- Many of the dog breeds that can be found on this list have very wrinkly faces, including the Pug, the Pitbull, and the Mastiff.
- Some of the animals on this list can be found at dog shows and other performance competitions.
- All of the dog breeds found on our list of the top 10 ugliest dog breeds are so ugly that they are cute!
When you think of it, a lot of breeds of dogs are sort of ugly. Now, they are not horrifying to behold, but the ugliest dog breeds do tend to have squashed-in faces or are hairless or barrel-bodied or bandy-legged or pop-eyed, or maybe all of the above. One has even been nicknamed the “ugly rat dog”!
In bigger dogs, ugliness is often a sign of the dog’s power and frankly, its danger. You wouldn’t find a borzoi, for example, guarding a junkyard. But looks have never stopped a dog from being devoted, loving and beloved, obedient and playful. Here is our list of 10 of the ugliest dog breeds.
10. Chinese Crested Dog
One of the ugliest dogs around, this unlovely little mutt is always in the running for Ugliest Dog contests and often wins. The most familiar, and ugliest, form of this dog is hairless save some hair on the top of its head, its ears, its feet, and its tail.
The other form, the Powderpuff has a luxurious coat and is actually quite pretty. Whether naked or with a full coat, the Chinese crested dog is an affectionate and playful companion that thrives in an apartment. Standing 9 to 13 inches at the shoulder and weighing only between 5 and 12 pounds, this unfortunate-looking dog has a short life for a small dog. It lives around 10 to 12 years.
The Chinese Crested Dog loves to spend time with its owner. They are very obedient which makes them great for competitive sports such as flyball. They also are known to make awesome therapy dogs. They tend to do well at lure coursing and have a very sensitive nature. This means that they train best using gentle patience.
Go here to learn about the Chinese crested dog.
9. Neapolitan Mastiff
In 2017, a Neapolitan mastiff named Martha beat out all those Chinese crested dogs at the World’s Ugliest Dog contest at California’s Sonoma-Marin Fair. There was a good reason for this. Neapolitan mastiffs have monstrously large heads filled with folds and dewlaps, a permanently wrinkled forehead, and sad eyes. There are even wrinkles around its front feet. As a mastiff developed in Italy as a guardian, it is big and powerful, with a shoulder height of 26 to 29 inches and a weight of between 110 and 150 pounds. A really big male can tip the scale at 200 pounds. It has a roached back, a thick neck, and a broad chest covered by a dense but hard coat.
The Neapolitan mastiff is a protective dog who likes to be near its family and is a good dog for a family with children. However, it sheds, drools a great deal, and needs to be protected from the heat. This big ugly dog is subject to health problems such as hip dysplasia and rarely lives more than 10 years. Despite its size, the Neapolitan mastiff can do well in an apartment but still needs lots of exercise.
To learn more about the Neapolitan mastiff, read this.
One of the ugliest dog breeds, the bulldog’s ugliness has led to it being subject to health problems. Its squashed-in face and undershot jaw make it difficult to breathe properly, and its huge head sometimes requires puppies to be delivered by Caesarean section. Its eyesight is often bad, it can’t tolerate hot weather or even hot rooms but is also intolerant of cold. Because of this, the bulldog is very much an indoor dog as temperatures can be controlled. The dog has a barrel-shaped body and short, bandy legs, and a tail that sometimes curls over its back like a pig’s.
Despite both its looks and the fact that it was developed to bait bulls, this dog is gentle and loving while keeping its original traits of bravery and persistence. It stands 12 to 16 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 49 and 55 pounds. Its short coat is easy to care for, though the folds around its face need to be kept clean. The bulldog’s health problems restrict its life expectancy to only eight years or so.
Read this to learn more about the bulldog.
Like the bulldog, the pug has a wrinkly face. Like the Neapolitan mastiff, its face wears a look of perpetual worry even as the dog is laid-back, affectionate, obedient, and happy. It has a stocky little body supported by thin little legs. Its ears are also thin and crumpled, and like the bulldog, it carries its tail curled over its back. Developed in China in the 16th century before it came to Europe and the rest of the world, this little dog used to be bigger than it is. Now it stands 10 to 11 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 14 and 18 pounds. Along with its lovely temperament, its long life makes up for its ugliness. The pug can live for 15 years.
