Why does this happen? One big reason these breeds are disappearing is due to the illegalization of hunting deer and foxes. Another reason this happens is due to what dog breeds are fashionable at the time. These dogs just haven’t made the popularity cut.
To help preserve these breeds, consider adopting a puppy from this list of endangered dog breeds. You may have to wait a while for one, but you will feel great knowing you have been a part of keeping the breed alive.
The AKC breed ranking category listed below each breed name is based on popularity. This is the only information the AKC provides. Whenever “The Kennel Club” is mentioned, it refers to the UK Kennel Club, which is much more transparent about how many registered dogs of each breed are left.
The 12 Endangered Dog Breeds
1. Scottish Deerhound
|Common Colors:||Brindle, fawn, red fawn, grey, blue, yellow|
|AKC Rank 2018:||158 (out of 192)|
In Scotland, Scottish Deerhounds almost became extinct due to exclusive ownership, therefore preventing opportunities to breed. Scottish Deerhounds are amazing hunters that hunt red deer. They have shaggy grey hair, long legs, and a good-natured disposition. As a strong part of Scotland’s history, many people are trying to keep the Scottish Deerhounds alive. A Scottish Deerhound named Claire won Best in Show at the National Dog Show in 2020.
|Common Colors:||Black, grey, wheaten, and other combinations|
|AKC Rank 2018:||182 (out of 192)|
Otterhounds have a distinct shaggy look with a large head and long floppy ears. This breed has fallen into endangerment through the banning of otter hunting back in the 1970s. Back before then, Otterhounds would help protect fish farms from being infested with otters by chasing them away. These dogs are boisterous and friendly and have even been described as clown-like.
3. Skye Terrier
|Common Colors:||Black, fawn, dark grey, blue, light grey|
|AKC Rank 2018:||178 (out of 192)|
Skye Terriers are little dogs that were developed on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Just like Otterhounds, Skye Terriers were used by the likes of farmers to chase off otters, foxes, and other pests. There was once a Skye Terrier named Greyfriars Bobby who, as legend has it, guarded its owner’s grave for 14 years. In those days, Skye Terriers were popular, but have since been forsaken for “designer” breeds. As a working breed, these dogs are not easily trained and have a mind of their own. However, one Skye Terrier named Charlie won Best in Show at the National Dog Show in 2015.
4. Sussex Spaniel
|Common Colors:||Golden liver|
|AKC Rank 2018:||180 (out of 192)|
Short Sussex Spaniels originate from Sussex County in southern England. Despite their small size, they are quite muscular and have high exercise needs—around 2 hours a day! They will stick by your side and offer lots of affection, should you decide to keep one for yourself.
A Sussex Spaniel named Bean won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2009 (also the oldest dog to win Best In Show), and there were only 52 registered with the Kennel Club in 2011.
|Common Colors:||Liver & tan, black & tan, red|
|AKC Rank 2018:||49 (out of 192)|
The iconic Bloodhound is terrific at following a scent, but not so great at hunting it. Bloodhounds are most commonly used to find people. They are stubborn dogs who are sometimes difficult to train, but they love the company of other pets and even children. While Bloodhounds are not extinct, its white variety, once called the Talbot Hound, is lost forever. The Kennel Club registered 77 Bloodhounds in 2015.
6. Irish Wolfhound
|Common Colors:||White, grey, brindle, red, black, fawn|
|AKC Rank 2018:||76 (out of 192)|
The most popular Irish dog breed, the Irish Wolfhound is the world’s tallest dog. During the 18th century, these dogs obliterated the wolf population in Ireland. After this happened, it was believed that the Irish Wolfhound was extinct. However, in 1863, a man named Captain George Graham bought a large estate and vowed to bring the breed back to its former glory. Today, it is not known how many of these dogs are left, but they may be dwindling due to a “bottleneck” in its gene pool.
7. Smooth Collie
|Common Colors:||White, Tri-Color, Blue Merle|
|Height:||22 – 26 inches|
|AKC Rank 2018:||(not listed)|
The Smooth Collie is the opposite version of the “rough” collie, which looks like the Lassie we all know and love. The AKC does not differentiate between smooth and rough collies but lumps them into one category. These dogs are known for their intelligence, agility, and ease of training. They can also bark a lot! Collies need regular exercise if you decide to bring one home. There were only 78 registered Smooth Collies with the Kennel Club in 2015.
8. Dandie Dinmont Terrier
|Common Colors:||Mustard and pepper|
|AKC Rank 2018:||176 (out of 192)|
Dandie Dinmont Terriers are characterized by their large heads and their many long, white hairs. This dog breed made its first appearance in 1700, known for chasing down otters and badgers, and has been held in high esteem in Scotland ever since. Unfortunately, Dandie Dinmont Terriers went by the wayside due to WWI and WWII food rationing periods. Dandies still retain a small following for their looks, intelligence, and the fact that they are excellent with children.
|Common Colors:||White, fawn, tawny, buff|
|AKC Rank 2018:||190 (out of 192)|
New Hampshirites take great pride in the Chinook dog breed They are tough, and were originally bred as sled dogs in New Hampshire. From 1965 to today, Chinooks have remained one of the scarcest dog breeds in the world. They excel at search and rescue work as well as herding. They do very well with children and are extremely eager to please their owners.
10. Glen of Imaal Terrier
|Common Colors:||Wheaten, Blue Brindle|
|AKC Rank 2018:||174 (out of 192)|
The Glen of Imaal Terrier is the second dog breed of Irish descent on this list. These dogs have two coats of fur, a bottom one that’s soft and a top one that’s wiry. They are gentle and less likely to run around and jump when excited, unlike other terriers. Glens were bred to hunt badgers, but they did other odd jobs around the farm, too. For example, they earned the nickname “Turnspit Dog” because they used to run in a wheel that would turn the meat over the fire. The breed was not established in America until the 1980s, and only 79 Glen of Imaal Terriers were registered in 2015.
11. German Pinscher
|Common Colors:||Black, fawn, brown, blue, red|
|AKC Rank 2018:||134 (out of 192)|
German Pinschers look the part of vicious guard dogs, and they are good at their job. However, they will be tender to their household members. One of Germany’s oldest breeds, they were named Endangered Dog of the Year by National Purebred Dog Day organizers. If you want to own one, get ready to be active; these dogs have super high energy.
12. Curly-Coated Retriever
|Common Colors:||Black and liver|
|AKC Rank 2018:||162 (out of 192)|
Curly-Coated Retrievers are the super-smart cousins of the Golden and Labrador Retriever and are actually the older ones within the Retriever group. Their curly coats make them able to swim and trounce through the brush through any season. Curlies are loyal to their owners and skeptical with strangers. They are believed to be bred from English Water Spaniels and Retrieving Setters, and later with the Poodle, to perfect its curly coat.
Consider yourself part of the preservation of each of these breeds. Now, you can spread the word about how and why these certain dog breeds are going away, and maybe be a part of bringing them back by adopting one yourself. Be prepared to be an advocate for your future unique pup!
Featured Image Credit: Kim Christensen, Shutterstock