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Definitive rankings: least popular dog breeds in America

  • Definitive rankings: least popular dog breeds in America
    1/ Sabine.schlenkrich // Wikimedia Commons

    Definitive rankings: least popular dog breeds in America

    Choosing a loyal companion is one of the most important decisions a pet owner can make. Each year the American Kennel Club keeps track of which dog breeds are gaining in popularity in the United States, and which ones are falling out of favor. The AKC only analyzes data dealing with purebred, registered breeds, so sadly, your sweet mixed breed pal isn't counted in the final tally. Still, the list seems to include every kind of dog imaginable, from tiny lap dogs, to mighty hunters, to prime show dogs. The sheer amount of breeds that are ranked is a reminder of the diverse taste of dog owners in America, and the many different types of pups that we love.

    There’s a dog out there for everyone, and if you need proof, then look no further than the 95 different breeds that are the least popular, but still unimaginably cute, as reported by the AKC.

    Click here to see the pups who made the top of list.

  • #95. Retrievers (Flat-Coated)
    2/ Caroline Hewison // Wikimedia Commons

    #95. Retrievers (Flat-Coated)

    2017 rank: #96 (down 7 spots from 2016)

    One of the oldest Retriever breeds these dogs make lively companions thanks to their slow maturation rate. If you're looking for a dog that will retain its puppy spirit then this may be the breed for you.

  • #94. Rat Terriers
    3/ Macboots // WIkimedia Commons

    #94. Rat Terriers

    2017 rank: #97 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    Yes they hunt rats but these little dogs are also born stars. Between starring in Shirley Temple films and inspiring documentaries this is one breed with more than its share of devoted fans.

  • #93. Spaniels (Boykin)
    4/ jetsonphoto // Wikimedia Commons

    #93. Spaniels (Boykin)

    2017 rank: #98 (up 12 spots from 2016)

    These dogs were bred in South Carolina specifically to ride with hunters on small boats in order to hunt game. As a result Boykin Spaniels are loyal energetic and love to be around people.

  • #92. Fox Terriers (Wire)
    5/ Walker Whited // Wikimedia Commons

    #92. Fox Terriers (Wire)

    2017 rank: #99 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    Wire Fox Terriers hold a record 13 Westminster Kennel Club Bests in Show. They're poised smart champions that are eager to learn.

  • #91. Leonbergers
    6/ Tanais Fox // Wikimedia Commons

    #91. Leonbergers

    2017 rank: #100 (down 5 spots from 2016)

    Literally bred to be owned by royals Leonbergers are regal animals. Some of their most famous owners include King Edward VII Napoleon III and Tsar Alexander II.

  • #90. Tibetan Terriers
    7/ Davor Cengija // Flickr

    #90. Tibetan Terriers

    2017 rank: #101 (down 10 spots from 2016)

    You've heard of gifting people flowers but if you really want to give good luck apparently Tibetan Terriers are the way to go. While these cute dogs aren't actually terriers at all they do have a long history of being symbols of good luck for travelers.

  • #89. Borzois
    8/ Cunnington A // Wikimedia Commons

    #89. Borzois

    2017 rank: #102 (down 4 spots from 2016)

    Once used to locate wolves in Russia Borzois stand 32 inches from feet to shoulder. This large but sleek breed has exceptional vision that enables them to spot prey quickly and from a far distance.

  • #88. Belgian Tervuren
    9/ Mwinda // Wikimedia Commons

    #88. Belgian Tervuren

    2017 rank: #103 (up 4 spots from 2016)

    A Belgian Tervuren won the first ever AKC herding championship which says so much about this breed's work ethic and stamina. While they certainly make great pets these animals are also superior working dogs that continue to work alongside the police in Belgium.

  • #87. Setters (Gordon)
    10/ Scarlett2308 // Flickr

    #87. Setters (Gordon)

    2017 rank: #104 (unchanged from 2016)

    The largest and rarest of the setters the Gordon is likely to get along with every member of the family including your cat. However due to their rarity finding one of these pups usually requires patience.

  • #86. Norwich Terriers
    11/ H. Gisin // Wikimedia Commons

    #86. Norwich Terriers

    2017 rank: #105 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    While the Norwich Terrier’s love of roaming makes it a bad idea to let them off the leash in a wide open space it would be a shame not to nurture their love of the outdoors. Norwich Terriers tend to excel in both Earthdog competitions and agility training.
     