Read this for more on the pug.
6. Scottish Deerhound
This big dog stands 28 to 30 inches high at the shoulder and has a stately bearing. Unfortunately, it is ugly due to its disproportionately small and pointed head on a huge body and a scruffy coat and beard. The preferred color of the fur is the truly uninspiring blue-gray of an old stockpot.
The dog was developed back in 9th century Scotland to hunt deer, which it did very successfully until the invention of firearms lessened the need for their aid. Its unappealing coat protected it from the elements. As a companion, this dog is loving and devoted but is too genial to be a good watchdog despite its size. It’s also a good apartment dog because it likes to simply take it easy while indoors. The deerhound resembles the Irish wolfhound, but the wolfhound’s parts are balanced enough for the viewer to consider it homely as opposed to ugly.
Go here to learn more about the Scottish deerhound.
5. Épagneul Pont-Audemer
Don’t let the fancy French name fool you. This bow-wow is a real bow-wow. Somewhat rare, the Épagneul Pont-Audemer is a gun dog developed in 17th century France to flush and retrieve game. It stands 20 to 23 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 40 and 53 pounds, but what makes this dog stand out is the untidy curls and feathers of its coat. This makes the coat weather resistant but does nothing for the dog’s overall look. Also, its dark eyes are ringed with a lighter color as if it’s suffering from vitiligo. This, along with a messy topknot, gives the Épagneul Pont-Audemer a weird look. It is also subject to alopecia.
Despite all this, the dog is fun-loving, responsive, and affectionate.
4. Griffon Nivernais
One can be forgiven for thinking that the French give their ugliest dogs the prettiest names. Alas, no amount of grooming can tidy the coat of this defiantly scruffy-looking pooch. It has a beard and mustaches and an unpardonably skinny tail. A rather large dog at 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 50 and 55 pounds, the Griffon Nivernais’ origins are back in the 1200s when it was used to hunt large game.
The Griffon Nivernais, which is active and human-friendly but has a stubborn streak, is not only unsightly but noisy. It barks and bays frequently, which makes it unsuitable for apartment life. However, it can live in a country house that has land for it to run around in and burn off its considerable energies. When taking this dog for a walk, keep it on a leash as it has a powerful chase instinct. The Griffon Nivernais lives between 10 and 14 years.
3. American Pit Bull Terrier
Yes, it is ugly, and it’s supposed to be ugly. First bred in America to torment bulls, still bred to fight other pit bulls, it is mostly a guard dog and a companion who will fight to the death for its humans. This dog has a huge, ugly head and massive jaws with a bite force of 235 pounds per square inch. It’s not that big at 18 to 24 inches high and 50 to 80 pounds, but it makes up for it in sheer musculature. The pit bull also has a famously high pain threshold.
The dog’s power and reputation are balanced by its love of its family, especially the children, and its surprising playfulness. This ugly dog has a 12-year life expectancy.
For more information about the pit bull terrier, read this.
The poor affenpinscher is a terrier that always looks like it was bested by one of the rodents it was trained to hunt. Its fur is in disarray, it has pop eyes, a spectacular mustache, and a blunt muzzle. It frankly resembles a monkey, and one of its names is the “monkey terrier” which happens to be what its name means in German. Developed in Germany in the 17th century, it stands 10 inches at the shoulder and weighs only 7 to 8 pounds, so it’s quite portable. Despite its tiny size, the affenpinscher is a formidable watchdog.
The monkey dog is perfect for an apartment, but it needs to be protected from heat. To be more accurate, its coat, which is harsh as well as messy, needs to be protected. The coat shouldn’t be clipped but combed, brushed, and stripped by hand now and then. An owner brave enough to enter this dog in a proper dog show, as opposed to an Ugly Dog Contest, might want to hire a professional groomer.
Learn more about the affenpinscher here.
