Found primarily in Pakistan and India (the country of its origin), this rare dog is employed to protect livestock and hunt leopards.
Named after the Sanskrit word for “broken,” the Vikhan is also known as the Vikhan Sheepdog.
Villano de Las Encartaciones
A descendant of the Spanish Bulldog, the Azores Cattle Dog, the Presa Canario and the CImarron Uruguayo, this rare working dog shares a symbiotic relationship with the Monchina cattle they protect and herd.
A breed with a bevy of names, among them the Basque Butcher’s Dog, the Basque Catch Dog and the Basque Dogo, this dog is in imminent danger of extinction, with less than 200 remaining Villano de las Encartaciones.
Villanuco de Las Encartaciones
On the verge of extinction, there are believed to be less than 50 of this breed left in the world, with the dogs still living in the land of its origin, Spain’s Basque Autonomous Community.
Primarily employed as a ratter, this small dog is one of five Basque dog breeds.
An ancient breed known to date back to the 14th century if not before, this Hungarian hunting dog’s name (which means “tracker” in the country of its origin) indicates this breed’s skill at searching for fowl and other small game.
An ancient breed whose fox-like appearance has been captured on canvas by such Renaissance masters as Carpaccio and Verrocchio, today this relative of the German Spitz and Pomeranian is facing oblivion, with only 3,000 in existence.
Also known as the Cane del Quirinale, the Cane di Firenza and simply the Volpino, this breed was beloved by such notables as Queen Victoria and Michaelangelo (whose Volpino was said to have observed the artist paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel).
Known as the “Gray Ghost,” this German gun dog’s true name was inspired by that of the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimer-Eisenach, Karl August.
Originally bred as a hunting dog for royalty, the Weimaraner is the result of pairing the bloodhound with French and German hunting dogs.
Pet parents of a Weimaraner share their love of the breed with such notables as Grace Kelly, who traveled with the movie star to Monaco for her wedding to Prince Rainier, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose Weimaraner Heidi’s paws promenaded through the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Herding sheep and cattle along hills and valleys throughout Wales for 800 years, this working dog was bred for their abilities rather than their physical attributes, resulting in a variety of looks for the breed in size, color and coat texture.
The majority of Welsh Sheepdogs are black and white, red and white or tricolor.
This dog is also mistakenly referred to as the Welsh Collie.
Welsh Springer Spaniel
A breed whose early history remains a mystery, the first mention of a hunting dog that matches the Welsh Springer Spaniel’s description was recorded in 1570.
Previously known as the Welsh Starter and the Welsh Spaniel, this red-and-white hunting dog officially became the Welsh Springer Spaniel in 1902.
Today enthusiasts of the breed fondly refer to the Welsh Springer Spaniel as the Welshie.
Believed to be the oldest terrier breed in the United Kingdom, with mentions of this dog as early as the 15h century, the Welsh Terrier (who are also fondly referred to by the nickname Welshie among dog enthusiasts) was once a hunter of small game.
Pet parents of a Welsh Terrier share a bond with such notable dog devotees as John F. Kennedy, whose canine companion Charlie would often go swimming alongside the 35th President; and King Edward VIII, who enjoyed the company of his four-legged friend Gwen during his childhood, when he was known as Edward, Prince of Wales.
West Country Harrier
Believed to have made its debut in England in the 13th century, this scent hound is the descendant of the Harrier and the Staghound, which became extinct in the 19th century. The West County Harrier is also referred to as the Somerset Harrier due to that county’s love of the breed.
West Highland White Terrier
A beloved Scottish breed known by many dog lovers as “Westies,” the tale of this terrier reaches as far back as the 16th century.
Like other terriers from Scotland, the Westie was originally a rat catcher. Once known as the Poltalloch Terrier and the Roseneath Terrier, the breed was officially declared the West Highland White Terrier in 1909.
Pet parents of a Westie share their love of the breed with such notables as author J.K.Rowling, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Pattinson, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Aniston.
West Siberian Laika
A bark pointing dog (hence the word “laika” which means “barker”) this Spitz type dog originated in Russia.
A descendent of the wolf, this ancient breed once hunted alongside the Siberian Mansi and Khanty people.
Among the four breeds referred to as Laikas, (the others being the East Siberian Laika, the Karelo-Finnish Laika, and the Russ-European Laika) the West Siberian Laika is the most well-known.
Meaning “Westphalian badger dog,” this short-legged German hound made its debut in the dog world in 1886.
Sharing DNA with the Dachshund and the Deutsche Dachsbracke, this scenthound played a role in development of the Drever, a dog which has since surpassed the Westphalian Dachsbracke in popularity among hunters.
Today the Westphalian Dachsbracke is considered a rare breed.
As its Dutch name implies, this breed is a “water dog,” known for hunting otter and retrieving water fowl.
Believed to be related to the extinct Old Water Dog, the Frisian dog and Gypsy dogs, this gun dog originated in the Netherlands 400 years ago.
