Skip to Content

10 Dog Breeds That Do Weird Things (and the Real Meanings)

Have you heard of the Australian Kelpie? Believe it or not, these dogs love to “surf” on a flock of sheep. However, these dogs actually do this for a very specific reason you’d least expect.

The thing is – all dogs have weird quirks, but some unique breeds have instinctive behaviors that seem downright strange and bizarre. So, here are 10 dog breeds with unique behaviors or instincts, and the real reason why they actually do it.

But before we dive into the wool-surfing Kelpie, let’s start with one of the most unique behaviors.

RECOMMENDED: 7 Weird Dog Behaviors

1. The dog breed that yodels.

Meet the Basenji, a breed that’s too cool to bark. No really – these dogs literally can’t bark. Instead of the usual “woof,” these canine crooners serenade with a unique sound known as a “baroo.” 

It’s kind of like a mix between a yodel and a howl. And if you’re curious, it sounds like this. But why? Well, it’s all in their anatomy. 

The Basenji’s larynx is shaped differently than the average dog. This makes their vocal stylings a lot more reminiscent of a Swiss mountaineer than a backyard pooch. But this isn’t just a quirky party trick; it has roots in their African heritage. 

In the dense forests of the Congo, where Basenjis originated, this melodious yodel of the breed was more effective for communication than a typical bark. It could travel further without getting muffled by thick underbrush. 

So, next time you hear a Basenji yodel, remember, you’re not just hearing a dog talk – you’re listening to a centuries-old jungle telegram! Appreciate and embrace the weirdness of the Basenji.

And if you thought the Basenji’s yodel was out of the ordinary, just wait until you see our next breed’s charming way of showing excitement without making a single sound.

2. The dog breed that blushes.

The Pharaoh Hound, a breed as ancient as the pyramids, has a unique party trick up its…well, fur. When these dogs get excited or happy, their ears and nose turn a rosy pink. It’s like they’re wearing a natural mood ring!

But why do they blush? Well, it’s all about blood flow. When Pharaoh Hounds get excited, there’s an increase in blood flow to their ears and nose, causing the color change. This isn’t just adorable; it’s a glimpse into their emotional world. 

Imagine being able to literally see when your dog is overjoyed – like having a happiness meter! Originally bred in Malta, these blushing beauties were once companions to Pharaohs (hence the name). 

Today, they might not be hanging out in royal palaces, but they’re still turning heads and warming hearts with their unique blush. 

Now, If you’re amazed by a dog that blushes, you’ll be even more impressed by this next breed that takes hunting to new heights… literally!

3. The dog breeds that climb trees.

Let’s talk about a dog that’s closer to a cat than you think. The Japanese Kishu Ken doesn’t just walk the walk; they climb the climb! Unlike most of their 4-legged friends, Kishu Kens have been known to scale trees because they were bred to hunt in the ancient Kishu province of Japan.

This unique forestry area of eastern Japan is known for having dense forests and tall trees. So when tracking and stalking prey, these agile dogs often found that the quickest yet most sneaky method was to hunt from up high.

It’s not just a quirky habit. This tree climbing ability is a testament to their adaptability, determination and remarkable hunting skills.

However, I’ll admit, this isn’t just unique to the Kishu Ken. In fact, Shiba Inus and the Catahoula Leopard dog can also climb trees, though not to the extent of a Kishu Ken. Tree climbing may be an impressive skill, but it doesn’t compare to the oddly cute behavior of this next one.

4. The dog breed that “sploots.”

Ever heard of a ‘sploot’? No, it’s not the latest dance craze, but rather a hilarious and adorable pose that Corgis have become famous for. When a Corgi ‘sploots,’ it lies flat on its belly with its hind legs stretched out straight behind them. 

It’s like these oddly-shaped dogs are doing a furry little frog impression! So, why do these short-legged charmers do the sploot? 

Now the reason might seem obvious. They’re just stretching their legs out and relaxing, right? While that is true, they’re also splooting as a means to regulate body temperature. We call this thermoregulation.

You see…dogs don’t sweat like we do. In fact, dogs rely on other methods, such as panting or adjusting their body posture to regulate their body temperature.

Splooting increases the surface area contact of the dog’s body with the floor, which helps in dispersing heat from their bodies. If yoga had a ‘downward dog’ for dogs, Corgis would definitely rock the ‘upward sploot.’ 

5. The dog with the “Collie Walk.”

Let’s talk about the Border Collie’s signature move, also known as the “Collie Walk.” This isn’t your regular dog walk in the park. The “Collie Walk” is like activating “stealth ninja mode.”

Picture this: a Border Collie, intensely focused, slowly and methodically stalking its way towards its flock. It’s a low, creeping movement – almost cat-like, but it’s all dog!

