© 2017 Puig et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. The genus Malassezia includes lipophilic yeasts, which are part of the skin microbiota of various mammals and birds. Unlike the rest of Malassezia species, M. pachydermatis is described as non-lipid-dependent, as it is able to grow on Sabouraud glucose agar (SGA) without lipid supplementation. In this study we have examined the phenotypic variability within M. pachydermatis and confirmed its lipid-dependent nature using a synthetic agar medium. We used a selection of representative non-lipid-dependent strains from different animal species and three atypical lipid-dependent strains of this species, which were not able to grow after multiple passages on SGA. More than 400 lipid-dependent Malassezia isolates from animals were studied in order to detect the three lipid-dependent strains of M. pachydermatis. The identity of the atypical strains was confirmed by DNA sequencing. On the other hand, we have modified the Tween diffusion test, which is widely used in the characterization of these yeasts, by using a synthetic agar-based medium instead of SGA. This modification has proved to be useful for differentiation of M. pachydermatis strains, providing reproducible results and a straightforward interpretation. The finding of these peculiar lipid-dependent strains exemplifies the large variability within the species M. pachydermatis, which involves rare atypical strains with particular growth requirements.