The 10 Ugliest Dog Breeds (Are Still Pretty Cute)
Most dog lovers would think that there’s no such thing as an ugly dog. But these breeds might have those people second-guessing that sentiment.
Ugly dog breeds host a special place in many people’s hearts. Not everyone wants that Siberian Husky or posh Pomeranian.
These pups tend to be rarer than those beauties you see posing at dog shows. They may have quirky physical characteristics or an overall look that just doesn’t fall in line with what most people consider to be beautiful. They’re for owners that don’t care about looks and just want a strong bond with their canine companion.
Ultimately, it’s the dog’s personality and characteristics that define them. Interested in learning more about some of the ugliest breeds on the planet? Look no further! Here are breeds that defy canine beauty standards and shine in their own unique way!
1. The Chinese Crested
Often the poster child of small ugly dog breeds, the Chinese Crested dog certainly is unique. This breed has won the World’s Ugliest Dog contest year after year. It’s not hard to see why. Most of the dog’s body is completely hairless. The skin may take on some patches of gray and pink. Peach fuzz is pretty common, too.
If you know anyone who owns a Chinese Crested, they probably have a ton of horror stories of owning a hairless pet, such as dealing with blackheads and pimples. To make matters worse, these dogs often have puffs of hair around the head, legs, and tail. Altogether, these features combine to create a look that only an owner could love as the cutest!
2. English Bull Terrier
Chances are, you’ve seen an English Bull Terrier at some point. The breed had undoubtedly been the inspiration of cartoons and whimsical depictions of canines. Their most defining feature is their head. It has a noticeable egg-like shape. Rather than the strong and squared-off snouts of other breeds, Bull Terriers have a curve that extends from the forehead down to the mouth. This creates a “weak” nose line.
The eyes are unique, too. They have a squinted appearance. These pooches can’t open their eyes very wide at all, even when they’re begging. Despite their interesting heads, English Bull Terriers are still quite popular as the best dog and man’s best friend.
There’s no mistaking a pug for another breed. These small dogs are instantly identifiable. They’re most known for having squished, wrinkly heads. The body of the Pug is pretty small. But the head is quite large. Pair that with their short, fat necks and you have a unique profile right off the bat. Pugs are a brachycephalic dog breed. This means that they have a short head, short muzzle, and distinct skull shape.
Oftentimes, Pugs experience a litany of health problems due to their distinct anatomy. Many develop breathing issues, resulting in the dog taking frequent quick gasps of air. Even still, Pugs are a beloved dog breed. They have quirky personalities and love nothing more than to show some affection.
Also known as a Russian Sighthound, Borzoi dogs have a lot of ugly traits working against them! They’re a member of the Greyhound family. If you look closely, you should be able to see those similar traits. But, the breed has a lot of features that stand out. Standing about 28 inches at the shoulders when fully grown. Borzoi dogs are tall. However, they don’t have the mass that other larger breeds have.
Thus, they have a lankier appearance. Covering their lean bodies is a coat of fine shaggy hair. No matter how hard you try, their fur almost always looks disheveled and messy. Finally, Borzoi dogs have very long faces. Many lovingly compare them to horses because their snouts are so long and thin.
Chihuahuas are another of the small ugly dog breeds worth mentioning. These canines are very popular and are one of the most iconic dogs in Hollywood films. But that doesn’t mean they’re any less ugly. Small in stature, the Chihuahua is often thought of as the rodent of the canine world! It has a large head and prominent eyes.
There are a few different types of Chihuahuas out there. Some of them have enormous ears that look far too big for their tiny bodies. Perhaps the ugliest feature of the Chihuahua is its temperament. While gentle and loving with owners, the breed is notorious for lashing out at strangers. When this happens, they show off their creepy fang-like teeth.
