While the exact number of dog breeds in the world is still a mystery, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (World Canine Organisation) has compiled a registry of all internationally accepted breeds. The tally came up to 339 different breeds!
That list, however, doesn’t include the many breeds that have gone extinct. Some were bred into entirely new breeds altogether, while others simply disappeared due to a lack of interest in them.
Whatever the cause, here are five breeds that no longer exist:
1. English Water Spaniel
The English Water Spaniel has been extinct since the first part of the 20th century, with the last pooch seen in the 1930s. This canine was mostly used for hunting waterfowl and are known to be able to dive as well as a duck.
They look similar to Collies or a Poodle-Springer Spaniel cross with curly fur, and have a white and liver or tan pattern.
2. Russian Tracker
The Russian Tracker was a large canine that could sometimes weigh up to 45 kg or more. They were bred to chase off wolves and other predators in order to protect their flocks of sheep.
The Russian Tracker had thick, taffy coloured double-coats that protected him from harsh weather and the rough outdoors. This domesticated breed became extinct before the 1900s, and are known to be the ancestors of Golden Retrievers.
3. Toy Bulldog
Toy Bulldogs once existed in England during the 18th and early 19th centuries, but are now considered as an extinct breed.
They were created when breeders tried to develop a new breed of miniature Bulldogs, but because the Toy Bulldogs were never very healthy or fertile, they were never fully recognised as a breed.
4. Cordoba Fighting Dog
The Cordoba was a cross between a Mastiff, Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, and Boxer, and was mainly used as a fighting dog. It originated in Cordoba, Argentina, and was known for its high tolerance for pain and willingness to fight to its death.
Males and females would rather fight than mate, so it was difficult to get them to produce offspring — leading to their extinction as the many remaining dogs died during dog fighting competitions.
The Chien-gris was a breed of dog that originated during the Medieval times. This now-extinct breed was a scent-hound, and was part of the royal packs of France — which included about 1,250 to 1,470 of hounds of this type.
However, by the 19th century, they had become impossible to find due to mix breeding and the effect that the French Revolution.
*This article was updated on 26 Jul 2020. It first appeared in PetsMagazine.com on 6 Oct 2016.