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Five Ugly Dog Breeds

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

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Are There Really Any Ugly Dogs?

Finding an ugly dog is like finding an ugly baby—someone, somewhere, thinks the baby is cute! All I can do is present a list of dogs I personally think are ugly. You might agree, but if you have chosen to give a home to one of these breeds you probably think I don't know what I am talking about.

Maybe I don't. These ugliest dog breeds are subjective. Here's a list of my favorite ugly dogs.

A Neapolitan Mastiff. Mom loves this face.

A Neapolitan Mastiff. Mom loves this face.

Neapolitan Mastiff

A lot of dog owners will recognize this dog from the Harry Potter movies, and I have even included a short clip from that film. If you are looking for unusual ugliness, excessive drooling, “cherry eye” with eyelids rolling in and out, and a long body that weighs up to 70 kilograms (over 150 pounds), then this is the dog for you.

This is probably one of the worst-looking guard dogs, but he is certainly not right for everyone. Neapolitan Mastiffs have to be well socialized but are still not the friendliest dogs, and with their size and power are sure to push the novice dog owner around. They are a dog for someone who appreciates solitude and is looking for a companion that needs a facelift.

Most ugly dogs are small, so this dog is special in all kinds of ways. If you decide that a Neo is right for you, then find a good breeder who has the hips X-rayed and certified, the eyes checked, and genetic screening done.

Make sure that the breeder does not discriminate against ugly dogs.

A Pug.

A Pug.


The stories about Pugs being bred to keep the front-line Chinese soldiers awake during the wars against Mongolian invaders are probably not true, but this dog does have a powerfully loud snore.

This odd face caught on, and the Chinese dog has been popular in Europe for hundreds of years. Besides being so ugly that they are cute, Pugs also make good watchdogs, great family dogs, and excellent jogging partners.

(Okay, they won´t go jogging with you. Their flat faces make breathing difficult, and they are likely to collapse from heatstroke during your run.)

The best part of owning a Pug seems to be their amazing ability to wiggle their way into almost any photograph. If you have a camera on your cell phone or have purchased a digital camera, own lots of props, and are looking for a photogenic dog that will make every shot you take amusing, be sure to get out there and find a Pug!

An Affenpinscher.

An Affenpinscher.


This little dog is an almost-ugly-champion, and might actually win some of the ugly contests if he did not have to compete against those pesky Chinese Cresteds and an occasional Brussels Griffon. Even the name Affenpinscher means “monkey dog,” and I don't think it comes from some cute little Squirrel Monkey! It more likely refers to some ugly little monkey sitting on an organ grinder, wearing a small red top hat.

This dog is small, wiry, with a harsh coat and legs that are normal but just don't appear to be correct. He is only about 10 inches tall and anywhere from 6–15 pounds. His ugliest feature is his face, of course. He looks angry, maybe upset that he has not been able to find any mice or rats, or perhaps just mad about his house being overrun with visitors.

The great thing about the little monkey dog is that he does not shed much. The dog has a rough coat, but of course, you can get a Miniature Schnauzer or West Highland Terrier who will not leave hairs all over your house. All dogs shed, at least a little, and the Affenpinscher is no exception. They have some health problems and are not a long-lived breed, but although they are not the most popular little dogs they always seem to be around, so someone out there must love them!

A Brussels Griffon. Have you ever woke up and felt like this?

A Brussels Griffon. Have you ever woke up and felt like this?

Brussels Griffon

This little Belgian dog was originally bred to chase rodents, and his face is definitely scary enough to rid your house of any rats.

Someone has to be very dedicated in order to own one of these little dogs. Besides being subject to heatstroke, like all little smush-faced dogs (don't buy this dog if you want a jogging partner), the Brussels Griffon is also affected with a disease called syringomyelia, which is a disease where the dogs have pockets of fluid in the spinal column. They may be fine, may be in pain when still young, or may start out fine and only develop symptoms later when they have become part of the family.

Brussels owners love their ugly dogs for their great heart and personality, and most multi-dog families are amazed that this small dog is so interested in dominating larger dogs. If you decide to keep one of these dogs, you need to be careful she does not get in fights and suffer from eye injuries. They are prone to scratches on the cornea, lens luxations, cataracts, and glaucoma.

This breed is not recommended around families, especially with small children. If you want an ugly little “one-man dog,” however, a Griffon is a great choice.

Not all Chinese Cresteds look like this.

Not all Chinese Cresteds look like this.

Chinese Crested

This dog is the champion of ugly. It has won the Worlds Ugliest Dog competition in California almost every year, despite some fierce competition from breeds of dogs that don't always make the lists. Why do so many judges think this dog is ugly? The crooked teeth, straggly beard, and hairless body are powerful statements during the judging. Even their feet are unusual, more like a rabbit's foot than a dog's.

Okay, in all fairness, not all Chinese Cresteds are hairless and ugly. The hairless trait that makes these dogs so unusual is actually an incomplete dominant gene, and many of the Chinese Cresteds have full coats (powderpuff varieties). Not all have a few whiskers sticking out of the rough face, either. Some look worse.

