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21 Most Beautiful Dog Breeds: Pictures, Facts, & History

Elizabeth Gray

By Elizabeth Gray

irish setter lying on the ground

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but that doesn’t stop us from forming opinions on the subject. Not everyone will agree on what makes a beautiful dog, but some breeds seem to make it onto everyone’s list. Check out our picks for the 21 most beautiful dog breeds to find out if your favorite made ours.

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How Are Beautiful Dog Breeds Classified?

Again, if you ask 10 people this question, you’ll probably get as many answers. Dogs with unusual eye or coat colors and splashy patterns or markings are often considered more beautiful. The head and face shape is another common factor that marks a dog as beautiful. For example, flat-faced breeds may be cute to some but are rarely described as beautiful.

Overall, body confirmation is another distinguishing trait of beautiful dogs. How do their parts fit together and flow into each other to produce a pleasing shape? Athletic, muscular dogs may be considered more beautiful because of that.

The 21 Beautiful Dog Breeds

Large Dog Breeds

1. German Shepherd

German Shepherd on a walk on a sunny winter day with Frisbee
Image Credit: J. Romanova, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 7–10 years
Height: 22–26 inches
Weight: 50–90 pounds

As possibly the best-known working dog in the world, German Shepherds are also one of the most beautiful breeds. They’re athletic dogs with graceful heads and pointed ears, and they also come in various colors and patterns, including long-haired varieties. The alert expression and smooth movement of this breed add to their beauty. German Shepherds are loyal, intelligent, and devoted to their humans.

They were developed as herding dogs in 19th century Germany, and they’re best suited for experienced owners who can positively channel their energy, protectiveness, and work drive.


2. Golden Retriever

Golden retriever dog walking outdoor
Image Credit: Lunja, Shutterstock
Origin: Scotland
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 5–24 inches
Weight: 55–75 pounds

The Golden Retriever was first bred in Scotland as a hunting companion but is now one of the most popular family dogs in the world. With flowing coats in shades of gold and red, these dogs are as beautiful as they are friendly. Their feathered tails seem constantly wagging, which only adds to their appeal.

Golden Retrievers make friends with people and pets alike and are easily trained. They can serve as guide dogs, in search and rescue, and as therapy dogs and companion pets. It’s vital to research breeders carefully if you’re considering a Golden Retriever since their popularity has unfortunately led to poor breeding practices and unhealthy dogs.


3. Samoyed

female samoyed dog in the forest
Image Credit: Grisha Bruev, Shutterstock
Origin: Russia
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Height: 19–23.5 inches
Weight: 35–65 pounds

Their gorgeous white coats and constantly “smiling” faces make it easy to see why the Samoyed is a beautiful dog. They were developed in frigid Siberia as sled dogs, and the upturned mouth of the Samoyed keeps them from drooling because the liquid would’ve quickly frozen in their Arctic homeland. Samoyeds love attention and can be a bit mischievous.  Their playful, energetic nature makes them a nice family pet, but they can be a bit stubborn, like many sled dog breeds.


4. Saluki

white Persian saluki dog up close
Image Credit: SubertT, Shutterstock
Origin: Egypt
Lifespan: 10–17 years
Height: 23–28 inches
Weight: 40–65 pounds

As one of the oldest dog breeds, Salukis were favorites of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs who used them for hunting. They’re speedy and slender and have a beautiful, feathered coat. They have a balanced body shape and large, expressive eyes, which add to their pleasing appearance. Salukis need room to run safely off-leash, and their independent nature can make them a challenge to train.


5. Irish Setter

irish setter in mountains
Image Credit: Kseniia Kolesnikova, Shutterstock
Origin: Ireland
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 25–27 inches
Weight: 60–70 pounds

Happy, mischievous, and energetic Irish Setters are among the most beautiful breeds. You can credit their gorgeous red coat and long, slender neck and head for their runway-ready good looks. Developed as bird-hunting dogs in 19th century Ireland, this breed is also an excellent family pet, always ready for playtime and making new friends. The intelligent Irish Setter is also sensitive and responds best to calm, positive training methods.


6. Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound lying on the sand
Image Credit: Anna Tronova, Shutterstock
Origin: Modern-day India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan
Lifespan: 12–18 years
Height: 25–27 inches
Weight: 50–60 pounds

Considered by many the oldest purebred dog, Afghan Hounds are also one of the most beautiful. They have an elegant appearance and a gorgeous, flowing coat. The speedy Afghan is a beautiful blur in motion and is true to their roots as a sighthound.

They should not be trusted off-leash. Afghan Hounds have a unique personality, extremely loyal once they’ve bonded with someone, but otherwise independent and aloof. They are not the easiest dogs to get to know, but are some of the nicest to look at.


