10 Rare Dog Breeds You May Have Never Heard About

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Kooikerhondje

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These small spaniel-type dogs that originate from the Netherlands used to be popular around 17th and 18th century (as evidenced by their presence in paintings of Rembrandt and other masters), but reached the brink of extinction after World War II. Thanks to enthusiasts’ efforts, Kooikerhondje have been rescued and are gaining recognition again, although the breed has not been recognized in the US or Canada yet.

The Kooikerhondje have a reputation for being well-behaved, quiet and loyal. They tend to be reserved with strangers, but grow friendly and affectionate once they warm up to someone. These are fairly energetic dogs, so it’s better if they have plenty of space to run around, like a fenced yard. Warning: since the breed has quite a small genetic pool, it’s prone to certain hereditary disorders, in particular von Willebrand’s disease, hereditary necrotising myelopathy (ENM) and eye diseases.