There’s nothing wrong with being a bit different, and it can even be fun to ditch everyday conventions and embrace your weirdness. After all, who wants to be normal? That’s boring!
Quirks and eccentricities make life more exciting, so why go with the flow?
Maybe you’re a dog lover, and you want to express your personal weirdness by getting an unusual pooch?
If so, this guide is designed for you. We’ll showcase a variety of weird and wonderful canines to help you find the dog of your (bizarre) dreams!
Weird Dog Breeds: Hairless Dogs
When we think of dogs, we mainly imagine them with hair or fur. Most people connect hairlessness in dogs with sickness and disease, like demodectic mange.
However, hairless dogs are a thing! If this catches your interest, here are some examples to kick off our weird dog breeds quest.
As weird dogs go, we couldn’t have chosen a better breed to start us off. Although we included it in the hairless breeds section, the Chinese Crested comes in two versions: powderpuff and hairless.
Both types are necessary for the breed’s survival, as the pups only need a single dominant gene to be born without hair. If they inherit two genes, the puppy won’t survive past the embryo stage.
Although the powderpuff version looks cute, the bald dog gets all the attention! They are naked across their entire body, with long silky hair on their head, ears, tail, and paws.
Unlike other dogs, this one has sweat glands on its skin and under its’ arms’.
Their skin is pink, black, or brown, sometimes with mottled patches of white, mainly on the chest and belly.
A litter of Chinese Crested dogs can have a mix of powderpuff and hairless pups!
This breed’s origins are a mystery, as there’s not much evidence to support the theory that they are from China.
Weight: Males and females weigh between 5 and 12 pounds.
Height: Males are no more than 13 inches at the shoulder, females no more than 11 inches.
Temperament: These dogs are affectionate, lively, happy, and playful, although wary and reserved with strangers. They’re always alert, though not excessive barkers. They are also perfect lapdogs and companions.
Lifespan: 13 to 15 years
Potentialproblems: Extremes of temperature can cause an issue for these dogs, so you’ll need to invest in a coat for the cooler seasons and avoid going out on scorching days. Sunburn is also a risk, so use sunscreen when necessary.
Potty training is a challenge and will take a great deal of patience! Male Chinese Crested dogs are challenging to potty train and have a habit of marking their territory in your home!
Almost all hairless dogs have problems with crooked or missing teeth.
No, you didn’t read that wrong! That’s one great name, and it fits right in with our list of weird dog breeds.
Don’t worry if you can’t get your tongue around that name; most people shorten it to Xolo, pronounced show-low. It comes from the Aztec Nahuatl god, Xolotl, and the word for dog in the same language.
It’s also known as the Mexican Hairless Dog, so feel free to use it instead!
This South American dog is similar to the Chinese Crested, and the two are likely related. People argue over which came first, but skeletons matching the Xolo dating back 3,300 years have been discovered in Mexico, suggesting they have been there for a while.
Their bat-like ears are usually longer than the Chinese dog’s ears, and they have short tufts of hair on the ears and head rather than plumes of long hair.
The skin is dark, usually gray, orange, slate or liver, sometimes with pink mottling on the chest.
Toy – 10 to 15 pounds
Mini – 15 to 30 pounds
Standard – 30 to 55 pounds
Toy – 10 to 14 inches
Mini – 14 to 18 inches
Standard – 18 to 23 inches
Temperament: The Mexican Hairless Dog is very affectionate to its family and alert but calm and cheerful. They can be protective if they feel there is a threat to their home or family. This is an intelligent breed that takes well to training.
Lifespan: 13 to 18 years
Potential problems: These dogs cannot handle icy weather, so make sure you use a dog coat or sweater. Sunburn is a risk in hot weather, so it’s advisable to use sunscreen. Experts recommend regular bathing followed by moisturizing ointments to stop the skin from drying out.
If you are wondering where to find this unique and rare dog breed, check our list of Xoloitzcuintli breeders from all parts of the US!
Peruvian Inca Orchid
As with the Xolo, the Peruvian Inca Orchid (PIO, for short) comes in three sizes (see below).
Although some dogs have coats, most PIOs are completely hairless aside from a tuft on their tail’s head, paws, and end.
