Dogs may be man's best friend and spread all over the world, but there's a lot about them many people don't realize. That adorable Chihuahua puppy you are holding in your hand may look vastly different from the 200 lb. Great Dane barking across the street, but they are the same species. All dogs fall under the species of Canis Lupus Familiaris, which means that for a dog to go extinct, its line/breed simply doesn't exist anymore.
No dog species has gone extinct, as has happened with some of their wolf cousins, but dog breeds have certainly disappeared over the years. In order to bring them back, the secrets to their breeding would have to be discovered once more, but that wouldn't necessarily return extinct dogs to life since the specific breeds that created them in the first place may no longer exist. A list of extinct dogs isn't as sad as you might think seeing as Canis Lupus Familiaris is still out there, but odds are, you will never have the chance to pet any of these adorable little guys who have been lost to us over time.
Argentine Polar Dog
History - The Argentine Polar Dog was bred by the Argentine Army, specifically for use at Antarctic bases. It was derived from a cross between a Siberian Husky, a Greenland dog, an Alaskan Malamute and Manchurian Spitz. It was used primarily as a sled dog due to its ability to pull heavy loads over vast distances. Argentine Polar Dogs went extinct in 1994 when the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty was passed, forcing the animals to leave Antarctica.
Physical Description - Colors similar to a Husky, with a rounder head and more pointed ears.
Size - Fairly large, weighing in as much as 132 lbs.
Location - Antarctica.
Modern Relatives - The extant breeds that went into making it are the closest relatives.
History - The Alpine Mastiff may look familiar because it was the progenitor breed for the St. Bernard. The breed originated somewhere in the Alps around 500 BCE. Efforts to bring them back began in the 1970s, but never came to widespread fruition. Because of their comparable characteristics, many people interchangeably use "St. Bernard" and "Alpine Mastiff" to describe the same dog, though they are distinct from one another. Alpine Mastiffs disappeared in the late 1990s.
Physical Description - The simplest descriptive word for these dogs is gigantic. They had a brown coat with a medium fur length.
Size - They could weigh as much as 350 lbs and stood up to 39" at shoulder height.
Location - Primarily Europe though they originated in Asia.
Modern Relatives - All mastiffs and the St. Bernard.
St. John's Water Dog
History - The St. John's Water Dog was bred as a working dog in Newfoundland whose genetic makeup suggests it may have come from random English, Irish, and Portuguese working dogs. They were relatively common leading into the 20th century, but began to fade until they were considered to be extinct by the early 1980s.
Physical Description - Its most distinct characteristic was its tuxedo marking of black and white.
Size - Medium-sized and considered strong, they weighed in at around 55 to 90 lbs.
Location - Newfoundland.
Modern Relatives - The Flat Coated Retriever, Curly Coated Retriever, the Chesapeake Bat Retriever, the Labrador Retriever, and the Golden Retriever all came from the St. John's Water Dog and similar breeds.
Tahltan Bear Dog
History - The Tahltan Bear Dog was raised by the Tahltan people as a hunting dog, which was used primarily to hunt bears. They would bark at their prey uncontrollably until a hunter could approach and take out the bear. They were also used to hunt big cats and other large animals endemic to the region. The dog went extinct around 1970, but a breeding program has brought back some individuals, though the program is incredibly small and the breed is still considered extinct in its original form.
Physical Description - Considered agile and attractive in appearance, they had a large, poofy tail, erect pointed ears, and a refined, pointed muzzle.
Size - Their withers stood between 14" to 17" with a weight of approximately 20 lbs.
Location - Pacific Northwest Territories of Canada.
Modern Relatives - The only modern relatives are the animals bred specifically in an attempt to recreate the bloodline.