20 of the Most Unusual and Unique Dog Breeds
From unexpected coats to six toes per paw, there's something that makes each of these dog breeds incredibly special.
Known as man's best friend for a reason, dogs make some of the best pets. But figuring out which breed is right for you and your family can be difficult, especially with so many to choose from. Each animal has its own personality, smarts, and build, which means each breed brings something unique to the table. Whether you're looking for a breed that's unlike any pup you've met in the past or you simply want to find the best one to match your personality, we're here to help. Ahead, we're showing you some of the most unusual dog breeds around—they shouldn't be overlooked on your search for a pet.
Perhaps one of the most widely known unusual breeds is the Puli, pictured here. It's a very old Hungarian breed dating back to the Middle Ages. Experts speculate that the Puli is one of the direct ancestors of the poodle; to this day, there are a few standard poodles that have corded coats. This unique breed almost died out in World War II but was revived by a group of hobbyists. Friendly and intelligent, they make great pets for people who have time to attend to their high-maintenance coats. Another affectionate group of dogs with unique fur is the Bergamasco Sheepdog. Unlike an English Sheepdog, this breed has long loose mats of fur, creating a unique texture. In fact, three different textures form the hair to create the signature matted look.
A lack of fur can make a dog unique, too, as evidenced by the Chinese Crested breed. Often depicted in films as a pet to the rich and famous, this dog is nothing short of regal. Known for its signature bare skin, it features long-haired fur on the head, tail, and ankles. From the short and long Pekingese to the cloud-like Coton de Tulear, explore a number of unusual dog breeds that until now, you might have never known existed.
Similar in looks to the black sheepdog but smaller, the Schipperke was bred to be a barge dog to work the canals of Belgium since the 1800s; that means this breed likes having a job to do. Despite their high energy levels, they adapt very well to household living. Clean and neat, Schipperkes make perfect pets for those people who want a big dog in a small package.
This unique breed is said to be among the oldest and most primitive. In fact, diagrams of dogs that look like Basenjis have been found in Egyptian pyramids. One of the most unusual facts about this breed is that, like wolves and another primitive dog called a dingo, females only come into heat once a year, unlike all other domestic breeds that come into heat twice a year. On top of all this, also like wolves, they rarely bark, preferring to whine and make a strange yodeling sound instead. Their attentive nature makes them great pets.
The Leonberger's lineage includes St. Bernards and Newfoundlands, which means this unique dog is considered among the giant breeds; as such, Leonbergers can reach well over 100 pounds. They're affectionate, good with kids, and extremely devoted to owners, who they want to be with as much as possible. Because of their large size, love of muddy water, and amount of attention and exercise needed, you won't frequently find these dogs in urban areas or large towns. The breed can live eight to nine years.
A crisp, curly coat and arched back distinguish this terrier from all others. They're an energetic breed that loves attention.
This short but long dog breed has signature long-haired fur that covers its eyes. These dogs can be twice as long as they are tall.
Coton de Tulear
A walking cloud, the Coton de Tulear only grows to around 10 inches tall and gets its name for its soft, cotton-like fur.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Known for its long torso and short legs, this unique dog breed is as interesting to look at as it is smart. They're alert and intelligent dogs with a proud attitude.
Affectionately dubbed the "bearded dogs," the Brussels Griffon is known for their long hair around the snout and large eyes. While they're known to be playful and energetic, their sensitivity makes them ideal for adults—not children.
The unique Cane Corso features short ears, a large head, and an overall intimidating look. Don't be fooled by looks, though! This breed is actually quite affectionate.
The ultimate unique dog breed, the Chinese Crested lands itself in the toy group with a height of up to 13 inches. The dog can be hairless with long fur on the head, tail, and ankles or it can be coated.
This dog breed's name comes from hair growing in opposite direction from the rest of its fur, creating a ridge on its back. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the breed has up to eight different ridge patterns.
Unlike an English Sheepdog, this breed has long loose mats of fur, creating a unique texture. In fact, three different textures form the hair to create the matted look. They're sociable and loyal dogs, which makes them a great pet.
Old English Sheepdog
This dog breed's ample double coat makes its fur the talk of the town. But underneath all that fur is a muscular, gentle, and smart pup.
This dog breed looks similar to its Cocker, Springer, and Sussex Spaniel cousins, but their long, feather-like ears distinguish them from the rest of the pack. Their shiny coats further add to their distinctiveness.
Dubbed regal in manor by the AKC, the Pekingese grows to only six to nine inches tall and can weigh up to 14 pounds. Its signature long-haired coat makes this breed unique.
Known to be affectionate, social, and gentle, the English Foxhound looks like an average dog but has a number of very unique characteristics. They make great companions for hunters, as they love a good chase and have an exceptional sense of smell.
This energetic breed is quite unique. Their most defining feature? The fact that they have at least six fully functioning toes on each paw and extra paw pads.
Known for its large ears that stick straight up, this dog is bred for aerodynamics. Its unique ears, short tan coat, and matching tan nose and eyes make this pup extremely striking.
Elegance is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Salukis. The unique breed's signature long-haired ears and even longer snout make it stand out from all the others at the dog park. They're tall and gentle creatures.