These dogs are slim, elegant, well-proportioned, with muscular, athletic bodies. Their skin comes in a variety of solid colors, occasionally with spots of pink pigmentation.
As the name implies, they are also from South America, with a history dating back to at least 350BC. They were named “Perros Flora,” meaning “Flower Dos” by Spanish invaders in Peru, which is how they came to get their more recent name.
Some people suggest an element of the Greyhound or whippet about them due to their slim, athletic bodies. They are sighthounds, meaning they hunt by speed and sight. Due to this, the PIO has a strong prey drive.
Small – 8.5 to 17.5 pounds
Medium – 17.5 to 26.5 pounds
Large – 26.5 to 55 pounds
Small – 10 to 16 inches
Medium – 16 to 20 inches
Large – 20 to 26 inches
Temperament: PIOs are another affectionate breed devoted and loyal to their owners. They are intelligent, quick learners, and they soon understand boundaries. They are rarely aggressive and are okay with kids, though suspicious and wary of strangers.
Lifespan: 11 to 12 years
Potential problems: PIOs have a strong instinct to hunt small animals, which may be an issue. Like all hairless dogs, they have problems with their teeth and are prone to bruises, scratches, and infections on their bare skin.
Weird Dog Breeds: Long Coated Dogs
We’ve jumped from the hairless to the very hairy!
Here are some weird breeds of dogs that have very odd coats:
The Bergamasco was a well-kept secret for centuries. The Persian shepherds who bred them were amazed to discover that they made great guard dogs and excelled at herding without needing much training or instruction!
Because of this, these shaggy dogs have changed very little since those times. They are still highly-intelligent
At some time, pretty early in their history, they made their way to Italy, which proudly claims this breed as its own.
Their distinctive coat comprises three different hair types that bind together, forming dreadlocks or flocks. This coat was ideal in protecting them against the freezing conditions of the Italian Alps.
Weight: Males 70 to 84 pounds, females 57 to 71 pounds
Height: Males 23.5 inches, females 22 inches
Temperament: The Bergamasco is calm and peaceful, gentle and loving, forming strong bonds with everyone, making them great family pets! They especially like kids, of whom they can be very protective. Although rarely aggressive, they don’t readily trust strangers.
Lifespan: 13 to 15 years
Potential problems: This breed is best suited to cooler climates and may not fare too well in places with hot, humid summers.
The Hungarian Puli is another shaggy dog with a densely corded coat. It’s believed that they were brought to Hungary from Tibet around 900 AD.
This is another sheepdog that doubles as a guard dog, but the Puli might see it differently: they regard themselves as loyal guardians of the family first and foremost. They’ll run back to check everyone is okay before heading off again when you’re out and about.
Their sense of protectiveness makes them good watchdogs, but they’re not known to bark excessively.
Weight: 25 to 35 pounds
Height: Males 17 inches, females 16 inches
Temperament: The Puli couldn’t be more different from the Bergamasco’s character! This is a confident, self-assured dog with a sense of humor, and it’s happy to play and enjoys making mischief just to get a reaction.
Make no mistake, though, it is thoroughly devoted and loyal to its owners.
Lifespan: 12 to 16 years
Potential problems: As a herding dog, the Puli is likely to run around in circles rounding up its family, small kids in particular. They have a tendency to nip at your heels, so you need to train them out of this behavior.
They can also be willful and disobedient, and even aggressive at times, so you must assert your dominance from an early age. This isn’t a breed for inexperienced dog owners!
Photo from: @krutherfordphoto
The Komondor is also from Hungary and is similar to the Puli, although much bigger.
Aside from its size, it is recognizable from its shaggy white coat that naturally forms dreadlocks.
The Komondor is a fierce guardian, like its smaller cousin, and was used to herd sheep. They are big and powerful dogs under all that hair, which protects them from the weather and the claws and teeth of predators.
Their wooly white coat allowed the dogs to hide among the sheep, which came as a surprise to any would-be predators!
Weight: Males 80 to 100 pounds, Females 70 to 80 pounds
Height: Males 28 inches, females 26 inches
Temperament: The Kom is very affectionate with family members and will guard and protect them always. This protective streak makes it wary of strangers and other dogs. Socialization is essential in keeping this dog under control.
