These 23 Overlooked Dog Breeds Will Make Even Die-Hard Cat People Fall in Love

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They say that dogs represent man’s best friend, and the American Kennel Club (AKC) reckons there are 178 purebred canine breeds from which to choose our most trusted buddies. According to the AKC 2014 ranking of the U.S.’ most popular dogs, most people will opt for a Labrador from among these hounds, but why follow the crowd? The following 23 dog breeds, for example, are pretty unpopular, and yet there’s no doubt that they’re also totally adorable.

23. Finnish Spitz

The fox-like Finnish Spitz is well known in its Nordic homeland but only registers as America’s 168th most popular breed. These cheerful chaps were formerly reared to hunt game.

22. Löwchen

What can be cuter than a dog whose name means “little lion”? The longhaired Löwchen is anything but ferocious, yet it still only placed at 159th in the AKC’s poll.

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21. Kuvasz

Perhaps the Kuvasz is only America’s 155th-favorite breed because no one knows how to say its name. Apparently it’s “koo-vahss,” and the pure-white beauty is very intelligent.

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20. Entlebucher Mountain Dog

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog was more popular in the U.S. in 2014 than in 2013, but it still only ranks at number 147 on the AKC’s list. As for this dog’s characteristics, well it can be protective and may bark to alert its owners of guests.

Portuguese Podengo Pequeno
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19. Portuguese Podengo Pequeno

The AKC first recorded the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno in 2012, and the breed’s 2014 ranking had it as the 160th most popular in the U.S. Maybe this low position is down to the fact that, just as its name is quite a mouthful, so this energetic dog can be a handful as well.

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18. Norwegian Buhund

The Norwegian Buhund additionally goes by the name of the Norwegian Sheepdog, which gives you an idea of its traditional employment. It polled as the AKC’s 166th most popular breed.

17. Cesky Terrier

Occasionally known as the Bohemian Terrier, the Cesky Terrier has greater length than it does height. There’s something utterly charming about the facial fuzz of the AKC’s 176th most popular dog, but for anyone wanting to own one, be warned: this pooch needs to be clipped quarterly.

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16. Harrier

The lively and playful Harrier hound comes across like the beagle’s hyperactive cousin. It’s quite an uncommon breed, too, which could account somewhat for its apparent unpopularity.

15. Otterhound

The Otterhound was, unsurprisingly, first raised for stalking otters, but now you’ll have a hard time finding any of this breed around. In fact, rather incredibly, there are more giant pandas left in the world than there are Otterhounds.

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14. Pyrenean Shepherd

The Pyrenean Shepherd will be a loving companion – but one that requires a lot of exercise. These clever canines were ranked by the AKC as the 107th most popular breed in the U.S. in 2009, but they currently sit at 172nd place on that list.

13. Skye Terrier

Don’t be fooled by the Skye Terrier’s diminutive size, as it was initially bred to hunt some 700 years ago and still retains its brave streak. Sadly, though, the U.K.’s Kennel Club has claimed that this breed is endangered.

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12. Finnish Lapphund

One of two Finland-native dogs within the U.S.’ 12 least popular breeds, the Finnish Lapphund was originally used for shepherding reindeer. Consequently, these dogs are powerful and smart, as well as somewhat obedient to their owners.

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11. Chinook

The super-cute Chinook was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the planet’s scarcest breed in 1965, and it has since been on the edge of extinction on a number of occasions.

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10. Sealyham Terrier

More tenderly known as Sealies, fluffy Sealyham Terriers were raised as hunting dogs in the U.K. and were once among the more prevalent breeds of terriers. Currently, though, they collectively lie in the AKC’s poll at 163.

9. Komondor

How is it possible that the shaggy-haired Komondor has fallen in popularity so since 2009? After all, this Hungary native may be a little high maintenance on the grooming front, but it’s still known for being faithful and caring.

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8. American English Coonhound

America’s least popular coonhound is, strangely, the American English Coonhound. Perhaps this is because it’s still mostly bred for hunting and is known for its barking and a relentless demand for exercise.

7. Affenpinscher

Still in the bottom quarter of the AKC’s ranking, the furry Affenpinscher is sometimes called a “Monkey Dog.” The French, though, have a habit of terming the notoriously playful dogs “mustached little devils.”

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6. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

“Dandie” by name, “dandy” by nature. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is the “gentleman” of terriers owing to its serene and aloof personality. This breed is, however, becoming increasingly rare and is currently America’s 161st favorite.

5. Norwegian Lundehund

The Norwegian Lundehund was initially used to hunt puffin birds in Arctic Norway, which explains why its other name is the Norwegian Puffin. Unbelievably, this six-toed pup is the least popular on the AKC’s list.

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4. Glen of Imaal Terrier

The Glen of Imaal Terrier bears the name of its Irish homeland and is known for being caring and intellectual. However, it’s not so well known that it can rise out of the bottom 20 breeds in the AKC’s ranking.

3. Gordon Setter

Firmly in the bottom half of the AKC’s poll, Gordon Setters will, with their stylish brown and black fur and aptitude for obedience, nonetheless bring both beauty and brains to any home.

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2. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

The Queen of England has undoubtedly helped popularize the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, which rides high at number 22 on the AKC’s list. However, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is, by contrast, a little more neglected as a breed, placing at a comparatively low 76 in the same ranking.

1. Norfolk Terrier

America’s 125th-favorite dog is possibly its cutest. It must be those adorable dropped ears. Still, less than 300 new Norfolk Terrier puppies are brought into the world annually in the United States, which makes the breed hard to find.

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