Dogs have been domesticated by humans for more than 30,000 years. From the times of hunter-gatherers, dogs have proved to be loyal, affectionate, and protective companions. There are 339 internationally recognized breeds of dogs worldwide – some wrinkly and shaggy or some downright adorable. While beauty (or the lack thereof) lies in the eyes of the beholder, here are the top 25 strangest-looking dogs who despite their appearances deserve a great deal of love.
The Affenpinscher breed is of German origin and its face resembles a breed of monkey known as a Simian. This earns it one of its names “monkey terrier.” They have a harsh and rough coat of fur all over their bodies. A shorter coat covers their hindquarters and back, while it is shaggier on their head and shoulders. They have bulging eyes and blunt muzzles which, along with their disarrayed fur, make them look displeasing to some.
2. Afghan Hounds
The Afghan Hound is distinguished by its thick, fine, silky coat. It has a strong, arched neck, prominent hips, and large paws. Its seemingly exaggerated bend at the knees and tail that ends in a doughnut bend gives the breed a distinctive profile. The thick, silky flowing coat is not just for show, it serves as protection from the harsh climate in the mountainous regions where Afghan Hounds originally earned their keep.
3. Chinese Crested
The Chinese Crested dog is one of the better-known weird dog breeds. They have pointy teeth which may arc and grow towards the mouth, giving them a creepy smile. They have one layer of hair which grows on their head and extremities rather than their body, giving them a naked look that many individuals may find odd.
Also called the Russian Hunting Sighthound, the Borzoi is a Russian hunting dog with an oblong face and tall, long legs. They have narrow bodies, deep chests, and tucked abdomens. Their lean bodies have a coat of fine but messy and shaggy hair. Borzoi is often compared to horses as their snouts are so long and thin, which is why many find them unattractive.
Pulis are famous as a dog breed with curled locks that are truthfully tight bundles of weatherproof wool. They make energetic and lively pets that will always be up for playtime. The Puli uses its naturally matted hair for insulation and all-weather protection. Their coats resemble dreadlocks, which some people are not huge fans of. Their fur coating is more like a mop which usually does not appear until 9-12 months after birth. Despite their coats, they are very agile and also lightweight.
6. Xoloitzcuintli (The Mexican Hairless)
The name Xoloitzcuintli is Aztec, making this dog the oldest breed in North America. These dogs are hairless, except for the occasional tuft on their head or tail. They have sleek bodies full of wrinkles, long necks, large bat-like ears, and almond-shaped eyes. The Mexican hairless is considered intelligent, even-tempered, affectionate, and playful. They are also protective and will bark at intruders.
Chihuahuas are itty bitty but come with a confident, big-dog attitude. They are distinguished by their apple dome skull and erect ears, which many find unattractive. Moreover, they have big round bug eyes which may seem creepy to some people. Chihuahuas also have a reputation for having a loud, yappy personality.
8. Bedlington Terrier
The Bedlington Terrier is a shaggy-haired breed of dog that originated in England. They are known for their distinctive lamb-like appearance and love of digging holes. These terriers have tufts of hair all over their body that some people find unappealing. The Bedlington terrier has an endearing, playful personality that makes them lively family companions.
9. Neapolitan Mastiff
The Neapolitan Mastiff is an Italian-originated breed of dog. They have monstrously large heads filled with folds and dewlaps, a permanently wrinkled forehead, and sad eyes. Their head structure and body shape give them a scary and fierce look. They shed and drool tremendously and need to be protected from heat due to their excessive and sensitive skin.
Pugs have a characteristic muzzled face, curly-Q tail, and many adorable wrinkles. They are recognized by most and revered by some, including ancient Chinese emperors who held pugs in high esteem. Their bodies are pretty small but their heads, equipped with big and bulging eyes, are quite large. These, paired with their short and fat necks, deter people the most. Pugs are highly adaptable, social, and gentle dogs.
11. English Bull Terrier
These dogs are lovingly referred to as “eggheads.” Bull terriers are known for their distinct football-shaped heads. One of the Bull Terrier’s most remarkable features is its small triangular eyes. They are muscular, fierce, and have pointed ears. Despite this, English bull terriers are very affectionate and playful dogs.
12. Bergamasco Shepherd
The Bergamasco Shepherd (Italian: Cane da Pastore Bergamasco) is an Italian breed of sheepdogs. This breed of dog has a coat of natural dreadlocks known as felts. The Bergamasco sheepdog has three instead of the two usual coats, which are prone to developing mats. The mats of their coats begin at the spine and appear down to the flanks. Their coats camouflage, insulate, and act as a shield from the sun’s rays.
