One thing is for sure — all dogs are wonderful critters that are worthy of love and respect. And every four-footer displays his own form of canine cuteness, even when deemed part of an “ugly” breed.
But some dogs are typically considered to be a little easier or harder on the eyes than others. And with that in mind (and in the spirit of good fun), we’ll share some of the world’s “ugliest” dog breeds below.
The 20 Ugliest Dog Breeds
Without further ado, here are some of the ugliest dog breeds based on the subjective criteria we’ll discuss below.
Some people undoubtedly love the way these four-footers look, so feel free to disagree with us! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and you may find that the cutest canines you can think of have made the list!
1. Chinese Crested
These partially hairless wonders have a distinct look that makes them pretty unmistakable. But despite being a little odd looking, Chinese crested pups are affectionate little friends that are endlessly devoted to any human that gives them a chance. They’re also pretty low-shedding dogs, which makes them fairly mess-free family companions, who’re sure to turn heads as you stroll down the street.
2. Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Dog)
The Xoloitzcuintli — otherwise known as the Mexican hairless dog — is a calm, loving companion with smooth skin. Unsurprisingly, these four-footers excel in warm climates and come in black, liver, slate, bronze, and gray-black color varieties. These alert furry friends make great watchdogs and come in toy, miniature and standard sizes.
The irresistible pug may be ugly to some, but he’s absolutely adorable to others. These endearing furry friends are known for their caring yet comedic nature, and they are always amusing their owners with their endless antics. Pugs are highly adaptable and will live just about anywhere as long as they’re not too far from their favorite humans.
These dignified dogs are known for their extra-long snouts and inherently regal manner. Borzoi buddies are patient, affectionate sighthounds that fit in well with families (though they’re not especially awesome companions for very young kiddos). Wonderful dog running companions, borzoi dogs will usually need a fenced-in yard in order to get some of their energy out on a daily basis.
5. Bergamasco Sheepdog
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance dog, the Bergamasco sheepdog is an excellent choice. These shaggy doggos are loyal and somewhat independent, though happy to keep watch for their families for hours on end. You’ll find that the Bergamasco sheepdog is highly intelligent and eager to please, making most training sessions a breeze.
Bloodhounds are curious canines known for their powerful sense of smell. These sweet sleuths have distinct wrinkled faces, and they enjoy spending time with other dogs and kids. While these dogs are friendly to all, they can be a challenge to train due to their textbook hound-dog mentality: Listen your nose above all else.
7. Hairless Khala
Hairless Khala dogs are unique-looking, mostly hairless dogs, though they may have small patches of hair around their snout and tail. These pack dogs enjoy spending time with other household pets, and they love their family and friends dearly. Khala dogs are somewhat standoffish toward strangers, so you’ll want to pay special attention to the socialization process.
8. The Chinese Shar-Pei
You can easily recognize these Chinese dogs by their distinct rolls of excess skin. These independent pooches are steadfastly loyal to their families, but aloof around strangers. Hailing from China’s Han Dynasty, the Shar-Pei is thought to be at least 2,000 years old, making them one of the most ancient dog breeds.
Shar-Pei dogs are fairly calm customers, though they’re happy to spring into action if it means protecting their family. These one-of-a-kind dogs need owners who understand the unique training challenges of the breed.
These famously funny four-footers have quite a personality-packed into their pint-sized frames. Affenpinscher dogs are curious canines who live on their own terms, but they are bound to keep you entertained. With that in mind, these free-thinking pups can be a challenge to train, so they’ll need an owner who can approach learning sessions with plenty of patience and a sense of humor.
10. Bedlington Terrier
These charming canine companions have distinct tufts of hair throughout their body, complimented by an endearing, playful personality. Bedlington terriers are lively family companions that make excellent watchdogs much like many others in the terrier group. As an added bonus, these dogs hardly shed and are up for just about any adventure so long as they are by your side.
11. Neapolitan Mastiff
Searching for a really big dog breed? The Neapolitan mastiff is over 100 pounds and makes a majestic guardian for you and your family. These big best buddies have a distinct wrinkled appearance and are incredibly loyal toward loved ones. But while Neapolitan mastiffs are typically docile, you’ll need to make sure these four-footers learn their manners early on since their size can be a liability if these dogs aren’t properly trained.
12. Peruvian Inca Orchid
The Peruvian Inca orchid is a lively sighthound that is sure to make a beloved companion to any family. These hairless four-footers are noble and affectionate towards those they love, though they are somewhat aloof around strangers. You’ll find that Peruvian Inca orchids are surprisingly elegant, though they are happy to chase after a squirrel when the opportunity presents itself.
