Dogs have been around in some capacity on the planet for many thousands of years.1 Some dog breeds have become extinct over the years and are no longer roaming around with us. Extinct dog breeds come in many shapes and sizes, and they all had unique functions in society. We put together a list of 30 extinct dog breeds that you might be interested in. Keep reading to learn more about them!
The 30 Extinct Dog Breeds
1. The Alpine Mastiff
Although extinct, some aspects of the Alpine Mastiff can be seen in today’s English Mastiff breed, as they are closely related. These dogs come from Ancient Greece, and their large frames made them efficient mountain dwellers. It is thought that they became extinct in the 1800s due to extensive crossbreeding with other established dog breeds.
2. The St. John’s Water Dog
This impressive dog breed originated in Newfoundland, where they lived as domestic workers and human companions. As their name suggests, the St. John’s Water Dog enjoys swimming, and they made excellent companions for fishermen. These dogs were exported to England through the 20th century to be crossbred with other dog breeds. Unfortunately, the breed’s numbers started declining shortly thereafter, and they became extinct in the 1980s.
3. The Cordoba Fighting Dog
These muscular dogs resemble the modern-day Boxer and Bulldog but are a breed all their own. The Cordoba Fighting Dog was first developed in Argentina and exhibited a high tolerance for pain and a penchant for fighting to the death. Therefore, they became prized fighting champions that were well-known for their aggression. Eventually, they were phased out by crossbreeding them with less aggressive dogs.
4. The Braque du Puy
This was a pointer breed that originated in France. No Braque du Puy dogs can be located today, leading most experts to believe that they are extinct. There are multiple theories as to how this breed came about, one of which is that they were saved from extinction during the French Revolution. Sadly, it does not seem that these sporting dogs were saved from extinction a second time.
5. The Norfolk Spaniel
These small dogs were developed for bird hunting and became known as the most common dog throughout England during the 19th century. The Norfolk Spaniel lost their label as a unique breed when they were lumped together with other Spaniel breeds by the Spaniel Kennel Club in the 1900s. So, they are considered extinct today. It is thought that English Springer Spaniels currently living are direct descendants of the Norfolk Spaniel.
6. The Talbot
A distant ancestor of both the Beagle and the Bloodhound, the Talbot was a medium-sized hunting dog that was developed in Normandy. They had sleek, white coats and athletic bodies that made them efficient at hunting small animals. As more efficient hunting dogs were developed and the high care needs of the Talbot grew tiresome to owners, they were bred less and less until they became extinct.
7. The Tesem
The Tesem was a long, thin dog with triangular ears that stood tall above their heads. These were Egyptian dogs that were fierce hunters and loyal human companions. There’s a drawing of a Tesem that dates back to between 3200 and 3000 B.C. They are thought to have become extinct by 1650 B.C., after Egyptians started replacing them with other breeds.
8. The Alaunt
The Alaunt is an extinct dog breed that lived throughout Europe and Central Asia in ancient times. They were bred to work in a variety of capacities by Sarmatian nomads. They had large, stout bodies similar to the Great Dane and were revered for their strength and precision. Unfortunately, they became extinct in the 17th century.
9. The Dogo Cubano
These were Cuban dogs that are still considered as one of the heaviest breeds in the world, as they could weigh in at up to 300 pounds when fully grown. They had short muzzles, broad necks and heads, and alert eyes. They were revered as excellent companions by their owners but were known to be aggressive toward other animals. The Dogo Cubano became extinct in the 19th century.
10. The Alpine Spaniel
The Alpine Spaniel was a medium-sized gun dog breed that had a curly thick coat suitable for winter weather. These dogs were used as guard dogs and for mountain rescues around the area of Great St. Bernard Pass, which was where travelers commonly got lost. They were originally developed in the 19th century and became extinct in the same century due to severe disease.
11. The Chien-gris
This was a large companion dog that was known for their cheery and affectionate personality. They were gray, but some of them had white, tan, or red spots. Although lean, these dogs could weigh up to 95 pounds and stand at 27 inches tall as adults. They became extinct by the year 1800 as other breeds became more popular.
12. The Salish Wool Dog
This long-haired dog breed was originally bred by Coast Salish people in an area now known as British Columbia. They were confined to small areas in blocked caves and on tiny, isolated islands to maintain their bloodline and their snow-white coats. The Canadian Kennel Club recognized the Salish Wool Dog as a unique breed in the 1940s, but they sadly became extinct by the 1990s.
13. The Hawaiian Poi Dog
This ancient breed descended from Polynesian dog breeds that were brought to the Hawaiian Islands once upon a time. These dogs were named after a staple food in Hawaii called poi, which is derived from the taro plant. Poi was used to feed them and fatten them up for eating. The dogs were raised for meat because animal protein sources on land were scarce. As the Hawaiians became more proficient at fishing and raising pigs and goats, the Poi Dog started to lose popularity, which ultimately led to their extinction.
14. The Russian Tracker
Also referred to as the Russian Retriever, the Russian Tracker was a domestic hunting dog that lived until the 1800s. These dogs were avid flock herders and were known to do whatever it took to protect their human companions and the animals on the farm. Nobody knows exactly why the breed became extinct.
15. The Old English Bulldog
Not to be confused with the modern Old English Bulldogge, this breed was an English sporting dog that was primarily bred for bull-baiting. Experts believe that the Old English Bulldog was derived from ancient warring dogs. It is estimated that the breed was originally established in the 1600s or 1700s, and it is not clear exactly when they became extinct.
