Oldest Dog Breed – The world’s greatest debate is to decide whether a dog or a cat that’s better as a pet, but do you know that the debate has been going on since ancient times? In the ancient Egypt, cat was worshipped by the Egyptians, but dog had been domesticated as hunting partner and territories’ protectors too.
It appears that this debate will be going on for another centuries. Till’ then, let’s forget about the cats and focus on these oldest dog breeds that still exist to this day. It is fascinating that these breeds can survive for thousands of years.
Even though many scientists doubt that they aren’t 100% pure, which means that somewhere along the way our ancestors had crossed them with other breed, these 17 oldest breed of dogs are still worth the talk. Let’s take a look!
One of the oldest ancient civilizations is the Sumerians and Saluki is derived from them. Wait, how do you know something from 5,000 to 6,000 BCE? Well, scientist found carvings that look exactly like Saluki in Sumerians’ ruins.
A long time ago, Saluki was also known as Persian Greyhound, which was also famous in the Ancient Egypt as the Royal Dog—take that cats!
Anyway, Saluki was used to help ancient human to hunt down foxes, hares, gazelles and other hazardous animals in the desert. These days, Saluki is used as companion. However, because of its ancient genes, it is alert, swift and strong. When it sees small animals run in the house, it’ll chase after it very swiftly without minding anything in its way.
02. Akita Inu
Have you guessed it yet? Akita Inu comes from Japan. It weighs around 75-120 lb with height up to 24-2 inches. Akita Inu is popular among seniors too, because it has bold, independent and affectionate temperaments. With close similarity to German shepherd and Siberian husky, Akita is excelled in hunting too. It is popular as the Silent Hunter, which sounds kind of scary, but also cool at the same time.
Akita’s unique characteristics are its bear-shaped head and curly tail. Those features are often what attract people to have it at home. Moreover, due to its hunting nature, Akita becomes too suspicious of strangers. It doesn’t like when someone it doesn’t know is too close to you, especially if it grows with an aggressive manner. But you can train Akita Inu to be less aggressive and calmer. To train Akita Inu, you’ll need an experienced dog trainer, because this breed is very stubborn. Its independence drives it to do whatever it is Akita Inu wants, but you don’t have to worry because Akita is a fast leaner!
03. Chow Chow
Originated from China and Mongolia, Chow Chow is very popular in Britain. According to history, Chow Chow was used to a delicacy, while its fur was sewn into coats. After Chow Chow was brought to Britain, it started to get more recognition.
Today, it is known for being independent and serious. Since it’s not a fan of active outdoor activities, Chow Chow loves solitude and less socializing, and it makes it a bit aggressive, stubborn, less intelligence, and less trainable.
That is why Chow Chow will be suitable living in a home that doesn’t shower it with too much affection and attention. But no one can resist this 18-22 inches cuteness! Weighing only 40-70 lb, Chow chow has 9-15 years of lifespan. It also has close similarity to the Chinese Sher-Pei.
Due to its size, Chow chow doesn’t need to eat a lot of food. It is okay with small diet that’s rich.
04. Pharaoh Hound
Pharaoh Hound sounds like it may be the king of all dogs. Its name spread out power and royal elegance. Like its name, the Pharaoh hound is originated from Egypt, the home of the Pharaohs.
This hound can weigh to 60 lb and it can grow to maximum of 25 inches. With a lifespan of 12-14 years, the Pharaoh makes the best of its life by being a friendly, affectionate and intelligent hound.
Its intelligence drives it to be good in hunting smaller prey like rabbits, but it’s not forcing you to provide a high exercise requirement, so if you want the Pharaoh to be better at sport or high exercise, you need to offer the hound a commercial dog food with specific formula for such kind.
05. Lhasa Apso
We’ve talked about how gorgeous Afghan Hound’s silky hair was, but imagine if we have a dog in chow chow size with Afghan Hound’s hair. Wait, you don’t need to imagine that, here is Lhasa Apso.
Even though this breed isn’t technically related to Chow Chow, it originally came from the monasteries of Tibet. Its holy duty was to guard palaces and monasteries, which makes it perfect as a companion in a yard-less apartment.
Its quiet nature gives it a temperament of friendly and affectionate dog, so it’ll do great with kids and other pets. Don’t be afraid of keeping another dog, because Lhasa Apso doesn’t care about which dog you love the most i.e., it’s not seeking attention, but you still have to give it a proper socialization and exercise to maintain its social manner against strangers and other dogs.
