Whether they’re small and round, big and furry, or anywhere in between, dog lovers know there’s not a pup that isn’t adorable in some way. In fact, sometimes having an unconventional appearance can be what draws people to some breeds. From the hilarious hairless to the downright wrinkled, even the funniest dogs can serve as the best reminders of why we love dogs so much, regardless of your personal puppy preferences. Read on to see what the experts say are the ugliest dog breeds that we all still find so adorable.
READ NEXT: The 7 Best Dogs for Beginners, Say Vets.
While it may seem like some less popular breeds are relegated to living in the shadows, others like the Bull Terrier have had a chance to spend some time in the limelight. Just ask someone who remembers when MacKenzie skates was a household name.
“The Bull Terrier is often referred to as a stubborn ‘egg-head’. But the dogs don’t get much more playful and endearing than this breed,” says Travis Brosen, an animal expert for Animal Planetfamous dog trainer, host of My Big Pet Makeoverand judge on the Discovery Plus series dog games.
He explains that these dogs can be particularly affectionate and lovable. “If the Bull Terrier had a love language, it would be quality time. Given the proper training and structure, the breed will be the life of your next party,” says Brorsen.
If we’re being honest, we’ve all suffered the fate of having an unfortunate haircut at least once in our lives. In the case of some dog breeds, these awkward looks may be normal.
“The Chinese Crested is a breed of toy dog known for its unusual appearance”, Jeff Netzleydog trainer and founder of Beaches for dogs nearbyrecount Better life. “They are almost hairless, with only a few tufts of hair on their head, tail and feet. They also have wide open eyes which can startle them.”
However, these adorably goofy pups tend to shine when it comes to personality. “Despite their appearance, they are very affectionate and generally good with other dogs and people. Their lack of hair also makes shedding almost a problem,” Netzley says.
The old saying goes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In the case of dogs, this makes some breeds controversial when it comes to their appearance.
“I personally disagree with this assessment, but the Borzoi is often considered one of the ugliest dog breeds,” says Daniel Caughillcanine expert and co-founder of The story of the dog. “These tall, slender dogs look like Greyhounds with a lot of scruple. They have lean bodies, long muzzles and an aloof personality that makes them a little clumsy and all the more adorable because of it.”
Since all puppies are basically cute, sometimes it can be hard to put your finger on what makes a dog a little clumsy. But for some unique breeds, the answer might be “all of the above”.
“The Xoloitzcuintli – sometimes called Xolo – is one of the oldest dog breeds with a history dating back to the Aztec Empire. But what really sets these dogs apart today is the lack of hair that gives them a unique appearance and makes stroking them a real experience,” Georgina Ushi PhilipsVDD, practicing veterinarian and Florida-based writer with NotABully.org, recounts Better life. “However, most Xolos have a light layer of hair on their heads, which makes them even more interesting!”
Even so, experts say anyone who spends time with one of the dogs will find their looks are overshadowed by their demeanor. “The Xolo may look scary, but this breed has extreme devotion to its owner,” says Brorsen.
For more animal tips delivered straight to your inbox, Subscribe to our daily newsletter.
Wrinkles can be a strangely stigmatizing part of human beauty standards, but it seems the perspective can sometimes extend to dogs. Maybe that’s why adorable pet-faced breeds like the Shar-Pei can sometimes be called funny. But despite their distinctly pruned appearance, experts say they tend to have other positive qualities as well.
“The Shar-Pei has many unique traits, but for pet owners who don’t like a barking dog, this one’s for you,” says Borsen. “Fiercely protective but calm with family members, the Shar-Pei is the dog that never really grew into its wrinkles. And don’t be fooled by this breed’s aloofness: for the most part, they are also smart as can be!”
Having straight, woolly coats can be a big plus for dog owners looking for a breed that doesn’t shed too much. And according to experts, a unique-looking dog literally takes on the idea of being a Bull Terrier in sheep’s clothing.
“The Bedlington Terrier is a shaggy-haired dog breed that originated in England. They are known for their distinctive lamb-like appearance and love of digging holes,” Netzley explains.
“While not everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to looks, Bedlington Terriers are intelligent, active and affectionate dogs that make great companions,” he adds. “If you can get past their unusual appearance, you’ll find they’re one of the best breeds around.”
READ NEXT: 5 Low-Maintenance Dogs You Barely Need To Walk.
The amount of hair or fur on a dog can range from overly shaggy to non-existent. It’s no surprise, then, that breeds that fall into the latter category are often considered to have unique looks.
“The Peruvian Inca Orchid is unusual in that it is an almost hairless dog. It is also one of the most unique breeds, due to its wrinkled skin, large ears and of his oversized head,” says Netzley.
Just make sure you have enough in the bank if you’ve fallen in love with the look of this unique dog style. “They are also one of the most expensive dog breeds, costing up to $5,000, and require sunscreen and grooming to protect their skin,” Netzley warns. “This breed is not for everyone, but those who appreciate their distinct appearance may find a lot to love. They are also known to be extremely affectionate and friendly dogs.”
There are many people who embrace the idea of ”big hair” as a way of life. Who says dogs shouldn’t be praised for the same style choice?
“The Puli has a very unique coat that grows in tight ringlets. As a result, this breed is covered from head to toe in long, luscious locks!” Phillips said. “When their coat is allowed to fully grow out over the years, they can actually look like a mop head happily running towards you!”
He also scores bonus points for his personality. “The Puli is an active, intelligent breed that loves to play and needs lots of exercise,” says Netzley. “They can be wary of strangers and make excellent watchdogs.”