The 9 Most Exotic Dog Breeds in the World

Written by Marisa Wilson
Published: September 18, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/slowmotiongli
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If you’re a dog lover, you know there’s nothing quite like exploring the wide variety of dog breeds, even just for fun. From the common Labrador Retriever to the more exotic Saluki, there’s a breed for everyone. There’s no question that dogs make excellent companions, and when it comes to choosing a furry friend, there are seemingly endless possibilities regarding breeds. 

However, if you’re looking for something unique and exotic, you might want to consider some of the less common dog breeds. From the Chinese Crested to the Portuguese Water Dogs, these dogs are sure to turn heads—and are excellent like any other canine companion. 

This post explores some of the more unique and hard-to-find dog breeds. So if you’re ready for an epic adventure in pet ownership or just curious, take a look at some of the most exotic dog breeds in the world.

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1. Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested Dog looking towards the sky
The Chinese Crested Dog is one of the most unusual breeds of dog

iStock.com/slowmotiongli

No offense to the dog; not saying it’s ugly, but these dogs almost always when the ugliest dog award. Despite their name, there isn’t any proof that China is their origin. Hairless and hairy puppies can both be born in the same litter. 

The Chinese crested is a bright and friendly dog who makes a great companion. His lack of body hair enhances the amount of heat his body produces, making him the ideal lap heater. He does, however, need to be shielded from temperature extremes, both hot and cold. Even while the kind without hair seems to require little upkeep, this is untrue. Regular grooming is also necessary to maintain the good looks of both types as well as routine nail trimming.

2. Afghan Hound

Oldest Dog Breeds - Afghan Hound
Afghan hounds have long flowing hair

The Afghan hound has a unique personality. They are known for being reserved and aristocratic, but their owners also know they can be playful. Afghan hounds make good indoor companions since they rarely slobber, shed little, and bark infrequently. They can be trained to get along with cats and other animals, though small running animals can pique their prey drive. If properly socialized as puppies, they can also get along well with kids. They also tolerate being left alone; however, as with any dog, it’s necessary to provide regular physical and mental stimulation. 

These dogs do great with active owners and enjoy lots of walking or playtime. Afghan hounds are not the dogs that will jump all over you when you get home. They also don’t lick their owners’ faces but bond with them and can be very loving.

3. Shar-Pei

Chinese Shar-Pei puppy playing outside in the garden.
Chinese Shar-Pei puppy playing outside in the garden.

Waldemar Dabrowski/Shutterstock.com

Chinese Shar-peis were initially bred to watch over the livestock and are alert, intelligent, and protective dogs that make excellent guard dogs. They are calm and loyal, which makes them wonderful companions. 

They tend to keep their distance from strangers, but they are fiercely loyal and loving toward their family and love spending time with them. Shar-peis can be aggressive toward other dogs, but if they meet other pets early on, they can learn to get along with them. 

As adults, they will be easier to handle if they were socialized and trained as puppies. Shar-peis are strong-willed dogs whose personalities can be too much for an unprepared pet parent. The best way to teach these dogs how to behave is to lead them confidently and assertively.

4. Tibetan Mastiff

Biggest Dog Breeds: Tibetan Mastiff
The Tibetan mastiff is a calm and quiet dog

Kat_marinina/Shutterstock.com

Another exotic dog breed is the Tibetan mastiff. These dogs will still do what they want, even if they have the proper obedience training, which is essential for all breeds. Their smarts might help them do well in class, but their independence might show at home when they don’t follow the same rules.

Tibetan mastiffs aren’t too affectionate, and they don’t like a lot of attention. They can be reserved and act almost like cats when interacting with people. They are very loyal pets that get along with other animals. When they are little, they do best when they have another large breed of dog to play with them. They can be great dogs for families.

Their need to keep an eye on everything is so strong that it might be hard to have people over because they might be surprised when strangers come into their yard. As with all dogs, it is important to socialize and train with positive reinforcement.

5. Portuguese Water Dogs

Types of Retriever Dogs
Portuguese Water Dogs can dive as deep as 12 feet while chasing fish! They have an athletic body and webbed feet, which act like flippers, propelling them through the water.

