At A Glance
From dreadlocked hair to exaggerated features, there are many types of exotic dog breeds worldwide. Whether you’re looking for a pet for competitions or to one-up your neighbor, we have the complete list.
But here are some things to should know before buying an exotic canine:
Last Updated on: August 3, 2023
Mexican Hairless Dog
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Basset Griffon Vendéen
Karelian Bear Dog
Frequently Asked Questions
Some breeds are more common than others because they are fairly easy to care for and require little to no maintenance. However, there is a thrill to bringing home a dog that will turn heads in your neighborhood.
Exotic dogs are rarely found, have unique features, or come from rich lineages. While having such pets is a rarity, there’s a lot to consider. For instance, their grooming needs, activity levels, and health conditions.
Whether you’re just curious about exotic dog breeds or want to bring one home, you’ve come to the right place. This list covers the top exotic dog breeds that may rarely be found in your neighborhood, state, or country.
One of the oldest Hungarian herding dogs, the Mudi was originally bred to herd sheep and cattle on farms. It is a medium-sized breed and is thought to be a mix of the Puli, Pumi, and German Spitz breeds. This cross between so many varying breeds makes it one of the world’s rarest and most exotic dog breeds.
Overall, the Mudi is agreeable and gets along well with people, children, and other pets. It is intelligent and energetic and needs lots of physical and mental stimulation.
However, Mudis are not suitable for apartment or city life, as they’re used to life on farmlands.
Also known as Xoloitzcuintli, the Mexican Hairless Dog is the first dog in the Americas with a history that dates back to 3,000 years ago. The ancient Aztecs considered them sacred and even buried them beside their owners to protect and guide them in the afterlife.
Despite their intimidating appearance, Xolos are affectionate dogs. They have a low-maintenance, hypoallergenic coat and are available in toy, mini, and standard sizes. They’re also brilliant, energetic, and alert breeds that make excellent watchdogs.
The Bergamasco Shepherd is an ancient Italian Sheepdog breed with a 7,000-year-old history in Persia. Its hair grows into cords as it grows, giving it a shaggy look. The breed’s unique coat protects it from predators and regulates body temperature in the cold.
Bergamascos are highly intelligent and attentive dog breeds with gentle personalities. However, they’re also quite independent, so they’re best paired with experienced pet parents.
Named after a fictional character, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier originated in the 1700s in the border Counties and Scotland. It is a small-sized breed with a weasel-like body.
Unlike most small breeds, Dandie Dinmonts aren’t too hyper. They are intelligent and energetic and make great pets for homes with small children. However, they’re independent dogs, so keeping them in a securely fenced area is a must.
The Azawakh is one of the exotic big dog breeds from the Sighthound family. It originates from West Africa, where it has hunted prey like wild boar, antelope, and hare for thousands of years.
Its lean body and fine legs allow it to sprint at amazing speeds without being injured. Azawakhs need moderate physical and mental stimulation, but if given a chance, they’ll sprint away. This is something inexperienced pet parents must keep in mind.
Also known as Tarsus Catalburun, the Turkish Pointer is an exotic and rare breed. It is native to the Tarsus region in Turkey and is popular for its fork-like nose and excellent tracking/pointing abilities.
Turkish Pointers are medium-sized, short-haired breeds with lots of energy. They’re also very protective of their family members but may take a while to socialize well with children and other pets.
Despite its intelligence and hunting skills, this dog breed isn’t very popular – it’s not even recognized by AKC. This is mainly because of its aggressive prey drive, which only the best trainers can control.
The Bedlington Terrier is a medium-sized dog originating from the Northumberland mining shire. Previously bred for hunting and chasing small animals, this breed is both energetic and intelligent.
Bedlington Terriers can be quite stubborn and independent despite all their best traits. And that makes them more likely to chase and run off on their own, given the opportunity. However, some positive reinforcement training can make them obedient family pets perfect for guarding your home and cuddling.
The Little Lion Dogs, or Löwchens, are one of the cutest exotic dog breeds. Originating from Germany, they have been popular breeds since the Middle Ages. Noblewomen from Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Russia also used to own.