  • #85. Silky Terriers
    12/ island silks // Wikimedia Commons

    #85. Silky Terriers

    2017 rank: #106 (down 6 spots from 2016)

    These tiny champions are often found in show dog competitions but they’re not just there because of their shiny coats. The Silky Terrier is an accomplished herder tracker and fly ball competitor.
     

  • #84. Neapolitan Mastiffs
    13/ Tim Dawson // Flickr

    #84. Neapolitan Mastiffs

    2017 rank: #107 (down 8 spots from 2016)

    As one of the largest dog breeds in the world Neapolitan Mastiffs can weigh up to 200 pounds. Because of their size it's recommended that training starts early—otherwise these big animals will rule the roost.

  • #83. Japanese Chin
    14/ Tom Mooring // Wikimedia Commons

    #83. Japanese Chin

    2017 rank: #108 (unchanged from 2016)

    In the past Japanese Chins were found in the palaces of Japan and China where they even occasionally had servants of their own. Their pampered natures persist to this day making them the perfect breed for someone looking for a companion dog with an appetite for being spoiled.

  • #82. Welsh Terriers
    15/ Mikespooner // Wikimedia Commons

    #82. Welsh Terriers

    2017 rank: #109 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    The Welsh Terrier is inseparable from the history of Wales. The breed was first mentioned roughly 1000 years ago in the country’s history but the pups didn’t receive their name until 1855. Originally bred to hunt fox and rodents the Welsh Terrier is more likely these days to be found working the crowd at a dog show than sniffing out prey.

  • #81. Schipperkes
    16/ Wikimedia Commons

    #81. Schipperkes

    2017 rank: #110 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    Schipperke means “little captain” in Flemish—an appropriate name for a breed that loves the water. Historically these pups were barge dogs that spent most of their time on the water with their owners.

  • #80. Spinoni Italiani
    17/ Caroline Granycome // Wikimedia Commons

    #80. Spinoni Italiani

    2017 rank: #111 (down 6 spots from 2016)

    With a name that means "prickly" you would be forgiven for expecting these dogs to have a temperament. However these hunting dogs earned the name due to their prickly coat not their attitude.

  • #79. Toy Fox Terriers
    18/ Terry Best // Wikimedia Commons

    #79. Toy Fox Terriers

    2017 rank: #112 (up 4 spots from 2016)

    Like most terriers this tiny breed was originally used as a ratter. However their eagerness to learn and trainability has led to the Toy Fox Terrier being suitable for another profession—clown assistant. Their boundless energy and jumping skills have made them a circus favorite.

  • #78. Pointers
    19/ Anne Hornyak // Wikimedia Commons

    #78. Pointers

    2017 rank: #113 (up 4 spots from 2016)

    Pointers never go out of style. Need proof? Head to your local art museum where you'll no doubt find portraits of this superior hunting breed that date back to ancient Egypt.

  • #77. Irish Terriers
    20/ Sini Merikallio // Wikimedia Commons

    #77. Irish Terriers

    2017 rank: #114 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    The Irish Terrier is a true farm dog. They can do it all—hunt watch over flocks and protect their families. They're such adept workers that they were used as messengers and watchdogs during WWI.

  • #76. Miniature Bull Terriers
    21/ Molenaar // Wikimedia Commons

    #76. Miniature Bull Terriers

    2017 rank: #115 (up 5 spots from 2016)

    Once these dogs came in three distinct sizes—toy miniature and standard. However the toy variety never quite caught on. Just because you can’t get an extra small bull terrier that shouldn't stop you from choosing a miniature to be part of your family. These dogs make excellent companions.

  • #75. Black Russian Terriers
    22/ Carlyleshl // Wikimedia Commons

    #75. Black Russian Terriers

    2017 rank: #116 (up 3 spots from 2016)

    This breed has only been in the United States since the 1980s. Before they made their way to the states the dogs worked alongside the Soviet military in Russia.

  • #74. Lagotti Romagnoli
    23/ Rdo01 // Wikimedia Commons

    #74. Lagotti Romagnoli

    2017 rank: #117 (down 3 spots from 2016)

    There is only one purebred breed of dog recognized for their truffle finding skills and that breed is the Lagotti Romagnoli. The dogs are used all around the Italian countryside to find the delectable mushrooms.

