The 10 Oldest Dog Breeds on Earth - Pet Hub USA

The 10 Oldest Dog Breeds on Earth

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Humans and dogs have been best friends for a long time. How long? Well, we’ve got evidence that our two species have lived together for at least 10,000 years. That’s a long time! So, which dog breeds did our distant ancestors keep in their homes? Read on to find out.

Tibetan Terrier

Daisy - Tibetan Terrier - at the Dog Barn
Daisy – Tibetan Terrier – at the Dog Barn” by Ian McFegan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Tibetan Terriers are medium dogs that are considered holy by the monks of Tibet. They are often found in monasteries as guard dogs, faithful friends, and symbols of good luck. The breed is likely around 2,000 years old, owing to a belief that crossbreeding them would dilute the good luck they can bring their owners.

Chow Chow

adult orange chow chow
Photo by Moujib Aghrout on Unsplash

The iconic black tongue of the Chow Chow makes them an immediately recognizable dog. They likely first appeared in China between 2,000 and 3,000 years ago. Depictions of their distinctive appearance have been found on pottery dating from the Hun dynasty.

Alaskan Malamute

white and gray Siberian husky
Photo by Monika Stawowy on Unsplash

The Alaskan Malamute is often mistaken for being the oldest dog breed due to its visual similarities to the modern dog’s closest living relative, the gray wolf. While there are older breeds, the Malamute is downright ancient: evidence points to these hardy sled dogs having first appeared at least 3,000 years ago as companions to the Inuit people of modern-day Alaska.


short-coated brown dog
Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash

At some points, experts contended that the Saluki was the oldest still-living dog breed. It’s been around for a while, but new research shows it’s far from the oldest. This elegant and prized breed has been around for at least 5,000 years, and depictions of them have been found on accessories belonging to ancient Egyptian nobility.

Tibetan Mastiff

Big Tibetan Mastiff with thick dark fur looking at camera while lounging on pink blanket on stones under multi colored pieces of cloth on sticks in mountain valley
Photo by Grisha Grishkoff on Pexels

Like the Tibetan Terrier, the Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient breed. A common story holds that they’re descendants of Roman war dogs, though there’s little concrete evidence to back this up. Genetic sequencing has shown that these massive, territorial mastiffs are at least 5,000 years old, though.

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basenji, dog, running
Photo by alektas on Pixabay

The Basenji was believed to be the oldest dog breed for decades due to a handful of Libyan cave paintings from around 6,000 BC that depict the iconic hound. However, more recent research has shown that a few other breeds have the Basenji beat by centuries. Still, anyone who owns a Basenji will tell you that their ancient and isolated lineage is evidenced by their catlike behavior and powerful vertical jump.


black and gray dog on brown sands
Photo by Mark Galer on Unsplash

Greyhounds have been with humans for at least 8,000 years, according to temple drawings at ancient sites in Turkey. Some experts argue that these depictions instead show Basenji or Saluki dogs. That’s not surprising, though, given that the Greyhound almost certainly shares common ancient Egyptian ancestors with both of these breeds.

Afghan Hound

adult long-coated yellow dog
Photo by Arve Kern on Unsplash

The elegant and long-haired Afghan Hound was bred to help hunt antelopes and leopards in Afghanistan and nearby regions. They were prized among the nomadic people of the Middle East for their dignified air and fearless hunting behavior. They’ve likely been with humans for around 8,000 years.

Read More: 10 Most Expensive Dog Breeds

Greenland Sled Dog

three brown-and-black dogs
Photo by Xavier Balderas Cejudo on Unsplash

Recent genetic testing suggests that the Greenland Sled Dog, a breed that isn’t recognized by the American Kennell Club, is downright ancient. These wolflike dogs have similar features to the Alaskan Malamute and were employed for similar jobs: pulling sleds. Due to unique markers on their genetics that show a lack of interbreeding with gray wolves since 9,500 years ago, Greenland Sled Dogs are believed to be the second-oldest breed on the planet.

Read More: 10 Most Wolf-Like Dog Breeds

Akita Inu

shallow focus photography of brown dog
Photo by Jae Lee on Unsplash

Does the oldest breed surprise you? The Akita Inu, a beloved Japanese breed, has the claim to the top spot due to the discovery of remains at the Kamikuroiwa Rock Shelter site in Ehime. The site is believed to be from the Jomon period, meaning the Akita Inu breed could be 10,000 years old, or even older. This ancient breed could have been preserved partly due to Japan’s isolated nature for much of human history.

Read More: The 10 Most Protective Dog Breeds

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