Were you out with friends last night and as the night wore on did you get to talking about odd looking dogs?
After all, there are quite a few to choose from and photos like that do tend to go viral!
As the conversation wore on, did you start chatting over odd combinations to look for in dogs?
Well in my post today, I provide a list of seven dog breeds that have curly tails and floppy ears.
Which, when you think about it can be quite a contrasting look.
But before I start describing each of those breeds, I want to look separately at dogs’ ears and their tails.
Firstly, their tails.
Why do dogs have curly tails?
Having looked into this in some detail, there is no evolutionary reason why dog’s should have curly tails.
A dog’s tail will serve many purposes including helping them to balance and to communicate how they are feeling but I can find nothing that helps clarify how a curl tail might help a dog.
Instead, dogs have curly tails because when breeds were first developed, the breeders wanted a dog that had a curly tail because it looked good.
Why do dogs have floppy ears?
Although floppy ears might make a particular breed look more pleasing but they don’t serve any useful function.
In fact, the opposite is true.
Dogs have got floppy ears because the muscle that the ear uses to listen out for threats (and which would also cause the ear to stand upright) doesn’t really exist anymore.
This is labelled as domestication syndrome.
And before you start to argue against such nonsense, the theory is one of Darwin’s!
And when you start to think of it, the theory makes perfect sense because it is obvious that floppy ears hinder hearing.
I think that I will end my science lesson there and start describing my list of dog breeds with curly tails and floppy ears.
 Shih Tzu
Possibly dating back to the seventeenth century, Shih Tzus were first bred in Tibet.
They were such favourites of members of the Chinese Royal family that they refused to sell or give any of these dogs away!
And these dogs have a certain presence and self confidence about them sneers at any level of care that is less than regal!
Some Shih Tzus have a very distinctive long coat and all of them have these long flowing ears which stretch down to about the tops of their shoulders- but it is hard to work out where their ears end and their coat begins!
They all have a curly tail, which again has lots of hair on it. The tail “flops” over their back.
In terms of size, adults can stand about 10.5 inches (26 cm) tall and weigh anything up to 16 lbs or 8 kgs.
Personality- wise, they are very affectionate and are great with children. They are also a very watchful breed, always on a state of high alert and because of this they make excellent watch dogs.
As small dogs with short legs, they require minimal exercise- short walks and indoor play should suffice.
Havanese are a Shih Tzu’s doppelganger.
A quick glance between the two breeds might lead you to mistake one for another.
They both have long haired coats and the signature floppy ears and curly tail.
But there are some subtle differences.
A Havanese stands slightly taller than a Shih Tzu (11.5 vs. 10.5 inches) but they are are a few pounds lighter (13 vs. 16 lbs.)
Also the hair on a Havenese’s coat is thicker and less silky than the hair of a Shih Tzu.
Other important differences are that Havanese are a bit more active than a Tzu and Havanese are more eager to please as well.
They are much less stubborn and eager to do their own thing.
It would seem logical for a Maltese dog to have originated on the island of Malta but there are no records that point to this.
Instead it has stronger links to Central Europe.
These dogs have a long and flowing coat much like the Shih Tzu.
Their ears are delightfully floppy and hidden by long strands of hair.
Their tail also curls back over their body.
But these dogs are dwarfed by Shih Tzus, standing a maximum of 9 inches (22 cms) and only weighing anything up to 7 pounds (3 kgs).
Another difference between the two breeds is that Maltese only appear with a brilliant white coat, whereas Tzus are much more varied in their coat colours.
 Bichon Frise
Another toy breed that is pure white!
But instead of having lots of straight hair, a Bichon Frise is a mass of curls.
These curls create a halo effect around its head beneath which are floppy ears which hang down to the same height as their mouths.
Its tail curls back over its body, as an explosion of frizzy hair.
In terms of character, these dogs expect everyone they meet to adore them and happily return the favour.
For a very small dog, Bichons like to be active and need a combination of indoor play and short walks.
I think that I have had my fill of small dogs that have curly tails and floppy ears, it is now time for something completely different.
 Afghan Hound
Well let me qualify exactly what I mean by completely different.
In some ways, Afghan Hounds are just enormous versions of a Shih Tzu- one look at their long flowing, well manicured coats both of which stretch down to the ground.
And an Afghan Hound has long floppy ears.
But there is a difference in the tail. An Afghan’s tail is much thinner, hangs down and then curls at the end.
Standing up to 69 cm or 27 inches tall, the Afghan is nearly three times as tall and at 60 lbs or 27 kg in weight is nearly four times as heavy.
Whereas Afghans were bred to hunt in the mountains, Tzus were bred to sit on laps.
As a result an Afghan Hound needs far,far more exercise.
 Black Russian Terrier
From the huge elegance of an Afghan Hound to the massive power of a Black Russian Terrier (BRT.)
Bred specifically to work in the Russian military to help with security, these dogs do have (short) floppy ears and a curly tail.
Or their long and bushy tail curls up at the end and is “banana” shaped.
In looks, they remind me of a very large but black Airedale- it has that very angular look of some of the long legged terriers.
The Black Russian Terrier can stand as tall as 76 cm or 30 inches tall and weigh a mighty 68 kg or 150 lbs.
It goes without saying that this breed isn’t for the faint hearted or the inexperienced.
These are large, powerful dogs that need an expert hand that can preferably put them to work.
After the might and heavy presence of a BRT, I move back to a less bulky breed.
Sloughi are also called Arabian Greyhounds and they were not bred for security work but to hunt game in the North African desert.
To chase animals such as wild pigs or antelope.
Their “vitals” are almost exactly the same as a Greyhound- measuring 74cm or 29 inches high and weighing up to 32 kg or 70 lbs.
As for the ears, they are floppy but perhaps not as jaw dropping as other breeds in my list.
And their thin tail has less curl and more swirl to it- as I described it in another article.
² Photo by Joseph Krawiec on Flickr
⁴ Photo by audrey-sel on Flickr
⁶ Photo by Bryan Ungard on Flickr
⁸ Photo by Svenska Massan on Flickr