While there are extreme differences between even the most commonly kept domestic dogs, such as the Great Dane, the Labrador Retriever and Chihuahua, the vast majority of our domestic dogs have more in common than they have differences... Traits such as the number of toes, the fur of the coat, and their related genetic makeup and historical origins.
However, there are a few dog breeds in the world that are considered to be significantly different to most other dogs, due to either a specific physical characteristic, or the uniqueness of some part of their genetic makeup.
Intrigued? Read on to learn about Seven highly unusual dog breeds with unique and uncommon traits.
The Catahoula Leopard dog is one of the most unusual dogs you have probably never heard of! They are believed to have been in existence in a form very similar to their current appearance for thousands of years, and were highly prized historically by Native American Indians for their hunting abilities. The Catahoula Leopard dog’s most unique trait, however, is its ability to climb trees, something that virtually no other dog breed is capable of!
The Chinese Crested dog comes in two varieties; with fur, and hairless. The hairless version is almost indisputably the most unusual looking dog in the world, with its bald body, spotted skin and signature tufts of hair over the eyes and on the tail. The hairless version of the Chinese Crested dog comes about due to a genetic anomaly, and most litters of Chinese Crested dogs will contain a variety of both hairless and furry dogs. The hairless versions, but not their furry siblings, also often lack a full set of premolar teeth as well as being rather light in the hair department! The hairless Chinese Crested dog also enjoys the dubious distinction of having been voted as “the world’s ugliest dog.”
The Norwegian Lundehund may look like the average dog at a glance, but they possess a range of unusual features that set them apart! They have unusual joints in the neck and shoulder that allow them to tip their foreheads all the way back onto the neck, and also stretch all four of their legs straight out to front and back.
They can also consciously close off their ear canals to keep water and dirt out, which is useful as they are keen swimmers. They are also adept climbers and as surefooted as goats, having been used historically to hunt Puffins on the sheer cliffs of their native country.
The Puli certainly causes a stir wherever they go! The hair of these dogs is their defining feature, as it naturally forms itself into dreadlocks that are totally waterproof and do not shed. Left untrimmed, their dreadlocks can grow long enough to reach the floor, and so require regular trimming and grooming. The Puli was highly prized as a livestock dog in Hungary, and dogs of the breed would change hands for significant sums of money; sometimes as much as a whole year’s wages for the average shepherd!
The Xoloitzcuintli is a hairless dog that has an ancestry so long that it was actually worshipped by the Aztecs in its home country of Mexico. The Xoloitzcuintli is very uncommon outside of its home country, and in the lands bordering Mexico and the USA, the Xoloitzcuintli’s unusual appearance has actually caused it to be mistaken for various mythical and legendary beasts when glimpsed in passing by those unfamiliar with the dogs!
The Carolina dog may seem to have a fairly familiar Spitz-type appearance, but the secret of the Carolina dog’s unusual trait lies within its genetic makeup. They are believed to be one of the oldest species of dogs in the world, sharing genetic traits with the Australian dingo, and appearing in early Native American cave paintings that are believed to be thousands of years old. The Carolina dog is considered to be a primitive dog breed that has not evolved into the role of the domestic dog fully, and so it is uncommon to see the Carolina dog being kept as a pet within a home environment by all but the most experienced of keepers.
At a glance, the Peruvian Inca Orchid may appear to look like a completely bald version of the hairless Chinese Crested dog, but the two breeds are completely unrelated. Folklore in their native Peru says that hugging a Peruvian Inca Orchid can help to treat stomach problems, and a range of other minor ills! They do not drool, and when they pant, their tongues stay inside of their mouths, which is one of the more uncommon traits of the breed. They also have a superior sense of smell, and can be trained as truffle dogs to scent out exotic and expensive fungus!