Dogs of all shapes and sizes bring immeasurable and priceless love and joy to our lives. Our fur babies snuggle close to our hearts and constantly keep us smiling with their adorable antics. While all canines are cute and lovable, some breeds are known more for their appearance than others. Yes, there is a long list of dogs considered cute, but what about those on the other end of the spectrum? We are talking about ugly dogs. Ugly dog breeds are sometimes quite extraordinary looking, with their unique appearance adding to their overall charm.
We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but some dog breeds are more known for their unique and unusual appearance than others. Many times, what one dog owner considers adorable, another person might not find cute at all. Plenty of dog breeds are quite unusual looking, with huge ears, wildly curly tails, smooshed faces, and odd-looking bodies. Some dogs are even famous for being so “ugly.”
A funky appearance can add volume to a dog’s charm and personality. There are certain canines known for being ugly. In this article, we get to know 15 of the ugliest dog breeds. Do not let their lack of traditional good looks fool you. Several of these ugly dogs are exceptionally lovable and remarkably popular, while others are extremely rare and hard to find.
Characteristics Of “Ugly” Dogs
So, what makes a dog “ugly”? Well, a few distinct characteristics make some pups stand out as particularly unattractive. These include droopy faces, bulging eyes, short legs, oddly shaped bodies, underbites, overbites, odd posture, wrinkly skin, lack of hair, and long, shaggy hair. Additionally, some of these breeds have been bred to have unusual shapes or sizes, which can also make them appear less than attractive. However, some folks have a preference for these unusual-looking canines.
Ugly Dog Breeds
Below we have described some of the breeds most often referred to as ugly. We have listed these in alphabetical order. As a reminder, all dogs deserve love, kindness, and the best care possible, regardless of whether or not they meet a specific definition of cute or ugly.
Though not a Terrier, this little German canine is also called a Monkey Terrier. These pups are tiny, only 7 to 13 pounds, and about 12 inches tall when fully grown. They have wiry, rugged coats and grumpy expressions. These little guys are tough, active, and bold. Despite their feisty personalities, Affenpinschers make lovely family pets and highly effective watchdogs. They remain tiny yet fearless.
This breed originated in Germany and was long used as ratters, making them familiar in homes, farms, and shops. Eventually, the little pooch became popular as a companion dog for high-class ladies. Today this is a relatively rare pup to find. The Affenpinscher is also quite high maintenance. Their unusual coat texture requires an extra level of care, as well as regular brushing. They do well with children but do not like to be overly stimulated or have rough handling.
The Bedlington Terrier is an incredibly unusual-looking dog. This pooch looks almost more alien than canine, with tufted, pear-shaped heads, curly coats, arched back, tasseled ears, and tiny eyes. They were first bred in Bedlington, England, and are intelligent, energetic, agile little canines. They reach between 17 and 23 pounds, standing between 15 and 7 1/2 inches tall. This breed is relatively long-lived, with an expected lifespan of 11 to 16 years.
This medium to high energy level canine needs plenty of mental and physical stimulation. One bonus is that this breed does not shed. Bedlington Terriers are fast runners, energetic, courageous, and quite stubborn. These guys are also playful, fiercely loyal, and get along well with strangers and children. They do not do as well with other canines or small pets like cats.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog is one incredibly unusual-looking pup. This matted appearance is normal for the breed and serves a specific purpose. These mats provide protection, help regulate temperature, and protect their bodies from cold and wet temperatures. Three kinds of hair interweave to form dense, thick mats that will grow over the dog’s entire lifespan. They get pretty significant in body size and can reach 55 to 85 pounds. These full-sized pups stand between 20 and 24 inches tall and live between 13 and 15 years.
The breed has been traced back 7.000 years to the Middle East. Historically the breed was developed to be used by shepherds as guards and herders. They are incredibly intelligent and are known by a few other names, including the Bergamo Shepherd dog, Bergamese Shepherd, and Cane da Pastore Bergamasco. Despite making the list of ugly breeds, these Shepherds are incredibly affectionate and get along fantastically with children, strangers, and other canines. Despite the impressive appearance of their coats, caring for them is not as big of a challenge as one might think.
The Brussels Griffon is another tiny yet mighty breed. These little pups reach only 8 to 10 pounds and stand 7 to 10 inches tall. They stick around for a long while, with an expected lifespan of 12 to 15 years. These dogs can be traced back to Belgium, where They worked as stable hands and ratters.
This pup makes the list due to their unique expression and adorably ugly faces. These little pups sport a distinct beard on a large round face with a prominent domed forehead. They have an undershot jaw, giving them a defiant, somewhat grumpy appearance. This breed can either have a dense, wiry coat or a smooth, silky coat. Their unique bearded faces and short floppy ears give this pooch the appearance of an older adult looking for a fight.
The Chinese Crested is a small dog breed with long, flowing hair on its head and feet. The breed is often called the “ugliest dog” due to its unusual appearance. Cresties are also known for their friendly and outgoing personality. This is one of those bark babies that is so ugly it is sometimes cute.
