Am I Shallow for Only Liking Pretty Dogs?

I love pretty dogs.

Yes, I know I should be able to look past the outward appearance and appreciate the inner beauty of any dog. But I’m a sucker for a pretty face. And tail. And coat.

Does that make me a bad person?

Shadow is a pretty mixed breed dog.

Isn’t she pretty?


What is a Pretty Dog?

Some people bring an objective list of aesthetic criteria that makes a dog pretty: long silky coat or shiny smooth one; soft floppy ears or attentive prick ears; blue eyes or brown.

But I bet I’m not the only person who judges the beauty of all dogs by one special one who shared my life.

My first dog was a mix of German shepherd and collie. His look was unique.

But if you force me to share the name of the most beautiful dog I know (which translates to dog who reminds me most of my first dog, Duchess) it’s Cleo of Grouchy Puppy.

Isn’t she a pretty dog?

Golden Retriever is a pretty dog.

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.


What is an Ugly Dog?

So if a pretty dog has a thick coat, prick ears, and a long muzzle what is an ugly dog?

I guess the opposite would be a dog with a smooth, short coat, floppy ears, and a smooshy face.

But here’s the crazy thing. When I look closer, I can’t find any ugly dogs.

I might say a Boston terrier has a face like a goblin. But it’s the cutest darn goblin ever. And who can resist that slurpy little tongue? Even the snoring is cute.

A pit bull coat doesn’t entice me to run my fingers over his fur. But who doesn’t grin back at that floppy mouthed smile? And what’s more beautiful than a dog falling over himself to show he loves you?

And even a Chinese crested hairless dog, the dominant breed represented in ugliest dog contests, has skin that feels like whipped silk. And a dog who likes to cuddle and feels like a hot water bottle on a cold day? That’s my idea of heaven.

Hairless ugly dog is a Xolo.

Is he a dog? Then he’s pretty.

I guess every dog is a pretty dog. And I love them all.

Does that make me shallow?

Note: Two years ago, I made a list of Dogs I Don’t Like That Much and scared some of my readers. I guess I’ve always been a sucker where dogs are concerned.

Your Turn: What makes a pretty dog for you? Is your idea of dog beauty influenced by a special dog in your life? 

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photo credit: urbanshoregirl via photopin cc

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  1. I’ll admit the title of your post scared me but once I read it I was OK. To me every dog is beautiful in their own way because they each have different personalities that make them shine and to me that changes the way they look!

  2. I agree with Emily…it’s a dog’s personality that makes them “pretty” (or handsome, since some of us are boys – BOL). You can see it in their soulful eyes…

  3. Ha ha. See – I KNEW you weren’t shallow. :-)

    I know exactly what you mean too. There are many breeds that are not on my “I must have one” list, but I still want to smoosh them all up.

  4. With dogs the eyes really are the key to the soul. And I’m a complete sucker when it comes to dogs, I’ve yet to meet a dog that I don’t think is completely adorable. I may change my mind as they start to yap at me or dig a big hole in the backyard or destory a new remote but in that first instant they are all adorable. Even the yappy ones are still cute, as the one behind me yaps because I’m typing on the computer instead of looking at her!! I’ve often looked in dismay at a person when they will look at one of my pitties and say how do you think that is a pretty dog. All blocky, big headed, big mouthed muscle pound doofus, I just look at them and say how couldn’t you think he/she is not?!

  5. A pretty dog is ANY dog to me! I’m particularly fond of my two Cairn Terriers, Mr. Gatsby and Hattie Mae, but I find beauty and love in any pooch. That being said, I really do think Collies are GORGEOUS! I’ve never had one, but based on appearance alone, they win…

  6. Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says:

    You shallow?? No way! Like Emily, Oz, and Donna, I believe all dogs are pretty/handsome…It’s what’s inside that counts, not the outside. While a Chinese Crested isn’t on my personal list of “must have” dogs, I respect someone else’s love of the breed. I never had a “yappy” dog, including the poodles I grew up with, so I’m pretty certain I couldn’t tolerate one now any more. That said, Ducky is quite vocal most of the time and I love it — except when she wants out of her crate early on a Sunday morning. :-)

  7. OMG that’s just hilarious…that last picture just totally caught me off guard…and you know what? I was also caught off guard by my reaction, because I, too love a beautiful face, eyes, coat….but after the first startled response to that face you’d think only a mother could love, I laughed as I saw the dog inside there, and knew I could love this dog.

  8. That is an interesting thought to ponder. My sister is big and beautiful, I am small and normally scruffy. Amazingly, about 99% of people we run into like one of us but not so much the other. People tend to love the pristine white beauty, but I have plenty of my own fans too. I think beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Mom says we are both her beautiful girls but I am more of a cutie than a beauty. We have also gotten to know some Chinese Cresteds lately and at first we did not see it but now we think they are so cute and they have such funny personalities…so yes, all us dogs are beautiful in our own way.