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Potential problems: The Komondor is very independent and can make its own decisions, which is excellent when rounding up sheep but not so much with family dogs! Early training is essential, and you must be persistent.
Also, the Kom can be a velcro dog that will follow you everywhere!
If you take this dog on, you need to be prepared to care for that shaggy coat, which needs shearing twice a year and a lot of grooming work all year round.
Weird Dog Breeds: Giant Dogs
Big dogs are impressive enough, but when you have a big weird dog, people really take notice!
Here are a few to consider, and we guarantee that they’ll be unfamiliar to most people:
This Gentle Italian Giant is a big bag of wrinkles, with drooping jowls and a massive head. Its ancestors were fearsome Roman war dogs, and this self-confidence has stayed with them.
Their immense size can be intimidating, giving a sense of raw power, making them ideal as guard dogs. These dogs can handle most things, as their ancestors, the Molosser dogs, were capable of fending off attacks from lions!
They have a smooth short coat that’s pretty easy to look after, but those wrinkles need attention. If you don’t keep them clean, they can harbor infections.
Weight: Males 150 pounds, females 110 pounds
Height: Males 26 to 31 inches, females 24 to 29 inches
Temperament: As puppies, the Neo is friendly, boisterous, and playful, though they settle down as they develop. As adults, they’ll become quiet and calm, but don’t be fooled: they can really move when needed!
The average Neapolitan Mastiff is affectionate but independent and always ready to protect their family, especially the kids.
Lifespan: 7 to 9 years
Potential problems: Did you see that lifespan? Neos have a lot of health issues that shorten their lives.
These dogs need extra training and socialization to curb any issues with aggression, especially toward other dogs. They can also resort to destructive behavior if left alone for too long.
You’ll need a lot of space to keep a dog of this size: they are not built for apartment living!
Also, be prepared for a big dog food bill!
The Otterhound, as the name suggests, was bred to hunt otters. This British dog is a mix of many breeds, borrowing heavily from traditional French hunting hounds.
As a result, they have a long, wiry, oily, waterproof coat and webbed feet that make them excellent swimmers.
Otter hunting was banned surprisingly recently, in 1978, when the otter population fell dramatically, and they became a protected species.
While great news for otters and animal rights, this led to the downfall of the Otterhound as most hunts disbanded.
However, enthusiasts still manage to keep the breed alive today. Even so, there are only around 600 worldwide.
The Otterhound is best suited to a country environment with plenty of open space to run around.
Weight: Male 115, female 80
Height: Male 27 inches, female 24 inches
Temperament: Friendly, easy-going, and good-natured, with a stubborn streak! They probably won’t listen to you, but they’ll ignore you with a smile on their face – there’s no malice or aggression involved.
This dog loves to play, particularly with kids. Take care, though, as they can be too boisterous for smaller kids and bump them over.
The Otterhound is intelligent and fearless but has a sense of humor.
Lifespan: 10 to 13 years
Potential problems: Stubbornness can be an issue, especially with house training. This dog has the loudest bark! Neighbors are likely to complain if this isn’t controlled.
They also have a high prey drive that will send them chasing small animals (including pets).
Their shaggy coat needs a lot of care and grooming and will accumulate dirt and debris that will drop around your home.
Now, this is one unique breed! The Azawakh (Ahz-Ah-Wahk) originates out of the Sahara region of Africa, where it was a hunter and livestock guardian.
In appearance, it resembles the Greyhound but with a smaller head and seriously long legs. No, really, those legs are surprisingly long!
However, once you get over this feature, you’ll notice that sweet face and deep, expressive eyes.
The long legs allow this dog to reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, so they need plenty of vigorous daily exercise to keep them fit.
One curious fact about these unique dogs is that they can sleep standing up, just like horses!
Weight: Males 44 to 55 pounds, Females 33 to 44 pounds
Height: Males 25 to 29 inches, Females 23 to 27 inches
Temperament: The Azawakh will take time to get to know you before deciding whether it likes you. However, you’ll get plenty of affection once you’ve been accepted.
These dogs are loyal and protective but not always vocal. Their attitudes to strangers will vary, ranging from aloofness to mild aggression.