6. Mexican Hairless
Here’s another hairless dog that not too many people know about. Also known as the Xoloitzcuintli, the Mexican Hairless dog is often compared to the Chinese Crested. It’s also hairless and features some distinct skin coloration. Many dogs feature patchy colors of pink and gray. Though, some are completely gray, giving off a monster-like look. It doesn’t help that the skin can glisten all of the dog’s wrinkles.
Topping the head are tall triangular ears. They have a bat-like shape, which only adds to their scary looks. Mexican Hairless dogs are often feared in some countries due to their looks. But, they can be peaceful and loving members of the family like any other breed.
7. The Puli
Pulis are medium-sized dogs with a coat like no other. A favorite in dog show circles, Pulis have a thick coat of dreaded fur. This fur can continue to grow well past their eyes. It’s not uncommon to see a Puli with a coat so thick that you can’t even make out any defining characteristics. They just look like a breathing mop head!
With that strange coat comes some very distinct care requirements. Maintaining the fur of the Puli is no easy task. For this reason, most people avoid the breed like the plague. Luckily, there are still plenty of dedicated Puli fans out there to show the breed some love.
8. Chinese Shar-Pei
Chinese Shar Peis come out of the womb looking like old men! Loose skin covers the entire body, but it accumulates in a few key places. When the dog is sitting down, the wrinkles tend to collect on the chest area and back, making them look like they’re wearing an oversized fur coat.
The head has some distinct wrinkle folds, too. Many have deep wrinkles over the eyes, blocking out some of their view. Originally bred in Southern China, this breed was once treated like royalty. They’re still quite popular in Asia and have gained a loyal fan base around the globe. This is likely due to their loyal and affectionate nature.
Whippets are often compared to depictions of jackals in Ancient Egyptian artwork. The breed has a tiny little head with a pointed snout. Oftentimes, the head is disproportionately small compared to the rest of the body. This creates a signature profile that can’t be missed. The body of the Whippet is very small and lanky.
These are lean dogs that can run fast. They have muscular legs that help them sprint at record speeds. But the rest of the body doesn’t have a ton of bulk. Thus, they have a bony look that many find to be very unattractive. Their lanky nature doesn’t make them the best for cuddling, either. But, this breed does have a lot to offer in the athletics department.
10. Japanese Chin
Last, but not least, we have the Japanese Chin. At first glance, you might not notice anything off with this dog breed. The body is small like a Pomeranian. They also have an attractive coat of long fur in a wide range of colors. But upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that they have very strange features.
These dogs have wide eyes that look crossed. The snout isn’t traditionally beautiful either. The dogs have shallow snouts, downturned mouths, and perky noses. These characteristics combine to create a somewhat snooty look.
Ugly Dogs Have Personality
While they might not be the most beautiful dog breeds to look at, these ugly dogs still deserve plenty of love. Don’t let their unconventional looks turn you off. Many of these breeds are quite loving and affectionate.
They certainly make up for their looks with personality. Plus, ugly dogs are always the center of attention. Everyone wants to get a look at their strange appearance up close. So here comes our next subject to prove it: the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest!
World’s Ugliest Dog Contest
The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest is an annual contest held in Petaluma, California, as part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair to decide which of the dogs entered in the contest is the ugliest. The contest, along with the rest of the fair, is typically scheduled for the fourth week of June.
Along with the title of “The World’s Ugliest Dog,” the winner’s owner receives a check for $1,000 and a trophy. As of 2017, the prize has been increased to $1,600, a trophy, and a free trip to New York. There is significant media coverage, and as many as 20,000-30,000 people attend the contest during the fair each year. The fair now holds an all-day Dog Lovers’ Festival preceding the evening contest.
The contest had been going on since the 1970s. In 2009 the Sonoma-Marin Fair trademarked the phrase World’s Ugliest Dog. In 2013, the contest celebrated its 25th anniversary as a fair-produced event, and an anniversary book, World’s Ugliest Dogs.
Dogs generally come from across the United States but are welcome to enter from around the world. In contrast to conformation shows (which are restricted to purebreds), the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest has separate divisions for pedigreed dogs and mutts, with the two winners then competing for the overall prize, and contestants are not judged against any breed specification.
