game when they made landfall. The breed comes in a “medio” and “grande” size. It can have a wire coat or a smooth coat, the latter more popular historically.

Source: Bigandt_Photography / iStock

11. Coton de Tulear
> Year registered: 2014
> Weight for males: 9-15 pounds
> Weight for females: 8-13 pounds

The coton de Tulear is also known as the “Royal Dog of Madagascar.” Coton is the French word for cotton, which the breed’s white coat resembles, and Tulear is a town in Madagascar. Coton de Tulear is a companion dog, an AKC designation that certifies a dog is able to perform obedience tasks. It is small but sturdy, with an expressive face and a hypoallergenic coat.


Source: volofin / iStock

10. Wirehaired Vizsla
> Year registered: 2014
> Weight for male: 55-65 pounds
> Weight for female: 45-55 pounds

The wirehaired vizsla was first developed in Hungary in the 1930s. Hunters wanted a dog with the traits of the vizsla breed, but heavier and with a wiry coat better suited to rough conditions. It was imported to North America in the 1970s and appealed to sportsmen who wanted a good but different gundog. The breed’s distinguishing features include its beard and eyebrows.

Source: AlexanderKondakov / iStock

9. Boerboel
> Year registered: 2015
> Weight: 150-200 pounds

The Boerboel was developed as a farm dog in South Africa. It is a mastiff type, strong and muscular in appearance, and can weigh up to 200 pounds. It is also dominant, so new owners should have experience handling large dogs.


Source: Darren Brown / iStock

8. Spanish Water Dog
> Year registered: 2015
> Weight for males: 40-49 pounds
> Weight for females: 31-40 pounds

Despite its name, this isn’t really a water dog, but was developed to herd and protect livestock. In fact, it will herd anything that moves — even children! The Spanish water dog has a curly coat that covers its entire body, including its eyes, giving it a resemblance to the poodle.

Source: undefined undefined / iStock

7. Cirneco dell’Etna
> Year registered: 2015
> Weight: 18-27 pounds

The Cirneco dell’Etna is a rabbit-hunting dog found all over Sicily, including the area around the volcano from which it takes its name. It is an ancient breed that has changed little over the years. It has good scent, sight, and hearing and is free from inherited health problems.

Source: Mullinspw / iStock

6. Miniature American Shepherd
> Year registered: 2015
> Weight: 20-40 pounds

The miniature American shepherd was developed in California in the 1960s and was originally called the miniature Australian shepherd. It has been used to herd small stock such as sheep and goats, and its own small size and temperament makes it a good household pet and travel companion.


Source: aerogondo / iStock

5. Lagotto Romagnolo
> Year registered: 2015
> Weight for males: 28.5-35 pounds
> Weight for females: 24-31 pounds

The lagotto romagnolo originated in Italy, where it has been used to hunt waterfowl and truffles. Its hunting skills mean it has also been used in search and rescue. The lagotto romagnolo can be shy, so socialization is very important, particularly during the early weeks of its life. As a working dog it needs regular mental stimulation and physical exercise.

Source: ernstboese / iStock

4. Berger Picard
> Year registered: 2015
> Weight: 50-70 pounds

The berger Picard is one of the oldest French sheepdog breeds. It needs a lot of exercise, but should be kept on a leash as it has a vigorous prey drive. A berger Picard was featured in the movie “Because of Winn-Dixie” and the Berger Picard Club of North America was formed shortly after the film’s premiere in 2005.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

3. Sloughi
> Year registered: 2016
> Weight: 35-50 pounds

The sloughi, also known as the Arabian greyhound, is a sighthound breed that originated in North Africa. Similar dogs were prized in ancient Egypt and given as tributes to the Pharaohs. The sloughi is known for its speed, agility, and endurance, and it is relentless in pursuing prey.

Source: Petful / Flickr

2. Pumi
> Year registered: 2016
> Weight for males: 27-29 pounds
> Weight for females:22-24 pounds

The pumi was originally bred in Hungary to herd sheep and semi-wild livestock in rugged conditions. It is very energetic and excels at dog sports. It doesn’t shed, but it does need regular brushing and combing. The pumi is relatively rare in the U.S., where only a few litters are born each year.

Source: Thinkstock

1. American Hairless Terrier
> Year registered: 2016
> Weight: 12-16 pounds

The newest breed on our list first appeared in 1972, when a hairless puppy was born in a litter of rat terriers in Louisiana. A breeding program led ultimately to registration by the AKC in 2016. In fact, it’s the first hairless breed to have originated in the U.S. The lack of hair means it’s not suitable for hunting or ratting, but it does make an excellent watchdog.

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