  • #73. American Eskimo Dogs
    24/ Ben Lunsford // Wikimedia Commons

    #73. American Eskimo Dogs

    2017 rank: #118 (up 4 spots from 2016)

    When it comes to trainability this breed is at the top of the class. They are the first known breed to learn how to walk a tightrope which earned them a reputation as circus dogs in the 19th century. While you don't have to train your American Eskimo dog for the circus the breed does seem to thrive on learning new things.

  • #72. Parson Russell Terriers
    25/ Sadnes // Wikimedia Commons

    #72. Parson Russell Terriers

    2017 rank: #119 (down 10 spots from 2016)

    In 2003 the Parson Russell Terrier was acknowledged as a separate breed from the Jack Russell but the two types of terriers are intrinsically linked. Both breeds are known for their energy and stamina and they share a creator in the English priest John Russell.
     

  • #71. Belgian Sheepdogs
    26/ Philco Ford // Wikimedia Commons

    #71. Belgian Sheepdogs

    2017 rank: #120 (up 9 spots from 2016)

    Belgian Sheepdogs served alongside soldiers in WWI and WWII with their popularity increasing after the first war in particular. They are incredibly loyal dogs but they also love the thrill of the chase. This means they require a yard that's fenced in to keep them from scaring cyclists or runners.

  • #70. Tibetan Spaniels
    27/ Ladykransteer // Wikimedia Commons

    #70. Tibetan Spaniels

    2017 rank: #121 (down 3 spots from 2016)

    A favorite among Tibetan monks the Tibetan spaniel was sometimes used as a guard dog for monasteries. This instinct hasn’t gone away over the years—Tibetan spaniels still alert their owners when someone is approaching their territory.
     

  • #69. Fox Terriers (Smooth)
    28/ Pixabay

    #69. Fox Terriers (Smooth)

    2017 rank: #122 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    Fox Terriers are still working on gaining popularity in America. The feisty dogs have been members of the AKC since the 1800s but they're still hard to find stateside.

  • #68. Salukis
    29/ Yohannvt // Wikimedia Commons

    #68. Salukis

    2017 rank: #123 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    Arab tribesmen used to call Salukis a "gift from God." These sighthounds are true beauties who move quickly and are poised enough to have been considered the royal dogs of Egypt.

  • #67. Boerboels
    30/ Pixabay

    #67. Boerboels

    2017 rank: #124 (up 7 spots from 2016)

    Boerboels are large dogs that can weigh up to 200 pounds. They were bred to be watchdogs but they've also been used to hunt large game in South Africa.

  • #66. Bearded Collies
    31/ Unique Andreas // Wikimedia Commons

    #66. Bearded Collies

    2017 rank: #125 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    The history of the Bearded Collie is intrinsically tied to farm life. These dogs were originally bred to herd sheep but they also have friendly personalities that have made their transition to family pets a smooth one.

  • #65. American Hairless Terriers
    32/ Nyaah // Wikimedia Commons

    #65. American Hairless Terriers

    2017 rank: #126 (down 20 spots from 2016)

    The American Hairless Terrier is the first hairless breed to originate in the United States. These hypoallergenic dogs make great family pets but they require a few things most breeds don’t—namely sunscreen in the summer and a cozy sweater in the winter to keep them warm.

  • #64. Briards
    33/ Dardeche // Wikimedia Commons

    #64. Briards

    2017 rank: #127 (up 5 spots from 2016)

    Briards have a fascinating history as helper dogs. During WWI they did important jobs like carry ammunition serve as lookouts while soldiers slept and worked with the Red Cross.

  • #63. Norfolk Terriers
    34/ Flickr User // WIkimedia Commons

    #63. Norfolk Terriers

    2017 rank: #128 (up 6 spots from 2016)

    The Norfolk Terrier is one of the smallest dogs around but they don’t let their size stop them from being fierce hunters. Not only were these dogs bred to be ratters they were also known to run in packs for fox hunts.
     

  • #62. Kerry Blue Terriers
    35/ Hilarmont // Wikimedia Commons

    #62. Kerry Blue Terriers

    2017 rank: #129 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    Kerry blue terriers have Irish hearts. Not only do the dogs hail from the island they're said to possess a uniquely Irish spirit. In short these pups are mischievous loyal and have a nearly boundless sense of energy.