Dog owners must provide documentation of veterinarian checks to determine the competing animal is healthy. The Sonoma-Marin Fair has also partnered with animal rights groups such as the Sonoma County Humane Society to educate the public about animals and to provide opportunities to adopt rescue dogs.
The fair issues a photo of the winner, a press release summing up the contest, and a YouTube video within hours of the contest conclusion. Contestants of each new year are featured on the website before the contest as well as in the World’s Ugliest Dog voting.
Winners Of The Competition
- 2010: Princess Abby, a chihuahua with a hunched and peculiar walk due to that her back legs are longer than her front (which allows her to have moments of bipedalism), a missing eye, and mismatched ears, won the 2010 contest out of a field of 25 dogs. Despite being a rescue dog, she was entered into the pedigree division.
- 2011: Yoda, a previously abandoned 14-year-old Chinese Crested-Chihuahua mix with a malformed nose, short tufts of hair, protruding tongue, and long, seemingly hairless legs, won the 2011 contest. The dog is from Hanford, California.
- 2012: The 2012 winner is Mugly, an 8-year-old Chinese Crested with a short snout, beady eyes, and several unkempt white whiskers, owned by Bev Nicholson of Peterborough, England. Mugly was the first dog from outside the United States to win.
- 2013: In 2013, Wallie, a four-year-old huge-headed, duck-footed mix of beagle, boxer, and basset hound from Chico, California beat 29 other contenders to win the contest. The dog’s owner, Tammie Barbee, entered the dog into the contest at the last minute.
- 2014: The 2014 contest was won by Peanut (alternately named Opossum), a 2-year-old mutt believed to be a mix of Chihuahua and Shih Tzu. In contrast to most of the contestants, Peanut’s physical deformities, which included deformed lips and eyelids (which give the dog the appearance of the perpetual growl) and significant loss of hair, were a result of being abused as a puppy. The dog was rescued from an animal hospital.
- 2015: Quasi Modo, a 10-year-old mutt with Dutch Shepherd and pitbull lineage, won the 2015 contest, narrowly beating two Chinese Crested/Chihuahua mixes. Quasi Modo was noted for its shortened frame, hunched back and long legs relative to its body, leading to confusion at first glance as to whether it was a dog or a hyena, according to the dog’s biography. The dog was rescued from a shelter.
- 2016: The winner of the 2016 contest was SweePee Rambo, a Chinese Crested from Van Nuys, California.
- 2017: Martha, a 3-year-old Neapolitan Mastiff from Sebastopol, California, won the 2017 contest. Weighing in at 125 pounds and having extremely loose and droopy jowls, the once-blind rescue dog was particularly noted for her uncooperative personality, described being as a snoring, gassy dog that refused to show off for the crowd, bosses around other dogs in her company, slobbers all over human guests, and knocks over water buckets.
- 2018: The 2018 contest was won by Zsa Zsa, an English bulldog with a particularly wide-legged stance, underbite, and very long droopy tongue. 2018 was the first year to award the People’s Choice Award, based solely on the online voting results. The winner was Himisaboo, a 12-year-old Chinese Crested Dachshund mix from Oregon. Himisaboo is a press favorite each year and is known as the Trump Dog because of his natural strawberry blonde combover.
- 2019: Scamp the Tramp, a mutt with unkempt hair that grows into dreadlocks and stubby legs was rescued from the streets in Compton, California, won the 2019 contest. The People’s Choice Award went to Meatloaf, a bulldog with protruding teeth from Sacramento, California.
- 2020: The 2020 contest was canceled.
The Final Thought
Dogs that are ugly can still be cute as we have seen from the competition results. The 10 ugliest dog breeds are still pretty cute. Their personality far outweighs their looks! While they might not be the most beautiful dogs to look at, they still deserve our love and attention. Many of the breeds we included are quite loving and affectionate.