What’s cuter than a bunny with a basket full of kittens? Wrinkly dog breeds! Whether it be their faces, their bodies, or their loyal dispositions, these dogs will make you smile. Bloodhounds, Chow Chows, and Shar-peis all make you wonder whether you should pet them or fold them.
Breeding and genetics make sure these dogs come out nice and wrinkled. We wanted to know more about these cutie-pies and dug deeper to find out.
Did you know Alexander the Great played a major role in developing the Neapolitan mastiff? Or that the dog who starred in Turner and Hooch (1989) opposite Tom Hanks was a Dogue de Bordeaux?
Stay with us to learn more facts about these 10 wrinkly dogs, and you might just decide to take one home with you. We’ll help you out with that, too.
Characteristics and Skin Care of Wrinkly Dogs
In the world of canines, many wrinkly dogs stand out, boasting loose skin, folds, and furrows that tell tales of their unique charm and heritage. Here are some of the features that make them unique from other breeds.
- Wrinkled skin
- Different sizes, groups, and temperaments
- Brachycephalic (some are not)
- Sensitive to heat
- Short coats
- Low to medium energy levels
Skincare of Wrinkly Dogs
Since you can’t just shake them out like a button-down out of the dryer to de-wrinkle them, how do you take care of wrinkly dogs’ skin?
- If you remember anything, remember to keep the folds clean and dry, so bacteria won’t have a place to grow and dirt won’t settle. Use dog wipes (found in pet stores), a tepid washcloth, or sterile gauze daily.
- Since every dog is unique, ask your vet about the oiliness of your dog’s skin. You don’t want to strip essential oils, but you do want to get them clean. Bathing frequency could be anywhere from every three to six weeks. Use a dog shampoo or take them to the groomer. You can use a doggie hair dryer but also towel dry between the folds.Note: Always carefully wipe around the eyes with a soft, dry cloth.
- Check their ears for dirt and any redness, inflammation, or mites (small, black specks). Clean them, ask your vet how, every couple of weeks.
And there you have it – A quick and easy rundown of caring for your dog’s wrinkly skin.
Wrinkly Dog Breeds
Step into the world of wrinkles where every fold tells a story, and meet the dog breeds that wear their creases with pride and glory!
|Fur & color||Double-coated – Black, fawn|
With a pug’s furrowed brow full of wrinkles, he looks like he’s saying, “Is there anything I can help you with?” This breed’s short, smooth hair doesn’t require much upkeep. Weekly brushing will do them just fine (along with their other skincare). That black face mask makes them look like they just stuck their face in soot. But it’s still adorable.
Remember, as a short-faced wrinkly dog breed or brachycephalic, you need to keep them cool. When they go outside during the summer’s heat, make sure they don’t get to the point where they’re breathing heavily. They could develop respiratory problems. Play inside when necessary.
The pug is an ancient breed originating some 2,000 years ago to be companions of Chinese emperors. They preferred flat-faced breeds, and commoners could only acquire one if it was gifted. Talk about royalty…! These companion dogs are still camping out on laps today.
2. French Bulldog
|Weight||Under 28 lbs.|
|Fur & color||Single- and double-coated – 10 possible colors or color mixtures|
|Energy Level||Low to medium|
A Frenchie’s saggy jowls, erect ears, and quizzical stare make you want to scoop them up and squeeze them. In March 2023, the American Kennel Club (AKC) announced that the French bulldog was the most popular dog breed of 2022. This was monumental since the Labrador retriever had held the title for 31 consecutive years.
On a more solemn note, this wrinkly dog breed is prone to health issues like breathing problems, brain tumors, skin issues, and allergies, so twice-a-year wellness checks are necessary.
As I type this, I dog-sit a French bulldog who just had surgery for Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), which is common in the breed.
It’s basically a slipped disc from vertebral malformation. My heart breaks because he’s one of the sweetest dogs I know. He has a dog sister who’s a Great Dane, and they get along wonderfully. French bulldogs are the bomb.
3. English Bulldog
|Fur & color||Double-coated – 10 possible colors or color mixtures|
|Energy Level||Low to Medium|
This much stockier, football player-looking bulldog is, well, the number one mascot choice of over a dozen college football teams. Another fun fact is that President Warren G. Harding (1921-1923) was the only US President to own a bulldog while in office. His big boy was named Oh Boy.
In England, in the 16th century, English bulldogs were originally bred to fight bulls for sport. Thank goodness we’re out of that era. These dogs are great with kids, other dogs, cats, strangers…There’s no one they don’t like. Their distinctive underbite, wrinkled face, and squatty stature make them highly recognizable.