  9. Vlad & Barkly's Dee says:

    I suppose this will sound odd coming from someone with a Corgi in the house (But I’m really not his. The man of the house belongs to him.); however, the larger the dog, the more beautiful I’ll think it is. I stop in what’s the mid-range of ones that are considered giant simply because of the fact that giant’s lives are the shortest. Twelve to thirteen years isn’t nearly long enough for me, and seven to ten is just TOO short for me to handle emotionally. Everything that is smaller than Vlad falls in the “What a cutie!” category, and I’ll want to pet it–but I don’t have the urge to sit down and have an extended conversation and a hug with it like I do with larger dogs. Is that weird?

  10. I love the way your post title took me by surprise, but you’re right all dogs are pretty :-)

  11. Interesting topic! I think almost all dogs are cute (sorry, can’t take the hairless though!), but cute and pretty to me are two different things. A pug is cute, a Saluki is pretty. I personally think Nola is both cute and pretty; she has a beautiful, shiny coat that’s a rich red sable, beautiful floppy but alert ears, a lean and muscled build, legs that are short but not stubby, big chubby feet, big brown eyes with “eye liner”, and the best smile I’ve ever seen.
    Nola’s MOm

  12. Titillating title for sure – I prepared myself to defend the “beauty” of Dooz, Elvis, and Harry – three physically unattractive dogs but each a Skin Horse in his own way. Of course, being Pam, the title drew me in – and then got me over to Grouchy Puppy, celebrating 52 weeks of Senior Dogs – YESH.

    I agree – there are no ugly dogs. As they age, they become more and more beautiful :).

  13. I agree all dogs have their own beauty. But I do have a preference for long-haired dogs. Shhhh. Don’t tell Maya!

  14. I love Zora, but she wasn’t what I would call pretty when I first got her. She had two ear infections and horrible allergies that caused her to chew/lick off all the fur on her legs, belly and tail. Now that she is healthy, I’ve had people stop me and comment on how pretty she is. Is it wrong to feel good about that?

  15. Lucky for you that Shetland Sheepdogs weren’t on the list of dog that you don’t like.
    I might be biased, but I think I have one of the “prettiest” dogs on the planet, even if he IS a BOY.
    I really don’t think there are “ugly” dogs. They are all special in their own way.
    We each have individual preferences that are subjective for what we deem to be attractive.
    I suppose it can be compared to why we think some people are attractive and some others aren’t. I have always been drawn to “non-traditional” men. Pretty boys were always a turn off to me.
    I think that beauty ultimately comes from within. A most unattractive animal or person can become the most beautiful in the world when they cast an aura of love and warmth.

  16. I don’t like dogs that steal my cookies. Does that make me shallow?

  17. I agree. I have a “type” I prefer-prick ears, long muzzles and legs, and I don’t feel that makes me shallow.

  18. I grew up with Border Collies and one special Australian Shepherd, but I consider them farm dogs. I love them, but they’re not the best for living in town. But Greyhounds will always have a special place in my heart. I can’t imagine not having one or two of them around to share life with. Honestly, though, I haven’t met many dogs that I didn’t think were cute or pretty in some way!

  19. I think all dogs are beautiful but of course have a soft spot for some of them – I don’t mind long or short fur . My favourites are golden retrievers (of course), labradors (any colour), and greyhounds. But today I walked past this Bernese Mountain Dog puppy and I have to say it was one of the most beautiful dogs I’d EVER seen. I stopped to pat it and fell in love. This poor woman was eating her lunch and she couldn’t take a bite of her sandwich because crowds of people were coming over to pat her dog, he was that beautiful.

  20. I guess every dog is a pretty dog… I sometimes think humans are less discriminatory towards dogs than towards people, simply because we can discern imperfections better in humans. For example, people would think a human with a cleft lip ugly or at least pitiful, my dog’s lip is slightly cleft, but not very obvious and people still think she is adorable I think.

  21. Ooooh, tough one! We’ll go with the safe route and say all dogs are pretty…. in their own unique way!

  22. Cleo is GORGEOUS! I love her pics on FB. I just want to snuggle her! Over the years, I’ve realized that I have a type: I love big ears, fuzz, and blocky faces… not necessarily on the same dog, of course! But I agree that there are no ugly dogs. Just different dogs!

  23. When I first saw Frankie’s photo on an auction site I felt so sorry for him because he was so skinny with dead eyes and had absolutely nothing going for him. I kept going back to his ad and after a few days I emailed the rescue site because I thought he was so unappealing that nobody would want him. To say he didn’t look anything like those photos I saw when I picked him up is a bit of an understatement :) Lucky me. My ugly dog had turned into a handsome prince after a few weeks of care in a foster home. But it’s whats behind the handsome persona that counts. I’d love him just as much if he had looked as bad as his photos. One reason I enquired about him though was that he did very vaguely remind me of a previous dog in looks. So I guess I was a bit influenced by that.