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16 Coolest Dog Breeds: Pictures, Facts & History

Grant Piper

By Grant Piper

different breeds of dogs

There are hundreds of different types of dogs in the world, from well-known purebreds to obscure designer dogs. That is a lot of dogs. But which types of dogs are the coolest? This list will answer that question by presenting a number of dogs that have unique histories, interesting appearances, and great personalities. This list contains 16 of the coolest dogs in the world, with facts, pictures, and basic information about each one. Hopefully, by the end, you will have learned something and discovered a cool new dog breed to explore deeper.


How Are Dog Breeds Classified?

As mentioned, there are hundreds of different dogs. So, how do we classify breeds for the purpose of this list? We are going to use purebred dogs that are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The AKC categorizes purebred dogs and gives specific qualities that each breed must meet in order to be labeled as an official dog breed. Using the AKC database will help focus our list, even if it means leaving out crowd favorites like the Goldendoodle. As far as the “cool” factor, these are the dogs that we think have the coolest history and/or appearance.

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The 16 Coolest Dog Breeds

1. Australian Cattle Dog

australian cattle dog training
Photo Credit: Irina Nedikova, Shutterstock
Origin: Australia
Lifespan: 12–16 years
Size: Medium

Australian Cattle Dogs are known for being wicked smart. These dogs are incredibly intelligent and can even reportedly outsmart and manipulate their owners using their wits. Australian Cattle Dogs go by many names, including Blue Heelers, Red Heelers, and Queensland Heelers. These dogs were bred to help range across the wide-open spaces of Australia, watching over large herds of sheep and cattle. In addition to their smarts, these dogs are also prized for their distinctive look. You might be familiar with their representation in pop culture through the hit children’s show Bluey, which features a family of Australian Cattle Dogs with vivid imaginations.

2. Irish Wolfhound

irish wolfhound dog at the park
Photo Credit: volofin, Shutterstock
Origin: Ireland
Lifespan: 6–8 years
Size: Extra large

Irish Wolfhounds have a wide range of amazing traits. They are some of the largest dogs in the world, standing nearly 3 feet tall at the shoulder. Irish Wolfhounds can weigh 150 to 180 pounds at their largest. That makes them extremely durable. These dogs used their powerful frame to kill wolves in Medieval times. Irish hunters and herders would employ Irish Wolfhounds to protect them from wolves and other dangerous animals. Today, Irish Wolfhounds are prized for their docile personalities and jaw dropping size. What is cooler than a dog that was bred to hunt and kill wolves in single combat?

3. Akita

akita dog standing outdoor
Photo Credit: FunFamilyRu, Shutterstock
Origin: Japan
Lifespan: 10–14 years
Size: Medium–Large

Akitas are some of the oldest dog breeds in the world. According to Japanese legend, these dogs have been around since the earliest humans. Studies have traced the Akita’s lineage back over 10,000 years, which is simply incredible. Akitas are also known for their fluffy coats, which can come in nine different colors. They also have highly distinctive faces and curled over tails. Altogether, these dogs have one of the most recognizable looks of any dog, and they remain extremely popular in their native Japan. Akitas are alert, loyal, and extremely clean due to their fastidious personality.

4. Catahoula Leopard Dog

Catahoula leopard dog standing on the grass
Image Credit: Aneta Jungerova, Shutterstock
Origin: United States
Lifespan: 10–14 years
Size: Medium

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is the only dog known to have originated in the state of Louisiana. The United States does not have many breeds to call its own, so having a dog deeply tied to a specific state is an honor. The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a hunting dog bred to hunt hogs and other large game in the Louisiana swamps. The name Catahoula is Choctaw in origin, giving the dog a local mystique. These dogs are excellent hunters and are extremely focused when they are out on the trail. Catahoula Leopard Dogs are known to be willful, defensive, and protective. They take a firm hand to manage, but they are extremely loyal to their owners.

5. Brussels Griffon

brussels griffon dog standin on grass
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock
Origin: Belgium
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Size: Small

Brussels Griffons are small dogs with huge personalities. These dogs are known for their silly faces and curly hair. They look a bit like a miniature Chewbacca. No other dogs look quite like a well-groomed Brussels Griffon. Owners describe their Brussels Griffons as having 100 pounds of personality in a 10-pound package. These dogs carry an air of arrogance and self-importance about them, which is both comical and endearing. You can’t help but smile when you are around a Brussels Griffon. These dogs are not very common, and they can be hard to find, which only adds to their cool factor. Owning one of these silly dogs puts you in a small and elite club.

