I always found it hard to picture how a tiny Pomeranian could have evolved from a wolf, but I’ve now learned to accept that as fact. With the dizzying variety of domesticated dog breeds created by man, it can be easy to forget that there are some stunning species of dogs that man had nothing to do with.

Everybody knows coyotes and dingoes, but have you ever heard of a Culpeo?

1. Dhole.

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The dhole is a wild dog that is native to Central and Southeast Asia. It has been listed as endangered due to habitat loss and reduction in prey numbers. They “whistle” instead of barking and have a complex system of body language.

2. New Guinea Singing Dog.

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A close relative of the dingo, the singing dog earns its name from its unique vocalization method that is considered to be distinctive and melodious. It is believed that the singing dogs still in the wild do not form permanent packs and are more comfortable in pairs or on their own.

3. Short-eared Dog.

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The Short-eared Dog is an elusive and rare breed that calls the Amazonian Basin home. It is known to have a feline-lightness in its movement, and its diet consists of fish, insects, small mammals, crabs, frogs, and reptiles. A unique feature of the species is that the females are about a third larger, on average, than the males.

4. Bush Dog.

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The Bush Dog is native to Central and South America. They have webbed toes that allow them to swim efficiently, and their primary habitats are lowland forests and wet savannas.

5. Raccoon Dogs.

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The raccoon dog is indigenous to East Asia. It is named for its close physical resemblance to raccoons, but the two species are not related. They have long torsos and short legs, and are known as the only members of the canid family to hibernate.

6. Hoary Fox.

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The Hoary Fox of Brazil is unique in that it’s diet is based on small invertebrates such as insects. They are nocturnal.

7. African Wild Dog.

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The African Wild Dog, or Painted Dog, usually lives in large packs of up to 40 that are run by a monogamous breeding pair. They are endangered due to hunting, disease, and shrinking habitat.

8. Maned Wolf.

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These long-legged creatures are neither wolf nor fox – they are the only known member of the Chrysocyon genus. They live in grassy and wooded areas of South America and eat fruits, vegetables, rodents and birds.

9. Crab-eating Fox.

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These foxes get their name from their preferred food source, but crabs aren’t all they eat. They are opportunistic in their eating patterns and will consume birds, eggs, insects, and more.

10. Ethiopian Wolf.

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This beautiful canine is unfortunately the most at-risk animal on this list. Due to hunting, loss of habitat, and poisoning, there are less than 500 individuals left. They are also the only true wolf in the African continent.

11. Darwin’s Fox.

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This critically endangered animal is found in dense forests primarily on the Chilean island of Chiloé, though there are a few estimated to inhabit the mainland.

12. Island Fox.

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This fox is native to the Channel Islands of California. It is nocturnal and largely easy to tame due to its generally docile nature. A combination of human activity and predation by Golden Eagles has led to their status as near threatened.


13. Bat-eared Fox.

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The short-grasslands dwelling Bat-eared Fox is native to Africa. They largely feed on termites, and use their ears to pick out food and predators.

14. Culpeo.

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This South American species is the second largest canid on the continent, after the Maned Wolf. They can be found in terrains ranging from deserts to forests.

Some of these wild canines are so rare, you’ll probably never see them in real life. But with enough luck, we may continue to still have them share our beautiful planet for years to come.

Share these beautiful creatures with your friends who love animals by clicking below. And don’t forget to also check out these 15 rare wild cat species!