They only reach 8 to 12 pounds when fully grown and stand between 11 to 13 inches tall. These canines are hairless except for dramatic tufts of hair on their paws and tail and a crest of hair on their heads. They resemble miniature punk rockers. One variety comes with hair called the Powderpuff Crestie, which has long silken hair.
Chinese Crested also have very large, wide-set pointy ears, almond-shaped eyes, narrow noses, flat cheeks, and elongated heads. They can come in several different coat colors and have different spots and patterns on their skin. Despite topping many lists as the ugliest dog, this breed makes a wonderful pet. They are considered Velcro or clingy dogs, love their humans, and demand to be the center of attention all the time. Cresties are pretty sensitive and actually make excellent therapy dogs.
English Bull Terrier
Bull Terriers make this list for their distinct egg-shaped heads. These bullies have a unique appearance: elongated faces, short pointy ears, and tiny, piercing eyes. Bull Terriers can come in miniature and standard sizes. The standard size is between 50 and 70 pounds, while the miniature will reach 25 to 35 pounds. Both have signature oval-shaped heads, creating a very distinctive facial profile. Bull Terriers look quite different depending on how you look at them. From a specific angle, the tops of their skulls are entirely flat.
We can confidently say no other dog looks just like the Bull Terrier. In fact, this pooch is famous for its unique appearance and has been used in advertising by Bud Light beer and the Target store chain mascot. Bull Terriers are quite gentle and very affectionate. They get along very well with children and make wonderful family pets. Bull Terriers are known for being quite mischievous, earning themselves the nickname of class clowns.
This rare French gun dog is a remarkably unique-looking pup, earning its place on our list. The breed developed in the 19th century from several lines of water spaniels. There has never been a large population of these guys. Even today, these guys are rare and hard to find. These medium-sized dogs reach between 44 and 60 pounds when fully grown.
Though exceptionally talented as retrievers, this dog has a very distinctive appearance. This pooch has been described as looking like it is wearing a curly wig. These pups are muscular, strong, and deep-chested. They have rounder-shaped eyes and quite long ears, with curly hair on their heads and tails. Their faces remain smooth with shorter straight hair. Most of this breed has an inquisitive, kind facial expression, small sunken eyes, with low set long ears.
This medium-sized pup belongs to the hound family and reaches between 45 and 55 pounds when fully grown. Griffon Nivernais stand between 20 and 25 inches tall. They live between 10- and 14 years. The Griffon Nivernais is known to be affectionate with family and trusted people but becomes shy around strangers. This canine is also quite stubborn and can be pretty vocal. This dog also likes to bark and has exceptionally high energy.
The Griffon Nivernais can be traced back to France in the 1200s. Scent hounds similar to this were hunting companions used to protect property. At one point, the line was thought to have completely died out but made a resurgence in the early 1900s. This doggie is quite uncommon and rarely found outside of France.
These pups have shaggy coats, long heads, dropped ears, and very bushy eyebrows. Due to their wiry coats, they have a very disheveled, unkempt appearance.
Also known by the name of Pila, this intriguing-looking dog can be traced to Latin America. They are a small to medium-sized breed reaching 15 to 30 pounds and standing 14 to 20 inches tall when fully grown. This dog has a similar appearance to the Chinese Crested in that they are hairless with a crest of fur atop their head. Large, pointed ears and short necks accompany this tuft of hair. Khala means “without clothes,” and these pups definitely have that naked appearance.
Like many other hairless canines, the Hairless Khala has a unique glossy look. They can come in several different colors and are moderately easy to train. They make terrible guardians but do like to play and are very low regarding aggression. This pooch is quite hard to find outside of Latin America.
Hairless Terriers are actually a line of Rat Terriers. These hairless pups are a naturally occurring breed. The first hairless puppy was born to a normally-haired rat terrier litter in 1972 in Louisiana. From there, other hairless puppies were born and bred together to create four litters of hairless offspring.
The American Hairless Terrier is one of the few true hairless canines. These pups must be kept inside because they have no hair and can quickly get very cold. These guys are small but mighty, weighing 12 to 16 pounds and standing 12 to 16 inches tall. They are relatively long-lived, with an expected lifespan of 14 to 16 years. This breed is incredibly affectionate with family and quite interactive with young children. They also do moderately well with other dogs.
This breed can have whiskers, eyebrows, and soft, smooth, warm skin. They have wide, wedge-shaped heads with pointy V-shaped ears and smaller, highly dramatic eyes.
The Komondor is also referred to as the Hungarian Sheepdog. They are working and guardian dogs that come from Hungary. These dogs were initially bred and used as herders and guard dogs for flocks and livestock. They continue to like to protect their human flock today. These dogs can reach something like 80 and 120 pounds, meaning they are not small. They are, in truth, exceptionally agile and full of energy. They have slightly rounded, long ears, black noses, and almond-shaped ears.