6. Cane Corso

black cane corso dog standing at the park
Image Credit: Tymoshenko Olga, Shutterstock
Origin: Italy
Lifespan: 9–11 years
Size: Large

If you are looking for a dog with a regal lineage, you want to check out the Cane Corso. Cane Corsos have been around since Roman times. These dogs were bred as companions and protectors in rural Italy. Cane Corsos could be found guarding the gates to remote villas and vineyards in the Roman Empire. That makes them one of the oldest and most respected breeds in the world. Few people can say they own a dog whose blood stretches back to the time of Julius Caesar. Cane Corsos are large and stout protectors valued for their loyalty and pedigree. The name Cane Corso is derived from Latin, meaning “guardian dog” or “bodyguard dog.”

7. Schnauzer

miniature schnauzer dog at the park
Image Credit: Roman Zaiets, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 13–16 years
Size: Medium

The Schnauzer is known for their bearded faces. Schnauzers can come in a variety of sizes, including Toy, Miniature, Standard, and Giant, with Miniature, Standard, and Giant Schnauzers being officially recognized breeds. Schnauzers were bred in Germany as farm dogs raised to live alongside families and a variety of different animals. Schnauzers can be used as intelligent companions, small game hunters, and alert dogs. They thrive in remote areas and on rural homesteads. Many people today love Toy and Miniature Schnauzers for their adorable faces and diminutive sizes. Schnauzers are an iconic dog breed that should not be missed.

8. Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky standing outdoor
Image Credit: BARBARA808, Pixabay
Origin: Siberia
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Size: Medium

The Siberian Husky is a very popular dog. It is beloved for its wolf-like appearance and lively personality. Huskies were bred by native peoples in Siberia for a variety of tasks, including sled pulling, hunting, and companionship. These dogs do great in cold climates and enjoy spending ample amounts of time outdoors with their human companions. These dogs are powerfully built and were bred to work in mixed packs of humans and other Huskies. Huskies rarely grow larger than 60 pounds, making them ideal medium-sized dogs. They remain extremely popular today and are deeply cool on multiple fronts.

9. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback on the beach
Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock
Origin: Africa
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Size: Medium–Large

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are named for a ridge of hair that grows along the spine and faces the opposite direction of the rest of the fur. This gives this dog a stripe that looks like a small mohawk. But that is not the only thing that is remarkable about this breed. Rhodesian Ridgebacks were raised to hunt lions. Unlike other hunting dogs, these dogs were specifically trained to pin lions without killing them. No small task, but they were quite good at it. Some legends claim Rhodesian Ridgebacks never killed a single lion while hunting, which is crazy to think about. An old dog from Africa, with a mohawk, that was bred to hunt lions. What more do you need to know to consider these dogs cool?

10. Old English Sheepdog

old english sheepdog in the field
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock
Origin: England
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Size: Medium–Large

The Old English Sheepdog has a lot of recognizable traits. These dogs are bulky and extremely fluffy. They are built like small bears and are the prototypical image of a shaggy dog. Despite their slow walk and ponderous personalities, these dogs love to run around. They were bred to live with sheep herds in Great Britain. Old English Sheepdogs have a cult following and have been used as mascots throughout history for various groups. These dogs are known for being excellent watchdogs and also do great with children. They are protective and gentle with small children the same way they would be with baby lambs in the field.

11. Norwegian Lundehunds

norwegian lundehund dog
Image Credit: Makabas, Shutterstock
Origin: Norway
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Size: Small

If you have never heard of the Norwegian Lundehunds, don’t feel bad. Norwegian Lundehunds routinely rank as one of the least popular dogs according to the American Kennel Club. Many people like to focus on the most popular dogs on the list, but there are some real gems hiding at the bottom of the list of most popular dogs as well. Norwegian Lundehunds are small and wily dogs that look very much like foxes. They have a classic look and calm personalities. One of the reasons that Norwegian Lundehunds are unpopular is because they were bred for a very specific purpose – puffin hunting. How many dogs do you know that were bred for the ancient art of puffin hunting?

