While us humans may not be too keen on having wrinkly faces of our own, it seems that, for our canine companions, a wrinkly-faced dog is rising in popularity among dog owners. Droopy face dogs are certainly something that seems to divide opinions, though. While some people adore the wrinkly faces that come with some of the world’s most popular breeds, others can’t stand them.
Here at My Pet Needs That however, we think that all dogs (and, indeed, all animals) are gorgeous and deserve love, care, and attention- including dogs with adorable wrinkly faces. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 of the best wrinkly-faced dogs, as well as how to care for their droopy faces and what to look out for, when it comes to their health.
Why Do Some Dogs Have Wrinkly Faces?
Most puppies will have extra skin, and some puppies have more than others. However, over time you’ll notice that this skin becomes a little more taught as the dog grows, usually taking a few wrinkles along with them. In wrinkly face dog breeds, the excess skin is so apparent that the majority of it doesn’t stretch out- and so, they stay wrinkly faced forever.
As with most dogs, those pups with wrinkly faces have had their appearance given to them through years upon years of specific breeding patterns. Indeed, if you look at some of the original stances and gaits of the dogs below, you may notice that they look completely different to how they used to, back when the dog breeding standards were established.
In the case of wrinkly dog breeds, owners will have bred their dogs based on the amount of extra skin each bitch and sire possessed. Over time, this would become thicker and, when the breeding process is repeated over a longer period of time, the breed eventually changes it’s skin, permanently. Not only that, but often these breeds will have evolved in other ways too- for example, their nose becoming shorter or more upturned (such is the case with the pug), or a dog’s eyes may have altered over time to compensate for extra weight around their skull. Unfortunately, it can happen that some breeds are unable to mutate quickly enough, which leads to them having some health problems that owners will need to be extra careful of.
This means that new dog owners should read up on their chosen breed, researching ways to care for their new pups and ensure that their four-legged friends can have a full, happy, and healthy life. Not all health issues related to these breeds are long-term issues and, with proper care, your dog should hardly be affected at all. We’ll discuss the best ways to care for a wrinkly-faced dog, later in this article.
Wrinkly-Faced Dog Breeds We Love
As we’ve already mentioned the Pug, above, it makes sense that this would be the first on our list. Pugs are one of the oldest domesticated dogs on the planet, although their popularity has soared in recent years. In particular, the rise of social media and the increased desire for toy breeds (small dogs) has led to a huge increase in pug breeders and the sales of pug puppies. That said, these intelligent little dogs have been around since as early as 700BC- where they were bred and owned by Chinese Emperors who gave them the same titles as the Emperor’s wife and treated with the same level of respect. Their sweet natures and small stature eventually piqued the interest of nobility outside of China and, in the last few centuries, have even become the official dog of Dutch Royalty.
These days, pugs are known for being fantastic little family dogs, since they form strong bonds with their owners and family members. Of course, this also means that they don’t like to spend much time alone and owners should be aware that pugs are very likely to become destructive and suffer from separation anxiety, should they be left alone for too long.
Head over to our review of Dog Food for Pugs.
Another ancient breed that hails from China, the Shar-Pei was originally bred to hunt, guard and even herd. They were also used in blood sports, to fight each other as it was believed that their short ears and wrinkly skin made them less likely to be caught by their opponent and lose the match (and, sometimes, their life). Unfortunately, due to heavy taxes and a ban on breeding dogs, the Shar-Pei nearly became extinct and, in 1985, the number of Shar-Pei dogs in the world was just 350. Thanks to the effort of multiple American organizations the breed was saved, and it currently sits as one of the more popular dog breeds available in the world.
The kind, loving nature of these gentle dogs has a huge sense of appeal to families who wish to have a dog with the instinct of guarding and protecting their families. They are one of the most expensive dogs in the world and their name is almost synonymous with “wrinkly face dog”, due to its inimitable folds of skin. They also have dark-colored tongues which are considered highly unusual in dogs, with their tongue being either lavender or blue-black in coloring.
Dogue de Bordeaux
Hailing from France, the Dogue de Bordeaux (commonly referred to as the Dogue) doesn’t have a clear history, although it is believed they may have been bred through English mastiffs who visited France around the 14th century. Their numbers dwindled to dangerously low numbers around WWII, as it was believed that Hitler had ordered their extermination, due to their undying loyalty to their owners. Thankfully, his efforts were thwarted and the Dogue remains with us to this day.