Wrinkly dog breeds, in general, should never live outdoors since some are brachycephalic (like this breed) and could die, not an exaggeration, if they get overheated. Not needing much exercise, you can play fetch and tug-of-war inside with them where it’s cool.
They do love being in the yard; just make sure the temperature isn’t severe. These are excellent companions with an affectionate nature who love to be with their people.
|Fur & color||Double-coated – Black & Tan, Liver & Tan, Red|
|Energy Level||Medium to High|
Their nose knows. The bloodhound, also known as St. Hubert hound, is the number one scenthound in the world. They’re so good at tracking that results are permissible in a court of law. Those long ears of theirs are for sweeping up scents from the ground to the nose.
Long before the Crusades, the bloodhound was in Europe brought from Constantinople (now Istanbul). Beginning in the 16th century, the Bloodhound was used to track humans. These muscular dogs have now been in America for over a century.
This, one of the most adorable wrinkly dog breeds out there, is extremely strong and will take long walks with you every day if you’re game.
Their loose skin is mostly on the face/head and around the neck. According to the American Bloodhound Club, the bloodhound is somewhat shy, extremely affectionate, and good with other dogs. This is one cool dude.
|Fur & color||Single-coated – Fawn, fawn brindle, red, red brindle, red fawn, red fawn brindle|
Courageous, thoughtful, devoted, and confident, the bullmastiff (one of the most misunderstood wrinkly dog breeds) will follow you to the ends of the Earth. Developed in England, bullmastiffs helped protect game on estates from poachers.
This beloved breed will need to be raised with other dogs and cats in the home since it can be wary of other dogs. Early socialization is one of the best shots; you have to have a calm dog with other animals present.
Consistent, continual training will be necessary to show your dog boundaries. Dog classes are great places for both socialization and training.
6. Basset Hound
|Height||Up to 15 inches|
|Fur & color||Double-coated – 17 possible colors or color mixtures|
With short but powerful legs, the basset hound originated in France and was bred to track rabbits. They weren’t developed for speed but for endurance. They’re said to be the second strongest scenthound in the world (behind the bloodhound).
They’re not the lovey-dovey type, but you’ll know they love you to death. They are laid-back and adore being with family. Be sure to keep those insanely long ears dry and clean, so they don’t get infected. Also, give them an area in the yard just for them to use those large paws to dig. They love it.
These droolers are loud and enjoy barking/howling, so apartment living is probably not the best living situation for a basset hounds. The basset hound is a gentle and sensitive dog breed that needs fresh food given on a schedule so they don’t become obese.
All-in-all, the greatest thing you can give this breed is love. And they’ll pay you back ten-fold. Wrinkly dog breeds should be proud to have this one on board.
7. Chow Chow
|Fur & color||Double-coated – Cream, red, cinnamon, black, blue|
Confident, devoted, and territorial, the chow chow is a breed that will be transparent with how he feels. I had one for many years and learned her/Mocha’s body language and facial expressions to know if it was a good time to cuddle or not.
Try to avoid heat-of-the-day exercise since they’re sensitive to heat and humidity. Instead, let them outside periodically for short periods and play inside when you can. Chow chows can have a rough coat (like a Husky’s – straight and coarse) or a smooth one, but both are extremely dense.
And what to do with all that hair? Bush them weekly, and during their blow/shed seasons twice a year, brush them daily. You’ll probably have enough hair to create a new dog, so if you’re worried about hair, this isn’t the dog for you.
Chow chows are loving wrinkly breeds, but always supervise them when they’re around children or other animals. They can be moody and stubborn, and if not properly trained and socialized, they can become aggressive.
If you’re okay with getting to know your chow’s moods and disposition, they can become the best companion ever. And who can resist that curly tail?
8. Neapolitan Mastiffs
|Fur & color||Double-coated – Blue, black, mahogany, tawny|
Wrinkles everywhere – head, neck, back, and body! This wrinkly dog needs to have its folds cleaned daily, and you’ll need to keep him inside most of the time due to the heat.
With humongous dogs like the mastiff, it’s best not to include tug-of-war or roll-in-the-floor with their games so they can be clear that you’re the alpha. Their size alone can make them dangerous near small children and animals.
An intelligent, kind, and calm dog breed, these dogs are quite the spectacle with their hanging jowls, skin folds, and massive heads. But as good-natured as they are on the inside, they’re just as devoted to being territorial and will guard your property and your kids. (Note: Constant supervision is necessary when they’re with children.)