If you want an ugly little dog (only about 10 pounds) that is fairly healthy and does not shed (much) and only needs skincare products (sunscreen, hypoallergenic moisturizers, and products for acne flare-ups), this breed is the way to go.

If you are fat, bald, have crooked and missing teeth, or a face only a mother could love, take a look at these breeds. All of these dogs look bad enough to make their owner look good! (Of course, by that logic you would have to be a supermodel to walk around with an Afghan hound. I don't think I would want to be seen with one!)

You´ve probably already noticed that most of these dogs are small, maybe since people seem to feel superior having an ugly little dog about the house.

Are you looking for an ugly little dog?

Questions & Answers

Question: What is the cutest dog breed?

Answer: The ugliest dog and the cutest dog are just a matter of opinion. A lot of people think little smush-faced dogs like Pugs and French Bulldogs are the cutest.

I think the Corgi is the cutest dog. Their faces are kind of normal but they look weird on their little bodies. Great combo!

You might enjoy reading this.


AJ on March 26, 2020:

I for one think Shar-pei's are adorable! But I gotta agree with you on Pugs!

Hannah on December 23, 2018:

I am a pug owner, and i have to say that they get a lot of hate. They are so sweet and each one has a different personality. They are adorable, and they are very wise. They can beg almost anything out of me with those cute faces.

Holly on April 11, 2018:

Personally, I think Pugs are cute... I was thinking about getting an Affenspincher, but I am going to get a Chihuahua instead.

I hope.

audree on January 10, 2018:

i have a Brussels griffin with may family she doesn't like other dogs but loves us

Martine on July 18, 2015:

my pug is an amazing jogging partner! Is it is not too hot or too cold outside she loves to join for a run!

Eva on February 22, 2015:

18 years is a bit old to start, but it's perfectly fine as far as the rules go. If you are tilkang aobut conformation, like you see on Animal Planet's Eukanuba Cup, 6 months is the minimum.Aside to Dane Lover:Don't tell the shelties that! I know quite a few 12 year olds that love to strut in the veterans classes! LOL Shelties don't believe in retirement. They'll herd you around at 15 years as well as 15 months. I think as long as the dog and owner are having fun, age is no obstacle. Jennifer T

belleart from Ireland on November 21, 2013:

AAAhhhh, I love them all!! soo beautiful, really puts a smile on my face :)

^^ on February 23, 2013:

I actually think that "AKC standard" Chinese Cresteds are gorgeous... That's a far cry from the ones that win the "World's Ugliest Dog" competitions, though XD

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 18, 2012:

A Brussels Griffon does not look much like a wolf, does it? Hard to believe they share any DNA.

Melissa A Smith from New York on December 17, 2012:

What humans have done to wolves through selective breeding is both amazing and appalling at the same time. I don't see the appeal of pugs.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 16, 2012:

eHealer, the funny thing about that Crested is that she is not even one of the "ugly champions". That was just a random photo taken at a gathering in Chicago. Sweet, huh?

Michelle Dee from Charlotte, NC on December 16, 2012:

I thought the second photo above was a Shar-pei.

The Mastiff is kinda cute but very very wrinkly.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 16, 2012:

Actually wetnosedogs, I think all of those wrinkles are kind of cute. Imagine telling a Shar-pei owner that their dog is ugly because of the wrinkles.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 16, 2012:

Nettlemere that is so funny, but like you said, it is in the eye of the beholder. Imagine all of those Chinese Crested owners out there telling everyone they have a cute dog.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 16, 2012:

Wow Efficient Admin, I can only imagine if I put pit bull on the list! My dog would end up seeing it and end up running off, or whatever it is bad dogs do. Good thing the Pug is on here!

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 16, 2012:

Hi Nancy "very interesting"? Did you agree with these choices?

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 16, 2012:

Thanks MJennifer, this was actually pretty difficult to come up with because I agree with you about the babies and puppies. I enjoy little faces like that of the Brussels Griffon...a face only a father could love!

Marcy J. Miller from Arizona on December 16, 2012:

As someone who thinks there are far more ugly babies than ugly dogs out there, I thoroughly enjoyed this one, DrMark. As usual, you've blended good, sensible information and abundant wit in your article.

Nancy McClintock from Southeast USA on December 15, 2012:

very interesting.

Michelle Dee from Charlotte, NC on December 15, 2012:

I have to agree about the Pugs. They sure became a big hit from a Jack Nicholson movie but I never saw the appeal. To the Pug owners out there - no offense. I think pit bulls are really cute dogs but some people think they are ugly.

Nettlemere from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on December 15, 2012:

Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. My vet was mortified years ago when his young son on seeing my greyhound said "Dad that dog is really ugly." I love the sighthound look, but clearly it's not for everyone!

wetnosedogs from Alabama on December 15, 2012:

aw, hurray for ugly! My favorite out of that bunch is the mastiff. Deep down, you know that dog is not really ugly. :)

Deborah from Las Vegas on December 15, 2012:

Hey DrMark, another great hub! That crested is really ugly, I read they were breed as lap dogs to warm the arthritis pain in their owner's knees. They have high temperatures despite their hairlessness. Great and voted up, pinned, and facebooked.