Discover the 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds With Curly Tails

Written by Rick Chillot
Updated: July 12, 2023
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The most popular dog breeds with curly tails have one thing in common: cuteness! But a dog’s tail is more than just an ornament, whether it’s curled into a cute curve or groomed into a poodle pompom. Biologically speaking, dogs have tails to help them balance, and in some cases help them keep warm. (If you’ve ever seen a dog sleeping with its tail curled over its nose, you know how that works). The canine tail is also a means of communication, signaling anything from excitement to dominance to curiosity to aggression.

These are the most popular dog breeds with curly tails
These sweet dogs have cute, curly tails to wag.

What Makes Curly Tails Curly?

Anatolian shepherd dog with a curly tail

As the curl turns: something about a curly-tailed dog sets people’s hearts a-whirl.

©Bilal Kocabas/

A tail’s curl is more than skin deep. The bones inside it determine the curl of a dog’s tail. Since tails are extensions of the spine, those bones are vertebrae. And in some dog breeds, the vertebrae in the tail develop into shapes that form the tail into a bend or curve.

Are Curly-Tailed Dogs Popular?

There’s no denying that a dog’s curly tail is cute, that’s just a scientific fact. But if we look at the most popular dog breeds of 2022, as reported by the American Kennel Club, we’ll see that none of the top ten breeds have curly tails. In fact, curly-tailed canines don’t break the top twenty. That’s not to say that an individual dog of a particular breed won’t have an arched or curving tail. But as recognized breed characteristics go, a curly tail doesn’t seem to move the popularity needle. Which is fine; who wants to judge a dog by their tail? It’s more about the wag, after all.

Let’s take a look at the most popular dog breeds that do have curly tails, from an elegant swoop to a cute corkscrew. And keep in mind that a mixed-breed dog can inherit a curly tail from its ancestors, so don’t rule them out if you’ll looking to add a curly-tailed canine to your household.

1. Pomeranian

White Pomeranian dog standing on a bench

A Pomeranian’s cured tail needs regular grooming.

©Anya Poustozerova/

Popularity rank: 23

The most popular curly-tailed breed on the AKC’s 2022 list, the Pomeranian is a toy breed with an outgoing personality. They’re smart and playful and make great companions. Their heavily plumed tails require regular grooming along with the rest of their coat.

2. Chihuahua

Chihuahua with a curly tail.

Small dog, small curl, big attitude.


Popularity rank: 34

Weighting less than six pounds, the Chihuahua is a tiny dog with big dog energy. They’re clever and adaptable, affectionate with their family, and respond well to training. Their tails are not super curly but carried in a loop or sickle shape. Long-haired varieties will have a floofy plumed tail.

3. Pug

Pug standing outside

From tip to tail, Pugs aim to please.

©Photo by w: en: User: sannse / CC BY-SA 3.0 from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository – License

Popularity ranking: 35

Famously bred to be the companions of Chinese emperors, Pugs are happy in almost any household. Their expressive faces and affectionate nature make them favored pets the world over. Along with their pushed-in muzzles, this breed’s corkscrew curly tail is one of its most definitive features.

4. Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu with front paws on rock formation, alert with tail curled

Outdoor time is guaranteed to send a Shiba Inu’s tail a-waggin’.

©Irina Nedikova/

Popularity rank: 43

These small and spirited dogs have roots in Japan, where the Shiba Inu breed was developed over two thousand years ago for hunting small game. They love the outdoors and cold weather but are adaptable enough to live in a city or country setting. Their thick, powerful tails might be carried in a single or double curl.

5. Papillon

Pomeranian standing outside



: Papillons are as playful as they are pretty.


Popularity rank: 51

The French word for “butterfly” gives this breed its name, a reference to the wing-like ears that frame this little dog’s alert, adorable face. Between those distinctive ears and the Papillon’s long, silky coat, you might not even notice the single, graceful arc of a pap’s plumed curly tail.

6. Samoyed

White dog Samoyed on the winter beach in the snow, winter north arctic

To a Samoyed, there’s no business like snow business.

©Ilya Barmin/

Popularity rank: 53

From its cute nose to the furry tale that curves over its back or side, the Samoyed is a breed suited for cold weather. Its thick white fur keeps this dog cozy in frigid temps, and its social demeanor enabled its ancestors to work with humans and other canines as herding and sledding dogs.

7. Akita

Akita dog breed resting on the ground.

Every Akita seems to have a curly tail that’s like no other.

©B@rt at the Dutch language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Popularity rank: 55

Powerful and loyal, the Akita was originally bred for hunting large game, including bear and elk. Because of their origins in snowy, mountainous terrain, they have webbed toes, the better to distribute their weight on snowdrifts. The Akita’s trademark curly tail might have a three-quarter, full, or doubled curl, and can curve over the back or hand to the side. It’s said that a few Akita tails look exactly the same.

8. Alaskan Malamute

Light gray and white Alaskan Malamute with tail curled over its back.

The Malamute’s curly tail is weatherproof and ready to wag.


Popularity rank: 67

The quintessential sled dog, an Alaskan Malamute is powerfully built, with a weatherproof coat and a curled, plumed tail that won’t drag in the snow. They’re athletic dogs who thrive on exercise, preferably with their owners.

9. Chinese Shar-Pei

Chinese Shar-Pei with tapered curly tail visible.


Chinese Shar-Pei

cuts an unmistakable figure.

©Erik Lam/

Popularity rank: 68

With their broad snout, small ears, wrinkly coat, and blue-black tongue, Shar-Peis aren’t likely to be mistaken for any other popular dog breed. They’re very intelligent and loyal dogs but can be suspicious of strangers. Early socialization is important for these dogs to become comfortable around people and other animals. A Shar-Pei’s tail is thick at the base, tapers to a point, and can curl loosely over the back or to the side.

10. Anatolian Shepherd

Curly tailed Anatolian Shepherd Dog standing on grass

An alert Anatolian Shepherd can’t help but curl its tail.

©Tibilou, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

popularity rank: 79

As their name suggests, these dogs are protective, territorial, intelligent, and nimble-footed, characteristics befitting the breed’s shepherding origins. Their curled tail is especially noticeable when the dog is alert, curling the tail into a wheel-like whorl.

Summary of The 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds With Curly Tails

RankBreedPopularity Rank
(AKC 2022)
Tail Description
4Shiba Inu43Arched
7Akita55Its own thing
8Alaskan Malamute67Overarching
10Anatolian Shepherd79Wheeled

The photo featured at the top of this post is © SCMW, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License / Original

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About the Author

Rick Chillot is a freelance writer and editor who's worked in all kinds of print and digital formats, including books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, and graphic novels. He abandoned his pursuit of a biology career when nature refused to cooperate.

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