We thought we knew a whole lot about dogs — until we started to research some rare breeds, that is. Sure, we might have a plethora of knowledge about about Golden Retrievers and Yorkies, but little did we know there is a pooch that literally has the word "dog" in the name (hello, the Dogo Argentino). And no, bolognese isn't just a type of red sauce with meat, it's also an adorable little white fluffy dog.
You can find these lesser-known breeds in the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service Breeds category, but we've put together our favorites for you in a handy list. Expect to see a few of these up-and-coming pooches at your local dog park.
The curly-coated barbet is a rare canine breed boasting a friendly, people-pleasing personality. Also called a French water dog, this fun-loving canine may just jump in your tub when it wants some water action. Barbet advocates are currently working hard on increasing the pup’s American population.
Next Up: Berger Picard
Originally posted September 2016. Updated September 2017.
2. Berger Picard
I'd like to think this breed was named after world-famous Star Trek captain, Jean-Luc Picard, but it turns out Picard is simply the region in France that these adorable pups come from. However, there are some similarities between the two. Just like Jean-Luc, the Berger Picard is fiercely loyal and has a wonderfully delightful nature. This pup does crave daily exercise so if you have an active lifestyle, this may just be the dog for you.
Next Up: Boerboel
This confident, muscular dog is a force to be reckoned with if you’re a threat to its family. The Boerboel is a large, heavy Mastiff-type breed that serves as a working dog, but has an affectionate affinity for its pack members.
Next Up: Bolognese
If a lapdog is pulling at your heartstrings, the toy-sized Bolognese may be the dog for you. Playful and happy, this cuddly white fluffball adores human companionship, and it does well in small dwellings as long as it gets a daily walk.
Next Up: Dogo Argentino
5. Dogo Argentino
Known as the Argentinian Mastiff, the Dogo Argentino is a devoted dog that quickly steps into a protective role when it comes to its family pack. A strong-willed canine, this muscular pup needs a firm leader who will train it and enforce clear rules.
Next Up: Eurasier
The Eurasier is an affectionate, irresistibly cuddly dog that bonds deeply with its family. An excellent companion dog, this tenderhearted canine needs daily exercise to keep it healthy and happy.
Next Up: Hovawart
An outstanding watchdog, the Hovawart is also a loving, good-natured family pet. This handsome pup does well indoors if sufficiently exercised and tends to be territorial outdoors, opting to stay close to home rather than wander off.
Next Up: Jindo
The intelligent, Spitz-type Jindo was originally bred centuries ago in southwest Korea as a hunting dog and is protected today as a national monument. This loyal pup enjoys being near and dear to its family when inside, but loves to roam outdoors following its prey drive.
Next Up: Kai Ken
9. Kai Ken
Also called a tiger dog, the Kai Ken is a rare dog from Japan that tends to be a courageous hunter and loyal family dog. The Kai is also an excellent swimmer and has been known to cross rivers when pursuing prey.
Next Up: Karelian Bear Dog
10. Karelian bear dog
Whether you plan to hunt bears or simply want an intelligent, energetic companion to take on daily runs, the Karelian bear dog is a powerful pup with a strong and loyal nature. If you’re new to owning a dog, this dominant-personality canine is not for you.
Next Up: Caucasian Ovcharka
11. Caucasian Ovcharka
The Caucasian Ovcharka is a little-known breed whose roots trace back to the Caucasus mountains. Also known as the Caucasian shepherd dog, this pup was bred to work in rocky terrain, but is starting to gain popularity for its glamorous good looks.
While the Caucasian Ovcharka is beautiful to look at, it's not an ideal pup for first-time doggy owners. Why? There are a couple of reasons. First, these dogs are huge. They could easily injure a small child by accident during play. Second, they are fiercely protective and make excellent guard dogs, but if not trained by a seasoned dog owner early on, their protective nature could turn into aggression. So make sure you're ready to commit to lots of early training if you have your heart set on bringing one of these gorgeous pups into your home.