It is hard to believe that some dog breeds we know and love today haven’t always been around. Below is a list of the now extinct dog breeds that have played a role in creating our dogs of today. There are even a few short lived breeds included on this list – mostly modern breeds that have died out for one reason or another.
But before you begin scanning, there’s an important distinction you need to be aware of. Extinct dog breeds do not fall into the same category as Ancient dog breeds, Rare dog breeds or Primitive dog breeds. Some online publications have lumped them all together, but that is entirely inaccurate.
Take a look at my article on Ancient Dog Breeds where I delve into more details and the history of canine breeding, discuss how all these types of breeds differ, and why they don’t belong in the same category. Some Ancient dog breeds are still living among us today, while Extinct dogs have disappeared off of the face of the planet forever.
So as far extinct dogs go, curious dog owners will get a kick out of this list showing which dogs helped to mold the pets we know and love today. I’ve done a lot of research in this area, and below you’ll see mentions of each of these thirty breeds – broken down by geographical areas – that have unfortunately disappeared and do not live among us anymore. Perhaps you’ll be able to get to know some of your dog’s ancestors, too.
30 Extinct Dog Breeds
that you never knew existed
Breeds from the British Isles
1. English Water Spaniel
The English Water Spaniel breed is known for being able to dive like a duck in water. It was last seen in the later part of the 1930’s. It is said to have looked similar to a Border Collie. We know that it was around in the late 1500’s, as it was described in a book. It is an ancestor of the Curly Coated Retriever and the American Water Spaniel.
2. Cumberland Sheepdog
Related to the Australian Shepherd and the Border Collie, the now gone Cumberland Sheepdog breed’s origins are unknown. What we do know is that they died out in the early 20th century.
It is documented that one major breeder crossed his Cumberlands with German Shepherds. Some believe that any original breeds left were absorbed into the Border Collie standard.
3. Alpine Mastiff
An ancestor of the Saint Bernard and other mastiff breeds, the Alpine Mastiff is a Molosser breed. This is one of the first breeds to achieve a truly massive size. These extinct dog breeds disappeared in the 1990’s. It is rumored that are some people that are trying to recreate this breed using Saint Bernards, Great Danes, Great Pyrenees, and the Bernese Mountain Dog.
Like Saint Bernard’s, the Alpine Spaniel breed was used in the Alps to rescue wayward travelers in the Saint Bernard Pass.
They even lived in the same monastery and are believed to be one of the forerunners of the Saint Bernard. By 1850 the breed had died out due to disease that ravished the area, but I am unable to find record of what the disease was.
5. Palsey Terrier
Originating from Scotland, Palsey Terrier breed is a small dog that was created from Skye Terriers to be companion animals and show dogs.
Not having a very long life span, the breed was created in the 19th century and died out in the early 20th century. Their beautiful coats were very hard to maintain, and it is believed that is why their popularity couldn’t be sustained.
6. Blue Paul Terrier
A fighting dog, these extinct dog breeds are believed to be an ancestor to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier.
It is believed that Blue Paul Terrier hailed from Scotland, and there is legend of them being there in 1770. What is known for sure is that the last survivors of this breed were spotted in the 1920’s.
7. North Country Beagle
A scent hound native to Yorkshire and Northumberland, this was a relative of the South Country Beagle. Eventually the North Country Beagle breed died out in the 1800’s due to losing its popularity to the English Foxhound. These extinct dog breeds are believed to have been a direct descendant of the Talbot. The time of development of this breed could be as far back as 1066 CE.
8. Norfolk Spaniel
What is known is that this bird dog was last seen in the early 1900’s. Some believe it is an ancestor of the English Springer Spaniel, and some people believe that it is fact the English Springer Spaniel.
9. Turnspit Dog
Turnspit dog breed was also known as ‘Kitchen Dogs.’ They had one job, to turn the spit so that cooks could focus on other tasks while the meat roasted. First appearing in writing in 1576, they disappeared by 1900. If you want to see this small dog in person, you still can. According to an NPR article, there is a stuffed one at the Abergavenny Museum in Wales. Its name is Whiskey.
One of the oldest scent hounds in Europe, Talbot dog breed is the father to many other breeds such as the Bloodhound, the Beagle, the Basset Hound, and others. The long reign of this hound dog was from at least 1400 CE to the end of the 18th. Like many dogs, the popularity declined in favor of newer breeds created from this stock.
Breeds from Australia/New Zealand/Polynesia
11. Marquesan Dog
These extinct dog breeds were introduced to Marquesan Island from the first settlers. Marquesan dog breed is known from prehistoric carvings and skeletons found by archaeologists. Culturally important, they served as tribal totems and religious icons. They were extinct by the arrival of Europeans in 1595, as the Spanish explorers didn’t write about them in their meticulous reports.
Here we have a prehistoric breed that was owned by the Māori people. They were the indigenous people of New Zealand. Kuri dog breed was very important to the culture.
Prized for their hunting skills, they would assist people in hunting birds. They were also used as food, and their skins used in coats and blankets. They went extinct in the 1800’s after European settlers arrived.
13. Hawaii Poi Dog
If you look at drawings of the Hawaii Poi Dog breed, they look similar to Corgis. They came in a variety of colors, and are very similar to another extinct Polynesian breed, the Kurī. In Hawaii, it is still common for people to call any mixed breed dog a Poi Dog, but the official breed has indeed become extinct. The Honolulu Zoo tried to resurrect the breed, but the project failed.
Thylacine breed was known by several names, the Australian Tiger Dog, the Tasmanian Tiger, and the Tasmanian Wolf. It has a very unique look with tiger stripes on its back. It was native to Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Tasmania.