  • #61. Black and Tan Coonhounds
    36/ Wikimedia Commons

    #61. Black and Tan Coonhounds

    2017 rank: #130 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    Like all coonhounds the Black and Tan is a working dog with a love of hunting raccoons but the breed doesn't discriminate. They will happily take on game both large and small as long as they get to put their superior sense of smell to use.

  • #60. Treeing Walker Coonhounds
    37/ Kingkong954 // Wikimedia Commons

    #60. Treeing Walker Coonhounds

    2017 rank: #131 (up 6 spots from 2016)

    First bred in Virginia these dogs are southern hunters through and through. Once the dog trees its prey—usually a raccoon—it will let out a distinctive bark to let its owner know where to find supper.

  • #59. Bluetick Coonhounds
    38/ Mark Riordan // Wikimedia Commons

    #59. Bluetick Coonhounds

    2017 rank: #132 (down 11 spot from 2016)

    During the day these dogs are happy to laze about. However once they're on a hunt for a raccoon or following a scent during a search and rescue mission these pups are relentless.

  • #58. Spaniels (Welsh Springer)
    39/ Craige Moore // Flickr

    #58. Spaniels (Welsh Springer)

    2017 rank: #133 (down 10 spots from 2016)

    Originally bred to hunt prey that preferred to stay hidden the Welsh Springer Spaniel can seem tireless. These stubborn but adorable pooches still maintain their hunting spirit and they love to be near their owners as much as possible.

  • #57. English Toy Spaniels
    40/ charlyronni // Wikimedia Commons

    #57. English Toy Spaniels

    2017 rank: #134 (down 4 spots from 2016)

    The history of the English Toy Spaniel is linked to English nobility. Queen Elizabeth I had an English Toy Spaniel and her doctor reportedly called it “the comforter.” Their early popularity may have led to them becoming one of the first toy breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886.
     

  • #56. Manchester Terriers
    41/ Roger Ahlbran // Wikimedia Commons

    #56. Manchester Terriers

    2017 rank: #135 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    In Victorian England these spry dogs were known as the gentleman’s terrier. While he may have earned the name due to his popularity among the upper class this is one breed with manners to spare. With proper training the Manchester Terrier is eager to learn and be a lifelong companion for their lucky owner.
     

  • #55. German Pinschers
    42/ Oskar Svensson // Wikimedia Commons

    #55. German Pinschers

    2017 rank: #136 (up 10 spots from 2016)

    German Pinschers were almost entirely wiped out during the wars. However one man named Werner Jung kept the breed from going extinct and he's responsible for their continued popularity in modern times.

  • #54. Australian Terriers
    43/ PxHere

    #54. Australian Terriers

    2017 rank: #137 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    The Australian Terrier has been called the clown of the dog world and for good reason. These sweet dogs want nothing more than play and keep their owners happy. Despite their good nature this is a scrappy breed with a history of working on farms.

  • #53. Lakeland Terriers
    44/ Pixabay

    #53. Lakeland Terriers

    2017 rank: #138 (up 7 spots from 2016)

    Lakeland Terriers are becoming increasingly rare. These furry dogs once worked the lake districts in England and they are notorious burrowers. The first president of the Lakeland Terrier Association claimed that he had a Lakeland Terrier that once chased an otter into a 23 foot burrow (and had to be rescued as a result).

  • #52. Redbone Coonhounds
    45/ Dan Harrelson // Wikimedia Commons

    #52. Redbone Coonhounds

    2017 rank: #139 (up 4 spots from 2016)

    As their name implies these dogs were developed by American settlers to hunt raccoons. They were instrumental in tracking the small mammals that kept pioneers fed as they moved toward the west and south.

  • #51. Spaniels (Clumber)
    46/ Lara // Wikimedia Commons

    #51. Spaniels (Clumber)

    2017 rank: #140 (up 4 spots from 2016)

    Prince Albert and King Edward VII both loved Clumber Spaniels. Thanks to their high-profile owners they became a favorite among the British upper class.

  • #50. Beaucerons
    47/ Stefan Schmitz // Wikimedia Commons

    #50. Beaucerons

    2017 rank: #141 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    These French shepherd dogs have worked alongside the military and police force for years. They're calm steady animals that were even used by the Germans to infiltrate British trenches during WWI.

  • #49. Puli
    48/ Elf // Wikimedia Commons

    #49. Puli

    2017 rank: #142 (up 17 spots from 2016)

    One misconception that has haunted the bright Puli is that they have trouble with their eyesight. The truth is that if their unruly mane is allowed to grow too long it will obstruct their vision. As long as you keep your Puli well-groomed their eyesight shouldn't be a problem but keeping up with the energetic breed might just be.

