11 Exotic Dog Breeds in the World

Exotic Dog Breeds

When you think of dogs, the usual suspects pop into mind: German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Pug, French Bulldog, Spaniels, and the like. But there are plenty of exotic dogs out there that deserve awareness, too. 

The most exotic dog breeds in the world tend to come from faraway places, or they are a rare breed that you don’t see very commonly because they are only bred by a select few. Their features aren’t necessarily all that unique, but they are, and owning one is sure to turn a few heads, especially since they’re not regularly seen. 

If you’ve wanted to step outside the box of the regularly owned dog, there are certainly a few exotic dog breeds that you can look into, but make sure, above all, that they fit your lifestyle and have a temperament that you can work with. 

Exotic Dog Breeds

There are quite a few dogs considered the most exotic breeds in the world because their ownership levels aren’t high. Let’s take a look at our top 11.

1. Bergamasco Shepherd

exotic dogs

The Bergamasco Shepherd, also known as the Bergamasco Sheepdog, is a truly unique-looking dog. It’s not commonly seen outside of Italy, which is where it was initially bred to work as a herding dog.

If you look at its unique coat, you’ll notice that it looks as though it has dreads and rocks, a shaggy look. However, it naturally mats to protect it from the elements so it can remain outside with its flock through all seasons. 

Despite the pup’s rugged appearance, the Bergamasco Shepherd is a very sweet pup that is extremely loyal and affectionate with its people. They bond very easily with their dog owners and get along with other pets and other animals. Out of the list of exotic dog breeds, this one tops the list of the most exotic dog breeds in the world.

HEIGHT22″ to 23.5″
WEIGHT57 to 84 pounds
PERSONALITYPatient, loyal, intelligent, and affectionate

2. Caucasian Shepherd Dog

most exotic dog breeds

If you’re looking for a big floofy breed, you’ll appreciate the Caucasian Shepherd. This breed is one of the types of Shepherd dogs and was originally bred in the Caucasus region, a transcontinental region located between the Caspian and Black Seas, to protect livestock from predators. 

The Caucasian Shepherd is known for being fearless and can be prone to aggression if they are not trained and socialized from an early age. It has a dense double coat that not only provides protection from the elements but also allows it to stay outside for lengthy periods in various weather conditions. 

HEIGHT23″ to 30″
WEIGHT99 to 170 pounds
PERSONALITYKind, devoted, fearless, self-confident

3. Mudi

Mudi

If you’ve ever seen a Mudi, you might think it resembles a Border Collie, and it does have similarities in appearance, but a Mudi is more like a terrier. It’s a true working dog, bred to herd cattle and sheep, and energetic. 

But if you don’t have a farm or a ranch, you can tame its need for ample exercise with dog sports, including agility, which it excels at. Make sure it gets enough exercise because it can develop destructive behaviors if it doesn’t. This pup makes a great companion when indoors if you satisfy its energy needs and provide the mental stimulation it needs.

Another claim the Mudi holds is that it is recognized as one of the best search-and-rescue dogs in the US and Finland. The Mudi’s coat is short and, in terms of grooming, low-maintenance

HEIGHT15″ to 18.5″
WEIGHT18 to 29 pounds
PERSONALITYAlert, protective, loyal

4. Basenji 

Basenji dog

The Basenji is one of the most unique pups on our list for one reason — it’s barkless because of the shape of its larynx. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make any sounds. Rather, it creates a unique yodeling or chortling sound. 

The Basenji was originally bred to be a hunting dog, but today, it’s settled into its role as a companion dog. It’s a playful, affectionate, and loyal dog. It’s more like a cat, grooming itself regularly, and with its short coat, you won’t have to do much other than brush it weekly to keep shedding in line. 

HEIGHT16″ to 17″
WEIGHT22 to 24 pounds
PERSONALITYCatlike, affectionate, confident, playful, intelligent

5. Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Dog)

exotic dog

One of the hairless dog breeds, the Xoloitzcuintli Dog, or the Xolo for short, is an ancient Aztec dog, a 3,000-year-old breed that comes in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. Its skin is super thick, much more like a cow’s hide than the typical skin you see on other dogs. 

The Xolo tends to be low energy, but it is a very cheerful dog that is happy to play games, though it doesn’t need active owners to thrive. This dog breed bonds very closely with its people and prefers to be around them.

They are very good with older children, but younger children can present a challenge. Make sure to teach them how to handle dogs appropriately.

One of the most exotic dog breeds, it also has a high prey drive, so bear this in mind if you have other animals in the home.

HEIGHTToy – 10″ to 14″ Miniature – 14″ to 18″ Standard – 18″ to 23″
WEIGHTToy – 10 to 15 pounds, Miniature – 15 to 30 pounds, Standard – 30 to 55 pounds 
PERSONALITYCheerful, calm, protective

6. Puli

exotic breeds

The Puli is very light on its feet and extremely agile. So much so that it’s earned a reputation as the “acrobat dog of the world.” This breed has a unique coat that forms cords, and it very much looks like a walking, barking mop. You can let them grow naturally or brush them out; either way, it’s a high-maintenance task you’ll need to undertake. 

Socialization and training are a must because these dogs are so confident and protective that they won’t hesitate to bite. They can also be manipulative and are very strong-willed, so the earlier you start training, the better.

I recommend that only dog owners with experience leading a strong-willed pup adopt this one of the rare dog breeds. 

HEIGHT16″ to 17″
WEIGHT25 to 35 pounds
PERSONALITYObedient, loyal, playful, intelligent

7. Borzoi

most exotic dogs

Borzoi, also referred to as Russian Wolfhounds, come from — where else — Russia. This breed is super fast and agile, and it was bred to be so it would succeed as a hunting dog, which it does. Rather than rats or birds, however, the Borzoi hunt larger game, such as wolves. It has a short coat that doesn’t require much in the way of grooming.