They look much like a large moving mop head. This is due to a tasseled coat that looks like dreadlocks. It appears as though they cannot see anything, and it may be hard to tell the front end from the back end when these shaggy pups get moving. Komondors only come in white and are rare pups to find. One will not forget meeting one of these funky-looking Fidos.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a massive dog that can reach between 110 and 150 pounds when fully grown. These behemoths stand 24 to 31 inches tall. Their heads are massive and literally dripping with folds of skin. Despite their colossal size, and intriguing appearance, these gigantic dogs are quite gentle, even referred to as gentle giants. They hail from southern Italy, but Mastiff-type dogs have been around for an incredibly long time. Some mastiffs have even been traced to ancient Tibet, where they were guardians of sacred temples.
This giant breed is also referred to as the Neo or Mastino. They are pretty docile and also quite clumsy, so these pups will not do well in small spaces. They are also quite heavy droolers due to the excessive wrinkles on their faces. These behemoths can come in solid gray, mahogany, black, tawny, or tan brindle. Anyone can make a wonderful family dog, but due to their large size should always be supervised when with children. They are best in homes with older children and may do well with other animals, though they do not get along well with those that do not live in the same house.
The Puli often gets mistaken for the Komondor and has a similar appearance. Both come from Hungary and are sheepdogs. A Puli is slightly smaller, between 25 and 35 pounds. They have corded, curly coats, which look like dreadlocks. Their coats feel somewhat like wool. The way their tails curl up, sometimes it can be hard to tell if these guys are coming or going. These pups almost look like puppets or Muppets.
Pulis are herders, very smart, and incredibly manipulative. They make great family pets but are fiercely loyal and can try to herd their people to keep them safe. This can sometimes cause some problem behavior like nipping and barking. If you are in the mood for a funky-looking, wooly-haired, shaggy flop top, this pup might be for you.
This dog breed is often described as looking like a hippopotamus. Shar-Peis are medium size to large dogs weighing around 45 and 60 pounds. They are stocky and square, with heads that seem larger than they should be. This breed is covered with wrinkly folds of skin across their entire body and is also known for having a unique bluish-black tongue.
They have wide muzzles and tiny triangular-shaped ears. These pups often look like they are scowling or grumpy due to the loose skin that hangs over their face. Despite a gloomy expression, Shar Peis are low-energy, mellow dogs who are reasonably agreeable to humans. They do not get along well with other dogs, can become aggressive, and have a stubborn streak. This breed is not flat-faced but considered brachycephalic, meaning they must be well supervised when exercising. The folds of skin and shorter noses can cause breathing problems if they exert themselves too much.
Also called the Mexican Hairless, the Xoloitzcuintli comes in two varieties coated and hairless. Each variety comes in three sizes: toy miniature and standard. Toys will weigh between 10 and 15 pounds, the miniature is between 15 and 30 pounds, and the standard can reach between 30 and 55. It is believed that these dogs descended from ancient Aztec and Mayan animals. The breed is named after Xolo, the Aztec god of fire.
The hairless variety, which also has a more unusual appearance, is more common than the coated variety. Hairless have smooth, thick skin with some short hair that grows on the tops of their heads, feet, and tails. This pooch comes in various colors, including black, gray, slate, brindle, bronze, fawn, and red, and can be solid or spotted.
These pups are quite smooth, with broad heads and almond-shaped eyes. They have very prominent, pointy ears and very supple skin. The Xolo often appears to be deep thinkers due to wrinkles on their forehead, giving them an inquisitive, introspective look.
The ugly dog list above mentions all purebreds, but some of the most distinctive-looking pups are mixed breeds. This one, in particular, commands attention and an honorable mention.
French Bulldog Crested Chinese Mix
The French Bulldog Crested Chinese mix, also called a Chinese Crested Frenchie, is one exceptional-looking dog. Picture a hairless Frenchie with a tuft of hair, a snub nose, huge round eyes, a long tufted tail, spiky ears, and a somewhat smooshed-in face. Because this is a mixed pup, there is always a bit of unpredictability surrounding their size and appearance.
A Chinese Crested Frenchie is a more petite pooch, weighing just 10 to 12 pounds. They can live 10 to 14 years or more. Most are playful, energetic, and affectionate but wary of strangers and quick to let you know when something strange or new is afoot.
Why Do People Keep Ugly Dogs?
Despite their unusual appearance, many people still choose to keep these distinctly different-looking dogs as pets. So, why do people keep them? One of the main reasons is that these breeds are often incredibly loyal and loving companions. Some people keep these pups because they are unique and special. While these doggies may not be considered cute or beautiful in the traditional sense, they often have unique charm and beauty.
While these “ugly” dog breeds can make great companions, it is essential to be aware of any potential health concerns. Many of these canines are prone to specific health problems, such as breathing, joint, and eye conditions. Some of these breeds are also known for their sensitive skin, especially hairless, which means they must be kept well-groomed and protected from the sun.
Dogs are, without question, cute and adorable, regardless of breed. While some breeds and mixes may not be traditionally attractive or hit everyone’s definition of cute, they are all fantastic animals. Some people love ugly pups so much that they hold contests every year. The most important thing to remember is that there is a lot more to a dog than what they look like. All the breeds we mentioned are wonderful, amazing creatures we would love the privilege of raising. If we missed a pup you find particularly unattractive, drop us a line in the comments section below.