Hounds With a History: Earliest Dog Breeds

 Tuesday Mar 10,2020
By  Lancaster Puppies

Dogs have been around for tens of thousands of years and have served humans in a variety of ways. From hunting and tracking to lounging on the couch, some of the breeds we’ve come to know and love existed long before even our oldest ancestors. Here are some of the oldest breeds that still exist today.


Brown and white Basenji dogConsidered the oldest dog breed, the Basenji is believed to have originated in Africa where images of dogs that resemble the Basenji can be seen in drawings as far back as 6000 BC. They were mostly used for hunting and tracking.

Basenji are known for not being able to bark, but rather producing a high-pitched yowl. Some theorize that their mostly quiet nature is a result of needing to be silent on hunts.

Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound is an ancient dog breed whose earliest origins are difficult to pinpoint. While some believe Afghan Hounds predate Christianity, this fact hasn’t been scientifically proven. What can be said, however, is that modern Afghan Hounds first appeared in the 1920s in the United Kingdom via Afghanistan and India.

Afghan Hounds are a beautiful and majestic breed, which makes them appealing to would-be dog owners, but they are also extremely independent and don’t crave attention like other breeds.

Alaskan Malamute

While many ancient dogs were bred to hunt alongside their human companions, the Alaskan Malamute is estimated to have originated at least 4000 years ago, raised by the Mahlemut tribe as sled dogs as they migrated East from Siberia into Alaska.

Malamutes make great family dogs due to their outgoing personality and pack mentality. However, be aware that relegating Malamutes behind fences and in your yard is a recipe for disaster, as they love to roam and dig. That said, they require lots of space to satisfy their high energy levels.

Shiba Inu

Tan and white Shiba Inu standing in snowDating back as far as 300 BC, Shiba Inus were used as hunting dogs in early Japan. Remaining exclusive to Japan for almost their entire existence, Shiba Inus were only recently brought over to the United States. In 1954, a military family brought a Shiba Inu home from Japan, and the first litter of Shiba Inus appeared in 1979. However, it wasn’t until 1993 that the breed was recognized by The American Kennel Club.

Recognizable by their round face, Shibas are the most popular dog in Japan, and for good reason. They are cat-like in their self-hygiene and independence, but also loyal and protective of their human family.

Chow Chow

This ancient breed hails from China and has origins as far back as 3000 years ago in Arctic Asia. Like most ancient breeds, the Chow Chow was used to either hunt game or act as a guard dog.

Chow Chows didn’t make their way West until the early 1800s when they arrived in England. From that point forward, Chow Chows became popular among aristocrats and, most notable of them all, Queen Victoria. It wasn’t until the late 20th century that the Chow Chow gained popularity in the United States.

The Chow is a loyal companion but requires training and socialization in order to prevent aggression toward other dogs and small children.

If you are interested in one of these historic breeds, find one on Lancaster Puppies today!

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