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Black and tan dog with pointy ears lying down

Many of today's best-known breeds are descended from extinct dog breeds.

© Pavan Naik - Unsplash

Extinct dog breeds: 14 breeds that no longer exist

By Greta Inglis Dog Behaviourist | Animal Behaviourist

Published on the

The evolution of domestic dogs has seen certain breeds rise in popularity and others disappear entirely. The following 14 extinct dog breeds may surprise you. 

Extinction forms an important part of the evolution of any species. In the case of canines, man has looked to develop breeds that are suited in morphology and temperament to fill certain roles.

In some cases, however, breeds may disappear, as they no longer fulfill the purpose for which they were originally created. Here we've put together a list of some of these extinct dog breeds, sadly no longer to be found anywhere on the planet. 

Alpine Mastiff

While it was never fully classified as a breed in its own right, the Alpine Mastiff can be traced along the same bloodlines as the Newfoundland and the Great Dane. Recognised as the ancestor of the St. Bernard we know and love today, these giant mastiffs weighed in at over 150kg.

Black and Tan Terrier

Black and tan terrier was the name used to refer to the working Fox Terriers with this coat colour, and the instinct and tenacity which made them excellent hunters. Over time, they were crossbred with other breeds, ultimately resulting in the Border Terrier and the Lakeland Terrier.

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English White Terrier

The name of these little white dogs with pricked ears is actually the failed show-dog name that was used to refer to a version of the White Fox Terrier. In existence in the UK from the 18th century, the breed was later developed into the Jack Russell Terrier and the Boston Terrier, through crossing the white terrier with an old English bulldog.

Braque du Puy

There are many theories as to how the Braque du Puy first came into existence. Some believe that the breed was first created by a Braque Français breeder named du Puy, while others believe the breed's name to come from the gamekeeper who saved the breed from extinction during the French revolution.

While the origins of the breed may be uncertain, we do know that the Braque du Puy resembled the English Pointer, reputed to be a skilled sighthound used for hunting. 

Hawaiian Poi Dog

The Hawaiian poi dog is an ancient breed, descended from dogs of Polynesia. The name derives from a Hawaiian staple made from Taro root, which was fed to these dogs in the absence of affordable meat.

The Hawaiian Poi could come in any colour, with short fur and a flattened head. The breed was used for food and to bring luck to the people around them, until European settlers arrived, bringing with them other dogs with which they could breed. By the early 20th century the Hawaiian Poi had disappeared, replaced by crossbreeds which led to the loss of their distinctive features. 

Lapponian Shepherd

Also known as the Cockhill's Finnish Lapphound, the Lapponian Shepherd is an extinct dog breed from Finland. Originating in southern Finland in the 1930s, the Lapponian Shepherd was an active, independent and equally gentle dog, who built strong bonds with their family. 

In the 1960s, the Lapponian Shepherd was split into two distinct breeds, the Lapponian Herder and the Finnish Lapphund which have both grown in popularity in recent years.

Grand Fauve de Bretagne

Recorded in France from the 16th century, the Grand Fauve de Bretagne was a large scenthound with a coarse, dense coat. Known for their strong prey drive during hunting and unruly temperaments, the Grand Fauve de Bretagne was primarily used to hunt game such as wild boar and wolves. 

The breed gradually declined in popularity from the mid 19th century onwards, as wolves became less commonly hunted in France. The smaller Griffon Fauve de Bretagne is the descendent of this breed. 

Buckhound

The Buckhound originated in England during the Middle Ages, and was used to hunt fallow deer in large packs of dogs. 

Similar in appearance to a Harrierthe Buckhound was a tall and agile dog, with long, large ears to help capture and follow a scent during the hunt. By the 1800s only a few packs of these dogs remained, once of which belonged to the Royal family. 

St John's Water Dog

The St John's Water Dog originated in Newfoundland, and was prized by fisherman for its gentle nature and ability at work. These dogs adored water and were very strong, helping to drag nets back to the boat during fishing expeditions. 

Exported to the UK in the 19th century, it's believed that the St John's Dog is the ancestor of many water-loving breeds we know today, such as the Flat Coated Retriever, the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever

Norfolk Spaniel 

The Norfolk Spaniel has been described as a large Cocker Spaniel, used for hunting on land and in water. While these dogs were neither the Sussex or the Clumber Spaniel, they did possess similar characteristics and temperament, and were active, lively and very loyal dogs.

After 1903 the Norfolk Spaniel became an extinct dog breed, rolled into one breed classification with the English Springer Spaniel that still exists today. 

Bullenbeisser

Known for their strength and agility, the Bullenbeisser was also referred to as the German Bulldog. Similar to the Spanish Bulldog and the Dogo Argentinothe breed became extinct through crossbreeding. The Bullenbeisser is thought to be the ancestor of the modern Boxer

Paisley Terrier

Originating from Scotland, the Paisley Terrier was bred as both a pet and a showdog. These little dogs were very friendly and affectionate, making great housedogs and pets. With a long, flowing coat, this breed is known to be the progenitor of the Yorkshire Terrier

Toy Bulldog

This extinct dog breed came from England originally, dating as far back as the 18th century. While not officially recognised as a breed, the idea was that the Toy Bulldog would retain the wonderful characteristics of the English Bulldog, while being smaller in size and easier to handle.

These little dogs experienced a number of health problems as a result of their breeding, and the programme eventually came to an end in the 19th century. 

Here's all you need to know about the English Bulldog.

Hare Indian Dog

Created in northern Canada for coursing, the Hare Indian Dog is said to have had the speed of a coyote and the temperament of a domesticated dog. They were slenderly built and friendly to people.

As with many dog breeds seen on our list, the Hare Indian Dog became extinct as a result of crossbreeding and a decrease in their usefulness to humans over time. Luckily many of these breeds live on in some form through the wonderful breeds that have come after them. 

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