You might think that because they’re fast and agile, they have high exercise needs, but you’d be wrong. This exotic dog breed is actually very laid back, believe it or not. They are excellent companion dogs and need to be around people, including their favorite family members.

As an added bonus, the Borzoi is super gentle and thrives around children. 

HEIGHT26″ to 28″ and up
WEIGHT60 to 105 pounds
PERSONALITYDignified, loyal, affectionate, intelligent

8. Tibetan Mastiff

exotic dog breed

One of the Mastiff dog breeds, the Tibetan Mastiff, is considered to be one of the most expensive in the world. It’s also huge and fluffy, and some can actually resemble a lion with their fluffy manes.

This thick double coat keeps them warm and also makes them look even bigger than they are, but it’s a great deterrent, and underneath, it is a sturdy build. While it’s a big dog, there’s at least one that trumps this breed — the Saint Bernard. 

This breed originated in Tibet, where they serve as livestock guardians. Their size and aloofness make them excellent guard dogs, and they will need proper socialization to keep aggression in check.

Since the Tibetan Mastiff is independent, it does well on its own, even in the cold. However, it will bond with its family and is known to be affectionate and gentle.

HEIGHT24″ and up
WEIGHT70 to 150 pounds
PERSONALITYIndependent, reserved, gentle

9. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

most exotic dog

The Danie Dinmont Terrier is an enigma in its looks. For example, it has a Poodle poof on its head, a long body reminiscent of a dachshund, and the wiry hair of a terrier. This is one of the rarest dog breeds, and here’s a fun fact: its name comes from a fictional character, and it’s the only one in the American Kennel Club with such an honor.

It hails from the British Isles and is rarely seen outside of that region. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is popular with farmers, and one of the reasons they were bred is to hunt rats. 

Though it’s a terrier, it doesn’t have the typical high energy levels they do. Rather, it’s very calm, but does need to go on daily walks to prevent weight gain. Despite their size, they make excellent watchdogs because their bark is that of a giant dog, and they won’t hesitate to let you know when someone is nearby.

One thing to note about the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is that it is a dog that typically bonds with one person; it’s not a pack animal. If you travel a lot and cannot take it with you, this medium-sized breed isn’t the right one for you.

HEIGHT8″ to 11″
WEIGHT18 to 24 pounds
PERSONALITYProud, independent, calm

10. Chinese Crested

exotic bred

If ever there was a cute dog that drew attention from the get-go, it would be the Chinese Crested Dog. Don’t let its name fool you; this dog seems to have come from Mexico and other Latin American countries rather than the Asian nation.

It’s also believed to be hairless, and while some of them are, it’s not true of all of them. In fact, there are Chinese Crested dogs born with a furry coat, as well, and they can actually even be part of the same litter. 

Some mistakenly believe that the hairless variety — or even the ones with fur — require little upkeep. As with every dog, that’s simply not true. This friendly dog is extremely social. It will need regular grooming to keep it healthy. This includes baths, trimming their crests on top of their heads, and keeping their nails trimmed. 

HEIGHT11″ to 13″
WEIGHT8 to 12 pounds
PERSONALITYAffectionate, lively, alert

11. Saluki

exotic breed

The Saluki is definitely considered an exotic dog, and it’s also one of the oldest. Its heritage dates back as far as 7000 BC Egypt, where it was bred to hunt larger animals such as gazelle, antelope, wild boar, fox, and hare.

This is a very energetic breed and will require active owners who will provide regular exercise opportunities. For example, it typically excels at sports such as lure coursing and flyball. 

In terms of its people, the Saluki is loyal to a fault. It develops very strong bonds with its owner. In fact, in ancient Egypt, it’s said that they were often mummified with their owners to join them in the afterlife.

The Saluki is the second-fastest dog in the world, second only to the Greyhound. With its high prey drive, it’s not recommended that you have this exotic dog breed in a home with small animals.

HEIGHT23″ to 28,” females are smaller
WEIGHT40 to 65 pounds
PERSONALITYGentle, dignified, independent

FAQs

What’s the Most Exotic Dog?

The Bergamasco Shepherd is the most exotic dog in the world. Its name comes from a town in the Alps, Bergamo. There are very few registered in the world.

What’s the Most Unique Dog Breed?

This would probably be the Xoloitzcuintli, the Mexican hairless dog. It has no fur, and its skin is more like leather to keep it safe from elements and predators. Some also consider the Chinese Crested to be the most unique because some have fur while some don’t. 

What Is the Most Expensive Exotic Dog in the World?

This honor of the most expensive of the exotic dog breeds belongs to the Tibetan Mastiff, which can cost up to $10,000. But do you want to hear something really crazy? The most expensive one, a red Tibetan Mastiff named Big Splash, sold for around $1.5 million

Big Splash was purchased in China in 2011 at the Zhejiang expo by a developer who had hopes of breeding the dog, as well.

Conclusion

Owning most exotic dog breeds means you have to understand their unique traits and living needs. They’re often not like other dogs and have special requirements, though some are just generally low-maintenance.

As with any breed, make sure you take a good look at the lifestyle you’d have to provide, such as a fenced yard, before you adopt.

Christina Drury
Meet Christina Drury, a dedicated animal enthusiast, and proud pet parent. She has a deep-rooted affection for all creatures, and Christina has called the Buckeye State home for the past four years. As a seasoned writer, she possesses a versatile writing style that spans various niches, yet her heart truly belongs to animals. With her innate connection and expertise, Christina is committed to crafting engaging and insightful content for animal-related issues.

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