They are loving and playful but don’t enjoy too much “rough and tumble,” so kids need to be careful around them.
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Potential problems: A strong prey drive may mean that small animals (including pets) are at risk. Early socialization will help but may not rule it out completely.
The Azawakh doesn’t handle change very well, so you’ll need to keep things stable, or your dog may act up.
These are desert dogs, able to withstand the Sahara heat. However, they don’t do cold weather!
When you see a Borzoi for the first time, there’s one feature you’ll notice immediately, and that’s its very long snout! They’re another breed that resembles the Greyhound but with a much longer muzzle.
These Russian sighthounds come in various colors, with medium to long, wavy, or curly hair.
In their native Russia, they were used for hunting all manner of beasts, including wolves.
Their thick coats provided protection in the harsh winter conditions. They still prefer the cooler weather and often lie on cold hard surfaces.
Weight: Males 75 to 105 pounds, females 60 to 85 pounds
Height: Males 28 to 34 inches, females 26 inches or more
Temperament: Affectionate and playful, with a sense of mischief, the Borzoi always seems to be mildly amused with life. They are gentle and calm, for the most part, and have a regal air about them.
Obedience training will be a challenge, as they have a knack for making you feel as if they are doing you a favor! The trick here is to turn training into a fun game, and they’ll soon get with the program.
Although they’ll accept the presence of strangers, don’t expect them to be overly friendly.
Lifespan: 9 to 14 years
Potential problems: The main issue with these dogs is their prey drive and utterly oblivious of traffic – a potentially catastrophic combination! Extensive training and socialization are essential, and it’s advisable to keep the dog on a leash when near any road.
Weird Dog Breeds: Small Dogs
Moving onto the smaller breeds now, if you want something weird and portable!
Also called the Monkey Terrier, the Affenpinscher is a comical little dog, made even more so by its attempts to be taken seriously.
Originally bred in Germany for dealing with vermin, these dogs have become loving and playful companions. They were produced using Pugs, German Pinschers, and Silky German Pinschers, and traits from all three can be seen.
Like most small breeds, it has a big attitude and doesn’t take its size into account!
You’ll get hours of entertainment watching them play with their toys as they toss them about with their forepaws.
Weight: 7 to 10 pounds
Height: 9 to 11.5 inches
Temperament: Spunky and vocal, this intelligent little dog will take on anyone and anything.
However, it is loving and loyal to all family members.
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Potential problems: They tend to be stubborn and can be suspicious of other dogs and strangers.
Photo from: @agirlnamedchucky
A cousin of the Affenpinscher above, the Brussels Griffon was bred for similar reasons (vermin control) but soon became a prized companion dog of the Belgian upper classes.
Although mostly wire-haired and often sporting a big beard, some have a short, smooth coat (achieved by crossing them with Pugs in the 18th century).
Again, they have a lot of character for their size and are very energetic dogs.
Weight: 8 to 10 pounds
Height: 7 to 10 inches
Temperament: Intelligent, happy, spirited, and active: this is the best way to describe the Brussels Griffon! We could also add stubborn, noisy, and comical.
These dogs are demanding and need human company to thrive, though they can sometimes be bossy. They are not designed to be shut outdoors or left home alone.
You must be assertive at all times, but there’s no doubt that your dog loves you.
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Potential problems: Along with that intelligence, you’ll find an irritating stubbornness! However, they don’t respond well to harsh words or punishment. Patience is your only course of action here.
They have a tendency to be aggressive to other dogs (unless raised with them), and small pets will be in danger due to this dog’s rat-hunting past.
Weird Dog Breeds: Rare Dogs
The Peruvian Inca Orchid deserves a place here, but we mentioned them in the section on hairless breeds. We could also have included the Puli as it is very rare. Some of the other breeds on our list are scarce in America but not in their native countries.
However, we’ve picked out a couple of the rarest dog breeds that few people will have seen or even heard of:
Lagotto Romagnolo (500 listed in the US in 2009)
The Poodle-like Lagotto Romagnolo was bred in Italy over a thousand years ago as a water retriever. Its waterproof curly coat provides ideal insulation against cold water.
