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What is the strangest looking dog breed?

What is the strangest looking dog breed?

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny teacup Chihuahuas to giant Great Danes. While most breeds have quite standard appearances, some dog breeds stand out as being particularly unusual or strange-looking. Their odd looks are often the result of selective breeding to exaggerate certain physical traits. In this article, we will explore some of the world’s strangest looking dog breeds and what makes them so unique. From hairless dogs to wrinkly dogs to dogs with blue-black tongues, these pooches certainly turn heads wherever they go!

Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is an unusual breed that comes in two varieties: the Powderpuff and the Hairless. The Hairless variety is probably one of the strangest looking dogs in the world. As the name suggests, these dogs are nearly completely hairless except for tufts of fur on their paws and tail. Their skin comes in many colors like black, white, gray, and spotted. Often described as “half dog, half rabbit,” these nearly naked pooches have elongated, hare-like bodies. Their ears stand erect and their muzzles are pointed. Without fur, the Hairless’ body shape and features are very visible and prominent. This odd, exposed look is what lands the Chinese Crested on many “world’s ugliest dog” lists! The Powderpuff variety has a thick, soft coat that makes it look like a completely different dog. But its face still has the narrow muzzle and large, stand-up ears that give it a unique appearance.


With his huge mop of corded fur, the Komondor certainly meets the criteria of strange-looking dogs. This Hungarian sheepdog has a dense, double coat that forms long, rope-like cords or mats as he ages. The cords start forming at about 9 months of age and can grow to an impressive length of 12 inches or more! When standing, the Komondor’s coat forms a large, round carpet-like mass around his body that almost touches the ground. His expression is obscured by all that fur; you can only see his dark brown eyes peeking out. The Komondor’s unique cords provide protection and allow him to easily blend in with sheep by resembling their fleece. But they require a lot of specialized grooming. Despite his imposing look, the Komondor has a very calm and gentle temperament. His startling shaggy coat helps him excel at his traditional role as a livestock guardian dog. There’s no doubt though that those cords make him one of the weirdest looking breeds around!


Another Hungarian herding breed with a coat that forms cords, the Puli is a medium-sized dog covered in long, corded fur. The tight cords make the Puli’s coat waterproof and light, allowing him to swim and work with agility. Unlike the larger Komondor, the Puli’s cords are thinner and longer, reaching all the way to the ground. His fur is so profuse that you can barely see his face, giving him an animated mop-like appearance. Pulis come in several colors including black, white, gray, or a mix of colors. There are always lighter tips at the ends of the cords no matter what the overall coat color may be. At a glance, the Puli really does resemble a walking mop or floor mob as his fur drags along the ground while he walks! Beneath that long corded coat though lies an active and intelligent herding dog. But there’s no denying that unique coat puts the Puli high on the list of strangest looking dogs.

Neapolitan Mastiff

Mastiff breeds are known for their large size and abundance of wrinkles. But the Neapolitan Mastiff takes loose skin and wrinkles to the next level. Originating in Italy, this massive breed has multiplied wrinkles and folds all over his giant head and body. He has so much saggy skin that it often droops over his eyes, mouth, and jowls. The Neapolitan Mastiff also has large hanging lips that accentuate his wrinkly visage. All of those droopy features give him a permanent frown and melancholic expression. Despite his intimidating size and appearance, the Neapolitan Mastiff has an affectionate and calm nature. He is very protective of his family. But all those wrinkles and folds require lots of upkeep to prevent skin infections. The abundance of wrinkles puts the Neo high on the list of strangest looking dogs.

English Bulldog

With its characteristic pushed-in face, sturdy body, and sour mug, the English Bulldog has an appearance like no other breed. Selective breeding has created a dog with a very unique head. It is massive, square shaped and almost as wide as it is long. The Bulldog’s undershot lower jaw juts out in front of his muzzle. His nose points downward and the upper lips droop over the lower lips. Heavy wrinkles crest the forehead. Large folds surround the face. All of these exaggerated features give the Bulldog his signature scowling, sour expression. The stout body is likewise wrinkled and his short legs give him a rolling gait. Altogether, the stocky build and saggy face make the English Bulldog seem grumpy or disgruntled even when he’s happy. The breed’s distinctive physical characteristics originated from its history of bull-baiting in the 1800s. While Bulldogs don’t have the athleticism they once did, they still boast a sturdy and muscular frame beneath all those rolls and wrinkles.

