Special Report

Newest Dog Breeds You've Probably Never Heard Of

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1. Cane corso
> Year recognized: 2010
> Temperament: Affectionate, intelligent, majestic
> Life expectancy: 9-12 years
> Group: Working

Originating in Italy and bred as a guard dog, the Cane corso is described by the AKC as a peerless protector. This dog is 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.

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2. Icelandic sheepdog
> Year recognized: 2010
> Temperament: Friendly, playful, inquisitive
> Life expectancy: 12-14 years
> Group: Herding

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 a 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.

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3. Leonberger
> Year recognized: 2010
> Temperament: Friendly, gentle, playful
> Life expectancy: 9 years
> Group: Working

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.

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4. American English coonhound
> Year recognized: 2011
> Temperament: Sweet, mellow, sociable
> Life expectancy: 11-12 years
> Group: Hound

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.

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5. Cesky terrier
> Year recognized: 2011
> Temperament: Clever, adventurous, family-oriented
> Life expectancy: 12-15 years
> Group: Terrier

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.