7. Rottweiler

rottweiler dog sitting on concrete ground
Image Credit: Serova_Ekaterina, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 9–10 years
Height: 22–27 inches
Weight: 80–135 pounds

If power and strength are your idea of beauty, the Rottweiler will probably be the most gorgeous dog you’ve ever seen. The Rottweiler is an imposing presence, strong and sturdy, with a smooth, shiny black coat.

With their families, this breed can be playful, cuddly, and silly, but strangers are more likely to get a suspicious glare from the Rottweiler. This powerful dog needs confident handling and training, making them best suited for experienced owners.


8. Siberian Husky

couple siberian husky dogs in the snow
Image Credit; Konstantin Zaykov, Shutterstock
Origin: Russia
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Height: 20–23.5 inches
Weight: 35–60 pounds

Siberian Huskies frequently have blue eyes or two different colored eyes. This unusual trait and their gorgeous coat color make the Husky one of the most beautiful breeds. These quick and graceful dogs trace their origins to northeastern Russia, where they were bred to pull sleds by the semi-nomadic people of the area.

The Siberian Husky is outgoing, friendly, and sometimes prone to dramatics. However, they are vocal, stubborn, and can be hard to train. Inexperienced owners attracted by this breed’s beauty should do further research before adding a Husky to their family.


9. Alaskan Malamute

alaskan malamute
Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock
Origin: Alaska
Lifespan: 10–14 years
Height: 23–25 inches
Weight: 75–85 pounds

Although bigger and more powerful than the similar Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute has the same thick coat and beautiful coloring as the smaller sled dogs. Their friendly eyes and pointed ears add to their visual appeal. Like the Husky, Malamutes were bred to pull sleds and carry packs for nomadic people in what is now Alaska.

They are affectionate dogs who love to spend time with their owners. However, Alaskan Malamutes also have a mind of their own and need early, consistent training and boundaries.


10. Weimaraner

male silver weimaraner
Image Credit: Dmitry Veryovkin, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 10–13 years
Height: 23–27 inches
Weight: 55–90 pounds

The strong, slender, and athletic Weimaraner also has one of the most beautiful and distinct coat colors. With shiny silver fur and blue-gray eyes, the Weimaraner lives up to their nickname of “gray ghost.”

Although they were bred as a hunting dog in Germany, the Weimaraner is now more popular as a family pet. They are smart, friendly, affectionate, and good with kids. The Weimaraner needs regular exercise and won’t do well if left alone frequently.


11. Bernese Mountain Dog

bernese mountain dog standing in the meadow
Image Credit: SubertT, Shutterstock
Origin: Switzerland
Lifespan: 7–10 years
Height: 23–27.5 inches
Weight: 70–115 pounds

The Bernese Mountain Dog was bred to pull carts and guard livestock in the mountains of Switzerland and is known for their silky coat and distinctive tri-color markings. These beautiful, gentle giants make wonderful family pets.

Their personality makes them even more gorgeous since they’re sweet and patient with children. Bernese Mountain Dogs are typically easy to train and are especially good companions for people who enjoy outdoor adventures. Research breeders carefully, as this breed is unfortunately prone to several inherited health conditions.


12. Border Collie

Sable Border Collie
Image Credit: Annabell Gsoedl, Shutterstock
Origin: Great Britain
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 18–22 inches
Weight: 30–55 pounds

If flashy markings are your definition of beauty, the contrasting coat colors of the Border Collie fit the mold. And that’s before you consider their athletic build, intense expression, and partly flopped ears.

Border Collies are among the smartest dog breeds and are energetic and intense. They need exercise, training, and a job to do, or the gorgeous Border Collie can make quite a nuisance of themselves.

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Small Dog Breeds

13. Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu female dog in the room
Image Credit: Sergiy Palamarchuk, Shutterstock
Origin: Japan
Lifespan: 13–16 years
Height: 5–16.5 inches
Weight: 17–23 pounds

The alert expression, pointed ears, and beautiful colors of the Shiba Inu are some of the many reasons this breed is the most popular in their home country of Japan. They’re stronger than they look; a hunter bred the Shiba Inu in ancient Japan.

This breed has loads of charm to match their good looks. They are typically easily housebroken but will absolutely run for it if given the chance to escape the house or yard.


14. Maltese

happy adult maltese running outdoor
Image Credit: Kimrawicz, Shutterstock
Origin: Malta
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 7–9 inches
Weight: <7 pounds

The tiny Maltese sports a glamorous, flowing white coat, large eyes, and a pleasant expression. These beautiful little dogs are also charming, friendly, and sometimes bossy. The outgoing Maltese originates from the island of Malta near Italy.

