10 Ugly Dog Breeds That You’ll Love

By Alicia Kort

Woman smiling with ugly hairless dog breed
Larisa Stefanjuk / Shutterstock
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so we don’t believe that any dog breed is truly ugly — they’re all cute and endearing in their own ways. But certain dog breeds can look a little … more unique than others. They might be totally hairless, hairless in certain spots, have egg-shaped heads, have eyes that take up 50 percent of their faces, or have jowls that go halfway down their chests. There’s even an ugliest dog contest dedicated to honoring the most unique-looking pups out there.

Of course, looks aren’t everything, either. These “ugly” dog breeds all have their charms and talents, including tracking down people who are missing by smell alone and serving as guard dogs since Ancient Rome. Regardless of looks, all the dog breeds on this list are affectionate and loving and would make great additions to your family. Here are ten of the ugliest dog breeds who are sure to steal your heart.

Ugly (but oh so cute) dog breeds

Chinese crested dog looking strange

deviddo / Adobe Stock

1. Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested looks like they should be the lead singer in a punk rock band with their spiky, crested hairdo, feathery tail, furry socks, and otherwise hairless body. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days fans might recall that a Chinese Crested starred as the protagonists’ new pet. Underneath this tiny dog’s disheveled appearance is a loving and loyal pup who just wants to spend time with their family. Weighing only up to 12 pounds, the Chinese Crested doesn’t need much exercise beyond a daily walk and some playtime. Just keep in mind that they need sunscreen or a protective coat if they play outside because they can get sunburns as humans do.

adorably ugly xolo dog on grass with green collar

Lichtflut / Shutterstock

2. Xoloitzcuintli

The Xoloitzcuintli, called “Xolo” for short, is an ancient breed of dog who the Aztecs revered and considered a companion to the gods. This sweet, devoted pup comes in three different sizes — toy, miniature, and standard — and can be completely hairless or have a very short coat of hair. Xolos can weigh as little as 10 pounds and as much as 55 pounds. These dogs make great companions for families and know that the home is for relaxing, but they are still active dogs and need long walks and plenty of playtime. Like the Chinese Crested, hairless Xolos also need sunscreen on sunny days.

Two grey Neapolitan Mastiffs sit on a lush lawn

Samantha Gehrmann / Stocksy

3. Neapolitan Mastiff

If you were to tell a joke to a Neapolitan Mastiff, you would ask, “Why the long face?” This majestic dog, who can weigh up to 150 pounds, boasts many rolls of wrinkles, especially around their face and neck, that give them a permanent look of befuddlement. Mastiffs used to be guard dogs and are heavily built and powerful, but now they prefer to lay around the house with their family (and drool on them). They like to play, but Neapolitan Mastiffs shouldn’t turn quickly or do a lot of sharp starts and stops because they can get injured. As for grooming, these large pups need baths, and their ears and eyes should be wiped out frequently.

Two ugly boxer dogs standing in front of leaves

LifeGemz / AdobeStock

4. Boxer

The Boxer is a strong pup whose breed name fits their appearance; they weigh up to 80 pounds and can stand as high as 25 inches at the shoulder. Their faces also don’t always look the most inviting, but don’t let that fool you — Boxers are great with young children and highly affectionate with their families. Energetic and sometimes a little goofy, Boxers need a lot of time and space for playing and running around. Although they might be higher maintenance when it comes to exercise, they’re easy to groom: They just need a once-over with a brush once a week and a bath once in a while.

Volker Thimm / Pexels

5. Pug

The Pug’s flat face, bulbous eyes, and tendency to breathe heavily could be considered ugly by some, although others argue these features are adorable. Regardless of what camp you land in, it’s hard to argue that Pugs don’t have cute personalities (and sweet little curly tails). They have very human facial expressions, will argue with their people, and can be tricksters. Pugs, who only weigh up to 18 pounds, are devoted dogs who want to spend their entire day with you. They need moderate amounts of exercise but can struggle to breathe in hot weather, so they shouldn’t be overexerted. Pugs are prone to having eye health issues and are easy to groom, but they do shed.