As land use changed with the drainage of large marshland areas, they were used for hunting truffles because of their exceptional sense of smell!
This dog has a teddy bear look and a personality to match.
Weight: Males 28.5 to 35 pounds, females 24 to 31 pounds
Height: Males 17 to 19 inches, Females 16 to 18 inches
Temperament: Loving and affectionate with its family, gentle with kids, though they can be too enthusiastic as puppies. Intelligent, energetic, and playful.
They’ll tolerate strangers but may bark at them. They are generally okay with other animals and dogs but get on better when raised with them.
Lifespan: 15 to 17 years
Potential problems: These dogs have very high energy levels! You’ll need to ensure they have adequate exercise, or they will become destructive.
Early socialization is recommended to help them interact with strangers and other dogs.
Thai Ridgeback (fewer than 2,000 worldwide)
The Thai Ridgeback is a robust and muscular dog with very short hair, upright triangular ears, and an alert, eager expression. It takes its name from a distinctive line of raised fur along its spine.
Its skin is loose on its powerful body, and it has an overall sense of being athletic.
This dog was unknown outside Thailand until recently, where it has been used as a guardian, hunter, and watchdog for hundreds of years.
Weight: Between 51 to 75 pounds (there are no official weight requirements!)
Height: Males 22 to 24 inches, females 20 to 22 inches
Temperament: They are affectionate, loyal, and devoted to their families. They have a playful side and love spending time with their humans and other family pets.
Early socialization is essential to offset this dog’s natural suspicion of strangers.
This is a very active, intelligent breed that needs a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.
Lifespan: 12 to 13 years
Potential problems: Not able to withstand cold climates. Needs an assertive owner who assumes control and keeps the dog’s independent streak in check.
Norwegian Lundehund (around 2,000 worldwide)
Photo from: @lundehunden_hirka
This unusual Spitz-type dog was initially bred for hunting puffins on the freezing Norwegian island of Vaeroy. As weird dogs go, you don’t get much weirder!
This fascinating dog has six toes on each foot, and the toes on its forepaws are double-jointed and sometimes triple-jointed.
What’s more, it can rotate its head around and almost touch its own back, splay its legs out flat to each side, and even close its own ears!
Weight: 20 to 30 pounds
Height: Males 13 to 15 inches, females 12 to 14 inches
Temperament: A pretty happy, easy-going, and affectionate dog (though opinions differ widely!) with its owners and other people, though it can be shy if not properly socialized. Although they like to play, they’re not keen on being pulled around, so they need to be supervised around young kids.
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Potential problems: Housetraining these dogs is extremely difficult! It’s always best to socialize them as early as possible to avoid problems later.
What Is The Strangest Dog Breed?
Photo from: @solkanatalundehunds
That’s a tricky question! It depends on whether we’re talking about the dog’s name, physical appearance, unique abilities, or character quirks.
For the name alone, we’d have to go with the Xoloitzcuintli.
When it comes to appearance, it’s not easy to find anything weirder than the three-coated Bergamasco Shepherd. It sometimes looks as if it’s covered in scales made of fabric! Either that, or it has impressive dreadlocks.
At a push, we could suggest the Bedlington Terrier as a contender because of its distinctive head shape, although this is because of how they are clipped.
Bull Terriers deserve a mention here, partly because of their oddly-shaped head, but mainly because of those triangular eyes!
However, for overall weirdness, we’d have to go with the Norwegian Lundehund. How many other dogs can claim to have six toes and rotate their heads 180 degrees?
The Final Word
We’ve explored several weird breeds but by no means included all of the strange and beautiful canines out there!
However, we hope this has broadened your horizons and given you an idea of some of the great dog breeds available. Some will be harder than others to get hold of, as breeders will be scarce.
If you do struggle, try going through the American Kennel Club website, as they may have some suggestions as to reputable breeders.
Finally, all dog breeds deserve the same love, devotion, and care, no matter how bizarre they appear. Remember, this is a living creature with feelings, not a fashion accessory, toy, or conversation piece.
Don’t get a dog just because it looks odd or is a rare breed. You must be prepared to give your best friend the care and attention it needs and deserves.
And if you can do that, then go ahead and live together, happy in your mutual weirdness!