If you ask me, every dog breed in the world is beautiful.
This includes matted Great Pyrenees, whose never slept indoors; waddling basset hounds with ground-scraping ears; and bulldogs who look like they tried to push a tractor with their face. I even think pugs, bull terriers, and Chinese cresteds are cute.
But a handful of breeds are widely considered to be more beautiful than most others. Obviously, beauty is a subjective quality and reasonable minds will disagree about the things that make a given breed attractive, but we’ve tried to devise a list that includes those breeds most people consider particularly good lookin’.
Some readers will agree with most of the breeds we’ve listed below, while others will become irate that we’ve left off one of their favorites. Don’t be mad – just let us know the ones we’ve missed in the comments below. We may even include them in future updates.
Different people find different things pretty about dogs, but there are a few common characteristics that people tend to find visually appealing. Some of the most common include:
This may be the most common physical characteristic that elicits “oohs” and “ahhhs” from other owners at the dog park. There’s just something about a long, thick, and shiny fur coat that people find attractive.
Some coat colors seem to catch the light (particularly natural, unfiltered sunlight) really well and make dogs stand out from the pack. This includes the coats of some single-colored dogs, but blotched, striped and brindle patterns can also be quite pretty.
This is a bit of a wedge issue among dog lovers. Some people find cold-and-steely blue or gray eyes to be captivating, while others (and I’d firmly include myself in this camp) prefer warmer, welcoming eye colors, like brown and yellow. Similarly, some people think dogs with two different eye colors are gorgeous, while others find them jarring.
Many people find graceful body lines attractive in people, so why should dogs be any different? But once again, this is a subjective preference, and there is no universally beloved body shape. Some people may find the muscular build of Dogo Argentinos gorgeous, while others prefer the aerodynamic shape of greyhounds and whippets.
We’ve listed 20 of the most beautiful dog breeds in the world below. They aren’t in any particular order – we’re already sure to get enough pushback on the list as is! If we had put them in order, #15 would certainly rank much higher on the list [/obviously_biased_writer].
Few dogs have a prettier coat than the Samoyed. Long, dense, and fluffy, these gorgeous white coats helped the breed’s ancestors stay warm in their Siberian homeland. But, this makes the breed somewhat poorly suited for places with hot summers, and they need regular grooming.
However, those who live in cool climates and are willing to visit the groomers regularly will surely find Samoyeds to be wonderful and loving companions. They must be kept busy, as these dogs were bred to work, but they are very affectionate with their families and typically get along with everyone they meet.
The multicolored and fluffy coats of Australian shepherds grant them instant access to the beautiful dog club, and they often have striking eyes to boot. Their coats shed heavily and do require a fair amount of maintenance, but they don’t require quite as much as some of the other long-haired breeds.
Be sure you’re ready for a high-energy dog if you select an Aussie shepherd – these little guys and gals can run for days, and they won’t be happy with couch-potato parents. Left to their own devices, these dogs can be a bit destructive.
Go ahead, look at a Pomeranian and try not to smile – I’ll bet you can’t do it. Pomeranians are obviously very pretty dogs who have very dense and attractive coats (which require surprisingly little maintenance compared to some other long-coated breeds), but they also have plenty of personality, which makes them even more endearing.
In fact, Pomeranians are rather intelligent dogs who are easier to train than most other tiny breeds. They aren’t especially friendly with strangers, and you’ll want to watch them closely around kids, but they are quite loving with their families.
A chow with a full, well-kept coat is a sight to behold. They have a fairly lion-like appearance, as the long fur around their heads and shoulders resembles a mane. And while chows may not have faces you’d call classically beautiful, their perma-squint is pretty darn cute.
Chows are a bit aloof, and unfortunately, they aren’t exactly “cuddly.” They keep to themselves more than many other breeds, and they won’t hesitate to wander off and explore the world. But, while these traits may not be ideal for all owners, chows are great pets for those who spend lots of time away from the home.
Personally, I think of poodles as “cute” more than “beautiful,” but that’s simply another example of the subjective nature of aesthetic beauty. Poodles have some of the most fabulous coats in the entire canine world, and they can be coiffed in any of several different ways. Poodles do require a good bit of grooming, but the final results are usually worth the effort.
Despite their comical appearance, poodles are actually very intelligent dogs. They can be used for agility trials, nose work (they’re often used to seek out truffles hidden on the forest floor), or anything involving water, as they love to swim. They’re also fantastic therapy dogs, and standard poodles are occasionally used as guard dogs.