Developed by English coal miners with a love of dog racing and rabbit hunting, this sighthound has been called both the “poor man’s greyhound” and the “poor man’s racehorse.”
It is believed that the breed’s name comes from a word no longer in use– “whappet,” which means “a small dog that yaps,” according to the American Kennel Club.
Pet parents of a Whippet share a love of the breed with such notables as British actress Jennifer Saunders, who had a four-legged friend in a Whippet called Olive; fashion designer Lindka Cierach, who had a barking buddy named Zaffy, and country music star Hunter Hayes, who adopted a Whippet mix he named Ella.
A breed born in the USA, a color gene is the main difference between the White Shepherd and the dog which brought the breed into existence, the German Shepherd.
Other names for the White Shepherd are the White German Shepherd and the American-Canadian White German Shepherd, after the two countries which showed interest in the dogs when German breeders determined that German Shepherds with white coats were not to be bred.
White Swiss Shepherd Dog
Also known as the Berger Blanc Suisse (and, at one time, the Alsatian Wolf Dog), this herding dog is the progeny of white German Shepherds from the United States and Germany, where only black German Shepherds were once registered.
After being declared a separate breed from the German Shepherd by the American Kennel Club in 1930, the population of the White Swiss Shepherd Dog rapidly diminished to the point of the breed facing extinction, but rebounded in the 1960s.
Wire Fox Terrier
Classic film fans will recognize this breed from The Thin Man series of comedic crime movies, with a Wire Fox Terrier named Asta as the four-pawed pal of sleuthing soul mates Nick and Nora Charles. Asta was portrayed by Skippy, a tail-wagging thespian who also shared screen time with Cary Grant in both The Awful Truth and Bringing Up Baby.
A popular English breed developed from the Black and tan Working Terrier, which was declared extinct in the early 1900s, this fox-hunting breed has garnered more Best in Show titles at the Westminster kennel club dog show than any other dog breed.
Pet parents of a Wire Fox Terrier share a bond with such notables as author Thomas Hardy, whose canine companion was named Wessex; author Rudyard Kipling, whose barking buddy was named Vicki, and King Edward VII, who named his four-legged friend Caesar.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Both Dutch and French dog enthusiasts claim that their respective country was the birthplace of this gun dog.
Developed in the 1870s, webbed toes helps this breed excel at swimming and retrieving waterfowl.
This Hungarian hunting dog made its debut in the 1930s, thanks to Vizslas Csibi and Zsuzsi, who were paired with a German Wirehaired Pointer named Astor von Potat to produce the first litters of this breed.
The Wirehaired Vizsla was developed to have a courser coat and stronger physique than the Vizsla, making it easier for the dogs to endure frigid temperatures while on the hunt.
Although every pet parent’s life is enriched by the priceless companionship of a canine, in China it is believed that this breed brings financial wealth to its humans.
Named in honor of a Chinese village, this ancient dog has hunted alongside and protected the property of the Miao people.
Sadly, the Xiasi dog is facing oblivion, with less than 300 left in existence.
In the animated movie Coco the protagonist’s canine companion, a dog dubbed Dante, discovered that he is a spirit guide when his human made an unexpected visit to the land of the dead.
This was once the perceived role of the Xolo, who the Mayans and the Toltecs believed would lead the way as their souls departed this realm for the beyond.
Although the hairless dogs are no longer thought to be spirit animals, the belief remains that the breed possesses the power to soothe arthritic joints thanks to the heat emanating from their almost bare skin.
A fixture in Mexico for 3,000 years, the Xolo is the country’s official dog. Over the years the breed has been immortalized in the paintings of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and a Xolo acts as mascot for the Tijuana Xoloitzcuintle Mexican football team.
Even so, the Mexican Hairless is an endangered breed, with only 30,000 in existence.
Also known as the Yaikut Laika, the Yakuskaya Laika, the Laika de Lakoutie and the Kolyma Husky, this Russian breed has had as many professions as names.
This working dog’s resume includes sled dog, hunter’s aide, reindeer herder and family pet.
Although changing times brought about a steep decline in the breed’s population, with only 3,000 remaining by the late 1990s, recent efforts have turned the tide in the Yakutian Laika’s favor.
Although most dog devotees know this breed by “Yorkie,” according to the American Kennel Club this tiny but mighty breed has a second sobriquet– “Tomboy Toy,” due to the dogs’ daring demeanor. Although pampered pets today, this English breed were once ratters.
Pet parents of a Yorkie share a love of the breed with such notables as Audrey Hepburn, whose dog Mr. Famous enjoyed a moment in the spotlight with his movie star mom in the classic film Funny Face; Paris Hilton, who gave the fairy tale name Cinderella to her four-legged friend; and Poldark star Beatie Edney, who cast Button, a Yorkie from The Mayhew Animal Home, in the real life role of her fur baby.
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