Their large stature and lion-like strength can make the Dogue de Bordeaux an intimidating breed, however, they are gentle giants, with a sweet temperament and good nature. This is a sensitive dog breed, who will need a calm but firm hand to steer them in training. They are also very likely to shed and can often be seen drooling, and their wrinkly faces will need a lot of attention. Otherwise, this a dog that is easy to care for and fits in well around family homes.
Another dog whose popularity has been increasing greatly over the last few years is the French Bulldog. This mastiff-type actually originally came from England in the form of Bulldogs, as their ancestors moved to France with lace-makers, who relocated to the country in order to continue with their work. These Bulldogs are then believed to have been bred with pugs or terriers, which led to the French Bulldogs we know and love, today. Their “bat ear” and scrunched-up noses are a big hit across the globe, and their adorable wrinkly faces make them a perfect addition to our list.
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Frenchies are very observant (how could they not be with such large eyes?) and intelligent, which makes them excellent watchdogs. That said, they aren’t very vocal and very rarely bark. This can make them ideal for those living in apartments, or for families who live in smaller spaces. This is especially true when you consider that the French Bulldog needs very little exercise, compared to others both on this list and against other dog breeds in general. They also enjoy the company of many different humans and animals and rarely become aggressive.
Since all of the dogs above are, in one way or another, related to the Mastiff, it’s only natural that we should include the forefather of these dog breeds on this list. There is evidence of these dogs being a part of domestic life in ancient cultures across the globe, including China, Egypt, Rome, Greece, and Tibet. Julius Caesar even noted in his campaign journal how impressed he was with the dog’s loyalty, capability, and strength, when invading the British Isles- although other wars were not so kind to the breed. After WWII, it is believed that there were only 14 Mastiffs left in England. Luckily, with the help of breeders in the US, the Mastiff was saved and returned a slightly cuddlier but equally strong dog.
The giant dogs can cause quite a fright on the first meeting with their large, muscular form and intimidating mass (Mastiffs can easily weight as much as a full-grown man). Yet a well-trained Mastiff is a lovable rogue- a dog who takes their guardianship duties seriously while remaining stoic and kind. This breed can make for a fantastic companion, but their ownership should not be taken lightly. Without proper care, attention and training, these dogs can easily rule a household and become a danger, even though they may not mean to be!
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Caring for a Dog with a Droopy Face
As mentioned earlier, caring for a dog with a wrinkly face comes with its own challenges. That said, if you are dedicated and loving, then grooming your dog is likely to become more of a pleasant interaction between dog and owner- rather than a burden of the breed. While each dog will have their own breed-specific problems, we’ve put together a quick guide on how to care for a dog with a wrinkly face.
Dogs with many wrinkles are more likely to have skin conditions. The wrinkles themselves are more likely to trap dirt, dust, and moisture which can lead to several issues. All of these can be linked to three, main symptoms:
- Odor- you may notice an odor coming from your dog is a sure sign of something being wrong. In this case, it’s likely to be a yeast or bacterial infection caused by a foreign substance becoming stuck between the folds of fur
- Irritation- Another strong symptom of problems between the fur. It’s very likely that the irritation is caused by a lack of grooming. Most of the time, a good clean should solve the issue but if you’ve noticed that the irritation isn’t going away, it’s a good idea to visit your vet.
- Itching– If your dog is constantly scratching at their folds or seems generally uncomfortable, check your dog’s wrinkles to see if there’s anything that’s causing the annoyance.
Grooming a droopy face dog isn’t much more complicated than any other breed. All it requires is a little extra time and energy to ensure that any dirt and moisture isn’t caught between the folds of your dog’s skin. The easiest way of doing this is to:
- Check your dog’s fur regularly. If they have very wrinkly skin, you’ll probably need to check this around once a day
- Brush your dog’s fur once a day, remembering to pull the folds back, gently, and get between the crevices.
- Use an unperfumed wet dog wipe to catch any dirt that would otherwise go unnoticed, between the wrinkles.
- Give your dog a regular bath to catch any and all dirt and debris that they have picked up through the week. Make sure to wash away any soap residue as this can be irritating to their skin.
- Don’t forget to dry your dog thoroughly, as damp fur can create more friction between the folds, which eventually leads to irritated- and sometimes even infected- skin.
- Check your dog’s ears and eyes for signs of any issues. Wrinkly faced dogs are more prone to getting infections in these areas, so be sure to keep an eye on any changes.
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