If you ever have the chance to see a Saluki standing still, you’ll certainly find him attractive. But don’t count on it; these dogs are as energetic as they are fast, and they’re happiest when running around a big field at Mach 2. In fact, many of their most attractive physical features – their elongated snout, lithe body, and elegant tail – help make them especially well-suited for a high-throttle lifestyle.
Given their nature, it is important to think carefully before adding one of these pups to your family. They’re very endearing dogs who’ll love flopping their fluffy ears on your lap from time to time, but they can be tricky to train, and they need acres of fenced-in space to roam.
The Maltese is a very elegant breed, with a flowing white coat that pulses with each tiny step. Their magnificent coats turn heads wherever they go, and their lovable personalities help them make quick friends with everyone they meet. And that face? Forget about it. Go ahead and break out the treats, because it’s simply impossible to say no to these little cuties.
Although they may look a little fancy, Malteses are actually pretty rugged little canines whose bravery belies their diminutive size. They’re smart and easy to train, and they’re adventurous too. However, as you’d expect from a dog with a full-length, floor-touching coat, Malteses require regular grooming to look their best.
It’s hard to confuse an Afghan hound for anything else – there just aren’t many other breeds that exhibit the same combination of a light, elegant build with such a remarkably long and silky coat. Their long faces are also quite distinctive, as they’re simultaneously pretty and a bit strange.
Like the Saluki and Greyhound, the Afghan hound was originally used as a sight-hunting breed, who would run down swift prey with relative ease. So, you’re going to have to provide an Afghan with plenty of room to run. You’ll also find that they’re a bit difficult to train and they shed profusely. But, if you can cope with these challenges, you’ll probably love their affectionate and sweet nature.
Clad in flowing, silky coats that range from red to mahogany to strawberry blonde, Irish setters are beautiful without being stuffy. And even if they weren’t so pretty, they’d still be popular pets, given their fun and outgoing personalities. They’re energetic, enthusiastic, friendly, and sweet, and they cause just enough trouble to keep you on your toes.
In most respects, Irish setters are like other bird dogs. They’re smart and easy to train, they’re always ready to make friends, and they’ll destroy your everything you own if you don’t give them enough attention and exercise. But big families who love going to the park will usually love adding an Irish setter to their family.
Pharaoh hounds are probably hit-or-miss with many dog lovers – you either think they’re handsome or a bit odd-looking. In either case, everyone can agree that the pharaoh hound is a unique breed. They often bear a comical and slightly bizarre expression, which only makes them more lovable or strange, depending on your tastes.
Short-haired, big-eared, and graceful, these dogs were bred to run down big prey and hunt alongside their owners. But, unlike many similarly built breeds, these pups are affectionate with their people and don’t have the never-ending reservoirs of energy some other zippy hunting dogs do. Pharaoh hounds aren’t terribly common, but they can make very good pets – even for first-time owners.
Known to many as the “silver ghost,” the Weimaraner is a very striking breed, with an instantly recognizable gray coat. But while this would make some dogs look cold, Weimaraners have soft and sympathetic eyes that can melt even the coldest hearts. They look somewhat like a more refined version of a Labrador retriever, but, unlike Labs, Weimaraners are demanding pets, who aren’t great for inexperienced owners.
Weimaraners are smart, sweet and easy to train, but they must be provided with plenty of exercise to prevent them from developing destructive tendencies. And despite their beautiful, short-haired coats, Weimaraners shed heavily, causing problems for people with allergies.
Papillons are ridiculously cute canines, who can’t help but elicit smiles from everyone they encounter. They have glorious silky coats, sweet eyes, and an expression that’ll make you forget all of your worldly troubles. But the most remarkable things about these little buggers are their tufted ears, which are typically held upright for maximum adorableness.
The Papillon isn’t really a lap dog, and you’ll need to keep yours busy to keep him happy. Fortunately, they’re fun little pups, who are smart and learn pretty quickly. In fact, many Papillons excel at agility trials (and they look too cute for words while doing so).
The combination of the Shiba Inu’s round head, small ears, and dense coat makes the breed adorable. They look absolutely snuggletastic, and most dog owners will undoubtedly feel compelled to provide them with plenty of praise, love, and scritches and scratches on a more-or-less constant basis. Fortunately, few Shiba Inus will object.