So, why the ninja moves? Believe it or not, this is how these dogs herd. Border Collies use this walk to approach sheep without startling them. They maintain intense eye contact and move slowly to control the flock’s movement. 

This behavior showcases their high intelligence because it’s not just about physical prowess –  it’s a psychological game of chess between dog and sheep. It’s a reminder that when it comes to herding, these dogs don’t just herd; they strategize.

Now if you thought the Collie walk was an amazing stealthy display, this next breed takes the complete opposite approach.

6. The dog that can scream.

Ever heard a dog scream? If not, you’ve probably never met a Shiba Inu in full vocal glory. The ‘Shiba Scream’ is as dramatic as it sounds. 

It’s a high-pitched, intense scream that these fluffy little dogs let out when they’re either really upset or super excited. Here’s what it sounds like. But why the ear-piercing scream? 

Well, the Shiba Inu is a breed with a bold and fiery personality, and this scream is just another way they express themselves. Unlike the typical bark or howl you’d expect, the Shiba Scream is a startling burst of emotion – a canine exclamation mark, if you will.

So, if you ever hear a sound that’s somewhere between a scream and a siren, don’t be alarmed. It’s probably just a Shiba Inu with something important to say, in the most dramatic way possible. 

7. The dog that will climb steep cliffs.

Imagine a dog that’s part mountain goat, and you’ve got the Norwegian Lundehund. Don’t underestimate this breed – they’ve got some serious rock-climbing skills, and they’ll take any opportunity to showcase this unique skill.

But why? These dogs were bred to hunt puffins on the steep, unforgiving cliffs of Norway. Evolution gifted them with some nifty adaptations – like extra toes for better grip and super flexible joints to navigate those tricky crags and crevices. 

It’s almost like they have built-in climbing gear! Climbing steep cliffs is dangerous, and requires both great agility and excellent balance. And let’s not forget, puffins are pretty wily too. 

So, the Norwegian Lundehund’s ability to scale these heights is just a testament to their bravery and specialized hunting skills. When it comes to cliffhanging, these dogs are literally on top of the world!

8. The dog that’s perpetually smiling.

Welcome to the world of the Samoyed, the dog that’s perpetually happy…or so it seems. These fluffy white clouds on four legs are famous for something you can’t miss – their ever-present, ear-to-ear grin. For the Samoyed, it’s not just a smile – it’s a lifestyle!

But why are Samoyeds literally always smiling? This expression, known as the “Sammy Smile,” isn’t just when they’re happy. It’s actually a functional feature that’s extremely useful in the blistering cold of the arctic circle.

Their upturned mouth corners prevent drooling, which in turn prevents icicles from forming on their face in cold weather. Practical and adorable! However, this perpetual smile goes hand-in-hand with their friendly and sociable nature. 

It’s like they’re always ready to spread cheer wherever they go. They’re like living, barking reminders that every day is a good day for a smile.

9. The dog that surfs on sheep.

Hold onto your hats – or should I say, your “wooly caps” – as we dive into the bizarre habit of “sheep surfing.” Yes, you heard that right. The Australian Kelpie literally walks, or rather surfs, on the backs of sheep!

This unusual behavior, formally known as “sheep backing,” is a practical solution to a crowded problem. You see – Kelpies were bred to manage, herd, and look after livestock.

However, when working in tight spaces – like packed sheep yards – Kelpies will hop onto the backs of sheep to move around and avoid getting trapped in the flock. 

Weird? Yes. But also efficient and smart. And let’s be real – it’s also just plain cool. Imagine seeing a dog skillfully navigating a sea of wooly backs, maintaining complete balance and control. It’s like watching a skilled surfer catching a wave, except the waves are fluffy and bleat. 

10. The dog that wiggles its butt and curls its body.

Now let’s talk about a dog that really knows how to shake things up – the Australian Shepherd. When these energetic dogs get excited, they put on quite the show with their signature move I’d like to call, the “wiggle-and-curl.” 

But it’s not just a wag; it’s a full-body celebration! They’ll curl up and turn their butt towards you, all while wiggling their butts like a wiggle worm. But what’s behind this adorable behavior? 

This is an Australian Shepherd’s way of showing affection, excitement and submission…all rolled into one weird behavior. And the best part is that nearly all Australian Shepherds do this!

Aussies are known for their enthusiastic and affectionate nature, and this “wiggle-and-curl” is their way of letting the whole world know just how happy they are. It’s like they’re saying, “I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it, and I have to wiggle every bit of me!”

So, if you ever witness an Aussie doing the wiggle-and-curl, you’re not just seeing a dog move, you’re witnessing pure, unadulterated canine joy. 


Which of these instinctual behaviors was the most surprising? And did we miss any good ones? Let me know in the comments section below!

Posts you may like: