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5 Unique and Unusual Dog Breeds

Friday, August 3, 2012

Have you ever watched the Westminster Dog Show and realized just how many dog breeds you're NOT familiar with? Personally, it seems like I am learning about new breeds all the time. Here are some of the most unique and unusual that I've encountered.

Photo credit: dogfamily.org

You may recognize the Komondor from the cover of Beck's 1996 album Odelay. The Komondor has a unique corded coat, basically the equivalent of dreadlocks! Komondor puppies are fuzzy and soft, and it takes about 2 years for the undercoat and outer coat to lock up into the characteristic cords. The breed is a highly effective livestock guardian, and the corded coat is thought to protect against bites from prey animals like wolves.

Photo credit: pets-puppies.blogspot.com
Chinese Crested

Is it just me, or does this breed look like it belongs in an 80's glam rock band? The Chinese Crested is a mix of hairless and long-haired, with a naked body and tufts of fur on the feet, tail and head. Having 2 types of coat means double the grooming needs. The naked skin needs to be treated like a human's, and can be prone to the same sorts of problems like acne and sunburn. The furry parts can matt easily, and as such need to be brushed and combed frequently. The amount of fur varies from dog to dog, and some dogs in a litter of Chinese Crested may be born with a full, long coat and almost no hairlessness whatsoever!

Photo credit: nicholasspyer.com
Peruvian Hairless

The Peruvian Hairless dog is a very old breed indeed, documented by the Spanish in the 1500's and exhisting well before that time. The dog is considered a hairless dog, though it can have small amounts of hair on its body (particularly on the head and tail.) Many of the dogs sport a rather fashionable mohawk! The skin can come in any color from pink to black, and mottled with any color in between. Peruvian Hairless Dogs (or Peruvian Inca Orchids as they're sometimes known) in America tend to all look rather similar, as they are bred from a small breeding pool of imported dogs. However, the breed tends to be more variable in its native South America. It is a fairly small dog, ranging from about 25-50 pounds (though sometimes smaller.) Extra care needs to be given to the skin to slough off dead skin cells, and the skin should be protected by sunscreen when the dog is in the sun.

Photo credit: woofahs.com

Klee Kai
At first glance of a photo, it is hard to see anything unusual about the Klee Kai. It looks just like a regular Husky, right? Well, yes AND no. Though the Klee Kai may look like a common sled dog, it is actually a miniature version of the Husky! The Klee Kai looks more-or-less like a Husky puppy that never grew up. The adult height is between 13-17 inches (for comparison, that's about the size of an average Beagle.) The Klee Kai retains the same personality and active lifestyle as other sled dogs, but it's all packed into a tiny little package. The breed was released to the public in 1988 and is a member of the American Rare Breed Association and United Kennel Club.

Photo credit: breederretriever.com

The Basenji is a unique breed not because of what you see, but what you hear...or rather, what you don't hear. Considered by many to be the most silent breed of domestic dog, the Basenji simply doesn't bark! It is nicknamed the "Barkless Dog" for this reason. Though it may be considered "barkless", it's not entirely silent. It has a characteristic yodel and makes other unusual noises. Some theorize that the unusual vocalizations come from a selective breeding of sorts. The dog originates from Central Africa, and it is possible that louder dogs with a more traditional bark were killed to keep human villages safe and less visible to rival neighboring tribes. Whether or not this is true, the unusual sounds are biologically caused by an unusually shaped larynx.

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