Source: FMT (Extract)
Posted: August 22, 2022

Throughout history, dogs have bravely joined soldiers in wars, guided the steps of the visually impaired, and helped search for missing individuals. There are many others who are unsung heroes, offering friendship and comfort to people in difficult times.

Indeed, dogs’ devotion to humans is heart-warming; who can forget the story of Hachiko, a dog in Japan who, for years, faithfully waited at a station for his owner to come home from the office, not realising his human had passed away?

From miniature pinschers to the larger Alaskan Malamutes, dogs are truly a gift to the human race. In conjunction with International Dog Day on Friday, FMT takes a look at six exotic breeds from all over the globe.


1. Azawakh

With its lean build, smooth skin, and almond-shaped eyes, the Azawakh is a beautiful canine that originates from Africa.

Their relationship with humans dates back centuries, as these hounds were the companions of nomads who lived in the south Sahara, serving as herders and protectors.

As hunters, they are tough and fast, their long legs certainly coming in handy for bringing down their prey.

Azawakhs develop strong bonds with their humans and are said to be affectionate, gentle and devoted, though they can be aloof with those they do not know. Given their high level of energy, they require regular exercise.


2. Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington Terrier is a unique-looking pooch that looks like a cross between a poodle and a lamb. Despite its adorable appearance, it gained a reputation of being a fighting dog and even a hunter of badgers and vermin.

The canine originated from Northumberland in England and derived its name from Bedlington, a mining town in the area.

Bedlington Terriers are said to have high endurance, be fast on their feet, and are good swimmers. Their bark apparently resembles the sound of machine-gun fire, so it’s probably not something you’d want to hear at night!


3. Catahoula Leopard Dog

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a stunning physical specimen as most of them have spots on their coats. In 1979, it became the official dog of Louisiana in the United States, from where it originated.

Although they are independent and protective over their territories, Catahoula Leopard dogs are said to be affectionate and gentle once they get to know their human families.

Apart from being good companions and watchdogs, they also serve as bay dogs – canines that are trained to find, chase, and corner animals during a hunt. In Canada, they have competed in sledge dog-racing events.


4. Catalburun

One of the striking traits of the Catalburun breed, which is primarily found in Turkey, is its nose, which looks like it has been separated into two halves. In fact, its name is derived from the Turkish words “catal” (fork or split) and “burun” (nose).

As they possess a highly keen sense of smell, these animals are good hunters, and also often serve as sniffer dogs with the police to help locate missing humans, narcotics, or explosives.

Additionally, they are fast on their feet and loyal to their owners. But it is said they are not comfortable living in confined spaces, making them unsuitable as companion pets.


5. Thai Ridgeback

The Thai Ridgeback is a unique dog so-named owing to the ridge on its back, which forms when hair grows in the opposite direction from the rest of its coat in that area. Some puppies, however, are born without it.

This breed has been mentioned in archaeological documents dating back more than 300 years in Thailand. Back then, they served as hunters and watchdogs.

Thai Ridgebacks are known to be intelligent and hardworking. When properly socialised, they can become good companion pets as they are also loyal and protective.


6. Xoloitzcuintle

Also known as “Xoloitzquintle” or “Xoloitzcuintli”, the name of these dogs can be a mouthful to pronounce!

Their history in Mexico dates back at least 3,000 years, when they were considered sacred by the ancient Aztecs. As such, Xoloitzcuintli were often sacrificed and buried along with their owners.

There are two varieties of this breed – coated or hairless, the latter due to the evolution of a gene mutation in the species.

These beautiful dogs can be found in a variety of colours such as black and bronze, and are known to be very intelligent and inquisitive, with terrific hunting skills.