Owning a dog has to be one of life’s great pleasures. Not only do they make phenomenal coworkers but they are the kind of pet that oozes with so much love that they can actually make you feel calmer in your life. I grew up with all kinds of pets but dogs are known to give unconditional love for a reason: Because they really do!
The thing that might surprise you the most about dogs, though, is what a great variety of them there are. You probably know all about labs, border collies, poodles and all of the more common dog breeds out there, but did you know that there are some truly cool dog breeds that come directly from Latin America? You probably already know and love the Chihuahua but the truth is that there are 19 other Latin American dog breeds that are ready to steal your heart. If you’re looking to adopt or simply fall in love with a new puppy, here are 20 Latin American dog breeds that you will simply adore.
1. Dogo Argentino
The Dogo Argentino has recently gained an undeserved reputation as a fighting dog, which it is not. Instead, they are hunting dogs that hail from the southern part of South America. They”re quite large, about 100 pounds, very muscular and typically solid white. They’re also very social and good in families and around other animals.
2. Chilean Terrier
The Chilean Terrier was developed in Chile when the British Fox Terrier and local Chilean dogs were bred. This is often thought to be the only breed that is native to Chile but it’s quite popular there and its popularity is rapidly growing in South America. They’re high energy, good in apartments and are about 8-15 pounds when they’re small and 15-35 pounds for medium types.
This guy is the first hairless dog you will see on this list but he’s not the last. Xoloitzcuintli, also known as the Mexican Hairless Dog, is a breed that originates in, obviously, Mexico. Thought to have been around for the past 3,000 years, that makes this a fairly ancient breed and although they naturally occur hairless, there is a variety which is coated in hair.
4. Fila Brasileiro
If you want a perfect guard dog, then you might want to take a look at the Fila Brasileiro, which is a big South American breed that is a great tracker, was bred to guard livestock and also expertly used in hunting large game. They’re quite powerful but not aggressive. These guys are about 110 pounds and have loose skin that makes them look like a Bloodhound.
5. Venezuelan Sheepdog
The Venezuelan Sheep Dog is the national dog of Venezuela and for good reason. They won this title in 1964 after being a great livestock guard dog for many centuries already. Although the origins of this breed are not clear, some believe that it came from being bread by the Spaniards with other local dogs. These dogs are intelligent, playful and sensitive.
6. Buldogue Campeiro
Another breed from Brazil is actually one of the rarest breeds in the world. The Buldogue Campeiro, or the Campeiro Bulldog, is an incredibly loyal and smart breed that is characterized by their short noses. Although they’re not tall, they’re actually very big boned which means that they weigh anywhere from 70 to 90 pounds. So, if you’re looking for a big boy to love, then this guy might be it.
There is only one dog breed that is native to Cuba and that is this cheerful little dog that has a spring in their step and a gleam in their eyes. The Havanese are super vivacious and sociable, which makes them perfect city dogs that have become very popular in the U.S. Coming in at just 7-13 pounds, they’re easy to keep around anywhere so we’re not surprised that more people are loving them lately.
8. Pampas Deerhound
The Pampas Deerhound is a type of hunting dog that is native to Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. These dogs are known for helping their humans to track, capture and hunt for deer (Pampas deer), which is how they earned their name. They are still used to track other animals, such as wild boars, in their native country. They are typically pale or white in color.
9. Peruvian Hairless Dog
Those who are seeing a clean, healthy, hairless dog should definitely look at the Peruvian Hairless Dog as their best option since these guys are usually very friendly and affectionate to their family. This dog breed was in South America long before the arrival of Europeans, which makes them another ancient dog on the list. Weighing in at about 18 pounds when they’re small and up to 55 pounds when they’re large, they’re usually slim and their skin needs extra care to be kept clean.
Similar to the Campeiro Bulldog, the Bullbras is a bulldog-type dog that comes from Brazil. The big difference with this dog is that he was actually bred specifically by Wagmar de Souza who, in 2006, began the work of mating between dog breeds that he wanted to create in a new English bulldog-style breed. Using the Olde English Bulldogge, English Bulldog, Campeiro Bulldog and the Boxer, he eventually added the American Bulldog to create the Bullbras.
