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15+ Oldest Dog Breeds

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Dogs have been around much longer than we may think. However, they have always been seen as man’s best friend, yet some dogs have an ancient heritage.

In this article, we will be discussing the 15+ oldest dog breeds. You may be surprised how old some dog breeds are. 


English bulldog in the backyard

The bulldog is one of the oldest dog breeds in existence. It has been around for over 400 years and was originally used to guard livestock. The breed is known for its short legs, wide head, and large jaw.

They were bred to protect their owners from thieves and other animals. These dogs can still be found guarding livestock today. The average lifespan of these dogs is about 10-12 years.

Basset Hound

Basset hound dog

Basset Hounds are very small hounds like dogs that originated in France. They are also called French Bassets or English Bassets. This dog was first introduced into England in 1685.

They were originally bred to hunt rabbits. The basset hound is considered an intelligent dog with a great sense of humor. Their coats are usually long and silky. They weigh between 25 – 35 pounds and stand at 9 inches tall.

Bouvier des Flandres

Bouvier des flandres free

Bouviers are medium-sized dogs that originated in Belgium. They are often referred to as Belgian Sheepdogs. This dog has a double coat and comes in many colors.

They were originally bred by farmers to herd sheep. Bouviers are very loyal and protective of their family.

They make good watchdogs due to their size and strength. They live up to 12 years on average.


German tiger boxer dog

Boxers are one of the most popular purebreds out there. They are strong, sturdy, and full of energy. They were originally bred for protection back home in Germany.

Many people believe that the boxer was based on an earlier fighting breed of German Shepherd.

They are very loving towards children and enjoy being active. When compared to another type of dog, the Pitbull, the boxer generally weighs more.

Pit bulls only weigh around 50 lbs, while boxers can weigh anywhere from 80 to 130 lbs. 

Cane Corso

Two cane corso

Cane corso’s originate from Italy, where they have existed since the 1500s. They are extremely loyal and protective of their families. They are very smart and love to learn new things.


Chocolate and tan miniature dachshund

Dachshunds are small dogs with short legs, stubby tails, and pointy ears. They were initially bred as herding dogs. Today, Dachshunds are mainly kept as companion dogs, because of their short legs, they are able to jump up and give high-fives.

Great Dane

Black and white great dane staring at camera

The Great Dane is a giant among dogs. This means that this dog stands taller than any other kind of dog. They are known for their gentle natures and friendly dispositions.

In the 1700s, Denmark developed the first true great Danes. They were big, powerful, and healthy.

These dogs grew to be over 100 pounds. Today, we no longer see great Danes that large. We see smaller versions instead. Still, the great Dane is loved for its size and temperament.

Golden Retriever

Shallow focus photography of a golden retriever

The golden retriever is one of the oldest breeds of dogs. In 1865, a golden retriever puppy named King Charles II was born into the royal family.

Since then, the golden retriever has been used in work, agility, obedience trials, and hunting.

Portuguese Water Dog

Puppy portuguese water dog

The Portuguese water dog is part of the cairn terrier group. It is unique in how it looks; they are long-coated dogs with fluffy hair on top. Their coat helps protect them from cold weather.

Portuguese water dogs originated in Portugal and Spain. In the past decade, they have become increasingly popular due to their ability to thrive in homes with young children.


Pekingese dog

Pekingese are sweet and tiny dogs with wrinkly faces. Their faces are rounded more than other dogs. The Pekingese got its name from China.

The ancient Chinese called them the Pekingese. The Pekingese was also brought to Japan by Japanese immigrants. Originally just for royalty, those who tried to steal one would face the punishment of death. 


Akita breed

The Akita is a large, stocky, and powerful dog. Its double coat consists of a rough undercoat and a soft outer coat. The Akita originated in Japan, as they are built for running in the mountains of Japan. 

These are very brave dogs who are the ideal guard dogs. They can be shy but need to be introduced to other dogs to prevent them from becoming aggressive. 


French mastiff

The Mastiff was known to be found in Asia almost 5,000 years ago. These were seen as dogs of war, and due to their wariness, these are the perfect guard dogs.

Ideal for families, these dogs are eager to please, making them easy to train. 

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan malamute breed

The Alaskan malamute is the largest of all working dogs. It comes from northern Alaska, where there is lots of snow and ice. This type of dog needs to be trained extensively because it does not respond well to harsh words. 

They are one of the oldest and largest arctic breeds of dogs. They are very strong as they are used to pulling carts and supplies. These are very affectionate and kind dogs that children love. 


Saluki dog

Once referred to as the Persian Greyhound, these dogs were to be part of the Ancient Egypt world. They seem to be quite delicate, but these dogs are very strong.

They are ideal for anyone who loves hiking and spending a lot of time outside.

Chow Chow

Chow chow dog

They may have a British name; these dogs are native to Ancient China.  At one point, these dogs were seen as a delicacy, and their luscious fur was used to make coats. 

Chow Chows are severe dogs. They don’t need a lot of attention, as they like to be quite independent. These dogs also don’t like a lot of exercise, so you will find they spend most of their time inside. 

Tibetan Terrier

Tibetan terrier dog

This breed of dog is native to Tibet. Unlike a lot of other older dog breeds, this dog was bred to be a companion dog, instead of a hunting dog.

The Tibetan Terrier was created around 2,000 years ago. They are known to shed quite a lot of hair, so they need to be regularly groomed. 

These are brilliant dogs, who are very playful and affectionate. They are perfect with ideas as they like to play and be entertained. Very loyal to their owners, as they rarely stray.


Basenji dog

From Africa, this is one of the oldest breed of dog. The actual age of these dogs is unknown, but we know that the Basenji was given as a gift to the Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. 

These dogs can be hard to train. However, they make a great addition to any family. They can adapt very easily and can put up with not seeing any for periods of time. 

Canaan Dog

Canaan dog breed

The Canaan Dog originated from Ancient Israel and is thought to be the dog that Hebrews used during biblical times. They would be used to herd livestock and guard camps. 

Overall, these dogs are quite protective and only have eyes for their owner. They are great with strangers or children. However, these dogs are really easy to train and enjoy working instead of lounging around. 


Shar-pei on a leash

Shar-pei is believed to come from the Han Dynasty in Ancient China. There are statues from this era that show this breed of dog. 

These are very calming dogs that don’t require a lot of exercise. Very territorial and doesn’t like strangers. However, they are easy to train and look after. 


Xoloitzcuintli puppy

Native to the Central American and Mexican tribes. They also go by the name Mexican Hairless, as they don’t have any hair; this breed is seen as a hypoallergenic dog breed. 

When left alone for too long, these dogs can become destructive. Yet they make excellent guard dogs and are known for having missing teeth. Not the most beautiful dog to look at, but they are loyal. 


Cute pug pet

No one is entirely sure about the origins of the Pug. However, it is known that they were companion dogs for Buddhists back in 400 BCE. 

These are very curious breeds of dogs that are very even-tempered. This makes them extremely loveable and easy to train. 

Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian elkhound dog

The Norwegian Elkhound looks very similar to its wolf ancestors. You could easily mistake it for a wolf on appearance.

Originally, this breed of dog was to be used as a hunter, guard dog, or herd dog. From findings, it is believed that this breed of dog has been around since 5,000 B.C.E.

Final Thoughts

It may be surprising to find out how long we have had certain breeds of dogs. There have always been dogs, but some have origins from much further back than we first realize.

These dogs are some of the oldest dog breeds that are still very popular as pets today.

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.