7 Dogs With Square Heads

Photo by Chris McInnis on Flickr

In today’s article, I want to look at dog breeds that have square heads.

In it, I will look at 7 different breeds of dogs which I will show all have very square heads.

Five of these breeds you wouldn’t be surprised at because they are Bulldog type breeds- Bullmastiff, American Pitbull Terrier, Bulldog, Boston Terrier and Dogo Argentino.

But I have also added two more surprising choices- Brussels Griffon and the Lhasa Apso.

Now these two breeds are poles apart from Bulldogs.

But with the right haircut, these dogs have very square heads.

But before I start to describe any of these breeds to you, I want to answer a pretty fundamental question.

Why do some dogs have square heads?

This is a bit of a strange one because there is no clear answer for it.

And so I suspect that the clues for the square head shape lie in the work that the dogs were all bred to do.

Now, the American Pitbull Terrier, Bulldog and Dogo Argentino were all originally bred to fight bears or other dogs.

And to be successful in this, a square head gave them certain necessary qualities.

Firstly dogs with square heads tend to have a wider mouth or jaw, which makes it easier to grab hold of something and hold onto it.

I would think that a wider jaw would also help a dog have a more powerful bite…

Secondly, most breeds with square heads have very small ears. 

In fact the ears on these breeds seem too small. 

There are no large and fluffy or floppy ears to soften the lines of your face- or the boxy lines of your square head

But when you’re a fighting dog big ears make you more vulnerable because they are something that can just get in the way or be bitten or ripped off.

And finally, square headed dogs tend to have shorter hair. 

In terms of looks, short hair is like very small ears.

The hair isn’t long enough to soften the look of the face.  

Let’s move on now as I introduce my first square face dog- the imperious Bullmastiff. 

 [1] Bullmastiff

Photo by Richard Wood on Flickr

What a wonderful square head Bullmastiffs have!

Seriously, it is so symmetrical- I’m not sure whether to describe it as comical or graceful.

And the way that the black muzzle contrasts so nicely with their fawn coloured coat.

Even their lips seem to make a very symmetrical “n” shape.

I have to say that I think those ears are a bit out of place and small, don’t you think?

Almost as if at the design phase, this breed just didn’t have the right size ears in stock.

What else can I tell you about this 60 kg (130 lb) hulk of muscle?

Well, they were created in the 19th century to act as guard dogs against poachers who would try and sneak onto large country estates.

To this day, most of them are very loving and loyal family dogs- and with the right kind of training, they won’t automatically try and chase every stranger from the house!

But make no mistake.

Bullmastiffs are big and powerful dogs, who will need lots of exercise, attention and food in order to keep on the straight and narrow and to stay in perfect condition. 

[2] American Pit Bull Terrier

Photo by Spike Summers on Flickr

Whichever way you look at a Bullmastiff, its head will appear to be square but an American Pitbull has a longer snout and so its head only has that classic square shape when you are looking at it from head on. 

Well, I know that we were talking about muscle with the Bullmastiff but the American Pitbull oozes power.

Together with a very threatening look.

Standing up to 53 cm (21 inches) tall and weighing up to 27 kg (60 lbs), these aren’t particularly big dogs.

But they obviously don’t need to be.

Banned in many countries across Europe and in some states of the US, most people would consider these dogs to be highly dangerous.

Going back a couple of centuries, the main job of a pitbull was as a fighting dog- and before that they were used to bait bears. 

And they are still being used for all sorts of illegal activities today. 

[3] Bulldog 

You can tell when you look at a Bulldog that they were one of the dogs used to create a Bullmastiff because they have a similar shaped square head.

The “n” shaped mouth is shared by both breeds.

But Bulldogs have shorter snouts and so they have more wrinkles on their face.

And because their short snouts make it harder for them to breath, their mouths are often open with their tongues hanging out.

Short legs are paired with their short snouts as an adult male Bulldog will stand a mere 15 inches (38 cm ) tall.

Another muscle bound dog (unless it’s turned to fat) but who are really just big softies.

And they are a breed that has been transformed.

Like the Pitbull, they were originally bred to fight bears.

And when that was outlawed in the UK in the mid 19th century, the breed almost died out.

Until a group of enthusiasts slowly bred the aggression out of the dogs as well as making them more physically attractive

How funny is that!

And this has obviously worked because for years a Bulldog has been used to successfully sell car and home insurance in the UK.

[4] Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is an all American dog- and one of the few breeds that actually are.

It is another breed which used a Bulldog as part of the “original mix”.

And there are some similarities.

The pretty square shaped head, those large eyes and the loose skin around the mouth are all very familiar.

Gone are the ears that look like they should be on a much smaller dog.

Say hello to these whoppers- standing proud and upright much like they do on a bat.

And it isn’t just the ears that make them different.

In contrast to all of the previous breeds, his dog was never bred to fight but only to catch rats.

And secondly as a breed it is quite modern- originating in the late nineteenth century. 

Boston Terriers are very gentle dogs- there is nothing that they like more than to please their owners 

[5] Dogo Argentino

Another square head and another banned breed of dog.

Well at least as far as the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Norway are concerned.

The Dogo has a longer snout and so it’s head only looks square if you are looking at it “head on”.

These are huge dogs and an adult male can stand up to 68 cm (27 inches) tall and weigh up to 45 kg or 99 lbs.

If your eye isn’t drawn to their square muscular heads, it will be to their pure white colouring.

Which let’s face it, is stunning.

But this look comes at a cost because, like other breeds of pure white dogs, up to 10% of the breed might be deaf or go deaf. 

And unlike other breeds, the Dogo Argentino is a young upstart on the scene.

It was first created in 1928 by a surgeon named Antonio Martinez. 

Having looked at five big muscle bound breeds with square faces, we will now move on and look at three breeds of dogs who have smaller and softer square faces.

Small dogs with square faces

Perhaps, when you were thinking about dogs with square faces, you were thinking only about larger, more powerful breeds.

But I think that there are some smaller breeds out there who have some square faces.

Brussels Griffon

Photo by audrey_sel on Flickr

First up the Brussels Griffon.

Like the Dogo Argentino, the Griffon is named after the place where it was created (Brussels.) 

But unlike Dogo Argentino, these dogs don’t look menacing at all. 

Although some, when they get excited, can threaten your ankles.

Standing at 11 inches or 27 cm tall and weighing a mere 10 lbs (4.5 kg), the physical look of these dogs were the inspiration for Ewoks- small characters from Star Wars.

Now, some of you might argue that these dogs have a square head.

And they do, it is just that their fur needs to have been trimmed.

Otherwise their face can be lost in a moustache!

Lhasa Apso

Now, there is a real difference between a Lhasa Apso who has long flowing hair and is being readied for a show and a dog which has recently had a buzz cut.

These could easily be mistaken for two different breeds

It is these dogs who have recently spent time with a set of clippers that look like they have a square head.

In fact, you might also describe their small heads as “box-like” because their heads are about the same width as their depth. 

These dogs originated in Tibet where they were used as indoor guard dogs.

Which when they are less than a foot tall and weigh less than 20 kg, might sound a bit odd.

But they would be part of a security team.

And the other member of that team, responsible for stopping intruders outside, was the Tibetan Mastiff.

A giant breed of dog that is two and a half feet tall and over 50 kg in weight.

Not “good cop and bad cop” but “small cop and big cop”!