  • #48. Xoloitzcuintli
    49/ Alfredo and Sara Aguirre // Flickr

    #48. Xoloitzcuintli

    2017 rank: #143 (down 4 spots from 2016)

    This breed may not have a name that rolls off the tongue but they are the oldest dog breed in America. These hairless pups are famously warm; in the past their ailing owners would cuddle with them to help alleviate pains.

  • #47. Icelandic Sheepdogs
    50/ Veronica Druk // BY-SA 3.0

    #47. Icelandic Sheepdogs

    2017 rank: #144 (up 9 spots from 2016)

    Iceland's only native dog breed is also one of the world's oldest. The breed's origin can be traced back as far as 8000 B.C.

  • #46. Spaniels (Field)
    51/ Pleple2000 // BY-SA 3.0

    #46. Spaniels (Field)

    2017 rank: #145 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    These dogs were primarily bred to be show dogs and pets. Their reputation as a superior companion remains unchallenged.

  • #45. Berger Picards
    52/ Leanam // Public Domain

    #45. Berger Picards

    2017 rank: #146 (down 5 spots from 2016)

    Because of their unique coats these dogs made perfect smugglers. They were reportedly used to smuggle tobacco and matches across the Franco-Belgian border according to picards.us. Furry pouches of tobacco would be strapped to shaved dogs who would then go unnoticed as they moved the contraband across the border.

  • #44. Affenpinschers
    53/ Dean Jarvey // Wikimedia Commons

    #44. Affenpinschers

    2017 rank: #147 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    The French describe the Affenpinscher as “diablotin moustachu”—mustached little devil. Don’t worry their nickname is an affectionate one that has more to do with their coats than their personalities.
     

  • #43. Spanish Water Dogs
    54/ Perrodeaguas // Wikimedia Commons

    #43. Spanish Water Dogs

    2017 rank: #148 (up 14 spots from 2016)

    Technically this breed is a herder not a sporting dog. These bright dogs are easy to train and quickly pick up on herd movements.

  • #42. Swedish Vallhunds
    55/ Matt Lemmon // Wikimedia Commons

    #42. Swedish Vallhunds

    2017 rank: #149 (up 14 spots from 2016)

    These Corgi relatives have a distinct feature that's an uncommon in most breeds—it's hard to know what kind of tail they'll have. Some Swedish Vallhunds are born with nubs others have long tails and some are born without any tail at all.

  • #41. Sealyham Terriers
    56/ Dr. Sabine Schumann // Wikimedia Commons

    #41. Sealyham Terriers

    2017 rank: #150 (up 5 spots from 2016)

    These white terriers were bred specifically to hunt small game like badgers otters and pheasants. Even their white coats played a role in their job as excellent hunting companions because it made them stand out in landscapes full of brown and gray hues. Just because these dogs were bred to hunt that doesn’t mean they can’t become accustomed to a glamorous lifestyle—Sealyham terriers have won best in show from the Westminster Kennel Club four times.

  • #40. Bedlington Terriers
    57/ Elyssa Albert // Wikicommons

    #40. Bedlington Terriers

    2017 rank: #151 (down 13 spots from 2016)

    Known best for their distinctive sheep-like style Bedlington terriers look like cuddly toys. Looks are deceiving in this case—these dogs are fast hearty hunters who love to track rabbits.

  • #39. Entlebucher Mountain Dogs
    58/ Ziegelhausen // Wikimedia Commons

    #39. Entlebucher Mountain Dogs

    2017 rank: #152 (up 9 spots from 2016)

    Entlebucher Mountain Dogs can most often be found working in the mountains of Switzerland where they originate from. A cousin of the Bernese Mountain Dog it can be difficult to tell the two breeds apart.

  • #38. Tibetan Mastiffs
    59/ Kjunstorm

    #38. Tibetan Mastiffs

    2017 rank: #153 (down 18 spots from 2016)

    It's important to socialize this mighty breed early. Tibetan Mastiffs are extremely territorial and wary of strangers—so if their owners want them to play well with others they should get them used to a busy house early in life.

