20 Westminster Dogs You’ve Never Heard of but Are About to Be Searching on Petfinder

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Humans are really good at making dogs. We’v been breeding dogs for tens of thousands of years, basically ever since a wolf wandered into one of our ancient settlements and we were like “we could make that thing fluffier.” We all know the basic dog breeds: Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Poodles, etc. But did you know there are over 330 different breeds of dogs? And that they are all good boys?

Here are some breeds of dogs you might catch at glimpse of at a fancy event like the Westminster Dog Show, but probably won’t see hanging around your local dog park running after a chuck-it. We bet you haven’t heard of most of them!

Tibetan Terriers are from Tibet, but they aren’t actually terriers. European travelers called this dog a terrier when they first encountered one in Tibet and the name stuck. The dogs were once considered holy and kept a pets by Tibetan monks. Look how happy that one is that he won that big trophy!

This little dog with a funny name is from Belgium. They act as herding dogs, even though in dog shows they are classified as non-sporting. Don’t ask them about it, though, there’s a lot of controversy about this. The best part about them, obviously, is that they look like little black foxes.

Are you looking for the fluffiest possible dog? Consider the Keeshonden, a fluff ball that hails from the Netherlands. There’s currently no accurate way to measure fluff, but when scientists finally invent the fluff-o-meter, the Keeshonden will score the highest of marks.

This dog’s name may sound like a fancy Italian dish and that’s because it hails from Italy and is at least 70% noodle (probably). Like poodles, Lagotti Romagnoli has curly, hypoallergenic hair.

This is unconfirmed, but I believe the origin of the Cesky Terrier to be a torrid love affair between a Dachshund and a Schnauzer. (Actually they are a mix of a Sealyham Terrier and a Scottish Terrier, likely cover story) They are the sixth most rare dog breed in the whole world, so a Cesky sighting is very rare, please be sure to report it to the local authorities (my personal e-mail).

This dog/muppet hails from France and was originally bred to herd sheep. They have extra toes on each foot to help them turn quickly. The Briard is also often used as a service or police dog because they are so brave.

This thicc boi comes from South Africa where they were bred to guard houses and hunt leopards. Later, the De Beers company employed Boerboels to guard their diamond mines.

The Borzoi is the most elegant of long dogs. This dog come from Russia where it was bred to hunt wolves and look amazing. George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “The future of mankind belongs to its mongrels and not to its handsome but brainless Borzois” which was rude.

With a name that sounds like a fancy turn of the century socialite and/or a pastry you try to make but it always ends up falling in the oven, these dogs are very French. They are hounds bred to hunt rabbits, but not just curly haired Basset hounds (they get offended).

Instead of taking a hip trip to Iceland to post an Instagram in front of a giant waterfall, why not just stay home and meet an Icelandic Sheepdog, instead? This dog was a favorite pet of the Vikings and were even buried with them.

These ancient dogs are direct descendants of the dogs you see depicted in Egyptian art and hieroglyphics. They hail from Spain where they were bred to hunt rabbits. They cannot fly with their giant ears, at least as far as we know.

What is the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog greater than? Basically everything. Look how big they are! Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs were originally bred to help with farm work, but almost died out in the early late 1800s after they were replaced by (much less adorable) machines during the industrial revolution.

Another fancy French dog, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a type of mastiff, bred to pull carts. They have the biggest head of any dog breed and look the saddest.

The Finnish Lapphund was originally used by the indigenous people of Norway, Finland, and Sweden to herd reindeer. They are still mainly found in those countries, they weren’t bred in the US until 1998. In Finland the Finnish Lapphund is one of only two breeds that you can legally keep permanently outdoors. (Don’t worry, they like to be cold).

Don’t get confused and try to sanitize your bathroom with this dog, it is not a mop. It’s a Bergamasco, an Italian breed that is easily recognizable by it’s matted hair which resembles dreadlocks. And if you’re curious, those dreadlocks happen naturally as the dog ages. It has three types of fur that knot together as it grows to form matted locks of hair.

Is that some kind of mythical creature only accessible through an abandoned wardrobe in the back of a spare room? Nope, even better, it’s a Scottish Deerhound which exists in real life. They are from Scotland (duh) and were bred to hunt deer (duh, again). You may recognize the Scottish Deerhound as the animagus form of Sirius Black in Harry Potter or from my personal Dream Dog vision board.

Also hailing from Scotland are Skye Terriers. These little dogs are very rare, there may only be about 4,000 of them in the world. (For comparison, it’s estimated there are over 500,000 Golden Retrievers, one of the most popular dog breeds.) Mary Queen of Scots owned a Skye Terrier and it’s said that her dog hid under her petticoat during her execution. That’s grim.

No matter how many face masks you use, Salukis are prettier than you. Remember the Broad City episode where they find a dog that looks like Judith Light? It’s a Saluki! Like that girl you hated in high school, Salukis are not only beautiful, they are athletic, too. They have been recorded at speeds even faster than greyhounds. They are essentially the Instagram fitness models of the dog world and you can never be them.

This giant dog comes from Germany that were bred to pull carts and assist in rescue operations. Leonbergers were used in both World War I and II as military dogs and as a result there were only eight Leonbergers left after the second World War. Every Leonberger alive today is a descendant of those incredibly good boys.

Xoloitzcuintli are the national dog of Mexico. They are famous for having no or little hair. Xolos were famously subjects of Frida Kahlo’s paintings and one can be seen in the Disney movie Coco. Hope you enjoyed seeing all these certified good dogs. It’s fun to see lots of different breeds of dogs, but if you are looking for a new canine friend, consider checking your local shelters for dogs who need homes first!