Bull Terrier

With his exceptionally shaped head, the Bull Terrier is instantly recognizable. These terriers have long, egg-shaped heads that taper to a pointed muzzle. Their skulls are completely flat on top. Paired with deep-set triangular eyes, their long heads give Bull Terriers a very unique profile. In fact their heads are about twice as long as they are wide – a highly exaggerated proportion compared to other dogs. Bull Terriers also have muscular, stocky bodies with full chests and tightly curled tails. Their heads combined with muscular physiques make them appear very strong and self-assured. Yet underneath that tough exterior, Bull Terriers are playful, charming and mischievous. The breed originated in 19th century Britain as a fighting and baiting dog before moving on to become a companion. The selectively bred head shape was prized for its tenacity. Today the Bull Terrier cuts a very distinct figure with his long oval head and pugnacious posture. Those fun-loving dogs certainly have one of the most unique looks in dogdom.

Chinese Shar-Pei

Known for his excessive wrinkles and folds, the Chinese Shar-Pei is another very unusual looking dog breed. As puppies, Shar-Peis start out with numerous deep wrinkles and creases all over their bodies. As they mature, the wrinkles around the face and body remain while the others smooth out. But adults retain quite a lot of loose, hanging skin. The Shar-Pei’s extremely folded skin gives them a distinctive hippopotamus-like appearance. Their small ears and triangular eyes coupled with all those wrinkles make Shar-Peis instantly recognizable. The breed comes in three coat types: horse, brush and bear coat. But all varieties have those characteristic folds and furrowed features. Originally bred for dog fighting and as guard dogs in China, the Shar-Pei today has a devoted following thanks to that very unique look. A blue-black tongue and straight, bristly tail accentuate the Shar-Pei’s odd appearance that lands him on our strangest looking dogs list.


Also known as the Mexican Hairless Dog, the Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-eats-queent-lee) is an ancient breed originating from Mexico. As their name indicates, they come in a hairless variety that is highly unusual looking. Completely bald except for a small tuft of fur on the head, these dogs have highly visible veins and muscles under their thin, bare skin. That smooth, hairless skin comes in a range of colors including gray, black, bronze, red, and spotted. Their body temperature is higher than other dogs, so they often seek out heat. The hairless variety needs protective sunscreen and moisturizer to prevent their sensitive skin from getting injured or burnt. Xolos also come in a “coated” variety with short, flat fur. But it is the nearly nude hairless type that gives Xolos their extremely strange and prehistoric appearance unlike any other breed. With archeological evidence tracing back over 3500 years, the Xolo has ancient roots in Mexico as companions and guardians.

Norwegian Lundehund

This Spitz breed originated in remote northern regions of Norway where it was bred to hunt puffins and retrieve them from steep cliffs and caves. To perform those tasks, the Norwegian Lundehund developed some highly unique physical traits. They have six fully functioning toes on each paw instead of the normal four. The two extra toes give them better grip while climbing rocky cliffs. Lundehunds also have very flexible joints that allow their forelegs to bend backward to more easily climb or hug steep rock faces. Their necks are exceptionally flexible and can bend backward so their head touches the spine – a very odd trait! But their range of motion helped them maneuver through narrow caves and retrieve puffins from crevices. Other peculiar features include ears that close and fold flat against the head, upright triangular ears, and a curled tail. Originally facing extinction in the early 1900s, this super-flexible breed was saved thanks to its obviously strange and acrobatic qualities. While no longer a working hunter, the Lundehund still retains its amazing anatomical flexibility and extra toes!

