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When it comes to pooches, owners spare no expense in hunting for the right breed to complement their lifestyles. Whether it is child-friendly, requires rigorous grooming or simply appeals in appearance, there are many facets to consider. Of course, it may also be challenging to welcome rare breeds, given our climate. While the following aren’t as common as your everyday malteses and retrievers, they’re highly prized, given its diminished supply. Here are the top five, guaranteed to grant you the alpha male status of the pack.
1. Tibetan Mastiff
Intelligent yet strong-willed, the Tibetan Mastiff is a primitive breed originating from the Himalayan tribes. Some call it Do-Khyi, meaning ‘dog to be kept’ — and for the right reasons. This breed served as a guardian of animal flocks and important architecture in the ancient times. Till today, it retains its inherent protective nature and is a highly prized nocturnal sentry. Behaviorally, the Tibetan Mastiff sleeps when the sun is up, springing to its feet when it’s called for night duty. Its long, luscious double coat reflects sunlight and flaunts hues of solid black, tan, red or white, so owners can expect their canines to look majestic even as they take a catnap. Whilst a purebred Tibetan Mastiff can fetch up to S$2 million, they are sold from S$3,800, depending on the country of residence.
2. Egyptian Pharoah Hound
As its name suggests, the Egyptian Pharoah Hound was the dog of kings – and its appearance justifies that. Lanky yet sturdy in structure along with a short coat of tan hair, it exudes an air of elegance wherever it strides. As depicted in a 19th Egyptian Dynasty letter, its most charming characteristic is its ability to blush – look out for deep rosy hues on its nose and ears whenever it’s happy. With its innate ability to chase prey, it is recommended to keep these hounds in a fenced compound. Despite this, the bundle of joy has made its mark in Malta, where it is affectionately known as the national dog. This rare breed can fetch up to S$4,000.
Origin: Russia and Siberia
Most known for its signature ‘sammy smile’, a slight, yet discernable, upturned curvature of its mouth, you’ll definitely find it hard to resist its pleas. The Samoyed’s reputation as a delightful family dog stems from its close ties with the Samoyede people in Siberia. While it makes a loyal companion and is especially baby and child friendly, its friendly disposition makes it a poor guard dog. Constant care is required to maintain its distinct dense, double layer white coat. Puppies cost at least S$5,000.
Origin: Germany and France
Juxtaposed in demeanor, the Lowchen, or little lion dog, is an affable, child-friendly dog that is much quieter than the Tibetan Mastiff. These fluffy dogs were once faithful companions for the elite and were even depicted in Renaissance art. What defines the Lowchen is its wooky-looking head, featuring a short and wide muzzle, captivating round eyes, and pendulant ears, all of which are attributes of a winsome dog. Despite its attractive thick and wavy coat, this breed is considered hypoallergenic, as it does not shed easily. The Lowchen, once predicted to be extinct by the 19th century, has only has a few hundred registrations each year. Prices start from S$6,000.
5. Canadian Eskimo Dog
The history of the Canadian Eskimo Dog can be traced back to the indigenous Inuit people, Eskimos hailing from the Arctic regions. With striking similarities to a wolf (the Canadian Eskimo Dog has a more elevated forehead), it comes to no surprise that the intelligent dogs were used for hunting, hauling sleds and protecting their owners. Despite its powerful build and tough nature, a mature Canadian Eskimo Dog can be gentle and very affectionate over time. This breed however, is on the verge of extinction and efforts are made to save it. If luck is in your favor, such a canine will set you back by at least S$9,000.