The 8 Ugliest Dog Breeds, According to Experts
These pups are so unique looking that it's actually adorable.
Whether they're short and round, tall and hairy, or anywhere in between, dog lovers know that there's not a pup out there that isn't adorable in some way, shape, or form. In fact, sometimes having an unconventional appearance can be what draws people to certain breeds. From the hilariously hairless to the downright wrinkly, even the funniest-looking dogs can serve as the best reminders of why we love canines so much—no matter what your personal pup preferences may be. Read on to see what experts say are the ugliest dog breeds we all still find so lovable.
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While it can feel like some less popular breeds are relegated to live in the shadows, others like the Bull Terrier have been lucky enough to enjoy some time in the limelight. Just ask anyone who remembers when Spuds MacKenzie was a household name.
"The Bull Terrier is often referred to as a stubborn 'egghead.' But dogs don't get much more playful and endearing than this breed," says Travis Brorsen, a pet expert for Animal Planet, celebrity dog trainer, host of My Big Fat Pet Makeover, and judge on the Discovery Plus series The Dog Games.
He explains that these dogs can be particularly affectionate and personable. "If the Bull Terrier had a love language, it would be quality time. If given proper training and structure, the breed will be the life of your next party," Brorsen says.
If we're being honest, we've all suffered the fate of getting an unfortunate-looking haircut at least once in our lives. In the case of some dog breeds, such awkward looks can be par for the course.
"The Chinese Crested is a toy dog breed that is known for its unusual appearance," Jeff Netzley, a dog trainer and the founder of Dog Beaches Near Me, tells Best Life. "They are almost hairless, with just a few tufts of hair on their head, tail, and feet. They also have wide, open eyes that can make them look a bit startled."
However, these adorably awkward pups tend to shine when it comes to personality. "Despite their appearance, they are very affectionate and are generally good with other dogs and people. Their lack of hair also makes shedding almost a non-issue," Netzley says.
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The old saying goes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In the case of canines, this makes some breeds divisive when it comes to their appearance.
"I personally disagree with this assessment, but the Borzoi is often considered one of the uglier dog breeds," says Daniel Caughill, a canine expert and co-founder of The Dog Tale. "These tall, slender dogs resemble Greyhounds with lots of scruff. They have skinny bodies, long snouts, and an aloof personality that makes them kind of awkward—and all the more lovable because of it."
Since all pups are fundamentally cute, putting your finger on precisely what makes a dog look a little goofy can sometimes be challenging. But for some unique breeds, the answer might be "all of the above."
"The Xoloitzcuintli—sometimes referred to as the Xolo—is one of the oldest dog breeds with a history that goes all the way back to the Aztec empire. But what really makes these dogs stand out today is the lack of hair that gives them a unique appearance and makes petting them quite the experience," Georgina Ushi Phillips, DVM, practicing veterinarian and Florida-based writer with NotABully.org, tells Best Life. "However, most Xolos have a light layer of hair on their head which just makes them even more interesting!"
Even so, experts say anyone who spends time with one of the dogs will find its appearance is outshined by its demeanor. "The Xolo might look scary, but this breed has an extreme devotion to its owner," says Brorsen.
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Wrinkles may be a strangely stigmatic element of human beauty standards, but it appears that the outlook can sometimes extend to dogs. Perhaps that's why adorable scrunchy-faced breeds like the Shar-Pei can sometimes get labeled as funny-looking. But despite their distinctively pruny appearance, experts say they also tend to have some other positive qualities.
"The Shar-Pei has many unique traits, but for pet parents that don't love a barking dog, this one's for you," says Borsen. "Fiercely protective but calm around family members, the Shar-Pei is the dog that never quite grew into his wrinkles. And don't be fooled by this breed's aloofness: For the most part, they are as smart as they come!"
Having wiry, wool-like hair can be a considerable asset to dog owners looking for a breed that doesn't shed too much. And according to experts, one unique-looking dog takes the idea of being a Bull Terrier in sheep's clothing somewhat literally.
"The Bedlington Terrier is a shaggy-haired breed of dog that originated in England. They are known for their distinctive lamb-like appearance and their love of digging holes," says Netzley.
"While they may not be everyone's cup of tea in the looks department, Bedlington Terriers are intelligent, active, and loving dogs that make great companions," he adds. "If you can get past their unusual appearance, you'll find that they are one of the best breeds around."
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Peruvian Inca Orchid
The amount of hair or fur on a dog can range from over-the-top shaggy to non-existent. So it's no surprise that those breeds that fall into the later category are often considered to have a unique look.
"The Peruvian Inca Orchid is unusual in that it is a nearly hairless dog. It is also one of the more unique-looking breeds out there, due to its wrinkled skin, large ears, and oversized head," says Netzley.
Just make sure you have plenty in the bank if you've fallen in love with the look of this unique style of dog. "They are also one of the most expensive dog breeds, costing up to $5,000, and require sunscreen and grooming to protect their skin," Netzley cautions. "This breed is not for everyone, but those who appreciate its distinct appearance can find a lot to love. They are also known to be extremely affectionate and friendly dogs."
Hungarian Puli Dog
There are plenty of people out there who embrace the idea of "big hair" as a lifestyle. Who says dogs shouldn't be able to be praised for the same style choice?
"The Puli has a very unique coat that grows in tight corded curls. As a result, this breed is covered head to toe in long, luscious locks!" says Phillips. "When their coat is allowed to grow out fully over years, they can actually look like a mop head happily running toward you!"
It also scores bonus points for its personality. "The Puli is an active and intelligent breed that loves to play and needs plenty of exercise," says Netzley. "They can be suspicious of strangers and make great watchdogs."