TOP 10 LESS KNOWN WORKING DOG BREEDS

TOP 10 LESS KNOWN WORKING DOG BREEDS

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Number 10 – The Portuguese Podengo Medio In all likelihood, you have never heard of the Portuguese Podengo Medio before. And indeed, outside of their country of origin, these talented hunting companions are quite rare. But in Portugal, they have been the rabbit hunting breed of choice for centuries. And even today, you can see people taking their pack of Podengos up into the mountain forests on Sundays to pursue rabbits and other smaller quarry. Due to their highly social, friendly and keen nature, these medium-sized dogs make outstanding family companions and watchdogs. In built, they resemble the medium-sized terriers of England, and their single-layered coat – usually coloured in variations of fawn, red and white – can be either short or wiry. Number 9 – The Portuguese Mastiff (Rafeiro Alentejano) Bred to protect flocks of sheep and goats in one of the hottest regions of Portugal, the country’s very own Mastiff is an extremely hardy breed. And a quite fearsome-looking one:  Almost as large as a Great Dane in size, this dog’s big blocky head and massive jaws make it a truly formidable opponent. Which it needs to be, in order to protect the animals in its care from their number one enemy – the Iberian Wolf. For their size, these awe-inspiring Mastiffs are surprisingly agile: Jumping up and down steep rock faces is nothing for them, and they have no trouble keeping up with the fast-moving goat herds they live with and protect.  Number 8 – The Galgo Espagnol And on the number 8 spot of our list of the TOP 10 little-known working dogs, we have one of the fastest breeds in existence today: the elegant and lightning-fast Spanish Sighthound, also known as the Galgo Espagnol. Slightly smaller than its cousin, the English Greyhound, the Galgo is to a Spanish hunter what the Podengo is to a Portuguese one – the preferred breed for pursuing rabbits and other smaller game. Thanks to their enormous speed and prey-drive, Galgos can catch their prey with ease. At the same time, their very gentle nature and love for humans makes them great companions, but poor watchdogs.  Number 7 – The Spanish Mastiff And at number 7 on our list of the TOP 10 lesser known working dog breeds, we have another Iberian breed that looks even more intimidating than the Portuguese Mastiff: This is a breed that Spanish farmers swear by – an extremely powerful and formidable fighter when needed, but otherwise a gentle giant. We are speaking of the imposing Spanish Mastiff.  Closely related to the Filar Brasileiro (also known as the Brazilian Mastiff), this dog lacks the Fila’s aggression and readiness to attack in the face of apparent danger: The Spanish Mastiff will usually take a more defensive approach to guarding. But when it comes to it, there are not many dogs, or other predators, that stand a chance against a Spanish Mastiff in full battle-mode. Number 6 – The Fox Terrier Our number 6 spot goes to another hunting breed, albeit one specialising on foxes rather than rabbits – the amazing Fox Terrier. Originating in 19th century England, these tenacious, medium-sized Terriers make quite entertaining companion dogs. They are ideal for active owners. The Fox Terriers’ natural alertness and keen senses make them great watchdogs. In colour, the fearless fox hunters are white, with or without black or tan patches, or tricolour. Their coat can be either short and smooth or curled and wiry. Number 5 – The English Foxhound Here on the halfway mark, we see the intrepid Fox Terrier’s larger colleague: The beautiful English Foxhound used to accompany hunting parties on horseback. Working together in packs, these athletic scent hounds would track and pursue foxes and other ground-dwelling prey. Similar in colouring to the Fox Terrier, the large hound comes with a short and smooth coat. But contrary to the Terrier, the Foxhound is a very mellow and gentle companion who easily gets along with people and other dogs. Number 4 – The Patagonian Sheepdog And on the number 4 spot, we have a breed that many people spend their entire lives never hearing about: the Patagonian Sheepdog, local to South America. This robust, medium- to large-sized herding breed is said to stem from the sheepdogs brought along by English, Irish and Scottish settlers in the 19th century. Which perhaps explains why these rugged-looking, long-haired dogs bear a strong resemblance to the Border Collie and the Bearded Collie. These Collies interbred with the local ones and laid the foundation for today’s Patagonian Sheepdog. The robust breed is distributed throughout Chile and Argentina and used for driving herds of sheep as well as cattle.    Number 3 – The Bully Kuta And here we are, at the TOP 3 positions on our list of the TOP 10 lesser known working breeds in the world. The Bronze Medal goes to another Mastiff breed that is somewhat more obscure than most of the Mastiffs we have today: Rivalling the Great Dane in size and the Fila Brasileiro in readiness to engage threats, the Bully Kuta is also known as the Pakistani Mastiff. Among the most fearless farm dogs and estate guardians on the planet, the Bully Kuta was - and still is - bred to compete in dog fights in Pakistan and India. Which is why caution is advised when it comes to buying one of the few puppies of this breed that are available in Europe or the United States: These dogs have never been bred for companion roles, and can do extreme damage to other dogs or humans   Number 2 – The Borzoi  And right here on the Silver Medal spot, we have a dog bred to not only face, but kill, the large and powerful Eurasian wolves of Russia. And yet, unlike most of other breeds utilized to take on wolves, this one is not a livestock guardian, and neither does it have Mastiff blood running through its veins: The glorious, elegant and light-footed Borzoi is a sighthound. An extremely large one, though, standing almost as tall as its “colleague” from the British Isles: the Irish Wolfhound. The Borzoi is a magnificent sight to behold: Imagine a more light-boned version of the Irish Wolfhound, clothed in a lush, flowing and wavy long coat. Just like their Irish equivalents, Russian Sighthounds make superb companion dogs, as they are extremely gentle towards humans, strangers included. But, due to the job they were bred for, Borzois are prone to serious dog-aggression – more than most other breeds: Where average dogs might just engage in harmless squabbles with each other, without breaking the skin, Borzois do not have this natural bite-inhibition when it comes to battling other canines – especially those of the same sex. Number 1 – The Catahoula Leopard Dog Now, we have reached the top spot of today’s list. And whom do we have here – which breed has won the title “least well-known working breed in the world”? Right here, on our Gold Medal Spot, we have an absolutely amazing dog who deserves a lot more popularity than it currently enjoys: The Catahoula Leopard Dog is an immensely keen worker, and the favourite ranch- and farm dog breed in its native Louisiana – so much so that it is Louisiana’s official state dog. Not to mention its beautiful and highly unusual appearance: As its name suggests, the Catahoula Leopard Dog comes with a uniquely patterned coat that can have a variety of fascinating colours: Short and smooth, the coat can be blue merle, but also red merle, white merle and yellow merle. True allrounders, Catahoulas fill the roles of bay dogs (used for hunting), farm- and property guardians, cattle dogs, livestock guardians and companions. They are known to be fearless, loyal, territorial and very confident. This is one truly magnificent breed, and one that definitely deserves to be named as the TOP breed on our list of little-known, but highly capable working breeds.


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