  • #37. Setters (Irish Red and White)
    60/ Attribution-SA 3.0

    #37. Setters (Irish Red and White)

    2017 rank: #154 (down 12 spots from 2016)

    Irish Setters retain their puppy spirit longer than most dogs due to a slow rate of maturation. That means that even though they make excellent hunters they may require patience when training.

  • #36. Wirehaired Vizslas
    61/ Noveczki Katalin // Wikimedia Commons

    #36. Wirehaired Vizslas

    2017 rank: #155 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    Vizslas are incredibly trainable and a breed that excels in discipline. Not only are they the first breed to become an American Kennel Club quintuple champion they're also one of the TSA's top three preferred bomb-sniffing dogs.

  • #35. Greyhounds
    62/ AngMoKio // BY-SA 3.0

    #35. Greyhounds

    2017 rank: #156 (down 5 spots from 2016)

    The quintessential race dogs Greyhounds are known for their speed above all else. Surprisingly these fast animals aren't all about the speed. Given the chance they're happy to lounge around the house just like other breeds.

  • #34. Kuvaszok
    63/ Erdelyi kopo // Wikimedia Commons

    #34. Kuvaszok

    2017 rank: #157 (up 8 spots from 2016)

    Hailing from Hungry these dogs have a famous owner—King Matthais I. The troubled king is believed to have trusted his beloved Kuvasz more than any human in his court.

  • #33. Glen of Imaal Terriers
    64/ Kindall // Creative Commons

    #33. Glen of Imaal Terriers

    2017 rank: #158 (up 22 spots from 2016)

    If not for the Irish Rebellion these little pups might not exist. When Queen Elizabeth gave the Flemish land for helping her squash an Irish uprising in the late 1500s the men brought their hounds with them. Those hounds ended up breeding with the dogs native to Ireland and these fluffballs were the result.

  • #32. Portuguese Podengo Pequenos
    65/ Podengo // Wikimedia Commons

    #32. Portuguese Podengo Pequenos

    2017 rank: #159 (up 1 spot from 2016)

    The official dog of Portugal the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno was once commonly found on the ships of Medieval Portuguese explorers. These days these small dogs can still be keen hunters but they’re happy being their owner’s best friend as well.

  • #31. Petits Bassets Griffons Vendeens
    66/ Pleple2000 // BY-SA 3.0

    #31. Petits Bassets Griffons Vendeens

    2017 rank: #160 (down 12 spots from 2016)

    Each word in this French breed's name is relevant to the description of this pack dog. They are small dogs with short legs and wiry coats that come from the Vendeens region of France.

  • #30. Spaniels (Sussex)
    67/ PlePle2000 // Wikimedia Commons

    #30. Spaniels (Sussex)

    2017 rank: #161 (up 11 spot from 2016)

    Sussex Spaniels are talkers for a good reason. Because their short legs keep them so low to the ground they bark and make other noises to alert hunters to their whereabouts.

  • #29. Pumi
    68/ TD // Wikicommons

    #29. Pumi

    2017 rank: #162 (first time on list became AKC registered in 2016)

    Pumis are relative newcomers in terms of the AKC. They only became registered in 2016 and 2017 marked their first year on the list. These adorable little herders are sure to become a favorite among dog owners in no time.

  • #28. Komondorok
    69/ David Blaine // Wikimedia Commons

    #28. Komondorok

    2017 rank: #163 (up 14 spots from 2016)

    There's just no getting around the fact that a Komondor's fur looks an awful lot like a mop. But there's a good reason for that: their coats act as camouflage so that they can blend in with sheep and surprise any wolves that get too close.

  • #27. Spaniels (Irish Water)
    70/ Pleple 2000 // BY-SA 3.0

    #27. Spaniels (Irish Water)

    2017 rank: #164 (down 14 spots from 2016)

    The tallest of all the Spaniels Irish Water Spaniels are adept swimmers with water-repellent fur. These dogs are known for being downright clownish despite their working roots.

  • #26. Ibizan Hounds
    71/ Dannydulai // BY-SA 3.0

    #26. Ibizan Hounds

    2017 rank: #165 (down 13 spots from 2016)

    Ibizan Hounds were once owned by Egyptian pharaohs but that doesn't mean they won't be right at home in your less-than-royal abode. These athletic dogs make excellent pets.

  • #25. Plotts
    72/ Canarian // Wikimedia Commons

    #25. Plotts

    2017 rank: #166 (down 8 spots from 2016)

    Developed in the Smoky Mountains this breed is all American. German immigrant Johannes George Plott and his descendents are responsible for breeding these superior trackers.

