Strangest Dogs In The World: Top 7 Unusual Breeds, According To Experts

Dog ownership around the world is very popular, but in the West, we’re used to seeing mostly the same breeds, making them the “popular” breeds. However, if you’re looking to adopt a dog that’s unique and a little unusual in its appearance, we found seven of the strangest dog breeds that will have you doing a double take. These breeds are not only unique-looking but also extremely rare.

So how do dogs acquire such bizarre facial shapes, bodies, or fur types? The odd features of many dog breeds are the result of selective breeding, a process in which humans choose dogs with desired traits to breed together. Over generations, these traits are accentuated, leading to the unique appearances we see today.

Here are some of the ways how dog breeds develop odd features:

  • Artificial selection: Humans have been breeding dogs for specific purposes for thousands of years. For example, Beagles were bred for their keen sense of smell to track rabbits, while Bulldogs were bred for their strength and tenacity to bait bulls. Over time, the traits that were most helpful for these tasks were selectively bred for, resulting in the distinct physical features we see today.
  • Mutations: Sometimes, mutations in genes can lead to unusual features. For example, the Dachshund’s short legs are the result of a mutation in a gene that controls bone growth.
  • Breed mixing: When different breeds are mixed, the offspring can inherit a combination of their parents’ features. This can lead to some unusual and unexpected results. For example, the Pug is a mix of the Bulldog and the Pekingese, and it has inherited some of the physical characteristics of both breeds, such as the Bulldog’s short muzzle and the Pekingese’s flat face.

Some of the odd features that have been bred into dogs include:

  • Short snouts: Breeds like Pugs and Bulldogs have been bred for short snouts, which can make it difficult for them to breathe and regulate their body temperature.
  • Curly tails: Breeds like Basset Hounds and Poodles have been bred for curly tails, which can help them to flush out prey from hiding places.
  • Hairless bodies: Breeds like Chinese Cresteds and Xoloitzcuintles have been bred for hairless bodies, which can make them more susceptible to sunburn and cold weather.

While some of these features may seem odd or even cruel, it’s important to remember that they were often bred for a purpose. For example, the short snouts of bulldogs helped them grip onto bulls without getting their noses bitten.

Today, many dog breeds are no longer bred for their original purposes. However, the odd features that were once selected for are still part of their breed identity. These features can make dogs unique and endearing, but it’s important to be aware of the potential health problems that they may cause. We are excited to inspire you to own one of the strangest dog breeds which is why we have created this fascinating list below. Do you have a pooch that deserves a spot on this list? Leave a comment to let us know!

Bedlington terrier (Photo by jacksonpe on Opensplash)


The List: Strangest Dog Breeds, According To Expert Sites

1. Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington terrier is the ideal companion for hunters and active families. “A crisp, curly coat and arched back distinguish the Bedlington Terrier from all others. They’re an energetic breed that loves attention. This dog breed moves with a light, springy step and when roused can run like the wind, according to the AKC,” states Martha Stewart.

Bedlington terrier dog
Bedlington terrier dog (Photo by Rita Kochmarjova on Adobe Stock)

The Bedlington Terrier is our number one strangest dog breed because of its lamblike appearance. “Bedlingtons have pear-shaped heads, triangular ears, and curly, sheeplike fur. But don’t be deceived by those innocent looks: Historically, this breed was trained to fight! Bedlington Terriers are sweet dogs, but if they’re challenged, they can hold their own,” says Pet Helpful.

The Bedlington Terrier loves to play and run around, so they need the space. They also love to swim, so a dip in the pool or the lake would be a bonus.  “Can you say, ‘Sheep with a football-shaped, weird head mixed with a poodle?’ because this breed fits the bill. They also have a weird defect in copper metabolism and storage, but other than that are generally healthy. Their saving grace is that they’re great family pets,” explains the World Animal Foundation.

2. Xoloitzcuintli

Why does this dog’s appearance seem even weirder than its appearance? It must be why most refer to it as simply Xolo, though it’s pronounced “show-low-eats-queent-lee.”

“The Xolo may look like a rebellious punk-rock teenager of today rocking a two-color Mohawk, but they’re actually an ancient breed whose name is derived from an Aztec language (and is actually spelled xōlōitzcuintli, meaning god Xolotl),” offers Top Dog Tips.

Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican hairless dog) (Photo by on Openverse)

You will also see these Xolo’s called the Mexican hairless dog. “They have very old connections with the spirit world and their numbers once went into decline because of their association with paganism. Most (but not all) of these dogs are hairless and they have a sleek body with large ears – their wrinkled forehead gives them an expressive face. They are loyal and protective dogs but they need a lot of mental and social stimulation,” explains AZ Animals.

The Aztec people believed the Xoloitzcuintli to have healing powers. “Not that far-fetched considering the modern studies linking family pets to health benefits. These dogs are hairless, except for the occasional tuft on their head or tail,” shares Homes Alive Pets. 

3. Bergamasco Sheepdog

Unlike an English Sheepdog, this breed has long loose mats of fur, creating a unique texture. “They have three different textures from the hair to create the matted look of the Bergamasco Sheepdog. They’re sociable and loyal dogs, which makes them a great pet,” says Martha Stewart.