The breed is closely related to Bichon Frises and Havanese. While it has a small body, this breed is as brave as a lion. It is also affectionate, playful, and easy to train, making it one of the best tiny exotic dogs for families with children.
As its name suggests, the Otterhound is an otter-hunting dog from medieval Europe. The Otterhound is an exotic dog and quite rare (more extinct than the Giant Panda).
These large dogs have a shaggy and dense coat, webbed feet, and an acute sense of smell. All of which makes it the best swimmer. Their otter-hunting past makes them one of the most energetic breeds that need lots of physical stimulation.
At the same time, they’re open, friendly, affectionate, and easy to train.
A cross between Scandinavian Spitz and Welsh Corgis, the Swedish Vallhund was originally developed as cattle dogs and all-purpose farmhands. This Swedish breed is one of the small exotic dog breeds that is supposedly an original species.
Swedish Vallhund are smaller than Corgis, with their long and low build. They need moderate exercise and have medium vocals, so expect some expressive barking if you’re planning to get a Vallhund.
Like the Vallhund, the Lapphund is also native to Sweden and bred for its herding and guarding abilities. This breed is also said to have played an important role in the reindeer trade.
Although vocal, Lapphunds make great companion dogs for families. They’re easy to train, social, and playful. They’re medium-energy dogs that need mental stimulation.
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen (GBGV) was initially bred to hunt small prey. It eventually evolved in the Vendée region of France to adapt to the region’s thorny and rocky terrain.
The GBGV has a small to medium build, short legs, and a shaggy coat that sheds moderately. Overall, it’s a great option for families that can provide it with an active lifestyle and a loving home.
The breed is available in many colors, but black and white is the most sought-after colored coat.
The Exotic Bully is one of the newest exotic dog breeds in the world. They’re similar to the American Bully, except they have a lower-slung body and shorter muzzles.
And just like their predecessors, despite their intimidating and serious appearance, these dogs are cuddly companions deeply affectionate towards their owners. Exotic Bullies don’t have a breed standard set as of yet. As a result, they aren’t recognized by AKC or the United Kennel Club (UKC).
As the name suggests, this exotic dog breed originates from Slovakia. The breed is a descendant of the Arctic wolves and is a mountain dog employed for its guarding and herding capabilities.
Slovak Cuvacs, also known as Slovensky Covacs, are social, intelligent, and affectionate, but they also like their independence. They can be quite stubborn if not trained right because they have strong instincts. This is why the Slovak Cuvac is best handled by an experienced pet trainer.
Originating in northwest Europe, the Karelian Bear Dog is one of the most sturdily built and hardworking breeds on this list. Although it is a medium-sized dog, the Karelian has sharp senses and a sturdy build, allowing it to easily hunt big game.
At home, they are the perfect pets. With proper and regular training, dog owners can consider competing with them in dog sports and other competitions. Although its name suggests a bear-like appearance, the Karelian looks more like a wolf.
The Puli is a small to medium-sized herding breed from Hungary. Its coat is very similar to that of a Mudi. However, Puli’s coats are not just corded but also curly and come in two layers, which makes them relatively high maintenance.
Pulis are headstrong, intelligent, independent, and not easy to control or train. While they are deeply affectionate, they are also highly protective of their family and wary of strangers.
Lancashire Heeler is an exotic small dog breed originating from England. It is one of the few breeds on the list that are also endangered.
Previously bred as herding dogs, the Heelers are now popular competitive dogs. But with enough exercise, quality time, and the right training, Lancashire Heelers can also be great additions to families, as they are one of the child-friendly breeds.
The Pachón Navarro originates from Spain and has a history of hunting small animals and birds.
Its large body and high stamina and strength make them a great candidate if you want an agile and active companion. And while they will make great watchdogs for your home, they don’t do well in apartments or tiny homes.
If you plan on bringing this breed home, ensure you have enough open space for zoomies.
The Azawakh, Löwchen, Xoloitzcuintli, and Puli (among others) are some of the exotic breeds resulting from years of mixing and cross-breeding.
However, their origins are not well known because these breeds have been developed for years – possibly centuries.
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