Everyone needs to be appreciated. And these dog breeds deserve a shout out for everything from their extraordinary physical abilities to their exceptional behavior and everything in between. But they have mainly remained underappreciated. Come along as we give props to our top 7 underrated dogs.
7. Norwegian Lundehund – Underrated Dogs
Discovered on a secluded island in Norway, the Norwegian Lundehund is a Spitz breed initially used to scale cliffs and plunder puffin nests for eggs. Lundehund translates to “puffin dog” in English.
It’s only natural for canines that can climb mountains to have unique physical traits and abilities that enable them to navigate rugged terrain with ease. For starters, Lundehunds are polydactyl pups having six toes on each foot.
The extra digits give them more traction and the amazing ability to grip slippery or steep rocks or other surfaces. The toes also help them burrow into narrow passageways in search of eggs.
Also setting them apart is their extraordinary range of motion. Lundehunds have incredibly flexible joints that allow them to bend their heads backward and turn their legs outward at a 90-degree angle, like human arms. They can also fold their ears forward or back to shut out moisture and dirt.
Now, wouldn’t it be cool to have your own canine contortionist?
There are two things the Berger Picard dog has in common with Captain Jean Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise—a surname and star power.
Undeniably intelligent with high energy, Picards remain true to their roots as ancient French herding dogs. But in more recent times, the breed has made the leap from the pasture to the silver screen, starring in movies such as “Daniel and the Superdogs,” “Because of Winn Dixie,” and “Are We Done Yet?”
The Picard has been successful as an entertainer because they are easy to train.
They have perky personalities and are sensitive to the intonations in their handlers’ voices, which makes them very receptive students. As long as you maintain a positive attitude and use your merriest voice when teaching your Berger Picard, training is a breeze.
Make it so.
5. Mexican Hairless – Underrated Dogs
If you have allergies or cringe at the thought of a layer of doggie hair coating you and everything you own, the Xoloitzcuintli (show-low-eats-queent-lee) or Mexican Hairless, because I can’t pronounce that repeatedly, may be the breed for you.
The Xolo comes in two varieties, hairless and coated, and the gene mutation for hairlessness also affects their teeth. While coated Xolos are born with a complete set of teeth, those of the hairless persuasion are not.
Of course, since all dogs produce dander, urine, and saliva, no dog is entirely hypoallergenic. Still, Xolos are among the few breeds that have a dominant trait for hairlessness, so they are quite remarkable in that respect.
Xolos come in three sizes—standard, miniature, and toy, giving you even more control over your exposure to allergens. So, if you’re prone to the sniffles, the Standard is your pup. And if you’re a sneeze machine, the Miniature or Toy will keep your allergies at bay.
Fun Fact: Both hairless and coated varieties can come from the same litter.
For those who appreciate a quiet environment, the “barkless” Basenji can be cool company. Although they can vocalize, they don’t do it often, and when they do, the sound is similar to a howl or yodel. Basenjis tend to be very alert, and they make excellent watchdogs. You can rest assured—if they’re making noise, something is afoot.
And if you want a low-maintenance pup, Basenjis are obsessed with self-grooming. Like cats, they’re meticulous when it comes to staying clean. They also lack the familiar “doggie odor” that is typical of many breeds and shed little. On the other hand, if you want to take a walk in the rain, don’t bring your Basenji—they hate wet weather. They often refuse to go out on damp days. After all their hard work to stay clean, can you blame them?
3. Catahoula Leopard Dog – Underrated Dogs
Take one look at the Catahoula Leopard Dog, and you’ll know it’s something special. Bred to hunt in the Louisiana Catahoula Lake’s swamps, it is a tough, rare breed whose lineage is a canine gumbo comprised of several breeds like the Bloodhound, Beauceron, and Greyhound. Whatever the case, the Catahoula is a dog whose unique looks and a knack for discernment are solid reasons to give them the recognition they deserve.
Catahoulas come in a wide variety of color combinations, including blue merle, red merle, brindle, patchwork, solids, and of course, the spotted “leopard” pattern from which they acquired their name. Leopard varieties include red leopard, blue leopard, and gray or “silver” leopard. Coats can also be tri-color, quad-color, or even five-color, uh penta-color. If you think Catahoulas have wild coat colors, their eyes can be virtually any color or combination of colors, including brown, blue, green, and amber. In some dogs, each eye is a different color, and others have variations such as “glass,” “double glass,” and “cracked” or “marbled glass” that give the eyes a mystical, crystal ball-like appearance.
Since they have remarkable intuition when it comes to judging character, herding and driving breeds are believed to have played a part in the Catahoula’s development. Like any true BFF, your Catahoula will let you know whom you can and cannot trust—so, it only fits that they have eyes that look like crystal balls.
For sure, American Pit Bull Terriers have a serious PR problem. They have been vilified in the media and are the subjects of tall tales and urban legends that paint them as bloodthirsty predators, but the truth is, Pit Bulls love to love and be loved.
Sure, any dog can have aggressive tendencies, just as any human can—especially if mistreated. But as a whole, Pibbles are no more vicious than other breeds. Most Pits are affectionate, loyal, and maintain a playful, puppy-like demeanor well into adulthood. That said, they are incredibly devoted to their humans and will do everything in their power to defend them.
Pit Bulls also make excellent watchdogs, but not in the traditional sense. These tender, tough guys are so affectionate that the excitement of making a new friend might alert you to when someone is approaching your property, and just knowing that you have a Pit may be enough to intimidate intruders. But if you expect your Pit to attack trespassers at will, forget it… they’re more likely to watch someone open your gate, stroll up the walkway, jimmy the front door, and look around the house for goodies—then they’ll watch the thief walk away with your stuff while trying to show them a little love for visiting.
1. Mutt – Underrated Dogs
Say what you will about mutts…fact is, they’re one-of-a-kind pups.
Mutts are marvelous because you get the best qualities of two or more breeds in one package, and they come in so many combinations that the perfect one for you is probably just around the corner…the possibilities are endless.
Your vet visits will be fewer because the mutt is generally the healthiest type of dog around. Unlike purebred dogs, mutts inherit the genes of two or more breeds, which increases the odds of them inheriting the strengths of those breeds, and decreases the likelihood that they will develop a genetic disorder caused by inbreeding.
Also, mixed-breed dogs cost less than purebreds, as long as you stay clear of the so-called Designer Dogs, and some are even “free to a good home.” Whether you get yours from a private seller, shelter, rescue group, friend, or off the street, you will always get a great deal.
*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you).