Ugly boodhound dog on leash

tracey / AdobeStock

6. Bloodhound

Bloodhoods, no matter what age, boast a wise, wrinkled face that seems to have answers to questions that we’ve been searching for. This might be because they have an incredible sleuthing ability; although this pup is generally easy-going and relaxed, they will follow a scent to the ends of the earth when they pick one up. They can be stubborn in this regard and should always be kept on a leash or in a fenced area when exploring. Bloodhounds also have a knack for digging, so the fence should go fairly deep underground. This “ugly” breed can weigh up to 110 pounds and is known to drool, so it’s advisable to keep a cloth near their water bowls to mop it up.

Black Schnauzer running on path

Voyagers We Are / Unsplash

7. Schnauzer

The Schnauzer can be either standard-sized or miniature, but no matter how big, they boast a Gandalf-esque bushy beard and matching bushy eyebrows, which make them seem like old men trapped in dogs’ bodies. As intelligent as their eyebrows are big, Schnauzers love to partake in mentally stimulating activities and can become bored if not engaged. Schnauzers have the endurance for long walks and can thrive in families with young children, though it might take them some time to warm up to other animals. These double-coated dogs don’t tend to shed a lot, but they still need to be brushed several times weekly. They should be groomed every month or so as well. Their little beard can get a little dirty, and their eyebrow hair can cover their eyes if allowed to grow out too much.

bestline / Pixabay

8. Bull Terrier

Bull Terriers are one of the goofier-looking dogs on this list. With their iconic egg-shaped heads, very small eyes, and muscular bodies, they are a unique mix of contrasting features. They can weigh up to 70 pounds and reach up to 22 inches at shoulder height. These pups are independent-minded and need firm training early on and socialization with other dogs. They are active and require a lot of exercise and attention from their parents. Bull Terriers’ coats are short yet soft, so they just need a once-over once in a while to loosen dirt and fur.

American Hairless dog climbing on stone

dezy / Shutterstock

9. American Hairless Terrier

The American Hairless Terrier might not have any fur to speak of, but they do have an abundance of love to give their family. Hailing from Louisiana, this American dog is hypoallergenic, thanks to the lack of fur, though there are also coated varieties of this breed. The hairless variety needs to be properly attired in the winter and wear sunscreen on hot days. This petite pup reaches up to 16 inches at shoulder height and weighs up to 16 pounds. They are good around other pets and young children, though kids should be supervised with these pups. This terrier needs a moderate amount of exercise, consisting of both play and walks. They also enjoy plenty of time napping and relaxing next to their family.

Kerry blue terrier lying on grass

studio37th / Shutterstock

10. Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier looks a little otherworldly, thanks to their very furry legs, tiny head, and disproportionately long beard. This “ugly” breed, which originated in Ireland and was originally a farm dog, weighs up to 40 pounds and stands up to 19.5 inches at shoulder height. They’re famous for their blue fur, which can vary in shade, and requires weekly brushing and frequent trips to the groomer. This breed needs plenty of exercise and enjoys swimming, jogging, and participating in canine sports. That said, when they aren’t playing, they want to rest beside their families.

Avoiding health issues

It’s worth noting that poor breeding or inbreeding can lead to an abundance of health issues and abnormalities in dogs that may give them an “ugly” appearance. Bad breeding often occurs at puppy mills or backyard breeders, but inbreeding can also happen among registered breeders who engage in overbreeding.

Because it’s hard to tell what kind of breeder is responsible, it’s always better to adopt animals and not support bad practices. A surprising amount of dogs of popular breeds end up in shelters or breed-specific rescue groups, so it is still possible to get a Pug or a Bull Terrier from a shelter. You don’t have to go to a breeder to get the type of dog you want.

Alicia Kort is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. She’s currently the senior commerce editor at Apartment Therapy. She’s been published in StyleCasterElectric LiteratureNewsweekInterviewBrooklyn magazine and more. In her free time, she runs, reads, and spends time with her dog-nieces, Maya and Lady, and her cat-niece, Pepper.

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