Breeds

21 Weird Looking Dogs You May Not Have Heard Of

Written by: Marissa Rubenstein

December 4, 2021

From living dreadlocked mop dogs to a dogs with a natural mohawk, we’ve assembled the craziest list of dog breeds to ever exist. These weird dog breeds truly stand out from the crowd. For dog owners who want something more unique than a Golden Retriever, French bulldog, or Saint Bernard, this will be the perfect guide!

1. Azawakh

Three azawakh dogs, mostly found in Africa

Aza what? Ever wanted to make people at the dog park instantly regret asking, “What kind of dog is that?” Then you might want to look into these African dogs. The Azawakh is a sighthound that is very rare outside of its West African homeland. Known for its agile and feline-like gait, the Azawakh are timid by nature, but gentle and affectionate once they get to know you. It is used for hunting gazelles and other fleet animals of the African deserts.

2. Catalburun

A catalburun, a dog native to turkey

Catalburun means “fork nose” in Turkish. The jury is out on whether having cutlery for a nose may or may not have any butt-sniffing advantages.

3. Puli

A puli, also known as the mop dog

Why is my mop walking around?

4. Mudi

A mudi, a dog from hungary

They may be a Mudi, but don’t think they’re moody! This mid-sized Hungarian herding dog is active and friendly with a thick, curly coat and smooth face. While they are still rare in the US, Mudi are gaining popularity with their versatile, energetic attitudes.

5. Bergamasco Sheepdog

two begamasco sheepdogs playing, known for their thick dreads

That coat though… you’d never need to buy a rug again. Just have your dog lie down in strategic places around the house for some stylish floor decoration.

6. Borzoi

A borzoi, or russian wolfhound/

Borzois (or Russian Wolfhounds) are gorgeous, but they also look like an artist attempted to paint a dog and got to the nose and just decided… “ehhhh close enough.” Ideal for boopin’, though.

7. Chinook

A chinook dog licking his owner

So rare that most image searches just bring up pictures of helicopters, the Chinook apparently prefers sledding to flying.

8. Neapolitan Mastiff

A neapolitan mastiff, known for being very wrinkly

THEM WRINKLES! They go on and on and ONNNNNN. Historically bred to fight alongside the Romans wearing body armor and blades so they could run under and disembowel enemy horses, the Neapolitan Mastiff was almost extinct by the end of WWII.

After an Italian painter set up a kennel to protect the enormous pups and bred them with English Mastiffs to diversify the bloodline, the Neapolitan Mastiff has evolved as a breed, and one even appeared as Hagrid’s dog, Fang, in the Harry Potter movies! Unfortunately, unlike for pizzas, there is no “Neopolitan Mastiff”, or at least not yet!

9. Norwegian Lundehund

A norwegian lundehund, they are known for having very flexible necks and extra toes

The description of the Norwegian Lundehund sounds like something from Greek mythology: six fully functioning toes, extra paw pads, “elastic neck,” ears that fold shut, flexible shoulders, cliff-climbers. Originally used in Norway to hunt for Puffins, the Lundehund also has the ability to tip its head backward to touch its backbone.

10. Bedlington Terrier

A bedlington terrier. They look like llamas or sheep

I can’t decide if these dogs look more like my grandma or a llama. It’s a llama grandma.

11. Catahoula Leopard Dog

A Catahoula leopard dog, the state dog of Louisiana

Not to be confused with the Catalina Wine Mixer, these dogs are serious workers but playful at home. Wait… that sounds like someone who would go to the Catalina Wine Mixer! This breed has strong ties to North America. Prized by Native Americans for their incredible hunting abilities, these pups have been favorites of famous hunters like Teddy Roosevelt. The Catahoula Leopard Dog is named after the Catahoula Parish in Louisiana, where the breed originated.

12. Peruvian Inca Orchid

A peruvian inca orchid dog, one of a handful of hairless dogs.

Two words: Natural mohawk.

13. Lagotto Romagnolo

Lagotto Romangnolo, the worlds oldest water retriver breed

These guys from Medieval Times are the world’s oldest water retrievers and bonafide truffle hunters. That seems like an oddly specific job, but someone’s gotta find the truffles for our truffle fries.

14. LowChen

A lowchen, which is hairy in the front but hairless in the back

These pups look like a magic trick gone into another dimension. Or if someone mashed together a terrier with a Chinese Crested dog. Either way, the laws of dog breed physics are being challenged here.

15. Otterhound

An Otterhound, now rare due to the decline of otter hunting

Y’all, these cuties are endangered and more rare than a giant panda! They were originally bred to hunt otters because of their amazing ability to track scents underwater.

16. Xoloitzcuintli

 A Xoloitzcuintli, also known as the mexican hairless dog.

Similar to the Peruvian Inca Orchid, just with less hair, and the hardest dog breed name I have ever had to Google. You thought I just started mashing the keyboard and making these up now, didn’t you? Pronounced Sho-lo-eets-quint-lee, the Xoloitzcuintli is usually referred to as the “Mexican Hairless Dog” or just “Xolo.”

The breed is so old, it was actually worshiped by the Aztecs. Because many Americans are not familiar with Xolo pups, it has been mistaken for the mythological Chupacabra along the US border states. The Xoloitzcuintli has not been inbred over the years, and is a healthy, hardy dog that only requires a bit of moisturizer, sunscreen, and regular bathing.

17. Caucasian Ovcharka

A Caucasian Ovcharka, a large white dog

These absolute units just seem too big to exist, and yet they just seem like genuinely nice people… I mean dogs. They are also called Caucasian Shepherd dogs, and are one of the largest breeds listed in the American Kennel Club.

18. Carolina Dog

4 Carolina dogs, also known as American dingos, are thought to be the oldest dog species in North America

These good boys are some of the real OGs of the dog world. Also known as the “American Dingo,” Carolina Dogs are thought to be the oldest canine species in North America, appearing on Native American rock paintings. They actually share DNA with Australian Dingos and New Guinea Singing Dogs! Even though the breed has been domesticated, there are wild pups still roaming around.

19. Thai Ridgeback

A thai ridgeback, with a ridge of hair growing in the opposite direction

More mohawks! Similar to the Rhodesian Ridgeback, the Thai Ridgeback pup has a line of hair growing in the opposite direction along the spine. These strong-willed, powerful pups are used as livestock guardians in their Asian home.

20. Pachón Navarro

A Pachon Navaro, known for its distinctive nose shape

With a nose like the double barrels of a shotgun and similar to the Catalburun of Turkey, the Pachón Navarro is an extremely rare Spanish hunting dog that was once believed to have superior sniffing skills. Now experts know that the Pachón Navarro’s nose is just cosmetically different, they don’t offer any advantage over a regular pup nose other than extra surface area to boop!

21. Tibetan Mastiff

A tibetan mastiff, a very large and very fluffy dog resembling a bear.

What an absolute behemoth of bear hugs! The Tibetan Mastiff is a large, fearless dog traditionally bred to guard herds, flocks, families, and entire villages. One of the massive fluffy pups of this rare breed was also sold in 2014 in China for nearly $2 million, and became the most expensive dog ever sold.

Rare & Weird Looking Dog Breeds Recap

As you can see, there are plenty of unique, exotic, and just downright weird looking dogs out there. If you are a dog lover with unique tastes, perhaps one of these will be your next best friend! It is worth noting that it may be tricky getting a puppy for one of these breeds. They are rare for a reason, so some extra effort (and money) may be required. If the challenge doesn’t scare you away, then by all means, go for one of these one-of-a-kind dogs!

Written by: Marissa Rubenstein

December 4, 2021