Who’s top dog? And who’s…not? The American Kennel Club has just released their 2018 list of the most popular dog breeds in America, according to this year’s AKC registration stats. The top 10 is full of the usual, lovable suspects, from the Labrador retriever to the bulldog. In fact, the Labrador retriever took the most popular spot—for the 28th year in a row! You may not have heard of all the breeds the fall to the bottom of the pack, however. The 10 least popular breeds are:
- Cirnechi dell’Etna
- Finnish Spitz
- Cesky Terrier
- American Foxhound
- Bergamasco Sheepdog
- English Foxhound
- Norwegian Lundehund
It’s always fun to see the winners, from the classics to the trending. But the breeds at the bottom deserve a little love, too, so let’s take a look at some of these little-known dogs. Their ranking has much more do with being rare than it does with actual popularity. In fact, some of them are new entries to the AKC registry—the Sloughi was only added this year, while the Bergamesco and Cirnechi dell’Etna were added in the last few years.
These breeds fall between 183th and 192nd place on the AKC popular dog breeds list…of 192.
183. Cirneco dell’Etna
An Italian classic, the Cirneco dell’Etna is an ancient hound dog from the island of Sicily. Cirnecos are known for being athletic and hardy, able to navigate rough terrain in pursuit of small prey. Recognized by the AKC in 2015.
184. Finnish Spitz
This red-gold hunting breed is the national dog of Finland, where it can trace its roots back thousands of years. Energetic, fearless, and friendly, these medium-sized dogs need plenty of exercise and a fenced yard. Recognized by the AKC in1960 and first competed in 1988.
185. Cesky Terrier
Otherwise known as the Bohemian terrier, the Cesky is spirited and smart, and known for being more trainable than your average terrier. And if you’re wondering, it’s pronounced “chess-kee,” which means Czech. (We don’t need to tell you their country of origin!) Recognized by the AKC in 2011.
186. American Foxhound
The American foxhound originated in the early American colonies, when English foxhounds were interbred with Irish and French hounds, among others, to better suit the terrain and hunting conditions of the New World. Recognized by the AKC in 1886.
187. Bergamasco Shepherd
This dog is most known for its incredible dreadlocks, which help keep it warm—and occur naturally! An Italian sheepdog, the Bergamasco is an ancient breed with strong herding instincts. Recognized by the AKC in 2015.
188. English Foxhound
Not to be confused with its American cousin, the English foxhound is a small, sturdy hunting dog known for its gentle nature and athleticism. This is the breed for runners, too: these foxhounds were bred to run for miles (marathon fox hunts—who knew?) Recognized by the AKC in 1909.
Wait, is that a beagle? Nope, but the Harrier is related ancestrally to both the beagle and the English foxhound. Like those hounds, the harrier was bred to hunt, and it retains a strong hunting instinct. Its a social, handsome dog that definitely needs a securely fenced yard. Recognized by the AKC in 1885.
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Arthur T. Walden presents his sled dog Chinook at the Portland Winter Carnival in 1922. Inspired by the sled dogs he worked with during the Klondike Gold Rush, after returning home to New England Walden set out to breed an American sled dog. His foundation dogs, a husky and a mastiff-type farm dog, produced a litter of three pups on January 17th, 1917. One of these pups named "Chinook" became the foundation sire of his breed, of which all descendants would later be called "Chinooks" in his honor.
The Chinook breed was created by Arthur Walden to be an American sled dog breed. Named for the founding sire, the original Chinook was a mix of sled dog and mastiff. The Chinook is the state dog of New Hampshire. Recognized by the AKC in 2013.
191. Norwegian Lundehund
This clever, nimble little dog is positively dashing. The Lundehund is a rare breed with some fascinating quirks, including six toes on each foot and the ability to tip its head backward until it touches the spine. No, really. It’s one of the qualities that makes them great at hunting puffins in the cold north. Added to the AKC in 2018.
Pronounced “Sloo-ghee,” the Sloughi is also known as the Arabian greyhound. This rare and elegant sighthound originates from the northern part of Africa and comes in three different colors and four unique markings. This dog is loyal to its people but known to be standoffish with strangers. Recognized by the AKC in 2016.
The Bottom Line
For more photos and an in-depth look at all of the AKC’s dog breeds, check out the Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds.
These adorable, distinctive breeds are pretty rare, which accounts for their lack of popularity more than anything else, of course. But if you’re lucky enough to come across one of these breeds, who knows? You might just fall in love.