10 Wrinkly Dog Breeds With Irresistible Rolls
Call it what you want—fat folds, elastic-esque skin, love handles—wrinkly dog breeds and their irresistible rolls have a hold on many hearts, but the highly-coveted characteristic comes with its caveats. All that loose skin means you can't get lax on your dog's skincare routine; special care must be given to all their nooks and crannies to prevent irritation and infection.
"There are many over the counter and veterinary-formulated medicated wipes that have antiseptic and antifungal benefits for wrinkled dog breeds," says Megan McCarthy, DVM, of Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Salt Lake City. "It is recommended to use wipes in facial folds and any deep wrinkles several times a week depending on the breed. This keeps the wrinkles clean, dry, and free from infection in between bathing."
Up to the task? One of these wrinkly dog breeds may fold right into your lifestyle.
The Chinese shar-pei stands out in any crowd—if his numerous wrinkles don't deserve a double take, his unique blue-black tongue beneath his square snout likely has your head swiveling for a second peek. And if you're lucky enough to go in for a pet, you'll find his rough fur similar to sandpaper. In fact, "shar-pei" literally translates to "sand skin."
Unlike other Chinese dog breeds with roots in royalty, the shar-pei started out a workers' dog in ancient China, hunting, herding, and protecting his home. After nearly going extinct in the early 1970s, the remarkably rare shar-pei rebounded as a symbol of high status and today is a beloved breed around the world.
The muscular mascot of many schools, the English bulldog may appear intimidating upon first glance, but beneath their frowning facades and strong shoulders is a silly side waiting for its chance to shine. A kid-friendly addition to any family, bulldogs prefer a slow-paced lifestyle and are perfectly content lounging on the sidelines. In fact, as a brachycephalic breed prone to breathing issues, bulldogs should stick to a relaxed exercise routine.
"Special care is required of bulldogs, particularly in warm weather as they are prone to overheating," McCarthy says. "It is very important to exercise or walk your bulldog during the cool parts of the day, early morning, or in the evening. Make sure there is always plenty of shade and water available for them."
Despite always appearing as if half asleep, the droopy, drooly bloodhound is capable of some pretty incredible feats, boasting the best sniffers of any dog breed. The stereotypical lazy bloodhound lounging on TV doesn't quite do the breed justice, as their superior sense of smell also gives them a sense of adventure, and they won't be content to just lie about. Hikes and long walks exploring new territory will make for a happy pup. Just don't forget to keep up with those wrinkles.
"Because they spend so much time with their nose to the ground, the skin folds can easily get dirty or irritated and should be cleaned daily," says Jenna Stregowski, RVT, Pet Health and Behavior Editor at Daily Paws.
Like bulldogs, pugs are a brachycephalic breed susceptible to heat-related illness and breathing issues. Both McCarthy and Stregowski note a correlation between brachycephalic breeds and wrinkles. Due to their shorter snouts, it's common for a brachycephalic dog to have a wrinkly face as a result of all that excess skin, but wrinkled skin is not necessarily related to brachycephalic syndrome.
With that in mind, pugs make great lap dogs and couch potatoes, though their playful streak may make surprising appearances and keep you on your toes. The pug's personality is joyful and contagious, meant to be shared with family members of all ages as a loving companion for life.
Bullmastiffs are a big breed, perhaps better recognized for their extra-large size rather than their few wrinkles. They were originally bred from a bulldog parent and therefore inherited a few of their affable frown lines, but their size of course comes from their mastiff parent. As with dog breeds of all kinds, it's important to socialize and train them when they're young and still small in size, according to McCarthy.
Skin folds run in the mastiff family: the Dogue de Bordeaux (French mastiff), boerboel (South African mastiff), cane corso, and Neapolitan mastiff all tout trademark wrinkles.
Like their English counterparts, the French bulldog is known for a wrinkly face, though these petite pups show off more of a squishy countenance rather than the droopy wrinkles and jowls. Another big difference between the two breeds is the Frenchies' tall, bat-like ears.
When it comes to their personalities though, Frenchies are very similar, fitting in well with family life but not afraid to have a little fun and show off a mischievous streak from time to time. Patient, consistent training using food as a motivator or making it into a fun game can help encourage desired behaviors.
Similarly sleepy in appearance to their bloodhound cousin, and falling just short of first place in the sniffer competition, basset hounds benefit from their loose skin and lolling ears lifting and trapping smells from below. Pack animals at heart, basset hounds get along well with other household pets and usually integrate easily into family life.
"Puggles have traits from both beagles and pugs, so depending on which breed they take after more, a puggle may have a longer snout and few wrinkles like a beagle, or a shorter snout and underbite like a pug," McCarthy says. "If your puggle takes after the pug and has more wrinkles and facial folds, using wipes can help keep these areas clean."
Maintaining the pug's charismatic charm, the puggle is a more active alternative to the beloved breed, getting a lot of his energy from his boisterous beagle bloodline.
Little bitty in size but proud and lion-like in presence, the pampered, golden-maned Pekingese was the preferred pet of Chinese emperors for centuries, lining their laps and lapping up their luxurious lifestyles. Today's Pekingese have an inherent understanding of their previous social status, desiring nothing more than to be the center of your attention. Take advantage of bonding time with your pup and run a brush through her fur weekly to keep her feeling fabulous.
"Excess skin and hair gives these dogs a teddy bear appearance, but they may be distrustful of strangers and protective of their homes and families," Stregowski says.
Another Chinese dog breed with a blue tongue, the chow chow's inviting floofball appearance is better admired on his own terms. These dogs aren't really the cuddling type, enjoying their independence and attention as they see fit, which also means an older household may be a better match than one with young children. Those lucky enough to be loved by a chow chow will feel special to share a bond with one of the world's oldest dog breeds whose wrinkles have withstood the test of time.