06. Chinese Shar Peis
Shar Pei is a lovely pet, it has wrinkles, which we all love! Before you take Shar Pei home, you need to know about its fascinating history. Originated from Kwangtung Province in China, Shar Pei is dated back to the Han Dynasty period, which was roughly 200 BC, so it has survived a lot of disasters including the notorious 1949’s Mao Zedong’s extermination over pet dogs and strays. How cool is that!
These days, Shar Pei is changed too much. Its wrinkles are exaggerated, because the original Shar Pei was less wrinkly in the face and more athletic—the U.S and Canada breeds are more slobby due to the exaggerated wrinkles in the face.
But there are three different types of Shar Pei: Horse-coat, Brush-coat and Bear-coat. The horse-coat is very wrinkly, even though the wrinkles slowly disappear as it grows older, while the brush-coat doesn’t lose its wrinkles into adulthood, and the bear-coat is the cutest Shar Pei because it has an inch longer top coat!
Still in China, the Pekingese is one of the ancient breeds that are over 2,000 years old. Have it experienced any physical changes? Yes, but the changes occur very little over time.
More importantly, the Pekingese was owned only by the Royals. If commoners like us had one of these, the royals would assume we stole it and it was punishable by death. We’re glad to announce that now you can have one without becoming died.
This ancient breed has beautiful hair too. Its small size will melt your heart immediately. It doesn’t need extra outdoor activities too, because a little indoor playtime is enough for them. But Pekingese is a royal dog, which means that it’s a little bit spoiled. It hates rivalry because it wants your full attention.
08. Peruvian Inca Orchid Dog
A long name for an ancient breed with long legs! At the first glance, you’ll immediately know that its long legs are used to run swiftly. In around 750 AD, the Peruvian Inca Orchid belonged to the Incan tribes and the Quechua. It was even portrayed on their pottery art!
Generally, this breed comes in three different sizes—small, medium and large. This breed also has two different types, hairless or coated. All and all, the Peruvian Inca Orchid is a hunting dog. When it sees smaller animals, it will chase it down. More importantly, its hunting nature requires you to provide it with regular outdoor exercise to keep it healthy and socialized.
09. Afghan Hound
Have you ever seen a dog as elegant as the Afghan Hound? That’s right, the chance is slim to none. This breed has been internationally acknowledged to have a distinguished elegance that no dog can ever replace.
Originally, the Afghan Hound was a Persian Empire breed before it was taken to Afghanistan and the authority changed its name. One of its graceful characteristics is its long silky hair.
To maintain its elegance, you need to provide a bit of grooming, so it stays clean and healthy. Moreover, its intelligence came from thousands of years of hunting habit, but it doesn’t make it easier to train. Afghan Hound is claimed to be a little stubborn sometimes.
This thick coated breed was found approximately 3,000 years ago in Siberia. It was actively used for outdoor activities that required strength and endurance, such as sledding, guarding and herding for nomadic tribes. If you lose it, it’ll go miles, miles and miles due to its ancient nomadic gene. But this breed is gorgeous. Its white and clean-cut appearance doesn’t lie that it is a loyal and a friendly dog. Your kids, family and even neighbors will love it!
However, due to its nomadic nature, the Samoyed has to be kept busy or else it’ll chase, bark, dig, and chew anything on its path. Also, if you live in a warm and humid area, Samoyed won’t like it, because it’s a cold-blooded animal and warm climate will make it sick.
11. Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan Malamute is a cross breed between a wolf and a dog. We would be surprised if you haven’t noticed it by now. Originally, the Alaskan Malamute came from Siberia, but the history said that the ancestors of this breed moved to Alaska through the Bering Land Bridge.
Due to its nature, it can’t stand hot temperature. Maybe, because of that event, they developed a high level of endurance too. They have built a strong body. With the strength, Alaskan Malamute is able to pull sleds, cart freight and pack supplies. In other words, Alaskan Malamute loves any kind of outdoor activities that’ll require constant movement.
With high adaptability and trainability, this breed enjoys being a house pet, cuddling with children or doing outdoor activities together. However, Alaskan Malamute isn’t a group kind of dog. It’ll prefer to be the only pet at home.
12. Shih Tzu
Going back to China, the Shih Tzu is a direct descendant of dogs from 800 BC. Precisely, the Shih Tzu was most likely to be used as a pet in Tibetan Monasteries.