Bergamasco (Photo by Pleple2000 on Openverse)

The Bergamasco is an ancient sheepdog breed, originating in Persia’s harsh mountain climates. “Their coat actually protects them from the environment. Independent yet sociable, the Bergamasco is an intelligent dog that requires regular exercise if they are to be a family pet,” offers American Kennel Club.

The Bergamasco’s felts very easily mat. “The mats begin at the spine and work their way down to the flanks. This is certainly one of the strangest dog breeds, but they aren’t born with these mats. They are born with smooth fur, which is short, but eventually, the mats appear,” states Top Dog Tips.

4. Catalburun

Catalburun means “fork nose” in Turkish. “Possibly because of severe inbreeding due to their rarity, the Catalburun is one of the only dogs in the world featuring a split nose and suspended ears. They were originally bred for hunting in Turkey,” says Outside.

The Catalburun may have a silly nose, but it has one of the best senses of smell of the pointer and hunting breeds. “If noses were a competition, the Catalburun dog breed would have everyone beat. Catalburun has what’s known as a split nose and is only one of three weird types of dog breeds to have them (the other two are the Pachon Navarro and the Andean Tiger Hound),” states Homes Alive Pets.

It is believed that the reason Catalburun has such a weird appearance is that due to scarcity, they have been massively inbred which resulted in some unattractive physical characteristics. “The Catalburun dog breed is among the most rare in existence. They originate from the country of Turkey and were originally bred to be hunters. What really makes this one of the most bizarre breeds is the split nose feature, then add the suspended appearance of the ears and you have a strikingly odd-looking canine,” explains Puppy Toob.

5. Neapolitan Mastiff

This unique breed with a droopy face is an excellent guard dog. “A 15-30 min walk and some backyard play will do this big guy just fine. Neapolitan Mastiff dogs don’t need jogs or long walks due to the undue pressure it could put on the joints. You also don’t want to get into a tug-of-war game as play since this massive breed will quickly learn he’s stronger, which could turn into behavioral difficulties later,” says World Animal Foundation.


Male Neapolitan Mastiff (Photo by Lisa M. Herndon on Openverse)

Harry Potter fan? This is the pet of Harry Potter’s friend, Hagrid. “The Neapolitan Mastiff is quite an ancient breed, and due to its fearsome, intimidating appearance, it was reared for guarding and defending family and property. These dogs need extensive socialization, or else they can be quite aggressive towards strangers and other dogs, but they do learn very quickly; they’re known to be extremely intelligent, independent thinkers. Also, as you might guess from their size, these dogs are not very active—their energy levels are short-lived,” offers Pet Helpful.

You will need to spend time cleaning between the folds to prevent any skin issues from developing. “For a dog with a short coat, a Neapolitan Mastiff requires a lot of grooming. Their size is another quality that makes them one of the strongest dog breeds. They’re HUGE! If you want to adopt this breed, you better have a lot of room for him to roam,” offers Top Dog Tips.

6. Puli

The Puli, aka Hungarian shepherd, has fur that gathers in cords that look like dreadlocks, giving it a mop-like appearance. “Their tresses can even cover the dog’s eyes! Needless to say, caring for this type of water- and cold-resistant fur is an art. This breed is often confused with the komondor, a slightly larger dog with the same kind of fur,” says Medium.

Moumental Puli (Photo by puliarf on Openverse)

A Puli’s cords start forming when a Puli puppy is nine months old. “This corded, often black coat is what makes this breed unusual. Luckily, a Puli does not shed at all, but bathing and grooming this dog is a long, complicated process. Owners need to carefully maintain their Puli’s coat and make sure the cords stay separated, or else these cords can form very large mats. On the plus side, these dogs are very intelligent, and despite their bulky appearance, they are quite fast and agile. They are also very loving and loyal to their owners,” states Pet Helpful.

You may think that the Puli are similar in appearance to the Komondor, but they’re two very different breeds. “The Puli is a very old Hungarian breed dating back to the Middle Ages. It is speculated that the Puli is one of the direct ancestors of the poodle,” shares Martha Stewart.

7. Brussels Griffon

Despite its small size, the Brussels griffon likes to lay down the law and dominate other dogs. “You’ll simply melt in the presence of this funny little ball of energy. With its owners, on the other hand, this breed is very affectionate and makes an excellent apartment dog. Just don’t leave it alone for too long,” says Medium.

Brussels griffon (Photo by Photo by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay)

With their down-turned mouths and long beards, the Brussels Griffon look like they have never-ending frowns. “They’re quite scruffy-looking, too (although there is a smooth-coated type). The Griff, their nickname for those of us in the know, were bred to kill vermin in stables. Belgium’s queen, Marie Henriette, was a fan of the breed and bred them in Europe,” offers the World Animal Foundation.

Brussels are petite dogs who can be a range of colors including brown, blue, black, tan, and beige. “You will get an endearing dog with bags of personality so watch out for the bossy traits to emerge! They love to be close to their humans but can be quite vocal if there is something they want to communicate to you. If you remember the Star Wars series, these dogs may look a little familiar. That’s because creator George Lucas used them as inspiration for the Ewok creatures in the films,” says AZ Animals.

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