Alexander the Great himself played a large part in developing this breed when he crossed giant war dogs from Macedonia with shorthaired dogs from India around 330 B.C. Mastiffs were used for entertainment purposes as Roman gladiators were made to fight lions, tigers, and men.
For all the fighting they’ve been through, for these precious animals to remain so loving is a miracle. And if you don’t mind their size, with a drooling level to match, the Neapolitan mastiff is darn near perfect
9. Dogue de Bordeaux
|Fur & color||Double-coated – Fawn, mahogany, Isabella, red|
Having one of the largest heads in all of dog-dom, this breed is a patient and loving dog with his human family. They’re France’s oldest breed (although they descended from ancient Rome) and came to America in 1959. Although they’re not aggressive, they don’t tolerate small pets well and might flourish more in homes with no other animals.
They’re powerful, affectionate, courageous, and highly loyal. They’ll take the role of “best friend” to a whole new level. The Dogue de Bordeaux is also called French Mastiff, Bordeaux Mastiff, Dogue, Bordeauxdog, and DDB for short.
Although they’re stocky, they’re also fast over short distances. They can be stubborn and also aggressive towards other dogs, so get them well-trained and socialized from the word “go” (when they’re puppies).
These stout dogs, rich with a history in fighting, make excellent guard dogs and wonderful watch dogs and will go on the offensive when necessary. If you’re ready for a humongous responsibility with huge payoffs, go with the dogue.
|Fur & color||Single-coated (Bear coats are said to have a double-coat.) 21 possible colors and color mixtures|
Introducing the wrinkliest dog on this list, the Shar-Pei. They have three coat types:
- Horse coat – Short, bristly hair
- Brush coat – Slightly longer and softer hair and more of it
- Bear coat – Longest and densest hair
This wrinkly dog breed has a blue-black tongue and a curled tail that are famous. They were developed in China during the Han Dynasty over 2,000 years ago and used to protect and herd livestock, hunt boar, and guard the home.
There are potential health concerns the Shar-Pei is predisposed to:
- Shar-Pei fever – A hereditary condition that comes with a high fever
- Skin fold dermatitis – Bacteria and yeast grow and lead to skin infections
- Pododermatitis – Inflammation and infection on the excess skin between the toes
- Ear infections – Bacteria and yeast cause their very narrow ear canals to become infected
It’s easy to see why keeping all the folds and deep wrinkles of a Shar-Pei’s dry and clean is essential. Medicated wipes will be your friend.
Although they’re not known to be barkers, they will alert you if something seems amiss. They have a medium-to-high prey drive, so small animals may not be safe around them even with a properly trained one.
These great companions are high maintenance, so be forewarned. But pure TLC goes a long way with wrinkly dog breeds.
Places to Find Wrinkly Dogs
- Adopt, don’t shop, and start with the obvious: Contact your local “pound” or rescue/shelter to see if there are any wrinkly dogs available to be adopted.
- According to the American Kennel Club:
The AKC Rescue Network is the largest network of dog rescue groups in the country… One hundred sixty unique breeds are currently represented within the network. More than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups are located across the United States.
Visit the breed rescue area on their website to find out more.
- Ask friends and family and announce on social media that you’re searching for a specific breed to adopt. Word-of-mouth is powerful in animal circles.
- Google “Breed rescue (breed here)” for options that could be in your general area or other parts of the country. Note: Sometimes, travel costs can be either split or paid by the adoptee in order to get the animal to you.
- I am not the best person to come to when looking for tips to purchase a dog, but if you must, this detailed list of ways to find a responsible breeder is brought to you by the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States).
Which Chinese Breed Has a Wrinkled Face?
The Shar-Pei has an extremely wrinkled face and originated in China over 2,000 years ago.
What Causes the Wrinkles in My Dog?
Heredity/Genetics causes wrinkles in certain dog breeds.
What Is the Reason Behind the Wrinkles in Shar-Pei Dogs?
Heredity/Genetics causes wrinkles in the Shar-Pei.
What Breed of Dog Has a Saggy Face?
The Neapolitan mastiff has a huge, saggy face, and maybe the one you’re describing.
These wonderful, wrinkly dogs with varying sizes and dispositions are amazing companions to have. Sure, they come with their various needs that need to be met, but so does every other dog.
If you want to be a dog guardian, just to say you are, you don’t need a dog. But if you want a steadfast companion you can care for to give them their best life, make sure wrinkly dogs are on your list of options.
Just think, wrinkles have never been so cute!