Peruvian Inca Orchid

Also aptly called the Peruvian Hairless Dog, this ancient breed hails from Peru where it was kept as companion animals by the Inca civilization before the invasion by the Spanish. The hairless variety of the Peruvian Inca Orchid appears entirely naked, lacking a coat or fur. But they do have a few short, coarse hairs on the top of their head, the tip of their tail, and the bottoms of their feet. Their skin can range from elephant gray to copper or mottled. Without fur, the dog’s lithe and athletic body shape are clearly visible. They have a ridge of skin that runs down their back. While coated varieties exist, the hairless type is definitely exotic and strange looking. The lack of hair causes their skin to feel like warm suede. Like other hairless breeds, the Peruvian Inca Orchid needs sunscreen and moisturizers to prevent dry skin, acne and sunburns. But that smooth skin accentuates their graceful build. Clearly, their ancient Incan roots give the Peruvian Inca Orchid a look like no other.

Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a rare, curly coated dog originally bred as a water retriever in Italy. They have a very thick, wooly coat that can be tight curls or loose waves or anywhere in between. Lagotto coats tend to be dense and rough, similar to a sheep’s fleece. Most are solid white or off-white but can also come in brown, black, gray, or multi-colored. Their fur covers their entire body, obscuring most of their facial features and neck. When groomed properly, they sport a round teddy bear shape. But when the coat grows out, it can form thin dreadlocks or cords. The Lagotto has an endearing expression but all that hair can make it challenging to see. A tousled face paired with a massive cloud of curly fur lends an unkempt look to the Lagotto. While still working dogs at heart, the breed has become a favorite for their quizzical expressions peering out from their mop of curls. There’s no denying the Lagotto Romagnolo has an unruly and unusual appearance.

Caucasian Shepherd

This giant mountain dog was bred to protect livestock and guard properties in the Caucasus Mountain region between Europe and Asia. The Caucasian Shepherd has a thick double coat that can be straight, wavy or curly, and very long. When they move, their copious coat flows over their body and obscures their shape almost like a moving pile of fur. Their fur can grow up to 6 inches long, adding to the all-encompassing effect. When standing, the long coat nearly reaches the ground. Around their neck and shoulders, the fur forms a distinctive ruff or mane. The longest coat covers the rear and tail. Caucasian Shepherds have endearing expressions when groomed. But when the fur grows wild, their eyes and face disappear making them appear like hairy beasts. Originally used to deter predators like wolves and bears, this intimidating breed has a fearless guarding nature beneath its furry exterior. The Caucasus Shepherd’s huge size and shaggy coat lend an almost mythical, beast-like vibe.


The well-coiffed Poodle might seem like an unlikely candidate for a weird dog list. But beneath the fancy hairdos lies a very odd looking breed! The Poodle actually has curly fur that grows continuously like human hair. Without regular haircuts, their dense, kinky hair just keeps growing. Left untrimmed, Poodles develop long, corded coats that hang in thick ropes, completely obscuring their face and body. Originally bred as water retrievers, the Poodle has a tenacious, active temperament at odds with its prissy image. Its fancy clips were designed for function – to protect joints and organs while swimming and hunting. Beneath elaborate cuts, the Poodle has long legs, a lean muscular body, and a squarish head with a sharp muzzle – all features prone to tangling in water. So those stylish trims served a purpose! Beneath the beauty parlor looks, Poodles have a very atypical coat and lanky build. Au natural, there’s no denying Poodles look truly bizarre.


When it comes to weird and wacky looks in the canine world, these dog breeds take the prize for their strange appearances. From naked skin to dreadlocked fur, wrinkles galore to alienesque heads, these pooches have very unusual physical traits. While freakish looks aren’t the only factor in choosing a dog, these breeds’ singular styles definitely make a statement. But their offbeat appearances usually came about for good reason – to help them in their traditional jobs. Now prized for their rarity and distinctiveness, these strange-looking dogs attract owners seeking a truly unique companion. For a decidedly different look in a pet, the distinctive, odd-appearing dogs on this list will certainly turn heads!