  • #24. Spaniels (American Water)
    73/ Awsguy1 // BY-SA 3.0

    #24. Spaniels (American Water)

    2017 rank: #167 (down 11 spot from 2016)

    The American Water Spaniel is the state dog of Wisconsin. These sweet hunting dogs were bred to dive off boats after prey making them a favorite for people who live in the Great Lakes region of the United States.

  • #23. Scottish Deerhounds
    74/ Andrea Arden // Flickr

    #23. Scottish Deerhounds

    2017 rank: #168 (down 14 spots from 2016)

    This sleek breed is best for single-dog homes without small children. The Scottish deerhound is a friendly enough dog but they love a good chase—which makes them better as solo pets.

  • #22. Lowchen
    75/ Ainos // Wikimedia Commons

    #22. Lowchen

    2017 rank: #169 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    Löwchen literally translates to “little lion dog.” It’s an appropriate name for a breed that often sports an impressive mane. Löwchens are primarily companion dogs and their gentle natures make them ideal for work as therapy dogs as well. 

  • #21. Norwegian Buhunds
    76/ Norwegian Buhund 600 // Wikimedia Commons

    #21. Norwegian Buhunds

    2017 rank: #170 (up 4 spots from 2016)

    Known as the dog of the Vikings Norwegian Buhunds are an ancient breed. However their history riding shotgun with the Vikings is a bit misleading since there's nothing more the modern-day versions would rather do than to hang out at home with their humans.

  • #20. Retrievers (Curly-Coated)
    77/ Curly-Coated Retriever //Wikimedia Commons

    #20. Retrievers (Curly-Coated)

    2017 rank: #171 (down 7 spots from 2016)

    These retrievers are known for their spectacular curly coats. While they look like they've been crossed with Poodles they aren't related to the popular companion dogs.

  • #19. Skye Terriers
    78/ Michal Manas // Wikimedia Commons

    #19. Skye Terriers

    2017 rank: #172 (up 6 spots from 2016)

    Skye Terriers love their owners but they can be ambivalent about everyone else. These regal animals were a favorite of Queen Victoria’s but they have working dog roots.

  • #18. Finnish Lapphunds
    79/ Canarian // Wikimedia Commons

    #18. Finnish Lapphunds

    2017 rank: #173 (unchanged from 2016)

    These dogs were once used to herd reindeer. That's a big job but these vocal pups were up for the task. Despite their working past they make excellent and friendly companions.

  • #17. Pharaoh Hounds
    80/ WoodmonkeyPhoto // Wikimedia Commons

    #17. Pharaoh Hounds

    2017 rank: #174 (down 6 spots from 2016)

    Malta's national dog is a favorite in the United States as well. The dynamic breed is exceptional at rabbit hunting—they require a high fence to keep them from straying from their owner's yard due to their impressive jumping abilities.

  • #16. Canaan Dogs
    81/ Samorodokhanaana // Wikimedia Commons

    #16. Canaan Dogs

    2017 rank: #175 (up 6 spots from 2016)

    These dogs have a rich history that dates back to Biblical times. Before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem Canaans herded sheep and other livestock. After their owners were driven out of their homeland the dogs fled to the desert—where they lived undomesticated until the 20th century.

  • #15. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs
    82/ PlePle2000 // Wikimedia Commons

    #15. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs

    2017 rank: #176 (down 7 spots from 2016)

    At least one of the pups is a true hero. During the war a Polish Lowland named Psyche is said to have warned people in Warsaw when bombs were going to drop.

  • #14. Finnish Spitz
    83/ Finnish Spitz // Wikimedia Commons

    #14. Finnish Spitz

    2017 rank: #177 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    Taimyr Wolves live on through the Finnish Spitz. The ancient breed of wolves is extinct but DNA research has shown that they were at least partly responsible for the existence of these champion barkers.

  • #13. American English Coonhounds
    84/ Pets Adviser // Wikimedia Commons

    #13. American English Coonhounds

    2017 rank: #178 (down 8 spots from 2016)

    American English Coonhounds are believed to have a presidential origin story. Evidence suggests that George Washington was one of the first people in America to own one of the dogs.

