If you’re wondering what dog breeds are the oldest, keep reading! I’ll look at several breeds that go back thousands of years; crazy, right? You may even find one intriguing enough to choose them as your next pup!
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The 15 Oldest Dog Breeds in the World
Each of these 15 dog breeds has been around for a long time. It gives them a rich, exciting history, which I dive into with some detail. I’ll also provide insight into their temperaments to offer owners a little background. So without further ado, let’s start with our first breed:
The Basenji isn’t an overly popular dog breed but holds the title of oldest. In fact, this breed back over 6,000 years through genetic research. Honestly, I find it hard to fathom these canines roaming the ancient world. But there’s significant scientific research to back up these findings.
For instance, Basenjis originated from Africa, where they were used for hunting and tracking prey. The ability to perform these tasks led them to be brought as gifts to the Egyptian Pharaohs. They didn’t take long to endear themselves to Egyptian civilization, either.
Basenjis were inspirations for shaping Egyptian tombs and Mesopotamian art. It’s an impressive history compared to many other dog breeds. It also makes sense, given their fascinating temperament and characteristics.
One example is that Basenjis don’t produce traditional barks. Instead, these dogs let out a high pitch yodel/howl, which can catch some unexpecting people off-guard. Another intriguing attribute is their constant need to stay clean and dedication to grooming.
But their overall graceful temperament makes this breed a solid family dog. The only issue is training can be challenging due to their cat-like nature. Even so, I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest them as a family pet.
Listen to the Basenji Yodel in the video below:
2. Chinese Saluki
Many experts consider Chinese Salukis, also known as Shanxi Xigou, the second oldest dog breed. As with the Basenji, it has a detailed historical background to confirm these findings. It dates back to 685 BC when it was used to hunt down hares and protect homes with its protective instincts.
This breed is one of the more sought-after dogs on our list. Its popularity comes from its distinct appearance. The slim frame and downward-sloping face also make Chinese Salukis easy to identify among other breeds.
Another reason people adore this breed is its loyal, lovable personality. In fact, it’s known to be fiercely loyal to a singular family. But unfortunately, this attribute can make the breed a little dismissive or shy around strangers.
Check out the video for more details about this gorgeous and ancient dog breed:
3. Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies are a widely popular breed for several reasons. Most notably, their social and friendly temperaments make them excellent family dogs. It’s why people are always trying to find Huskies to bring into their homes.
Once brought into homes, owners can expect them to be outstanding guard dogs without an aggressive nature. They even have a reputation for being great with kids. It’s not a common trait for larger breeds like this one.
However, this breed doesn’t have a friendly native land. These dogs come from the rugged lands of Siberia, known for extreme temperatures. The Chukchi tribe in this area used these Huskies to pull sleds and protect their territories.
You can also thank Siberia’s climate for the Husky’s incredible resilience and adaptability. I’d only warn against putting them in hot climates. They’re much better off in cold weather due to their dense coats.
4. Tibetan Mastiff
Tibetan Mastiffs are gigantic dogs with a long history. For example, this breed is the originator of all Mastiff dog breeds. The breed’s lineage dates back thousands of years in Tibet, where they were seen as guardians of the Himalayas.
So it’s not too shocking to learn these dogs offer top-tier protective instincts. I don’t think there’s a person alive who wouldn’t feel more protected with a Tibetan Mastiff in their home. In addition, they’re known for their unrivaled devotion and loyalty to their family.
But only expect them to get along with other pets if socialized very early. This warning also goes for unfamiliar dogs, as their protective instincts can be a little overbearing. So please, don’t bring an untrained or unsocialized Tibetan Mastiff to a local dog park.
5. Alaskan Malamute
I find Alaskan Malamutes to be one of the fascinating breeds. It starts with their extensive history dating back over 4,000 years to the Arctic. Yes, I said the Arctic! During this time, the Inuit people used them to help with hunts and pull sleds.
These jobs are where the Alaskan Malamute still holds most of their value. Many people still use them on sled teams but are used differently than huskies in this capacity. Huskies are more known for speed, while this breed is relied on for its power.
But Alaskan Malamutes are for more than just working. These large, lovable pups are suitable family dogs when giving early obedience training. Otherwise, their massive frame may be too much to handle when left to their devices.
As large-breed dogs, Alaskan Malamutes are prone to issues such as hip dysplasia and arthritis. I recommend a daily joint supplement, such as Hemp & Hips Plus CBD to help stave off issues as long as possible.
Lastly, this breed needs a significant amount of exercise daily. You shouldn’t think of them as couch pups or low-maintenance pets. Owning an Alaskan Malamute will require much work and commitment, but most people find it worth it.
6. Greenland Dog
As with the Siberian Husky, this breed gets its name from its native land. The Greenland Dog first established its roots in Greenland in 2500 BC via the Paleo-Eskimo folk. It’s known for having excellent endurance and functioning well in cold climates.
So people often used the Greenland breed to help them travel in arctic-level conditions. In other words, it’s another dog breed on our list that’s known for pulling around sleds. So they function very well as working dogs.
Another exciting thing about them is their isolation compared to other dogs. It’s almost impossible to find one outside Greenland. But if you’re lucky enough to get one, Greenland Dogs are devoted pets to their owners.
7. Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu was an absolute shoo-in for this list. After all, there have been representations of this breed found dating back to the 5th century. So its cute appearance has been delighting people for a long time.
But don’t let the cute appearance fool you. Shiba Inus are known for their strong hunting instincts that allow them to hunt various animals easily. Owners must be aware of this trait because if the breed isn’t trained correctly, they could become territorial and independent.
Therefore, early socialization and training are critical for these adorable dogs. It’s the easiest way to ensure they lean into their best attributes. If they do, you can expect to own a friendly and devoted family pet.
8. Akita Inu
Like the previous breed, Akita Inu is a staple of Japanese culture. But these dogs have only become popular over the last century. However, it doesn’t mean these dogs aren’t one of the more ancient breeds in the world.
In fact, Akita Inus are known to have a recorded history going back several centuries. So it’s not a stretch to assume their origins go even further back. It makes putting them on this list relatively easy for me to do.
Most Akita Inus are known for their ability to hunt wild animals. It’s also another breed praised for its protective instincts and guardian abilities. Owners can feel relatively safe when having an Akita Inu inside their homes.
As for their temperament, Akita Inus often form strong bonds with owners. It makes them an ideal option to survive a singular family dog. In addition, their adorable fluffy coat makes them a sought-after breed among potential buyers.
9. Shar Pei
People have traced Shar Peis back to the 3rd century BC China. Basically, it’s an old breed topping out about 2300 or so years old on record. They were relied on during ancient times for their hunting and herding skills.
As a result, I can imagine how people would use them to protect livestock. It’s a massive reason why modern people often have them work as guard dogs. It meshes well with their independent natures and protective instincts.
I must also point out their smushed faces when talking about Shar Peis. It makes them instantly recognizable and a fun breed to encounter. I find them fascinating and lovable compared to dogs known for their defensive skills.
Another breed that originated from Siberia makes our list. In the Samoyed’s case, it earns their name from the Samoyed tribes who initially bred them. They were used for activities like pulling sleds, herding, and hunting.
It’s very similar to the Siberian Husky. For instance, Samoyeds are known for their power and durability while being resilient to harsh climates. Their thick white double coats make cold weather easy for them to endure.
Potential owners can also expect Samoyeds to be excellent family dogs. You’d have difficulty finding a more friendly large breed dog. They can even be great with children and other pets when socialized properly from a young age.
11. Chow Chow
Chow Chows bring much more to the table than simply a funny name. They also have a distinct appearance that looks much like a teddy bear. Due to this, children often gravitate toward them when looking at potential dogs to get.
But aside from their appearance, Chow Chows also has a rich history. Their presence goes back 2,000 years to ancient temples in arctic Asia. During these times, Chow Chows were relied on for their guarding instincts and fierce personality.
Their teddy bear appearance can be a misdirection. In fact, these dogs are downright terrifying when they assume their family is under attack. It’s a nice breed to have around in dangerous or precarious situations.
12. Afghan Hound
Some experts consider Afghan Hounds to be the oldest existing breed. However, there isn’t any concrete evidence to prove this, so I gave Basenjis the title. But regardless, Afghan Hounds deserve a place on this list.
After all, we can prove their existence goes back to before Christianity. So it’s safe to say this breed has been roaming around for thousands of years. In particular, their presence originates from Afghanistan, hence their given name.
Afghan Hounds are trickier when it comes to ownership than other breeds. The issues arise from their independent personality and value of privacy. So there are better options than these dogs for first-time owners.
Instead, these hounds should be with experienced owners who can train effectively. Otherwise, their independent personality may become way too much. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend an Afghan Hound as a first or second pet.
13. Canaan Dog
Canaan Dogs are an exciting addition to our list because of their rarity. You won’t see many of them in public, with their numbers only being a couple thousand worldwide. It’s shocking, considering how long this breed has been around on our planet.
For instance, their presence extends back into Ancient Israel and Biblical times. Most experts agree that Canaan Dogs were used to protect livestock and camps. So it’s easy to see them as valuable pieces of those ancient civilizations.
But this breed isn’t an ideal fit for homes with small children, especially without socialization. It comes from territorial natures and reservations toward unfamiliar people/animals. So anyone with a family may want to look elsewhere.
14. Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhounds pop up on this list with a more than 2,000-year history. It’s common to see pictures of them in artifacts from those eras, too. I’d imagine its longevity comes from its impressive hunting skills and unique appearance.
Modern people seem to love having them as pets. These dogs are revered for their playful personalities and protective instincts. It’s a nice balance to have in a dog who’s part of your family.
But it does take them a while to get used to new environments. They often are a bit shy when first getting into their forever home. So please, be patient and avoid yelling at them because they’re more sensitive than most other breeds.
Pugs are one of the more widely known breeds on our planet. So it makes complete sense that they also qualify as among the oldest. Their detailed history dates back to 206 BC China when the Emperors seemed to love them.
It’s easy to see why Pugs are among the most suitable family dogs. They’re overly friendly and require little maintenance due to their small stature. They would rather spend most of their time sleeping on your couch than running outdoors.
The only problem with Pugs is their stubbornness. Getting them to do activities is only possible if they want to or are trained well.
These 15 dog breeds have all been on our earth for a long time. It doesn’t come as a shock since many of them are ideally suited to be human companions. I’d love to hear if you own or have experiences with them in our comment section. Thanks for reading!