To this day, Shih Tzu is excelled in being a house pet. It exhibits friendliness and entertaining. Do you have little kids? Don’t worry! They will love Shih Tzu! Not only that it is suitable for a house pet, but it is also suitable for apartment living, because it is okay with being alone or given less attention.
But you still have to maintain its health and hygiene. Because of its long hair, it needs daily brushing. The hair that covers its eyes has to be clipped too. Moreover, it has small teeth that require intense health care to avoid bacteria growing.
13. Tibetan Terrier
Moving back to the Tibetan area, Tibetan Terrier is believed to be a pure breed of dogs from 2,000 years ago. Can’t you believe it! This purity comes from the fact that it is geographically isolated from the rest of the world until 1922.
Judging from its miniature size, it isn’t breed as a hunting dog. 2,000 years ago, it was intentionally bred as a companion animal. Due to that reason, it has sensitive and clever temperaments that help this breed to provide its owner with amusing and entertaining acts, making Tibetan Terrier a very affectionate and playful breed suitable for kids.
Now, talking about Tibetan Terrier’s diet, it’ll require you to provide it with dog foods full of nutrition like protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fatty acids. Those nutritions will provide enough strength and intelligence for Tibetan Terrier to follow dog trainings. Remember, don’t go overboard with it! use safe and positive methods of training, such as giving it treats and affection in return for obedience.
14. Siberian Husky
Who doesn’t know this breed? You, and every one, must be familiar with a breed named Siberian Husky. This is a cross breed between a wolf and a domestic dog. It has the appearance of a wild wolf—pointy ears and sharp eyes. It is also gifted with its wolf ancestors’ traits, such as alert and strong, which are needed for hunting.
For many years, this breed was used for working. Only then the Chukchi people in Siberia started to adopt it as a pet, which changed it into a highly trainable dog.
Its trainability gives birth to other temperaments, such as friendly, affectionate and loyal. It’ll be a lot better if you have it as a baby, because it’ll grow with you and your family. It is also a good time to teach baby Husky tricks, performing tasks and/or playing sports that it’ll remember for the rest of its life.
However, since Husky has become very popular over the years, it led to a dangerously unsafe breeding practice. To avoid unwanted problems, you need to be certain that you come to a reputable breeder.
15. New Guinea Singing Dog
Can the dog actually sing? This old breed dog called New Guinea Singing Dog is one of the oldest dog breed from the New Guinea. The reason why it is called singing dog is because it has unique form of vocalization. This means that it is able to vary its howling pitch, which sounds like singing.
This old singing dog has approximately 15-20 years to live with height can reach up to 12-18 inches and weight 18-30 lb. its intelligent, active and independent characteristics come from its nature as a wild dog. Even so, once it is taken care of, it will love its human companions deeply.
Where do we go now? Let’s fly to the continent of Africa, especially, Congo territory. Basenji is often called as the Congo terrier or Zande Dog. In Congo, Basenji is known for its hunting ability.
This breed lives among native tribes in Africa. Being the popular breed they are, the Basenjis were first owned by the Egyptian Pharaoh before they were widely used in all across the continent.
Due to its nature of a pack hunter, it becomes a loyal, clever and independent dog. During the British plantation in Africa, Basenji was introduced and brought to England in 1930s. Don’t be afraid of it making too much noise, because Basenji is essentially a quiet dog, although it will howl and shriek once in a while.
17. Shiba Inu
From the continent of Africa, we’re moving back to East Asia, Japan. The Shiba-Inu is a very popular ancient breed in Japan. It was introduced to the United State 60 years ago and it obtained its world-wide recognition ever since.
This breed is not hard to maintain, for example, its coat is easy to care because it is rather short. Moreover, even though Shiba-Inu is an energetic dog, it isn’t as hyper as common hunting breeds.
You don’t do exercise too often? Shiba-Inu understands you! It doesn’t need over-active exercise too. But it loves to play with its mouths, so you may need to have it from a young age to be able to train and teach the Shiba-Inu with necessary skills as a house pet. At times, Shiba Inu can be very hard to train because of its stubbornness.
Once you show it who’s the boss, who is you, it will follow anything you order and it will be very discipline. Perhaps, you can also include special treat as a positive reinforcement during the training, such as giving it meats, though Shiba Inu would prefer the meat to be processed with whole ingredients rather than scraps.