1. Dogue de Bordeaux
Can you think of a dog whose bite is worse than a pit bull? Actually, there are a few dogs who fit the bill, and one of them is the Dogue de Bordeaux. One of our ugliest dogs, it has a bite force of 556 pounds per square inch, which might be enough to send a pit bull cowering. Like the pit, the Dogue de Bordeaux is massively built, with a big ugly head with an undershot jaw like a bulldog’s and a worried look like a Neapolitan mastiff. It has a short, somewhat loose coat and strong legs and hindquarters. The Dogue de Bordeaux was trained in France to be a guardian and hunt game, but now and then it was used to bait bulls.
Not only is this dog huge and ugly, but it also drools all the time. Standing 23 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 80 and 100 pounds, it makes a superlative watchdog yet is devoted and gentle, especially with the family’s children. Astonishingly, it’s a good dog to have in an apartment as long as it gets walkies and exercise. Most, unfortunately, the Dogue de Bordeaux only lives five to eight years.
To learn more about the Dogue de Bordeaux, go here.
Runner Up: The Hairless Terrier (Ugly Rat Dog)
In a recent Youtube video, an American hairless terrier was nicknamed an “ugly rat dog.” While it’s certainly not kind to call one’s dog an ugly rat dog, the American hairless terrier can qualify as a runner-up on our list of the ugliest dog breeds. Interestingly, the first one was born into a litter of rat terriers. A couple ended up with this unusual pup and loved the fact that because it was hairless, it couldn’t get fleas, and was not a shedding dog. The couple had their dog bred with its original father, and from there, the American hairless terrier breed came about.
While some may cry “ugly rat dog” or just plain “ugly,” the hairless trait is not all that’s actually attractive about this breed. American hairless terriers are friendly, and intelligent, and get along great with children. They also do well in families that desire more than one dog. They are also highly inquisitive dogs, but this can get them into trouble. American hairless terriers tend to be barkers, and you’d need to be careful to protect their skin from too much time in direct sunlight, as their skin can sunburn.
Summary of the 10 Ugliest Dog Breeds
Here is a summary of the top 10 ugliest dog breeds:
|10.||Chinese Crested Dog|
|3.||American Pit Bull Terrier|
|1.||Dogue de Bordeaux|
Ugliest Mixed Breed Dogs
Some ugly dogs don’t fit into one traditional breed but are a combination of two or more types of canine. Many winners of the highest accolade of ugliness, the Sonoma-Marin Fair’s annual Ugliest Dog Contest, have been mixed breeds or mutts. Some breed pairings that have yielded champion pooches in this competition have been Chinese Crested + Chihuahua, Beagle + Boxer + Bassett Hound, Pitbull + Dutch Shepard, Chinese Crested + Japanese Chin, and Shih Tza + Chihuahua.
Honorable Mention: Other Ugly Dogs
It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what may be ugly to some, may be beautiful to others. Nothing is more true when it comes to our beloved pets. While there are many dog breeds that are undeniably beautiful, there are others that may be up for the individual’s opinion. Whether they fit your vision or not, these breeds all have their twist on what defines ugly. While they didn’t make the top ten, they still deserve a mention.
- Bedlington Terrier – this small dog, native to Northeast England, was originally bred to be a hunting dog and has an average life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years. They can weigh between 17 and 23 pounds and stand between 15 to 18 inches. They have fluffy, pear-shaped heads that are the hallmark of the breed. These energetic, friendly dogs do not shed and have often been compared in appearance to a lamb.
- Xoloitzcuintli – this breed is more commonly known as the Mexican hairless dog and although they are generally bald, there are some that have short coats or hair on their heads that may look like little mohawks. They are recognized as the National Dog of Mexico and still have a pure lineage, which contributes to their long lifespan, which can be up to 18 years, although averages are around 15. They come in three sizes that range from 10 to 55 pounds, with a height range of 9 to 26 inches.
- Pekingese – originating in China, these compact, stocky toy dogs can weigh up to 14 pounds and stand six to nine inches tall. They are a brachycephalic breed, with smooshed flat faces that hold large, prominent eyes, and have limbs that may be slightly bowed. This breed was once the favored companion dog of royalty in the Chinese Imperial court.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Aleksandr Zotov
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