It is hard to imagine our favorite dog breeds becoming extinct — that seems more likely to be the fate of rare wild animals, not the affectionate lump of fur curled at our feet. But that's exactly what happened to these seven breeds. The reasons vary widely: Some became extinct when the jobs that they were bred to do (like bull baiting) went out of fashion, while in other cases, the dog was absorbed into the lineage of a new breed and became the dogs we know and love today. Check out our gallery to see paintings and photographs of dog breeds that have gone extinct and to learn the stories of their demise.
If you think this dog looks like an English Springer Spaniel
, you're not too far off — but take a closer look. It's actually a breed called the Norfolk Spaniel, which has been extinct since the early 1900s. (The dog pictured above, Dash II
, competed in the 1886 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.) The 1861 book "House Dogs and Sporting Dogs"
calls the Norfolk Spaniel "perhaps the commonest breed in England," which may have led to its demise. "A History and Description of Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland
," published in 1897, claims that the liver-and-white dogs became so common that the public no longer saw them as a specific breed, and in 1902, the Kennel Club rolled its description (along with any other medium-legged Spaniel who wasn't a Clumber
) into a new breed: the English Springer Spaniel.
(Credit: James Watson (Book) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, Vetstreet.com
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