Families are rarely complete without a dog in the mix. Having ol’ Fido in the backyard means you’ve got unconditional love waiting for you on your hardest days and a good friend to play with when you’re bored. But dogs are a lot of work, and some families have turned to more exotic pets.
To find the perfect pet, some folks have opted for these more unconventional species of animals, doting on their out-of-this-world appearances and hard-to-find qualities. But top researchers (dog lovers) did some digging and found pictures proving that, whatever the hottest new exotic pet can do, a dog can do just as well—if not better.
1. The hedgehog: Harry’s Cafe in Tokyo, Japan showcased the cuteness of hedgehogs by letting a few of the prickly guys hang around the joint permanently, cuddling with guests. A point, maybe, for attractiveness of this exotic species—but not if you ask the dogs.
Traveling the World Solo
Places like Seoul, South Korea’s Bau House gave dogs a seat at the table, too. Yeah, alright, these dogs couldn’t help but beg for table scraps when given the chance. Still, spike their hair with some gel and you’ve got a hedgehog. Practically.
2. The sugar glider: Marsupials related to the kangaroo, these exotic pets use underarm membranes to take to the skies, but they’re just as happy in your pocket, too. Dogs, though, boast a surprisingly similar skill set.
Shadow, the psychiatric service animal, helps his owner fly—not with the help of armpit membranes—but by shifting his body weight to steer a hang glider. Sure, he may not fit in your pocket, but he might squeeze into the right pocketbook!
3. The tarantula: Pet owners turned to these furry arachnids to scratch their pet ownership itch, mostly because the eight-legged beauties require little TLC. They don’t bark or howl, and nothing else looks quite like them. Don’t let the dog hear that, though.
Eight legs? Not a problem. Additional fuzz? Just a heartbeat away. Poland’s Chicha the Spiderdog proved dogs can be spiders, too, and generate all the interesting conversations a pet spider might. Her YouTube prank video garnered millions of views online! Could a spider do that?
4. The capybara: The world’s largest rodent is shy and has a simple diet: grass. People with overgrown backyards might think they’d benefit, then, from this anti-social exotic animal tending to their lawn. Maybe they would. But don’t count dogs out on yard work.
Give the family dog a chance on the lawnmower and she might surprise you. This pink-pawed poodle named Max raised eyebrows online when people saw her pitching in on housework!
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5. The squirrel monkey: Owning a monkey might fall at the top of your list of pipe dreams, but aspiring squirrel monkey owners beware: These guys constantly fight for dominance. They’ll steal from you and make you the pet. Dogs, meanwhile…
Even as a baby, this German shepherd knows not to steal, but instead he delights in delivering the morning paper to his owner’s waiting hands. In the afternoon, he probably sat outside with no interest in dominating anything but the backyard grass.
6. The Burmese python: Despite controversial horror stories about the dangers of the python, people often turn to snakes to get their exotic pet fix. And if handled from a young age, these guys can be incredibly docile and languid.
If it’s the legs that bother you, no problem. This dog is doing his best to take on a slithery form. And languid? Just look at him! Dude’s languid as a summer’s evening. Plus, he won’t grow to 18-feet long and 200 pounds, which is a small bonus.
7. The bearded dragon: Sure, their neck folds make them look like they’re rocking sweet beards, and their calm demeanor lets you dress them in handmade costumes and hold them for hours on end, but the dog might say, so what? Big deal?
These dogs were no stranger to hats, and while their beards may not have been from skin flaps, they donned belly-length chin fuzz nonetheless. Even better? These guys knew how to bring the holiday spirit, too.
8. The kinkajou: What made Paris Hilton want to call this seven-pound raccoon relative a pet? Well, those round eyes must’ve been tough to pass up. Still, maybe it’s just the dogs talking, but these fellas can be loud, messy, and a bit territorial. And worse?
The kinkajou carries a fatal species of roundworm, too. Yeah, your dog might get a worm a worm or two in her lifetime, but at the end of the day—at least, if you ask the dogs—you’d be better off staring into her adorable, round eyes.
9. The Fennec fox: If handled from a young age, the Fennec fox can be leashed like a dog and will actually come if you call it (giving it a leg-up on a cat). They’ll even use the litter box. To avoid the desert heat in their natural habitats, they’re big nightlife enthusiasts. How can a dog compete?
Did someone say nightlife? Britain’s famous photography series of “pub dogs” proved that’s not a hobby reserved for the world’s smallest fox. This one may not use the litter box, but hey, maybe he’ll put a few biscuits toward a drink for you.
10. The wallaby: In 2016, scientists studied over 90 exotic animals for pet “suitability” and found five exotic animals topped the list—one of which was the wallaby. Videos of wallabies fighting suggest they’d make killer house guards, too—check out that chokeslam, right!
Well, the pooches say scientists can take their research and throw it in the trash. No better guards exist than the family dog, and you don’t even need a German shepherd to get the job done. Any dog, big or small, can be fitted for chain mail to defend her castle.
11. The slow loris: This animal won hearts online with zany tickling videos, big ol’ eyes, and goofy expressions. But they tend to mark their territories (your house) with copious amounts of urine, and, oh yeah, their elbows secrete venom they rub onto their teeth before they bite people!
Dogs are gross, but they’re not lick-their-elbows-and-then-inject-you-with-venom gross. They’re gross in the lick their butt then lick your face sense. While the slow loris’s cuteness certainly gives a dog a run for its money, this is another exotic animal that the dogs have beat.
You may be tempted to get an exotic animal for a pet, but dogs are willing to do whatever it takes to stay number one in the hearts and minds of the public!
Share the lengths dogs will go to beat exotic pets with your dog-loving friends below!