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The Alsatian Shepalute is a relatively new rare breed of dog started in the United States in 1988.

Rare breed (dog) is any breed of dog that is few in number. Since dogs have greater genetic variability than other domesticated animals[1] the number of possible breeds is vast. New breeds are constantly being created, with only a few "rare" puppies available at first, and even long-established breeds may have small populations.


Establishment of breeds

Modern dog breeds have documented descent from known foundation stock,[2] and new breeds are often derived from older, established modern breeds.[note 1] New documentation of a long established dog type, sometimes with a variation on an older name, also creates a new modern breed.[note 2] The newly documented breed is then referred to as a rare breed as long as the number of dogs of the breed remain small.

Recognition of rare breeds

Breeds go through a recognition process by breed clubs, kennel clubs and other agencies, so that dogs can be guaranteed through written documentation to be a member of a specific breed. For example, the Canadian department of agriculture, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, has strict requirements for the registering of new breeds, which are referred to as "emerging breeds."[3] In the past, this process was limited to each country's national governing body for dog breeds (two in the case of the United States), and gaining recognition for a new breed was a closely checked, long process. With the advent of the internet a vast number of minor registries has proliferated, allowing clubs, breeders, and internet entrepreneurs to create their own registries for their own purposes.[4] As a result, the number of dogs being marketed as or referred to as registered members of a rare breed has increased.


note 1. ^ See the Biewer for an example of a new modern rare breed derived from an established modern breed, in this case, the Yorkshire Terrier.

note 2. ^ Many landrace dogs (also called ancient-breeds), adapted to a particular environment and developed not through modern breeding techniques but in isolation over time,[5] are being documented, registered, and marketed as modern purebred breeds. Although such landraces may not be rare in their home environment, they are considered rare when brought to other parts of the world for pets or (rarely) to do the work for which they originally developed. An example is the Kuchi dog, a livestock guardian dog type which originated with the nomadic Kuchi people of Central Asia, and is now marketed in Europe and the United States as several differently named purebred rare breeds.


  1. ^ Christine Mlot (June 28, 1997). "Stalking the Ancient Dog". Science News Online. Retrieved 15 August 2008. "The influx of new genes from those crossings could very well explain the extraordinarily high number of dog breeds that exists today, the researchers suggest. Dogs have much greater genetic variability than other domesticated animals, such as cats"  
  2. ^ (in English) Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged. The Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff. Springfield, MA U.S.A.: G&C Merriam Company. pp. 274. "A breed is a group of domestic animals related through common ancestors and visiblily similar in most characteristics, having been differentiated from others by human influence; a distinctive group of domesticated animals differentiated from the wild type under the influence of man, the sum of the progeny of a known and designated foundation stock without admixture of other blood."  
  3. ^ Animal Pedigree Act "evolving breed" (race en voie de constitution) means a group of animals in the process of evolving into a new breed.
  4. ^ Wray, Michelle (2000). "Puppy Mills : What They Are and What You Can Do About Them". DORG Magazine. Retrieved 15 August 2008.  
  5. ^ Don Bixby (2003). "Types of Breeds". Retrieved 15 August 2008.  

See also

External links



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