16. The Paisley Terrier
The Paisley Terrier was bred for showing and as companions, but they were also used as ratters by their owners. They had small bodies, affectionate dispositions, and silky, smooth coats. This breed was used to develop the Yorkshire Terrier, so their legacy lives on. The Paisley Terrier is also sometimes referred to as the Clydesdale Terrier, which was a popular area for breeding this dog.
17. The English Water Spaniel
This breed became extinct in the 20th century, but until then, they were revered as awesome duck and waterfowl hunters. They were also excellent water divers, and human companions loved taking them on fishing trips. It is thought that the English Water Spaniel is the breed that William Shakespeare once referred to in Macbeth. Records indicate that the breed became extinct in the 1930s.
18. The Moscow Water Dog
Also known as the Moscow Diver and the Moskovsky Vodolaz, the Moscow Water Dog was a rare breed of dog that was developed from the Caucasian Shepherd Dog, the Newfoundland, and the European Shepherd. Meant to rescue people from the water, these dogs ended up wanting to attack instead of save lives, so their breeding program was ended and they became extinct.
19. The North Country Beagle
There is not much known about this extinct dog breed, other than the fact that they shared similar physical characteristics to the English Foxhound. Some documents show that these dogs were highly active and did not tire easily. They existed in Britain until sometime in the 19th century, and they disappeared due to crossbreeding.
20. The Blue Paul Terrier
The Blue Paul Terrier was a fighting breed that was popular in the United States and Scotland. This breed is credited with providing the blue coloring that the modern-day American Staffordshire Terrier is so popular for. Nobody knows for sure exactly when they were developed or even when they became extinct.
21. The Bullenbeisser
Well known for their muscular build and agile movements, the Bullenbeisser was developed to bait bulls. They are ancestors to the dog breed that we call Boxers today. They lived in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The crossbreeding of these dogs began in the 1800s, and it did not take long before they became extinct.
22. The Turnspit Dog
The Turnspit dog was highlighted in the first book ever written about canines in 1576. They were called kitchen or cook dogs because they were developed to run on a special wheel that kept the roasting spit moving. Sadly, these dogs were not thought of as pets or sentient beings. They were simply thought of as kitchen appliances. They reached their height of popularity in the 1700s, but they started gradually disappearing and eventually became extinct in the early 1900s.
23. The English White Terrier
In the mid-1800s, a few breeders in England wanted to create a new show breed with pricked ears and small, athletic bodies, which is how the English White Terrier was created. Unfortunately, they did not do well in the show ring, so they were crossbred to create breeds such as the Jack Russell Terrier and the Fox Terrier. Eventually, people stopped breeding the English White Terrier, and they fell out of existence.
24. The Molossus
These strong, muscular dogs were extremely popular thousands of years ago. Belonging to the Kingdom of Molossia in Italy, the Molossus is said to have served as guards for the Roman army. We are not sure exactly when the breed became extinct. Experts think that this breed is at least partly responsible for the development of all Mastiff breeds are that in existence today.
25. The Tweed Water Spaniel
These large dogs lived close to the border of Scotland along the Tweed River. They were popular for being athletic swimmers and bird hunters. They had brown, curly coats and long, floppy ears that gave them an endearing look. They are thought to have been first developed in the early part of the 19th century. But by the last part of the 19th century, their numbers declined, and they eventually faded away completely.
26. The Toy Bulldog
This small, stout breed from England existed in the 18th and 19th centuries before becoming extinct. The French Toy Bulldog Club of England presented the Toy Bulldog to the Kennel Club once they were established, but the breed never took off or became popular because of their poor temperament and health, as many were born with health or fertility problems.
27. The Toy Trawler Spaniel
Thought to have been the descendant of the King Charles Spaniel, the Toy Trawler Spaniel was bred as a sporting dog. However, the breed was not successful at hunting, so they evolved to become show dogs. It is unknown where the breed originated or exactly when they went extinct, but there were at least a few still around in the 1920s.
28. The Southern Hound
The Southern Hound existed in Britain, but it is not known where or when they originated. They were tall dogs with bulky, square heads and a talent for following scents. Some say that these dogs existed from ancient times, while others think that they were imported into Britain later. They were slow yet sturdy dogs that were used for following the trails of deer that were being hunted by their owners.
29. The Hare Indian Dog
Originally developed by the Hare Indians in Canada, this breed was used to hunt on open lands. These dogs had small, narrow heads and long, pointed muzzles. Records show that they disliked containment and barked frequently. However, as hunting methods progressed, the usefulness of the Hare Indian Dog waned, and the breed slowly died out.
30. The Tahltan Bear Dog
These strong, loyal dogs were created and maintained by the Tahltans, who lived in British Columbia. Bred to hunt bears, the Tahltan Bear Dog was small in stature but big on personality. They were easy to train, they were loyal, and they never backed down from a fight during a hunt. Europeans brought a variety of dog breeds with them to the area, and they crossbred them with the Tahltan Bear dog until the breed was too diluted to carry on.
Many interesting dog breeds roamed our earth in years past. They deserve to be preserved in our writings and thoughts because without them, we would not have the breeds that we do today nor could we experience the breeds that are forthcoming. Which of the extinct dog breeds on our list interests you the most? Let us know by leaving us a comment!
Featured Image Credit: Thomas Brown The Bull-Dog, Wikimedia, Public Domain