The regal Pekingese is a surprisingly confident, compact canine that has a personality fit for a king. These royal lap dogs typically bond closely with one special human though they’re affectionate towards all family members. Pekingese are charming, opinionated dogs who don’t put up with too much roughhousing, so they aren’t ideal dogs for homes with babies or young children. But they can work well in homes with older kids who understand the breed’s boundaries.
14. Bull Terrier
Lovingly referred to as “eggheads,” bull terriers are known for their distinct football-shaped heads. These powerful pups have plenty of personality, and they’re sure to keep their owners entertained for hours on end. While you’ll have tons of fun with the incorrigible bull terrier, you’ll need to put in plenty of hours of training to make sure these pups don’t get into too much mischief.
You can’t help but fall in love with these loveable lugs. Bulldogs are known for their calm, friendly demeanor paired with a side of humor and occasional stubbornness. These lazy canine couch potatoes love spending time at home though they’ll still need moderate exercise. The adaptable bulldog tends to do well with kids and furry family members alike.
16. Irish Wolfhound
The Irish wolfhound is a big best buddy weighing well over 100 pounds. These calm canines are extremely agreeable and get along quite well with just about anyone including kids and other dogs. Irish wolfhounds are bound to leave a pawprint on your heart, but they’ll need lots of training early-on to accommodate for their massive size.
This shaggy sweetheart is a quick, agile companion that bonds closely with his family members. Pulis are famous as a dog breed curly hair, with curled locks which are truthfully tight bundles of weatherproof wool. These smart canine companions need homes where they are kept occupied with plenty of activities like agility courses or playing with puzzle toys.
Komondorok (the plural of Komondor) are Hungarian livestock guarding dogs with a distinguished mop-like hairdo. These brave best buddies bond closely with their family though they can be aloof around strangers. The Komondor likes to keep busy, so make sure your distinct dog has plenty of room to roam.
Do you need a little extra spice in your life? The compact Chihuahua is a bug-eyed best buddy with a sassy personality to keep you entertained. And don’t let the small size fool you — these pups are confident! Chihuahuas come in several different forms to suit different tastes, and they tend to do best in homes where someone is usually around to keep them company.
20. French Bulldog
French bulldogs and Frenchie mixes are favorites of many thanks to their playful, adaptable demeanors. These friendly furry friends do well with children and other dogs making them suitable for a variety of home environments. Frenchies are excellent companions that are happy to befriend just about anyone. Plus, who can resist the breed’s distinct bat-like ears?
What Makes A Dog Ugly?
Looks and tastes are arbitrary, and there’s no one right way to determine a dog’s cuteness. That being said, there are some traits that seem to come up more often than not when comparing the “ugliest” dog breeds.
Here are a few of the factors that may make a dog fall into the “ugly” category for some:
- Too Much Hair — Scruffy dogs, fluffy dogs, and those with corded coats (like the Hungarian puli) have a lot of hair that may make it difficult to notice the dog underneath. Voluminous coats can also be more difficult to keep clean, especially if you have an active furry friend.
- Too Little Hair — Swinging in the other direction, some may feel that dogs such as the Chinese crested may have too little hair. In fact, hairless hounds frequently do well in the World’s Ugliest Dog competition (more on this below).
- Underbites — A dental deformity — like affenpinscher’s characteristic underbite — may cause some dogs to fall into the “ugly” category. While that may be true, my dog Spicy has an underbite, and I dare you to tell me it’s not adorable.
- Smooshed Faces — Brachycephalic breeds like pugs have a smaller, smushed-in face that certainly adds to their unique appearance. In fact, many pug owners find this to be one of the most endearing qualities of the breed.
- Unusual Face or Body Structure — There’s no one size fits all when it comes to finding a proportionate pooch, but some breeds stick out more than others. Breeds like the Bedington or bull terrier may earn “ugly” points from their unusual structure.
- Excess Skin — Some find that dogs with excessive skin have a more unusual appearance. The Chinese shar-pei is a good example of this trait.
The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest
Do you think your pooch is unique enough to land the title of the “World’s Ugliest Dog”? It may be time to schedule a visit to the annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, California. The contest is open to any healthy pooch and has been running since 1976.
These special four-footers are celebrated for their unique beauty as they waltz down the red carpet to the sound of claps and cheers. After being evaluated by the judges, a winner is crowned and receives a cash prize along with a TV appearance. Some past winners include:
- Scamp the Tramp: 2019’s winner was a rescue mutt with an adorable unkempt hairdo
- Yoda: 2011’s winner was a sweet cross between a Chinese crested and Chihuahua
- Pabst: 2009’s winner Pabst won over the usual Chinese crested suspects with his endearing smile
All dogs, regardless of their appearance, deserve plenty of love and appreciation. These breeds may be ugly to some, but they’re someone else’s crowned canine cutie.
Which “ugly” dog breed is your favorite? Did we forget any canine contenders? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!