When you think of dogs, you probably think of that Instagram-famous corgi, Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs, your best friend’s shih tzu, the friendly neighborhood aspin, or the doge of the internet, the shiba inu.
You probably don’t think of a six-toed creature, a wild thing that climbs trees, or a dirty four-legged mop – but such animals do exist, and yes, they are the same species as your commonplace. windmill poodle.
Thousands of years of dog breeding have led to truly peculiar puppies and goofy canines. Here are some of the weirdest dog breeds in the world:
Aso ng Gubat
Among the strangest dogs is one of our own: the aso ng gubat, also known as the witch-dog or the tiger-dog. These are dogs that would make their wolf ancestors proud. As experienced hunters, they have sharper claws than most dogs, allowing them to scale walls and climb trees while pursuing their prey.
They are also supposed to only mate with their own kind, meaning their lineage is purebred.
The aso ng gubat may be the first officially recognized dog breed in the Philippines – in 2015 canine researcher Tom Asmus, who cared for 10 witch dogs in Bukidnon, submitted samples of their DNA to the World Canine Genome Project, although according to Esquire, their samples have yet to be analyzed by a canine geneticist to determine if they are a single breed.
This dog may look like the victim of an over-enthusiastic groomer, but he was born hairless (although there is also a less common coated variety), due to a genetic mutation that also results in a lack of premolars.
Named after the Aztec god Xolotl, Xoloitzcuintlis has been around for over 3,000 years. For the Aztecs, these dogs were the guardians of the living and the guides of the underworld for the dead.
According to National Geographic, accounts by European explorers noted how the Aztecs put the Xolitzcuintlis to bed at night with blankets, although strangely they were also eaten as food (almost to extinction by the conquistadors, same).
In modern times, they are an official cultural symbol of Mexico City and appear in works like paintings by Diego Rivera and Pixar. coconut. They are also increasingly popular as pets, although they do need to wear sunscreen when going outdoors.
Although they watch every square inch of the dog, this breed is described by the American Kennel Club as “cat-like” – mostly because they are independent and even groom themselves like cats do.
Originally bred to hunt reed rats in Africa, basenjis were so prized they were even gifted to Egyptian kings. As modern-day pets, they are curious, loyal, and great as family dogs, though their independence makes them difficult to train.
Basenjis do not produce a bark, but they howl, yawn and yodel. One theory is that basenjis originated in the African wilderness, where barking could alert predators like leopards to their location. Yodeling, on the other hand, is less accurate in terms of revealing their location.
With its mottled skin, weird hair and general look of having narrowly escaped death, the Chinese Crested Dog is a staple in the World’s Ugliest Dog competition, winning nine times, from 2002 to 2019.
According to the American Kennel Club, they were among the dog breeds “miniaturized” by the Chinese, originating from large hairless dogs in Africa.
The breed was prized by sailors for their rat-catching skills aboard Chinese trading vessels. Sailing the seas, Chinese hoopoes then spread all over the world.
Despite gaining a reputation as the ugliest dogs in the world, the breed has appeared in several films and shows, including 102 Dalmatians, New York minute, and Ugly Betty.
These fox-like dogs may look normal – until you count their toes. Originally bred to hunt puffins in the cliffs and snow-capped mountains of Norway, they have (at least!) six toes and extra pads on each paw.
As if they weren’t weird enough, they also have a neck that can bend all the way down to almost touch their spine, front legs that turn sideways 90 degrees, and ears that fold forward. to keep snow out.
Since puffin hunting was banned in Norway, these special dogs are now facing “job loss” according to the Institute of Canine Biology – but perhaps with renewed interest and with their “energetic” temperament. , alert and loyal”, they may find a new job as a family watchdog.
The original otterhounds were best friends with fishermen in medieval England, who bred them to hunt river otters that often stole the day’s catch.
These days, otterhounds are extremely rare – according to the American Kennel Club, there are only around 1,000 left in the world.
These shaggy dogs have a double-layered coat (the undercoat is water resistant) and webbed feet, and are hunting dogs – “one nose on four paws”, as one owner described it. Water dogs through and through, they apparently don’t just lap up their water bowl like regular dogs, but rather submerge their heads when drinking!
Apparently, they also like to sing.
Leggy and sleek, salukis may look like the canine equivalent of supermodels, but they’re actually athletes and can run up to 35 miles per hour.
Bred by Bedouins for their agility and keen eyesight, salukis were used in the Middle East to hunt gazelles. And while dogs were considered unclean in their culture, salukis had the distinction of being “the noble” – the only canines allowed to share tents with their masters.
Some salukis are still used for hunting today, but they are now trained for racing – in the United Arab Emirates, saluki racing is conducted much like horse racing.
Bergamo Shepherd Dog
Despite his striking resemblance to a dirty mop, this dog is actually an expert herder hailing from the rocky Italian Alps, where his ruffled coat protected him from the biting cold.
Surprisingly, their special coat is apparently easy to clean. As the Bergamasco Sheepdog Club of America describes, “Even after being rolled around in leaves and pine needles, a mature bergamasco can just give a good shake and there’s nothing left stuck in his coat.”
Incredibly, they also say that bathing is only necessary once to three times a year – although that makes sense, as their coats must take forever to dry out.
Beneath this coat, Bergamascos are hardy, healthy dogs, and are described by the American Kennel Club as “loyal, loving, and trainable, with a touch of mountain dog independence.” – Rappler.com