The popularity — or unpopularity — of a dog breed can sometimes be as fleeting as a fashion trend. One day, your neighborhood seems like it's a breeding ground for Chihuahuas and the next, it's blossoming with Beagles. If you don't follow what's en-"doggie"-vogue and are looking for an unexpected canine companion, check out 12 breeds that are currently "out of fashion," but surely deserve a comeback.
OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG
This 100-pound, shaggy-haired family dog was bred to herd sheep and cattle, but rose in popularity when it was exported to the United States in the 1880s. Apparently, five of the ten wealthiest American families all owned, bred and showed the "Shepherd's Dog." English sheepdogs would later rule pop culture, starring in many TV shows ("Sesame Street") and comic strips ("Archie"). When smaller dog breeds became more popular, the number of purebred sheepdog puppies registered in both the United States and England dropped. There were just over 1,000 sheepdogs registered with AKC in their last survey, whereas in 1975, nearly 16,000 pups were accounted for. (Contra Costa Times)
Whenever there is a "Lassie" show on TV, you can expect an increase in Collies. However, as of late, these dogs are much less in demand as household pets. Although they are truly wonderful family canines, it seems like many dog lovers are turning to smaller, non-herding dogs. (Vetstreet)
This tiny terrier is one of the most iconic breeds in the history of dogs. Although Scottish Terriers were bred to hunt and kill vermin on farms, they rose in popularity as a compaion pet during King James VI's reign in Scotland. When they were exported to the United States in the 1890s, they were welcomed by households aplenty. They are the only breed of dog that has lived in the White House three times (Presidents Roosevelt, Eisenhower, George W. Bush). Their popularity peaked after World War II. Although they may not be a popular household pet any longer, they are still prevalent as show dogs. (AKC)
Irish Setters rose to fame in the 18th century throughout Ireland and the British Isles. They were primarily used as hunting dogs, but were also known for their playful personalities and beautiful coats. Notable Irish Setter owners included Clark Cable, Olivia Newton-John and Richard Nixon. While they are a well-known dog breed, they have fallen in popularity over the last decade. This may have to do with the fact that Irish Setters require a lot of care — they are extremely energetic and require plenty of exercise. Their gorgeous red coats also must be groomed regularly. (AKC)
These cute, rough-coated scent hounds were developed to hunt otters in the 19th century. They were popular pets among hunters until 1978 when there was a dramatic decline in otters, which affected their breed. They are now on the list of Vulnerable Native Breeds and are identified as endangered. There are only 1,000 Otterhounds left in the world. (petMD)
DANDIE DINMONT TERRIER
This eccentric-looking terrier is known for its fluffy head of fur and deep, dark eyes. Having been around since the 1700s, this family-friendly dog has been known to belong to every kind of dog owner, from gypsies to aristocrats. They became extremely popular in 1814 when Sir Walter Scott wrote about them in his novel, "Guy Mannering." However, over the years, they have been registered as a Vulnerable Native Breed by the Kennel Club. (The Kennel Club)
This regal canine was originally bred to be a hunting dog, but they quickly became popular companion pets when they were brought to the United States. The Cocker Spaniel was ranked as the number one breed from 1936 until 1952 when Beagles stole the title. It regained its spot in 1983 through 1990. Since then, the number of registered Cocker Spaniels have decreased. This could be because the breed is susceptible to several heath problems, such as ear infections and hip dysplasia. (National Gun Dog)
The American Foxhound became extremely popular among hunters in the mid-17th century. Their popularity continued throughout the years in the Southern United States due to their hunting capabilities. Their decline in the U.S. may be due to the fact that they don't make for the best household pet. While they do get along with families, they are shy with strangers. They also require a lot of space to roam around. (Discovery)
This compact-size terrier hales from Wales. After World War I, the white, working-dog breed became a common household companion. From Hollywood actors to the British Royal family, the Sealyham Terrier became a must-have for any dog lover. Since then, however, the number of puppies registered has dropped dramatically. It is believed that with the rise of designer dogs has affected the breed's decline.
When translated to English, Lowchen means "little lion." The tiny breed was given its name due to its long, wavy coat and lion trim. This friendly, playful dog has existed for at least 400 years and was bred to be a companion. Their beautiful coats require regular brushing and care. The Lowchen once faced extinction shortly after World War I, but they were able to survive. Although they are no longer facing extinction, they are still considered a rare breed. (Lowchen Club of America)
ENGLISH TOY TERRIER
This small breed of terrier was bred from the Old English Black and Tan Terrier and the Manchester Terrier. They acquired their name in 1962 and were exported to Canada and the U.S. shortly after that. The English Toy Terrier is now on the U.K. Kennel Club's list of Vulnerable Native Breeds. Breeders are hoping to boost the popularity of the breed. (Canine Breeds)
Next: 12 Most Banned Dog Breeds
This tall and athletic curly-coated canine was bred to be an upland bird and waterfowl hunter. They are very loyal dogs, but can sometimes be wary of strangers. Curly-coated Retrievers are very intelligent. For this reason, they can become bored if they are not properly trained or given a lot of exercise. (AKC)
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