Not to be confused with the Peruvian hairless dog. The Xoloitzcuintle, also known as the Xolo or the Mexican hairless dog, takes the cake as one of the strangest in dog breeds. This pooch comes in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy (9-26 inches tall). The name comes from the god Xoloti, which means “dog” in Nahuati.
Unfortunately Spanish accounts from the 16thth Century tell of these dogs that are served as food during Aztec trade festivals. In 1999, a genetic study was conducted on mitochondrial DNA from Old World and Xoloitzcuintle dogs which found the DNA sequences to be identical.
Ceramic sculptures of hairless dogs, one of the oldest dog breeds in existence, have been excavated in ancient Mayan and Toltec tombs in western Mexico. Unfortunately, in ancient times, these dogs were often sacrificed when their owners died and then buried with them to act as guides on their journey into the underworld.
Fortunately, these dogs today enjoy a place on both the American Kennel Club and Mexican Federation Cynologique Internationale registries.
Fun Fact: A CGI animation movie star named Xolo named Dante is the main character in the 2017 Disney / Pixar American film Coco.
2. Bergamasco Shepherd
Another strange looking breed, this herding dog originated in the Italian Alps near Bergamo. Surprisingly, this breed of dog is the origin of the German Shepherd in the early 19th century. This dog’s claim to fame is its rich, voluminous fur that forms mats all over its body.
These copious amounts of hair are designed to protect the dog from the elements of the outdoors, as well as from predators that it might encounter while protecting its herd. This is a larger breed, weighing between 60 and 90 pounds, with the females weighing less than the males. You stand about 23 cm at the shoulder.
The Bergamasco is described as a muscular, heavy-boned, patient, attentive dog breed with good self-control, which makes them a great companion as well as good agility and obedience tests.
Fun Fact: The Bergamasco’s flat mats are called flocks and are between 1.5 and 3 inches wide.
3. Peruvian Inca orchid
The Peruvian Inca orchid is a medium-sized hairless breed that stands between 20 and 26 inches tall and weighs between 26 and 50 pounds. As an indoor dog, they need skin protection all year round to avoid both the cold in cold weather and sunburn in the summer. To prevent anxiety and destructive behavior, this high-energy breed should be exercised daily and given plenty of mental stimulation.
The life expectancy of a Peruvian Inca orchid is 11-12 years, and their litter size is generally between 3-5 puppies. As the name suggests, this breed originates from Peru and was discovered by Spanish explorers in Inca houses in the early 16th century. These Spanish explorers brought the dogs to China as gifts, and it is believed that the Chinese hoods were derived from their ancestry.
Fun fact: In Quechua, the Peruvian Inca orchid is called “calato” which means “naked”.
4. Cambodian razorback
Hailing from Cambodia, this extremely rare tropical dog has a spiky comb of hair that runs the length of its spine, giving it its distinctive name. These active, muscular, agile dogs have broad skulls and strong cheek muscles. They come in almost all colors and color combinations, including black and white, blue, brown, and fawn.
The Cambodian razorback is known as the primitive, or Pariah dog, and while they are good-natured with their own family, they can be extremely protective and territorial, making them a natural watchdog who is also happy to hunt.
Socialization at an early age is important, so experience with dogs is preferred for the Razorback owner. They stand about 20 inches tall and can weigh 60 pounds or more. Their life expectancy is 10-12 years and their litter size is generally 4-6 years.
Fun fact: the Cambodian razorback is known for screaming, yodelling, and howling.
5. Alaskan Klee Kai
The Alaskan Klee Kai is just as fun as its name! These dogs look like a Siberian Husky but in miniature form – weighing between 5 and 22 pounds and weighing between 13 and 17 inches at the shoulder. Their size and weight depend on whether it is a toy, miniature, or standard persuasion.
This intelligent, high-energy breed is particularly clean as it sheds very little and grooms itself. They blow their coat twice a year, so daily brushing is a good idea. Their name comes from an Inuit term meaning “little dog” and, unlike the Siberian Husky, they were bred to be companion animals and are therefore very trainable.
Fun fact: Klei Kai dogs don’t bark, they make a “woo-woo” sound when they’re happy and scream when they’re unhappy!
6. Brussels Griffon
This former Belgian street dog was originally bred to hunt and kill rats in stables such as Brussels, Belgium. and today makes a loving, lively addition to the family. Interestingly, the Brussels Griffon was popularized by Queen Marie Henriette, who visited Belgium annually to watch the dog shows. In modern times, the breed was popularized through the film starring Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson It couldn’t be better.
These dogs are very high in energy and bark quite a lot, so outdoor exercise time will do them very well. This sturdy little breed is roughly 10 inches tall and weighs roughly 8-10 pounds. They grow hair, not fur, which can be wiry or straight, so they need some grooming.
Fun fact: Griffons are often compared to an Ewok because of their human-like facial features.
The lively Löwchen takes its name from the German for “little lion”, as they should be as brave as a lion and also resemble one. “Little dogs with a big heart”, they are affectionately called by their people. This small breed dog weighs around 10 to 15 pounds and stands between 11 and 13 inches at the shoulder. He lives through his teenage years.
The Löwchens are considered hypoallergenic because they do not shed. They are generally friendly, healthy, and playful. They are also highly intelligent and are notable for being associated with the rich and the elite as they can be seen in many works of art from the 16’sth Century.
Fun fact: in 1973 the Lowchen was named the rarest dog in the world.