11. Cimarrón Uruguayo
The Cimarrón Uruguayo is a dog breed from Uruguay that is descendent from dogs that were brought to the country from Europe. Its ancestors were a feral dog breed that ranchers started to catch and domesticate because they were attacking their livestock and, instead, now are great guard dogs. They are tall, fierce and very beautiful and loyal creatures.
12. Mantiqueira Shepherd Dog
Herding dogs can do a lot and they’re always great companions to their humans, which might explain why the Mantiqueira Shepherd Dog originated in the Mantiqueira Mountains of Southeast Brazil. Although their exact origin is not fully known and they are thought to be related to dogs like the German Shepherd, they are known to be agile, strong and resistant as they work with cowboys and tropeiros in the mountains.
The Mucuchies are thought to be Venezuela’s only native dog breed since they originated in the early 1600s in the state of Merida in the Andes Mountains. In fact, that’s why they are named Mucuchies — which is a town in that region. The breed is often referred to as Nevado (or “snowy”). They’re quite big, with large ones at 55-90 pounds and extra large ones at 90-120 pounds.
14. Magellan Sheep Dog
Well, I hate to disappoint you (or not?) but there is another dog that is native to Chile and that is the much lesser known Magellan Sheep Dog. There is no clear origin of how this dog came to be but the assumption is that people came to the area with different breeds of shepherd dogs, who mixed with one another and adapted to the colder weather, and so the Magellan Sheep Dog was born. It’s a mid-sized dog that has a thick and long coat and prefers the low temperatures of the south of Chile since they can easily protect themselves in the snow.
15. Brazilian Terrier
This adorable dog from Brazil is also known as the Fox Paulistinha and it’s not popular in many other countries but it totally should be. The Brazilian Terrier was developed by combining Jack Russell Terriers, Miniature Pinschers and Chihuahuas. They’re pretty small (about 15 inches) but are very active and love to chase other small animals, such as pet cats, hamsters and rabbits. However, if you keep them indoors, make sure to walk these energetic dogs frequently so that they don’t get destructive.
16. Ecuadorian Hairless Dog
The Ecuadorian Hairless Dog is a small breed of hairless dog that originated on the Santa Elena Peninsula in Ecuador. It’s actually considered one of the rarest breed of hairless dog in the world, which might make it difficult to find. They are characterized by the absence of hair on the body and the little patch of fur on its head. They are elegant animals, but also small coming in at a height of just 15-18 inches.
17. Peruvian Inca Orchid
Known sometimes as the Inca Hairless Dog or, more accurately, the Peruvian Inca Orchid, this dog breed is from Peru and another ancient one. It was seen during the Inca Empire dating as far back as 750 A.D. but that’s not what is really cool about the dog. They’re actually super affectionate with their family members. However, their temperament makes them NOT a great choice for first-time dog owners so choose carefully before settling on getting this dog.
18. Rastreador Brasileiro
The Rastreador Brasileiro is native to Brazil, as you can imagine, and it is a hunting dog that was developed in the 1950s by Oswaldo Aranha Filho to hunt medium-sized wild pigs in Central and South America. He combined various American and European hunting breeds, along with some native Brazilian dogs, in order to create this guy. And isn’t he super handsome?
19. Argentine Pila
Another hairless dog that makes it onto our list is the Argentine Pila that originated from, as you may have guessed it, Argentina. Some of its oldest ancestors (meaning other hairless breeds from surrounding countries) are 3,000 years old. That’s pretty impressive for a breed that’s still around! Despite their medium size, they are actually great companion dogs and are very well-suited for apartment life.
You didn’t think we would leave this guy off the list, did you? The Chihuahua is definitely the most well-known of the Latin American dog breeds and for good reason. Although they’re usually pretty small (the average one is about six and a half pounds), they are known to be fierce, loyal and super sweet. Sure, they have a reputation for being barky but don’t let a stereotype fool you. The coolest part of this breed is that, although we don’t know exactly where they came from or how long they have been around, Chihuahua-like dog bones were found in Mexico in 300 B.C.
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