These wild dogs went extinct in Papua New Guinea and Australia about 2000 years ago. The last one in Tasmania died in captivity in 1936.
Breeds from South America
15. Cordoba Fighting Dog
Hailing from Argentina, these extinct dog breeds were created from Bull Terriers brought over with the Europeans in the 1800’s. The popularity of Cordoba Fighting Dog breed quickly died out with the breed disappearing by the 1930’s.
Strong and enduring, these canines had high pain tolerances and could hold a wild boar in its jaws until its master arrived to kill it.
16. Chiribaya Shepherd
This ancient breed was used for herding llama in Peru. Many graves uncovered by archaeologists contain mummified Chiribaya, so this shows how Chiribaya Shepherd dog breed was also respected as a loving companion. Facts show that they did live between 900 to 1350 CE. It is unknown if they were around for longer than this, and there are no depictions of these extinct dogs but it’s said that they looked similar to Peruvian dog breed.
17. Fuegian Dog
These now extinct dogs were owned by entire villages and assisted in eating scraps, in protecting them from vermin, and as companions. We know what they looked like as there are several stuffed specimens.
Breeds from North America
18. Hare Indian Dog
Native to Canada, the Hare Indian Dog breed was domesticated by the Hare Indian Tribe. It is believed that it could have been a type of coyote. Others believe that they did have coyote, but also domesticated dog lines that were brought from Europe with the Vikings. Used as hunting dogs, the breed intermingled with other dogs and died out.
19. Salish Woolly Dog
Another Canadian dog, this was an important possession of the Salish Indian Tribe. The wool of Salish Woolly Dog (or Salish Wool Dog, or Comox dog) was used to make blankets and rugs. After Europeans introduced cheaper, machine made blankets in the 19 century, this breed of canine began its decline. With that said, the fruits of these pooches are still around today, with a new blanket being discovered recently.
20. St. John’s Water Dog
Used in fishing, these multipurpose animals would retrieve fish and hold nets. Due to sheep protection laws, these extinct dog breeds died out. The last two were photographed in the 1980’s.
21. Tahltan Bear Dog
Small fox-sized dogs, this extinct breed is native to the British Columbia area. Brave and agile, they were used by the Tahltan Native American Tribe to hunt bear. The Tahltan Bear Dog breed has long been tracked by the Guinness World Book of Records and is now known to be gone forever. It is also known as the Chien d’ours de Tahltan.
22. Dogo Cubano
The ancestors of the Dogo Cubano breed were brought over from Spain. There main use was in the barbaric practice of slavery. They were used to hunt down runaway slaves, but also as instruments of torture being used to punish criminals and terrorize citizens.
Weighing in at 220 pounds, these now extinct dog breeds were expensive to keep. When slavery died out in the late 1800’s, so did the breed.
Breeds from Europe
Also known as the German Bulldog, this mastiff-type dog was prized for its strength and agility. The Bullenbeisser dog breed is known to have accompanied Dutch sailors around the world in the 16th century, but their origins are older than that. In the 1870’s, Germans started crossing this breed with others until the breed was no longer distinguishable by the Second World War.
24. Braque Du Puy
Also known as the Du Puy Pointer, these canines where popular due to their speed and elegance. They were a sighthound and used on the hunt. Hailing from France, the Braque Du Puy dog breed is generally accepted to be extinct, but some breed lovers still insist it can be found in remote areas of Europe. Most experts believe this to be false.
Native to France, these dogs were in the “Griffon” family. Chien-Gris dogs were scent hound used in hunting. Although it is unsure when the breed was created, it is known that by 1200 it was well established. Used exclusively by nobility at one time, the breed declined when tastes changed. It is believed the last ones died in the 1820’s.
Named after the Molossi people of northern Greece, these canines are the father of the Mastiff breeds of today. The picture of ferocity and aggression, these were your basic dogs of war.
The earliest account of the Molossus dog breed is in a play from 400 BCE, and they the latest account was in the 2nd Century CE. The exact dates of extinction are shrouded in time.
27. Moscow Water Dog
Only being developed in the 1950’s, the Moscow Water Dog breed became extinct after a very short time. They were a cross of Newfoundland’s (brought over in World War II), Caucasian Dogs, and Russian German Shepherds. Used for hunting and protection, they could withstand frigid temperatures. By the 1980’s, the breed was no longer distinguishable from the Newfoundland, thereby being labeled as extinct.
28. Russian Tracker
Being of the Asiatic/Russian origin, the Russian Tracker dog breed was used to herd and protect flocks on the Caucasus Mountains. Not only fast and strong, this breed was intelligent and brave as well. It could successfully chase off wolves, lynx, and bears.
Breeds from Asia
In the Mastiff category, the Alaunt dog breed was a Central Asian dog of war, but that was by no means their only job. They also assisted with herding cattle and hunting game. Like other breeds on this list, people do try to pass off similar puppies as Alaunts for sell, but they are not true to the breed as this breed is no more.
Breeds from Africa
Similar in appearance to a Basenji, this is an ancient breed of Egypt. With Tesem dog breed being roughly translated into “hunting dog”, it is assumed that this was their main purpose, but as with many canines, they were also companions and guards.
The oldest hieroglyphics of these extinct dog breeds date back to 3200 BCE. At some point in history, they were breed out.
Although these extinct dog breeds are no more, their genetic material lives on in all the great canine breeds of today. Be wary of anyone claiming to have these breeds as there are many frauds around trying to make money off of noble, ancient names. Use the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” because these dogs are not with us anymore, and simply cannot be bred back into existence.