Eve Photography/Shutterstock.com

Given their work history, Portuguese Water dogs are active dogs that demand a lot of physical activity. Despite their independence, they make poor kennel dogs and prefer to remain with their guardians. Brilliant water dogs require mental stimulation to deter them from engaging in destructive activities like gnawing and digging. 

Water dogs must be in a sizable, fenced yard to avoid roaming. Even though water dogs are genuinely self-sufficient and intelligent, they are high maintenance. They require frequent washing, haircuts, and brushing and combing daily. It’s essential to prevent mating and tangling. 

They need to spend time outside and, as their name suggests, they adore the water. Although they make excellent watchdogs, their size prevents them from being effective guard dogs. Water canines are wary of strangers. They would tolerate them well if raised with other dogs and cats.

6. Xoloitzcuintle

Xoloitzcuintli standing on sand dune
Not only do Xoloitzcuintlis not have hair, but they also don’t have molars either.

art nick/Shutterstock.com

Because the name Xoloitzcuintle is challenging, most people call these canines Xolos. They are an old breed that coexisted with the Aztecs centuries ago. Their appearance is as diverse as their past. The Xolo is a dog with almost no hair. 

Xolos make excellent family dogs if every family member participates in the dog’s upbringing. Anyone who does not have that close bond will be excluded. These dogs are generally good with children, though little children can sometimes be challenging. 

Xolos are aggressive when their ears and tails are pulled, or other similar activities are performed on them. They will not get along with other animals. Some Xolos can get along well with other dogs if socialized early on. Still, it’s wise not to count on socializing a Xolo’s prey drive out of them, as it can be extremely strong.

7. Bergamasco

Bergamasco Shepherd looking behind him outside
The Bergamasco Shepherd is easily mistaken for a weird-looking sheep.

iStock.com/volofin

Easily one of the most exotic dog breeds in the world (and the most unusual) is the Bergamasco. This sheepdog was trained for strength and agility to herd and protect sheep in the rugged mountains. Bergamo, a town in the Alps, inspired the name. The Bergamasco is outgoing and gets along well with children and other animals. 

These sensitive, protective dogs like their owners but can be hesitant with strangers, making them excellent watchdogs. Their unique coat does not shed and requires surprisingly little upkeep. Bergamascos need moderate exercise daily. Because they form strong bonds with their folks, they should exercise with them rather than alone. 

These dogs enjoy fetch, going for a fast walk, or running in an enclosed backyard with their owners. Bergamascos have a pleasant attitude, which makes them trainable despite their independence. Early socializing and training will benefit them.

8. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Types of terrier dogs
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is recognized as one of the rarest of dog breeds which is native to the British Isles.

iStock.com/CaptureLight

The Dandie Dinmont terrier is dedicated, friendly, and playful. This dog is not a pack animal by nature and generally bonds with just one person. However, they may fit in perfectly as a family member. The Dandie is a vigilant watchdog with a remarkably loud bark despite its low energy level. 

Although highly loving, the Dandie Dinmont terrier can be recalcitrant and requires a firm yet a patient teacher. On the other hand, this breed is not at all sharp and makes a good companion for children. This dog is also calmer than the majority of terrier breeds. This friendly terrier is a welcome addition to any home. 

Daily walks are required to keep the Dandie Dinmont from gaining weight if maintained in a home without a yard. This dog is usually friendly and appreciates the company. Because the Dandie does not appreciate being left alone, a family that travels frequently may want to provide another friend.

9. Mudi

Rare breeds of dogs - Mudi
The Mudi is one of the rare breeds of dogs from Hungary.

Aneta Jungerova/Shutterstock.com

When brought up in active homes with dog training experience, the Mudi usually is easy to care for, but new dog owners should exercise caution because this breed requires a lot of exercise to be a well-mannered pet. Mudis are low-maintenance in terms of grooming, requiring little more than basic care. 

The Mudi is a very active, playful dog who needs at least an hour of exercise daily. This breed thrives in a spacious yard, but owners should also plan for leashed walks and mental activities like fetch or nose work to keep their dog entertained. 

They enjoy running and thrive in games such as frisbee and agility sports. Mudis can be comfortable, affectionate family companions indoors if they’ve had enough exercise during the day. Without adequate activity, your Mudi may develop a bad habit of gnawing inside.

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About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.

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