As another old breed, the Maltese was developed by the ancient Romans and saved by the Chinese after the fall of Rome. Like most toy breeds, they typically aren’t a good fit for families with young children.


15. Miniature Poodle

Miniature Poodle
Image Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 10–18 years
Height: 10–15 inches
Weight: 10–15 pounds

As the national dog of France, a fashion capital of the world, it’s no wonder the Miniature Poodle is one of the most beautiful dogs. Their curly, allergy-friendly coats can be groomed in a dizzying array of hairstyles.

Even a Poodle with a basic haircut is a beautiful animal with an intelligent, slender face and well-proportioned body. These charming little dogs are also athletic, eager to learn, and happy to make friends. They make excellent therapy dogs and family pets.


16. Havanese

cream havanese dog in the forest
Image Credit: Dorottya Mathe, Shutterstock
Origin: Cuba
Lifespan: 14–16 years
Height: 7–13 inches
Weight: 8.5–11.5 pounds

Good luck resisting the charms of the gorgeous Havanese. If their beautiful, silky coats don’t grab you, their social, outgoing personalities surely will. They were bred in Cuba, and the Havanese was the designated lapdog and companion of the wealthy and powerful.

Cuban exiles introduced the breed to America after Castro’s revolution in the mid-20th century. Since they’re easily trained and happy to be the center of attention, the Havanese is rapidly gaining popularity in America.


17. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog outdoors
Image Credit: Courtney Mihaka, Unsplash
Origin: England
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 12–13 inches
Weight: 13–18 pounds

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel would surely take the top prize if personality makes a dog beautiful. Few breeds can match them when it comes to friendliness and their good nature. However, the Cavalier is just as gorgeous on the outside.

With four attractive color varieties, big eyes, and a feathered coat, these spaniels are as lovely to look at as they are a joy to live with. Cavaliers usually get along with kids and other pets, making them excellent family companions.


18. Papillon

papillon purebreed dog sitting on the grass
Image Credit: Anna Maloverjan, Shutterstock
Origin: France
Lifespan: 14–16 years
Height: 8–11 inches
Weight: 5–10 pounds

Butterflies are among nature’s most beautiful creatures, so of course, the dog named after them is also gorgeous. Papillons get their name from their distinctive wide ears that resemble butterfly wings. Their silky coat adds to their overall elegant appearance. Papillons are active, intelligent, curious dogs who make sturdy family pets and love to compete in agility events. Although they’re associated with France, the Papillon we know today was also developed in Spain and Italy.


19. Silky Terrier

Australian Silky Terrier
Image credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock
Origin: Australia
Lifespan: 13–15 years
Height: 9–10 inches
Weight: 10 pounds

Although less well-known than the similar Yorkshire Terrier, the Silky Terrier features a shiny, flowing coat more like human hair than typical dog fur. Their direct expression and pointed ears add to their attractive appearance.

Don’t be fooled by their size; these little dogs have a true Terrier personality. They’re feisty and curious and more than just a pretty face. They need plenty of exercise and training. The Silky Terrier is a native Australian, with Yorkshire Terrier and Australian Terrier genes used in their development.


20. Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound standing
Image Credit: Natallia Yaumenenka, Shutterstock
Origin: Ancient Greece and Turkey
Lifespan: 14–15 years
Height: 13–15 inches
Weight: 7–14 pounds

Sleek and elegant Italian Greyhounds look delicate but descend from hunting sighthounds like their larger Greyhound relatives. They’re fast and graceful, with a beautiful high-stepping gait, and make a charming pet, but they generally don’t do well with small children. This breed is not a fan of cold weather. Like larger sighthounds, they are not to be trusted running off-leash and should only do so in enclosed areas.


21. Shetland Sheepdog

tricolor shetland sheepdog
Image Credit: Lisjatina, Shutterstock
Origin: Scotland
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Height: 13–16 inches
Weight: 15–25 pounds

As a miniature version of the classic “Lassie” Collie, Shetland Sheepdogs have the same sweet expression and beautiful coats as the larger dogs. Bred as compact herding dogs, these dogs are very smart and affectionate.

Their coats come in multiple colors, including attractive merle patterns. Shelties are amazing canine athletes, excelling in agility, herding, and obedience competitions. They also make excellent family pets. Shelties bark quite a bit and have strong watchdog instincts.

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Conclusion

While any of these 21 beautiful breeds will provide you with plenty of gorgeous content for your social channels, remember that you should never choose a pet based on appearance alone. It’s natural to be attracted to the look of a particular breed, but take the time to do more research to ensure the dog is a good fit for your home and lifestyle.

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Featured Image Credit: TMArt, Shutterstock

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