Top 10 Oldest Dog Breeds in the World

Top 10 Oldest Dog Breeds in the World

Author WDF Staff


Dogs and humans have lived and worked together for tens of thousands of years; some researchers claim dogs first started mingling with humans 130.000 years ago. However, those were primitive dogs, and those humans didn’t really care about creating specific dog breeds. The concept of unique breeds is younger, but that doesn’t mean unique dog breeds didn’t exist. In fact, there are dog breeds older than 10.000 years. Here is the list of the 10 oldest dog breeds in the world.

1. Chow Chow

Chow Chows are charming teddy bear dogs that come from China. They are unique because they have more teeth than other dogs, and they have blue or black tongues. These dogs make excellent watchdogs, and you can be sure nothing will pass unnoticed next to your Chow Chow.

chow chow

A recent discovery of a bas-relief depicts a Chow Chow-like dog. The artifact was dated to the Han dynasty, around 200 B.C. That makes this breed about 2.200 years old. They are mostly kept as family pets and protectors. These dogs need early socialization and training to become the best version of themselves.

2. Greenland Dog

The Greenland Dog, or Greenland Sled Dog, is considered one of the oldest dog breeds. There is still some debate whether this is actually the oldest pureblooded dog breed in the world. Some researchers claim this breed is over 9.500 years old. It is believed that Nordic tribes used these dogs for transportation and protection.


The Greenland dog’s age might still be a mystery, but science can tell us, with certainty, this is one of the “purest” breeds. These dogs were brought to Greenland, and because of its difficult location that is not easy to reach, they were protected from breeding with other breeds. That makes these dogs very rare, and their breeding programs are incredibly important.

3. Saluki

The Saluki holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest dog breed in the world. These dogs’ DNA is similar to the grey wolf. While research dated them to 329 B.C., some relics and cave paintings tell us these dogs are a lot older. Saluki-type dogs were found depicted in caves. Those paintings were dated back 8.000 years. That makes these dogs ancient.


Salukis are a part of the sighthound family. They were initially kept as hunting dogs that relied on their sight to catch small mammals like rabbits. They are fast and agile with a killer hunting instinct. If you’re thinking about getting one of these dogs, you should keep them away from other, smaller pets they can see as prey.

4. Akita Inu

The Japanese Akita Inu is next to the Greenland dog as the contender for the oldest dog breed in the world. Ancient Akita Inus come from a secluded Japanese Akita prefecture. They were secluded and sheltered from the influence of other dog breeds. Some estimates place this breed’s age at more than 10.000 years. Unfortunately, we don’t have undeniable proof.

akita inu

Akitas are known as the “world’s most loyal dogs.” If you’re a dog lover, you probably heard about the Hachiko movie. Well, Hachiko was an Akita Inu. They have an undying loyalty to their owners and will stop at nothing to protect them and their families.

5. Samoyed

The Samoyed dog breed is one of the cutest breeds out there. They often have a facial expression that gives them a smiling appearance. It is one of the oldest breeds as well. These dogs come from Siberia, and their origins were dated 3.000 years. They share much of their DNA with the grey wolf.


Modern-day Samoyeds are active family pets but are a lot smaller than they used to be. These dogs still have coats as white as snow and make fantastic cuddling partners. They have a soft coat that will make a great heat source on cold winter nights. They prefer a colder climate, so this might not be the best choice if you live somewhere warm.

6. Basenji

The Basenji has an interesting nickname - The African Barkless Dog. It was given to them because these dogs don’t have a traditional bark. They produce a yodeling sound that can be pretty funny. Basenjis are an ancient breed. By some estimates, this breed is around 8.000 years old.


Basenjis first came to life as nomadic hunting dogs. They were kept by African tribes for hunting small animals like rabbits or foxes. During the hunt, these dogs are quiet, so hunters often place metallic items on their collars to track their movement. These days, Basenjis are active family companions that are all about that active lifestyle.

7. Afghan Hound

Afghan Hounds might be one of the most popular show dogs these days, but this is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. These dogs were traced 8.000 years in the past. They were kept as hunting dogs since they are a part of the sighthound family and have a tremendous vision. They are one of the most elegant breeds in the world, in our opinion.

Afghan Hound

Their luscious coat might be a common sight to see in dog shows, but the Afghan Hound’s coat served a different purpose thousands of years ago. These dogs had to hunt in mountainous regions of modern-day Afghanistan. The conditions were tough, and their coat had to protect them from the extreme cold.

8. Shar Pei

The Shar Pei is amongst the world’s oldest dog breeds. It is the second Chinese dog breed on this list. Researchers date these dogs about 2.200 years in the past, right at the time of the Han dynasty. The Shar Pei is mainly known for its wrinkles and short, rough coat, which is why their name means “sand skin.”

shar pei

Not many people know that the original Sher Pei was larger and more muscular. These dogs had the bad luck of being used for blood sports. Luckily, the attitude towards blood sports involving animals is changing, so these dogs are mostly family companions these days.

9. Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiffs are one of the most impressive dog breeds in the world. These dogs are large, powerful, and fearless. No wonder they were initially used as protectors of livestock and monasteries in Tibet. These dogs kept the monasteries safe from thieves and livestock from bears and wolves.


Modern-day Tibetan Mastiffs are really lazy. That is why they usually worked with smaller watchdogs, mainly Lhasa Apsos. Smaller dogs alerted the Mastiffs something was going on, and the large dog would jump into action. When they weren’t protecting, their favorite activity was sleeping. These dogs are around 5.000 years old.

10. Alaskan Malamute

The impressive Alaskan Malamute is among the oldest dog breeds in the world. These Nordic dogs were the main mean of transportation for early tribes in Alaska. They were named after the Mahlemut tribe. The Mahlemuts used these dogs for hauling loads and hunting. This is one of the largest Nordic breeds, and it is believed to be around 3.000 years old.

alaskan malamute

Modern-day Malamutes have many of their early characteristics. They are still powerful, muscular, intelligent, and independent dogs capable of working all day. These dogs have rich, thick coats. It is not uncommon to see these dogs sleeping outside in freezing temperatures. That’s how warm their coats are.

World Dog Finder team

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