12. Xoloitzcuintli

Xoloitzcuintli breed mexican hairless dogs
Image Credit: Kalinina Maria, Shutterstock
Origin: Mexico
Lifespan: 13–18 years
Size: Small–Medium

Unsure how to pronounce Xoloitzcuintli? You are not alone. But these dogs have so much more going for them than a crazy name. Xoloitzcuintli is supposedly pronounced how-low-eats-QUEENT-lee. Xoloitzcuintlis are amazing dogs that have a history rooted in the Aztec Empire of Mesoamerica. These dogs have been around for over 3,000 years and were treated as heavenly royalty by ancient Aztec priests. Xoloitzcuintlis is also known for being one of the few dogs in the world that can be naturally hairless. Hairless Xoloitzcuintlis are completely smooth and look very much like a wild jackal. From a wild name to ancient history, the Xoloitzcuintli is one amazing canine.

13. Chinese Crested Dog

chinese crested dog in a leash outdoors
Image Credit: Veronika Andrews, Pixabay
Origin: Africa
Lifespan: 13–18 years
Size: Small

Despite the name, Chinese Crested Dogs actually originated in Africa. Chinese trading ships discovered these dogs centuries ago and collected them for their small size and rat catching prowess. Chinese Crested Dogs lived aboard ships on the high seas with their companions. Today, these dogs are known for being some of the ugliest dogs in the world, and they routinely win that ignoble award. They have spotted, blotchy skin and can have hairless bodies and fuzzy heads. The result is a unique look that some people adore, and other people abhor. These small dogs are great companions and have a unique history and distinctive look, which easily lands them a spot on this list.

14. Boston Terrier

boston terrier on grass
Image Credit: Lenka N, Shutterstock
Origin: United States
Lifespan: 11–13 years
Size: Small–Medium

Boston Terriers are known as the American Gentlemen and were bred in old Boston. The nickname is derived from the Boston Terrier’s regal personality and tuxedo markings. Purebred Bostons have a very distinctive coat pattern that mixes deep blacks with bright whites. Despite their friendly and polite ways today, these dogs were originally bred to fight in pubs in the 19th century. The Boston Terrier was created by mixing different terriers and bulldogs to create a stout, compact fighting dog. Those days are long gone, and now Boston Terriers are some of the best companion dogs that anyone can find.

15. Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff Dog In The Park
Image Credit: OlgaOvcharenko, Shutterstock
Origin: Himalayan Mountains
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Size: Large

Tibetan Mastiffs are gentle giants with a rich history. These dogs have been bred as protectors, companions, and guides by nomads in the Himalayas for centuries. In fact, genetic tests have confirmed that Tibetan Mastiffs are one of the oldest purebred breeds in the world. Tibetan Mastiffs are bred to withstand howling wind, cold temperatures, and rocky terrain. Few animals can live in the climate that Tibetan Mastiffs thrive in. Tibetan Mastiffs can be eight different colors and are known for their thick, fluffy coats. Anyone interested in large dogs or old eminent dog breeds will find a lot to love about the Tibetan Mastiff. Who doesn’t want a giant fuzzy dog with an ancient pedigree to call their own?

16. Samoyed

Samoyed dog in the summer forest
Image Credit: Nik Tsvetkov, Shutterstock
Origin: Siberia
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Size: Medium

The Samoyed is a cold weather dog that evolved in the icy regions of Siberia. To some, it is known as a Siberian Spitz. These dogs are fuzzy and have a history that stretches back centuries. Samoyeds are known for their intelligence, their smile, and their thick winter coat. Samoyeds, or Sammies, are nearly impervious to the cold and can live outside in temperatures that would send other dogs running. Speaking of running, these dogs have been used as working dogs in cold climates for generations, and they are highly prized by northern peoples who need a hardy dog to help them endure some of the harshest conditions on the planet.



These are 16 of the coolest dog breeds in the world, from ancient breeds that have histories going back thousands of years to hairless dogs, ugly dogs, and obscure dogs. Each one of these dogs has something unique and spectacular about them that is worth noting. Whether you are looking for your next family pet or are simply trying to learn about lesser-known dogs that are supremely awesome, this list has something for everyone.

Featured Image Credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

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