13. Irish Wolfhound
At first glance, you may confuse this breed with a horse or a wolf (as indicated by its name) but they are actually the tallest dog breed. Irish Wolfhounds can stand up to 7ft tall on their hind legs and weigh up to 180 pounds. These large and in-charge pups may have an intimidating first impression but are gentle giants to those who know them.
These dogs have long faces, droopy ears, and drooling mouths and are usually unusual-looking. Bloodhounds are curious canines known for their powerful sense of smell. Historically, the Bloodhound has been bred for hunting—specifically deer and wild boar—as well as tracking people. They are gentle, patient, noble, and mild-mannered animals.
The Bulldog is a British breed of dog of mastiff type. Bulldogs are known for their calm, friendly demeanor paired with a sense of humor and occasional stubbornness. They have large heads with thick folds of skin around the face and shoulders and relatively flat faces with protruding lower jaws. Bulldogs often have weak eyesight, cannot tolerate extreme temperatures, and have respiratory issues.
The Shar Pei is a dog breed from southern China. Their physical appearance is marked by a hippopotamus-esque muzzle, sunken eyes, and lots of folds of skin. These independent pooches are steadfast and loyal to their families but aloof around strangers.
The Komondor is a dog breed originally bred in Hungary to protect livestock. The Komondor is a large, shaggy dog with a mop-like coat that hangs down to the ground. This dog breed has the thickest fur in the canine world. Averaging over 30 inches tall, the Hungarian Komondor is one big puppy.
18. Peruvian Inca Orchid (Hairless Khala)
The Hairless Khala is a wrinkly, hairless dog that looks like a cross between a Shar-Pei and a prune. Also known as the Hairless Khala Medio, Hairless Khala Grande, and Pila, these dogs are unique-looking. At times, they may have small patches of hair around their snout and tail. These dogs have a unique appearance, which includes a long body, short legs, and a large head.
The Lowchen has been a popular pet among Continental Europeans for 500 years. It is a part of the Bichon group of dogs. This dog is nicknamed the Lion Dog because of a popular breed haircut. This breed of dog does not have an undercoat, and their hair should never be allowed to curl. They are an even-tempered breed, lively and active. The Lowchen is the rarest dog in the world.
The Pekingese is a small, long-haired breed of dog. They are lovey-dovey lapdogs with affectionate personalities. The Pekingese is recognized as an inherently royal breed, historically luxuriating in the laps of Chinese emperors. Some people believe the Pekingese are unattractive because of their wrinkled skin, large eyes, and short legs.
21. Lagotto Romagnolo
The Lagotto Romagnolo is an Italian breed of dog. These dogs are said to be hypoallergenic and have thick hair that is curly and woolen. They also have a double coat, which needs regular grooming and occasional trims. Lagotto Romagnolo dogs have a unique talent for searching for truffles. They are also a rare breed like the Lowchen.
22. Griffon Brussels
The Griffon Bruxellois or Brussels Griffon is a breed of toy dog named after their city of origin of Brussels, Belgium. With a naturally grumpy look, this breed is nevertheless beloved for its loving and affectionate temperament. Their body is square while their head is large and round with a very short nose. Brussels Griffons excel in canine events such as obedience, agility, and tracking.
23. Scottish Deerhound
The Scottish Deerhound is a large breed of sighthound, once bred to hunt the red deer by coursing. They have disproportionately small and pointed heads, large bodies, scruffy coats, and beards. They are friendly, but not gregarious, toward strangers. As watchdogs or protection dogs, they are hopeless.
24. Cambodian Razorback
The Cambodian Razorback belongs to a group of dogs with similar bumps on their backs called ridgebacks. It is easily distinguishable from other ridgebacks because of its naturally long hair, which is not usually the case for a dog living in a tropical climate. This breed of dog can be found all over Cambodia. They do not overheat, which is quite unusual.
25. Chow Chow
The Chow Chow is a spitz-type of dog breed originally from northern China. Its name means “puffy lion dogs.” The Chow Chow is a sturdily built dog, square in profile with a broad skull and small, triangular, erect ears with rounded tips. It is one of the only rare dog breeds to have a blue tongue and lips. Their nose is also blue or grey rather than the usual black. The breed is known for a very dense double coat that is either smooth or rough.