Shiba Inus come in a few different colors, including red, black and tan, and cream. They do shed a lot, but they don’t require very much grooming. Shiba Inus are loving animals, but they actually handle being alone better than many other breeds, so they offer particular value to those who work long hours.
If you like dogs that look like wolves, you’ll love the Alaskan malamute. Like wolves, they’re muscular, big and covered in a long, thick coat; their upright ears complete the look. Their coats also feature a mixture of white, grey, and black tones, which also helps accentuate their wolf-like appearance. However, with all due respect to wolves, most dog lovers will agree that malamutes are the more attractive of the two.
Unfortunately, malamutes are relatively high-maintenance dogs, who not only require regular grooming but plenty of stimulation, interaction, and exercise. They’re not the best choice for first-time owners, but they can make excellent companions for those experienced owners who have the time and energy to devote to them.
Many people find Rottweilers intimidating, but if you look past their impressive muscles and no-nonsense disposition, you can’t help but find them beautiful. Clad in a short- to medium-length black-and-tan coat, Rottweilers may lack the silky fur and eye-catching gaze of some other breeds, but they make up for it with a set of yellow-brown eyes that’ll melt your heart.
And while they’re handsome animals, their personalities make them even more beautiful in the eyes of their owners. They’re ferociously protective of their families, but they turn into affectionate piles of snuggles and smooches when the opportunity presents itself. Rotties can, however, be a handful, and they’re not a good choice for first-time owners.
Lots of breeds are attractive, but few – actually, none – share the Great Dane’s combination of size and beauty. Often recognized as the largest breed in the world, Great Danes are most famous for their gargantuan bodies, but they’re also quite pretty too. They may not have the flowing coat of an Irish setter or the body contours of a Rottweiler, but they have a dignified beauty that is quite impressive to behold.
However, the Great Dane’s tendency to produce buckets of drool offsets their dignified appearance somewhat, and it may be enough to convince some would-be owners to select another breed. Obviously, you’ll need to give your Great Dane plenty of space (they are too big for apartment life), but they actually have rather modest exercise requirements.
Dobermans are obviously great-looking dogs, but their size, powerful posture, and pointy ears often elicit a bit of trepidation in those who’ve never met one before. But, like Rottweilers, who also hail from Germany and boast a similar paint job, Dobermans are big softies who love their people. In fact, they’re quite sensitive, and a harsh word from their owner can make them cower and hide.
But before you run out and add one of these beautiful dogs to your family, be aware: You don’t want a Doberman if you aren’t ready to cuddle. Despite their large size, most Dobermans love to crawl right up on their owner’s lap and settle in for some much-deserved praise and petting.
Some may consider the polka-dot-like pattern of dalmatians cute or comical rather than beautiful, but they’re so iconic and photogenic that we had to include them among the other beauties on this list. Although they’re most famous for accompanying firefighters, they’re actually well-rounded dogs, who also excel in hunting and agility contexts.
Dalmatians are full of energy, so you’ll need to provide them with plenty of exercise. You don’t want to keep one cooped up in an apartment – they need plenty of room to run, jump, and play. They actually make great running partners, and they’ll normally be willing to keep going long after you’ve decided to call it a day.
As one of Hollywood’s favorites, the German shepherd has probably graced the big (and small) screen more often than any other breed. Their intelligence and work ethic certainly make them well-suited for this type of work, but the real reason they are so popular is quite simple: They’re gorgeous.
German shepherds have a gentle, loving facial expression that contrasts nicely with their wolf-like coat and build. They come in a variety of colors, ranging from all-white to all-black and everything in between. Unfortunately, this beautiful coat sheds profusely, so you’ll want to take them out and give them a vigorous brushing once a week or so.
Akitas are imposing dogs, with broad shoulders and a muscular build that exudes strength and competence. But, their ultra-dense and fluffy coats soften this image a bit and help to create one of the world’s most attractive breeds. Historically, Akitas were used for a variety of very serious tasks, ranging from boar hunting to guard-dog work, but they are typically kept as pets in the modern world.
Akitas come in a few different color patterns, but most are a mix of brown, gray, black, and white. Their coats are perfect for petting, but unfortunately, they are heavy shedders (and droolers). Akitas don’t always tolerate children well, so early socialization and exposure are important.
We always want feedback and comments from our readers, but we’d like to hear your thoughts about this particular subject even more than normal. Let us know which breed you find to be most attractive and tell us which ones you think we should’ve left off the list (if any)!
Ben is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about animals, outdoor recreation, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more by Ben at FootstepsInTheForest.com.