Everybody knows that a dog is man’s best friend. They are loyal and faithful and fun. They will run with you. Protect you. Lie at your feet while you watch television. They are always at the door to greet you when you get home. Quite simply they are incredible pets and if you have never experienced the joy of owning and caring for one you should seriously think about it. But dogs come in lots of shapes and sizes and one breed is very different from another. Here’s a quick guide to some of the lesser known dog breeds which you might find interesting.


The hypoallergenic solution


For many people the reason that they don’t own an animal is that they suffer from allergies. Usually this is due to the hair that is shed. When first looking at bichon frise puppies you won’t necessarily realise it, but this breed, is famous for being hypoallergenic. First bred in Spain the breed is descended from Water Spaniels and is sometimes know as a sailor’s dog. Despite having a longish coat the grooming requirements of the animal mean that it sheds very little hair and that it doesn’t lick itself – immediately solving the problem of allergies.




No barking please


Sometimes referred to as barkless dogs, the Basenji has a peculiarly shaped throat meaning that it isn’t really able to bark like a normal dog. Instead it makes a noise akin to a yodel. That said, Basenji’s tend not to make the noise very often and as such they are increasingly popular in urban areas, where they won’t upset the neighbours by making too much noise. Another handy trait if the Basenji is that females only come on heat once a year, meaning the opportunity for motherhood is limited.


Something rare


If you are looking for a breed that will spark a conversation and which, almost certainly, none of your friends will have, then why not try an Otter Hound. A large and loyal dog that was bred for hunting, the Kennel Club suggests that there are less than a thousand of these stately dogs still around. With a love of exercise and the ability to jump very high walls or fences, Otter Hounds should be kept on large properties or farms. The biggest problem with these dogs is that they are frequently known to have epilepsy – which is not a disaster, but can mean awkward moments from time to time.


Time to be clever


Some breeds are smart and others, well, pretty simple. So why not go for the dog that is regarded as the brainiest of them all: The Papillon. The animal gets its name from the French word for butterfly, an epithet it assumed due to the colouring of its facial hair, which forms a pattern in the shape of a butterfly. Said to be incredibly intelligent, these smallish animals, also referred to as Toy Spaniels, are said to be confident, adaptable, ready to please and easy to socialise – both with other animals and humans.