The Oldest Dog Breeds: You Need to Know These 5 Dogs

Dogs have been around for an incredibly long time. Humans and dogs have been interacting with each other over the past 20,000-35,000 years when wolves came into contact with European hunter-gatherers. Most of the breeds alive today are not that old, but some go back for millennia. If you're looking for a dog breed that has been around for thousands of years, look no further. Here are the five kinds that have been around the longest, including the oldest dog breed you can still find today!

The Oldest Dog Breed: Akita Inu

Researchers believe that the Akita Inu is the world's oldest breed of dog in the world. While the exact origins are unknown, DNA reveals that its ancestry dates back to around 8,000 BC, or approximately 10,000 years ago.

Coming from Japan, this breed of dog is affectionate, smart, and very loyal. These dogs are guard dogs by default and will assert their dominance against anyone that tries to encroach on their territory. 

There are many Japanese stories and literature pieces with Akita Inu dogs since they have been around for thousands of years. If you're looking for a pet with a rich lineage and history, the Akita Inu fits that bill!

The oldest dog breed's lifespan is about 10-15 years, so this breed also works if you're looking for a companion that will be with you for a while.


Samoyed is a fluffy dog breed that has a long history that dates back to approximately 1,000 BC. The name of the dog comes from the northwestern part of Siberia, where it has a history of hunting and pulling sleighs for the people there. The date for this dog is an approximation, but there's evidence that suggests that Samoyeds went to the Arctic from Asia at least one thousand years before Christianity.

While Samoyeds don't have the crown as the oldest living dog breed, they are certainly up there and have a well-established history. They live between 12 and 15 years, so they're excellent companions as well!

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is another one of the oldest dog breeds. They're sled dogs by nature and received their name from a tribe that lived in Alaska around 2000-3000 years ago. Therefore, it's safe to say that these dogs have been around for millennia.

Even today, people still use them for this purpose. They will travel well, haul freight, and work well as sledding dogs in general. They'll even hunt well, capturing small animals like rabbits, cats, and squirrels. 

These dogs live between 10 and 15 years, so they're long-lasting companions as well.


This breed is one of the oldest breeds of dog in the world, with evidence suggesting it has been around for up to 8,000 years. This dog is unique because it is "barkless," but they do make other animal-like noises, such as a growl or whine. 

They are highly energetic dogs. If you don't have frequent activities for them, they will be quite destructive. Therefore, if you do get a Basenji, make sure you have lots of fun things planned for them!

Another of the Oldest Dog Breeds: Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound's origins went back at least 8,000 years ago. As the name implies, these dogs initially helped hunt in the Afghanistan terrain. Nowadays, their role is much different. With their long hair and beautiful aesthetics, they're often dogs that find their way into canine shows. 

While Afghan Hounds make good pets in general, it is worth noting that they do have unique characteristics that would-be owners should know. For starters, they are incredibly speedy dogs and require protection to ensure they don't escape. Additionally, they tend not to like a lot of petting or holding, so people who have this particular breed of dog have to be content admiring from afar.

As for one of the oldest dog breed's lifespans, the Afghan Hound tends to live around 12-15 years, so much like the other dogs on this list, you can count on this dog to be reasonably healthy, sturdy, and loyal for many years!

The Oldest Dog Breeds Are Some of the Best

The oldest dog breeds in the world are some of the best around. They would have to be to have survived alongside humans for millennia! Most of the dogs on this list are loyal, fun, and enjoyable pets. If you're in the market for a new dog, consider getting one on this list. You'll be joining a vibrant, intriguing heritage and feel an instant connection to history!

What is the oldest dog breed?

That's up for debate, unfortunately. There isn't concrete evidence that suggests which breed is conclusively the oldest. However, science has given us some clues. As noted on the American Kennel Club's site, some people say it's the Afghan Hound. Others allege that the oldest breed is the Akita Inu. Most of the science seems to suggest that it is the oldest breed, but much of that science is evolving.

Are pugs the oldest breed of dogs?

No, although pugs have been around for a long time. Researchers believe that pugs have been around since at least 400 BC when they lived in Tibetan Monasteries. However, that is nowhere near the 6,000 BC or earlier existence of the Afghan Hound or Akita Inu. These dogs were around far before pugs ever existed. With that said, of the typical dog breeds you'd find today, pugs are certainly one of the older ones, so it's not a poor guess!

What was the first dog breed?

In general, researchers believe that the Akita Inu was the first breed that still lives today. However, dogs have been walking alongside humans since somewhere between 30,000 and 20,000 years ago. Therefore, the very first dog breed that humans had originated around then. Although that breed no longer exists, the dogs that we all know and love are partially related to those very first dogs. It's the many millennia of companionship that has made dogs our best friends in modern days.

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Written by Leo Roux


I have friends who raise Afghans & Wind Hounds, a smaller variety. They also show them. However, it seems as though their dogs are very susceptible to injury & are shorter lived than your estimates.

Christopher Albright on Mar 15, 2021

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