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Dog ownership around the world is growing, but in the West, we're used to seeing mostly the same breeds, the popular American dogs, everywhere.
However, if you’re looking to adopt a dog that's unique and a little unusual in its appearance, the below-mentioned strangest dog breeds will have you and those around you doing a double take.
These breeds are not only strange and unique looking but also extremely rare.
They come from parts of the world that get the least attention in the Western media, including news and films, and thus we see much less of them.
For future adopters, that also means they're much more expensive to buy, difficult to find, and complicated to bring to the U.S.
Moreover, some of these strangest dogs have a fascinating history.
For example, the first on the list, Xoloitzcuintle dog, may look like a rebellious punk-rock teenager of today rocking a two-color Mohawk, but they're actually an ancient breed whose name is derived from an Aztec language (and is actually spelled xōlōitzcuintli, meaning god Xolotl).
So if you're looking to adopt one of these dogs, read up on their history as well – it's fascinating.
10 of the Strangest Dog Breeds on the Planet
1. Xoloitzcuintle (Xoloitzcuintli)
Well, this dog has a name that’s even weirder than its appearance – Xoloitzcuintle sometimes referred to as Xoloitzcuintli or simply Xolo.
And just how on earth do you pronounce that? There is another name for this breed of dog, and that’s the Mexican hairless.
Obviously, that’s because this dog just hasn’t got any hair.
These dogs have a long history with Mexico, and at one time, they were said to be sacred.
Xoloitzcuintle are so unique thanks to the fact that they are hairless, but they also have a long neck, gorgeous almond eyes, and their body is super sleek.
2. Bedlington Terrier
At first glance, you may think that you are actually looking at a little lamb, but in reality, this is, in fact, a dog.
Bedlington Terriers, one of the cutest dog breeds, are also sweet, and they make great family pets.
They have a head that resembles a pear, their ears are triangular, and their coat is curly.
These dogs are so docile it’s hard to imagine that they were first bred to be fighters.
The breed has long fur on the head and also the legs but shorter fur on the rest of the body.
There is a reason for this, and it’s because they were used to hunt vermin.
The shorter the fur, the better, but it definitely makes them one of the strangest breeds on the planet.
The Affenpinscher is a gorgeous-looking dog and has the nickname Monkey.
It’s not hard to see why they’re known as monkeys.
They really do look like one, both in appearance and also personality.
These are cheeky little dogs. The body of this breed is like a terrier and has shaggy fur.
The face is just so cute and looks like it’s squashed in.
The Affenpinscher's unique appearance is what makes it one of the strongest dog breeds.
This dog also resembles a little lion, as the fur is thicker around the chest than it is around the rest of the body, making it look like a lion’s mane.
This breed of dog comes in many colors, including gray, black, tan, beige, red, and silver.
The Puli is another breed of dog with dreadlocks, and out of all the strangest dog breeds, this is probably the best known.
The dreadlocks on the Puli are known as cords, and these cords will start to appear on the dog when he is around 9 months old.
This breed will need regular grooming to keep the coat the way it should be, and the cords will need to be separated to prevent them from getting tangled up and matted.
You may think when looking at a Puli, that the coat is heavy, but it’s not.
It really is lightweight.
These dogs are quite the athletes too.
They are very agile and are also light in weight.
This dog is quite often called the “little lion dog.”
They are just so amazing!
Lowchens really do look like little lions and can measure between seven and thirteen inches in height.
This breed of dog doesn’t have an undercoat, and the hair should never be allowed to curl.
Lowchens are very intelligent dogs, great for apartment living, and are also very friendly.
They would make a great family pet.
The when is the rarest dog in the world.
Not only is the Lowchen one of the strangest dog breeds, but it's also the most expensive breed too.
So if you have the money, and you can actually find one, a Lowchen would make a lovable little pet.
6. Cambodian Razorback Dog
An extremely rare breed, this dog may not look like one of the strangest dog breeds, but it has a very large razor of hair right down its back.
They are tropical dogs, and their coats are long, which isn’t usually the case for a dog living in a tropical climate. Dogs that live in warm locations usually have short coats.
This breed of dog can be found all over Cambodia, and they don’t seem to be affected by their long coats.
They don’t overheat, which is quite unusual.
These dogs are very territorial, but they are quiet dogs and don’t bark unless there is a real need to.
7. Lagotto Romagnolo
This dog is unique, as it is said to be hypoallergenic and has thick hair that’s curly and woolen.
They also have a double coat, which requires regular grooming and occasional trims.
Lagotto Romagnolo dogs have a special talent for searching for truffles.
Originally pigs used to search for truffles, but this breed of dog is gradually taking over the role.
This is a great breed of dog and would make an awesome pet for anybody.
They are generally healthy, enjoy walks, and play there with their owners.
Lagotta Romagnolo dogs are also very intelligent, making them easy to train.
These dogs really are adorable little companions, despite being one of the strongest dog breeds.
This breed of dog is covered in dreadlocks, but not the dreadlocks that come in the form of cords.
This breed of dog has dreadlocks that are known as felts.
There are three different types of coat on the Bergamasco, and it really is very thick.
It can also very easily mat.
The mats begin at the spine and work their way down to the flanks.
This is certainly one of the strangest dog breeds, but they aren’t born with these mats.
They are born with smooth fur, which is short, but eventually, the mats appear.
This is why this breed of dog looks so unique.
9. Chinese Crested
Some people think this breed of dog is ugly, but they really are adorable little dogs.
They are totally hairless except for the top of their head and also the tail and paws.
Chinese Crested dogs have a unique appearance, which is what earns them a spot on our list of the strangest dog breeds.
They hardly have any fur, which means they are sensitive to the sun.
Sunscreen will need to be used.
They also need regular baths, and you will need to apply moisturizing cream to their skin to prevent infections and dry skin conditions.
If you don't mind snuggling with this hairless wonder, a Chinese Crested makes a great companion.
They are playful and affectionate.
This breed would make a great companion animal.
10. Neapolitan Mastiff
This is one strange-looking dog, and the reason for this is the loose skin that folds over the face.
They have wrinkles all over but more so around the head and face.
You will need to spend time cleaning between the folds to prevent any skin issues from developing.
For a dog with a short coat, a Neapolitan Mastiff requires a lot of grooming.
The Neapolitan Mastiff has had a starring role in Harry Potter (yes, a Neapolitan Mastiff was Fang).
Their size is another quality that makes them one of the strongest dog breeds.
They're HUGE! If you want to adopt this breed, you better have a lot of room for him to roam.
Strangest Dog Breeds: Before You Go
Many of the strangest dog breeds are frequently adapted to their particular habitats.
This indicates they have a use in the real world that explains their special traits.
For instance, the Bergamasco Shepherd's thick, matted fur provides protection from wolves and gives the look of a dreadlocked sheep.
Sometimes they will exhibit unusual characteristics unrelated to their physical appearance.
But in most cases, you can at least determine what specific aesthetic or functional function each distinctive aspect serves.