Animals

15 Weird But Wonderful Dog Breeds To Obsess Over

Unless you're a diehard cat person, you probably have some strong opinions about which dog breed is your favorite.

America's most popular breeds have not changed much over the last century.

Labrador Retrievers top the current list, followed by German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and French Bulldogs. How predictable.

Vallhund
TS Eriksson - Wikimedia

Despite our picky taste in pooches, the world is full of rare and unusual breeds that deserve more love.

A few of these dogs could even make a great choice for your next family pet. But some are less popular for a good reason.

1. Bergamasco

Bergamasco
Josephine06

As a puppy, this herding dog grows soft, short fur, and looks like a terrier.

But as it grows older, the Bergamasco's hair naturally mats into distinctive scales or dreadlocks.

Believe it or not, these balls of fluff are working dogs. Their thick hair is meant to keep them dry in bad weather.

2. Mexican Hairless

Petful - Flickr

Also called the Xoloitzcuintle (say that three times fast) or Xolos, these dogs have been bred for more than 3,000 years.

They actually come in a number of hairy varieties, but the sleek hairless breed is the most famous.

One of these unusual dogs was featured in Pixar's family film Coco.

3. Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon
Dan9186 - Wikimedia

Don't let their small size fool you, These dogs are notoriously tough, and known to boss around animals twice their size.

The Griffon actually became extremely popular in the 1950s before falling out of style.

They come in a range of colors, and even short-haired styles without the breed's signature beard.

4. Czech Wolfdog

You can probably guess how this striking breed earned its name.

Wolfhound
Margo-CzW - Wikimedia

Breeders paired German Shepherds with wolves in the 1950s, combining the attitude of a domestic dog with the body of a wolf.

The Wolfdogs were mainly used by military and rescue groups, but they're slowly becoming a popular domestic breed.

The trouble is they still have a wild streak inherited from their predatory ancestors.

5. Shar Pei

Shar Pei
Yana Mishina

Talk about unique: these Asian dogs have a wrinkly face and black tongues.

Shar Pei puppies are actually born with their wrinkles, and lose them slowly as they grow into their skin.

The breed's Chinese name means "sand skin," because their short coat has a rough texture.

6. Bedlington Terrier

There's no denying that this breed is an oddball.

Bedlington Terrier
David Owsiany - Wikimedia

They're known for being family-friendly dogs, but also vicious rat hunters and unusually strong swimmers.

They have arched backs and round heads, which grow curly mohawk hairdos that make them look like little aliens.

All in all, the Bedlington Terrier is a breed for owners who like their pets to stand out.

7. Borzoi

Borzoi
Cunnington A - Wikimedia

This Russian Wolfhound's name means "fast," and they sure are.

As their name suggests, Borzois were hunting dogs who chased down their prey with their long, limber legs.

Today, they're known for being intelligent and affectionate, but stubborn. The kind of family pet that can learn commands, but doesn't want to.

8. Catalburun

Catalburun
Petolog

This Turkish breed is one of the rarest in the world, and one of just three breeds of "double-nosed pointers" in the world.

That split between the dog's nostrils gives it a better sense of smell, which made them valuable hunting dogs.

It also leaves the Catalburun with a face only a mother could love, but there's no denying it's a unique breed.

9. Catahoula Cur

Catahoula Cur
PXhere

First bred in Louisiana, this hunting breed has been called the Leopard Dog and Cat Dog because of its talent for climbing trees.

Trackers used these dogs to chase down wild boars, but they also have plenty of handsome features.

Dogs with different colored eyes or sparkling blue eyes are very common in this breed.

10. Mudi

Mudi
Vulpes - Wikimedia

Look at those flowing curls!

This herding breed has a lot in common with the sheep they corral. Except the Mudi is much smarter: it can work independently to lead up to 500 animals at a time.

While they're easy to groom, Mudis expect plenty of time to run and play outdoors.

11. Afghan Hound

Томасина - Wikimedia

With a hairdo like this, it's hard to believe these are hunting dogs.

Today's purebred Afghans are descended from a group of dogs given out as presents by Afghanistan's King Amanullah in the 1920s, but the breed is actually very ancient.

Potential owners beware: keeping this silky coat in good condition takes daily brushing.

12. Tibetan Mastiff

Yeti - Wikimedia

This breed's size and its shaggy lion mane are its two most famous features. Male Mastiffs can reach almost three feet tall and weigh nearly 200 pounds.

Tibetan nomads kept these dogs to guard their camps, and they would face down animals as large as bears and tigers.

You probably shouldn't buy one of these for your apartment, but with proper training they still make excellent guard dogs.

13. Pumi

Pumi
Taru Torpstrom - Wikimedia

Look familiar? The Pumi has been compared to Tintin's famous sidekick, Snowy.

This Hungarian working dog is a relative of the Mudi, and just as energetic and intelligent as the larger breed.

These days, Pumis are moving out of the fields and into homes, where they are as protective of their families as their livestock.

14. Swedish Vallhund

Vallhund
Ron Armstrong - Wikimedia

What do you get when you take a German Shepherd and shrink it down to fit in a Corgi's body?

Something close to the Vallhund, probably. In fact, researchers aren't sure if the Corgi is the ancestor of a Vallhund, or vice-versa.

Trained to herd cows, this little ankle-biter is known for being totally fearless.

But they're also obedient, loyal, and clever.

15. Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen

You can call them GBGV for short, or just call them cute as a button, because that's what they are.

GBGV
Lilly M - Wikimedia

They have the cutest features of a Terrier and a Basset Hound mixed together to make an incredibly sweet combination.

Despite their cuddly looks, GBGVs are used to hunt everything from rabbits to boars.

They're also known for having long lifespans and very few health problems.

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