When people talk about endangered dogs, they are typically referring to endangered dog breeds, but this concept is itself problematic because dog breeds are often human constructions. The endangerment of dogs of a specific appearance does not imply a loss of the potential for dogs that look that way to exist in the way that the extinction of pandas would effectively preclude any future existence of pandas. Sometimes when people refer to endangered dogs, they mean non-domesticated dogs, which might include certain dogs that still live in the wild, although people generally do not think of other canines like wolves and coyotes as dogs, even though these species may be endangered. One other common way people use the term endangered dogs is to refer to dogs that have been beaten or otherwise require human intervention for safety. Each of these different usages of the term includes several different types of dogs.
Endangered dog breeds are usually thought of as dog breeds that produce less than a certain number of puppies every year. Some examples of endangered dogs of this type include the Tibetan mastiff, azawakh, and mudi breeds. It might be more appropriate to think of these dogs as rare rather than endangered. Dog breeds are arbitrary human constructions that usually develop out of human-directed breeding programs, but the genetic material required to produce any of these dog breeds still exists in the population of dogs in the world. Since there is no true extinction for dog breeds, it is illogical to think of particular breeds as endangered.
It is possible to think of animals such as Australian dingoes and African wild dogs, which are not domestic dogs, as endangered dogs. These unique species have the potential to die out in a way that cannot be reversed, much like other species. Other endangered dogs in this group include the New Guinea singing dog, which is variably classified as a domestic dog or a separate species. Bush dogs look very little like dogs to most people, but they are extremely rare as well.
Among endangered dogs, perhaps the most tragic are those that are endangered individually and face death or lives of torment at the hands of humans. Many endangered dogs are beaten by humans, but just as many are simply kept in terrible conditions, ill fed, or bred inhumanely. When a dog is spoken of as endangered in this sense, the term means that the dog needs a home where a human with patience can undo the damage done by others. It is possible to get involved with helping this type of endangered dog by contacting a local rescue or humane society.