  • #12. Chinooks
    85/ jude // Wikimedia Commons

    #12. Chinooks

    2017 rank: #179 (down 4 spots from 2016)

    These sled dogs are named after the dog that started their line. A breeder named Arthur Walden crossed his dog Chinook with a Stock Husky to create the breed. Sadly Chinook was later lost in an expedition to Antarctica.

  • #11. Pyrenean Shepherds
    86/ Elf License // Wikimedia Commons

    #11. Pyrenean Shepherds

    2017 rank: #180 (down 4 spots from 2016)

    World War I brought these small sheep dogs out of the mountains and into the war zone. They served as couriers bravely led search and rescue missions and work side by side with soldiers.

  • #10. Bergamasco Sheepdogs
    87/ Bergamasco // Wikimedia Commons

    #10. Bergamasco Sheepdogs

    2017 rank: #181 (up 3 spots from 2016)

    These sheep dogs have instantly recognizable coats of long curly fur that needs to well-groomed. If you're up for the task then this breed from Italy is perfect for active families with big yards.

  • #9. Dandie Dinmont Terriers
    88/ Wikicommons

    #9. Dandie Dinmont Terriers

    2017 rank: #182 (down 15 spots from 2016)

    Dandie Dinmont Terriers have a literary origin to their name. The breed’s name comes from Sir Walter Scott's novel Guy Mannering. The diminutive dogs are known for their prominent poofs of hair atop their heads as well as their relatively mild-mannered temperaments.

  • #8. Harriers
    89/ Harrier // Wikimedia Commons

    #8. Harriers

    2017 rank: #183 (up 3 spots from 2016)

    A member of the hound group these hearty little pooches are sometimes mistaken for beagles. Although they have a history as hunters this is one breed that has adapted beautifully to life as a family pet. They usually love children but their energy might make them a bit too much for younger kids to handle.

  • #7. Cirneco dell’Etna
    90/ Canarian // Wikimedia Commons

    #7. Cirneco dell’Etna

    2017 rank: #184 (down 1 spot from 2016)

    First recognized by the AKC in 2015 this ancient breed's name literally means "dog of Cyrene (Libya)." These agile dogs have remarkable instincts for hunting especially when it comes to rabbits.

  • #6. Cesky Terriers
    91/ Ceskyfreund36 // Creative Commons

    #6. Cesky Terriers

    2017 rank: #185 (down 3 spots from 2016)

    According to the American Kennel Club there are only around 600 Cesky terriers in the United States. This calm terrier breed may be rare stateside but those who have the privilege of being a Cesky owner likely know that they’re  keen hunters and eager agility competitors.

     

  • #5. Otterhounds
    92/ Two Otterhounds // Wikimedia Commons

    #5. Otterhounds

    2017 rank: #186 (down 20 spots from 2016)

    According to the American Kennel Club these shaggy dogs are on the endangered dogs list. There are said to be less than 350 of them currently in the United States and roughly 1000 left worldwide.

  • #4. American Foxhounds
    93/ Caronna // Wikimedia Commons

    #4. American Foxhounds

    2017 rank: #187 (up 2 spots from 2016)

    As the state dog of Virginia American Foxhounds are a beloved hunting breed. However these dogs are also valuable during search and rescue missions thanks to their keen sense of smell. More than 300 of them helped recover victims after the September 11th attacks in New York City.

  • #3. Sloughis
    94/ Sabine.schlenkrich // Wikimedia Commons

    #3. Sloughis

    2017 rank: #188 (down 3 spots from 2016)

    Sloughi owners have been loyal to their dogs since ancient times—at least if the maxims are to be believed. These elegant animals have found favor with royals throughout history and even now some nomadic owners have been known to honor them after death as if they were a family member.

  • #2. English Foxhounds
    95/ dany003 // Creative Commons

    #2. English Foxhounds

    2017 rank: #189 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    Unlike many hunting dog breeds English Foxhounds still haven't completely caught on as a companion dog in the traditional sense. Generally they are owned by hunters and live in packs that are trained to chase foxes.

  • #1. Norwegian Lundehunds
    96/ Тоmachna// Wikimedia Commons

    #1. Norwegian Lundehunds

    2017 rank: #190 (down 2 spots from 2016)

    Norwegian Lundehunds boast two unusual characteristics they make them skilled at sniffing out puffins. These curious pups have six toes on each foot that seem to have developed to help them navigate slippery rocks and they can wiggle their ears—which not only protects them from water but also helps out when they're crawling into a puffin burrow.

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