“It’s so ugly, it’s cute” is a saying that can describe many things, including some of the most ugly/adorable dog breeds like the Chinese Shar Pei and the always popular pug. Here are the top nine dog breeds so ugly, they’re completely adorable.
1) Chinese Crested Dog
This hairless breed has two varieties—the Powder Puff (with fur) and the Hairless—and is one of the ugliest/cutest dog breeds in the world. This breed has also won more “ugliest dog” contests than any other dog breed in the world, but their gentle nature makes them ideal pets for families with children. They are named for the “crested” tuft of fur on their heads, which both varieties are known for; however, the Powder Puff breed has long, soft fur allover and the Hairless generally has fur on the head, tail, and paws.
2) Chinese Shar Pei
Known for its deep wrinkles and unique black tongues, the Chinese Shar Pei is a very distinctive dog breed and is related to the Chow Chow. Shar Pei puppies have many deep wrinkles that loosen as they mature, but these wrinkles are what make this breed so popular.
Small ears, face wrinkles, and a high-set tail gives the Shar Pei its “ugly” appearance, but the breed is gaining popularity on dog show circuits, as well as being a great family pet.
Bred in Hungary for herding purposes, the Puli is known for its distinctive, unusual coat of corded fur that resembles dreadlocks. Commonly only seen in black (although there can be less common colors like gray, white, or cream), this dog breed is highly intelligent, athletic, obedient, and also very friendly (especially with kids).
Because they are also very active, the breed needs regular exercise daily and tend to do better in homes with lots of room to run. The Puli breed does well in dog contests and trials for obedience, showmanship, tracking, herding, and flyball.
4) Brussels Griffon
This Belgian toy terrier breed is considered “ugly” due to its well-known and busy “beard”, and cute squished face. The Griffon was once crossed with Cavalier King Charles spaniels and pugs, giving the Griffon its lovable squished-looking face and was originally bred to catch rats.
There are actually three distinct variations of the breed: Brussels Griffon (also known as Griffon bruxellois), the Petit Brabancon, and the Belgian Griffon (or Griffon belge). Though considered an “ugly” breed, these dogs are noted for their loyalty, their big hearts and fondness for snuggling, and being very inquisitive.
5) Neapolitan Mastiff
Also known as the “Neo”, the Neapolitan Mastiff is an ancient, very large dog breed that has been used for guarding families and properties for centuries.
Distantly related to St. Bernards and equally large Bernese Mountain Dogs, the Neo has a droopy-looking face, big, sagging jowls, and cute, droopy eyes. Neo puppies tend to have large wrinkles, giving them an adorable appearance, along with their unusual saggy faces.
These adorably ugly dogs originated in China and were bred to be companions to Chinese royal families. Pugs are extremely sociable dogs, gentle and friendly with their families, and are also a popular show dog. This breed’s squished-in face, square body shape, a cute under-bite (their lower teeth/jaw protrude further than the upper jaw), and eyes that get described as “bug-eyed”, earn them their “ugly” title.
Along with being friendly and sociable, pugs are also very strong-willed, thinking they’re much bigger than they actually are, and are a bit lazy, as they tend to nap a lot. Pugs are great for families with children, as they are gentle and love following their owners around.
Named after the state in Mexico, Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed, generally weigh less than ten pounds (although those bred for companionship often weigh over this, as opposed to show dogs), and are notorious “yippers”. The breed gained its “ugly” connotation due to the bulging eyes, small stature, short nose and muzzle, and sometimes nervous temperament.
Despite the dog’s apparent shortcomings, Chihuahuas are still quite popular as pets (especially with owners who live in a small space and cannot have a larger dog breed), as well as being bred and used in dog shows.
Also known as the English Whippet or Snap dog, this dog breed was originally greyhounds that were bred to catch rats and hunt rabbits. Whippets are still used in racing today, as well as dog sports like flyball, agility, and lure coursing.
Although they usually have a pretty face, Whippets are many times considered ugly because of their extremely skinny bodies and sometimes resemble a rat because of their skinny heads, upright ears, and lean bodies. Whippets hold the distinction of being the fastest accelerating dog breed in the world and the highest running speed of the breed’s weight.
9) Japanese Chin
The Chin—also known as a Japanese Spaniel—is a toy breed that were bred to be companions to royal families in Japan, much like the pug breed in China. Described as having a cat-like temperament, the Chin is generally an intelligent, alert, and independent dog, but they’re also very friendly (making them a good therapy dog), loyal, and quiet.
The Chin’s bulging eyes, short muzzle, and broad head gives the dog an ugly but cute appearance. These dogs are also well-known for their long, silky fur and are closely related to Pekingese, the Tibetan Spaniel, and the papillon.