The Chinese Crested is a relatively small dog that occurs naturally in two varieties: The Hairless and the Powderpuff. Despite their very different appearances, both types are the same breed and can be born within the same litter, with the Hairless strain being dominant. As all Chinese Crested dogs carry the recessive gene, there will always be a chance of a litter of puppies from two Hairless dogs containing both types of dog, even though Hairless puppies are statistically more likely to be born. The Powderpuff is, in fact, the original version of the Chinese Crested breed, although the Hairless variety is best known worldwide.
Height: 10-13 inches (25-33 cm)
Weight: 7-12 lbs (3-5 kg)
Average Litter Size: 2 to 6 puppies
Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years
Good with Children: Yes, if careful
Kennel Club Classification: Toy
The Chinese Crested is accepted by the UK Kennel Club in a wide variety of colours. The nine solid official colours of this breed are black, blue, brown, cream, gold, liver, mahogany, sable and white. In addition, the Chinese Crested can be found in a further 13 combinations of hues, including tricolour, cream sable, pink and blue, and black and white, among others.
Even a Hairless Chinese Crested dog requires regular grooming. The longer parts of the coat, which can be found on the head, feet and tail should be combed often to prevent tangles. Powderpuff varieties are covered with long fine hair with a double coat, so frequent combing is important, as they are prone to matting. The skin of a Hairless Crested can be sensitive, so a mild moisturiser will prevent drying, and don’t forget to use a fragrance-free sun cream in hot weather so your Hairless Chinese Crested dog will not burn in the sun. Hairless dogs require more frequent baths than Powderpuffs, but both should be washed with a high-quality shampoo. Keeping teeth, nails, eyes and ears clean is essential for both varieties for optimum health.
Chinese Crested dogs are small and lightweight, so injuries from being handled too heavily are not uncommon. Do not overfeed your Chinese Crested pet, as they are prone to obesity. Other ailments may include dental problems, knee problems, cleft lip or palate, inflammatory bowel disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, hip necrosis, epilepsy, mast cell tumours, seizures, patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy and skin disease. It’s important to check the health history of the puppy’s parents to reduce the risk of any genetically inherited conditions.
This affable little dog makes a suitable pet for both families and individuals thanks to their love of human companionship. Their lively and cheerful personalities blend perfectly with their gentle nature and penchant for curling up affectionately with their owner. Chinese Crested dogs are not at all aggressive, but may bark to alert their owner to strangers.
The Chinese Crested dog is likely to require considerable patience and consistency when it comes to house training. Crate training is a useful tool for this breed, and as they have a stubborn streak, they need a lot of positive reinforcement. Aside from training a Chinese Crested to obey standard commands, this intelligent breed is quite adept at learning a variety of tricks and unique commands. Socialisation is important for the Chinese Crested dog, as this will enable them to grow accustomed to visitors, dogs and another animals. Small dogs are often pampered, but the Chinese Crested must not be overly spoiled, as this can lead to a superiority complex.
As they are a small breed, the Chinese Crested dog requires minimal exercise. A daily half an hour walk is sufficient for these dogs, but it’s important to remember that the Hairless variety is very sensitive to the cold, so unless it’s warm outside, make sure your dog is wearing a jumper or jacket when they go out. Bursts of energetic play, such as fetch or tug of war, are stimulating for these dogs, and this additional exercise will keep your pet healthy.
Despite their name, the Chinese Crested dog does not actually originate from China at all. They were, however, used on Chinese ships during the 17th and 19th centuries to catch rats, so this is likely how the breed was named. On their travels, the sailors would trade Chinese Crested dogs with other sailors of different nationalities.
The true heritage of a Chinese Crested dog is thought to be likely African originally, with their ancestors brought to China and developed into the breed we know today, although this theory has yet to be proven. In truth, the breed is so old that it’s impossible to pinpoint its exact genealogy, as there are very few historical records to confirm the Chinese Crested Dog’s heritage.
Hairless varieties of dogs can be found in four continents, including the Mexican Hairless, otherwise known as the Xoloitzcuintle. A scientific study into the DNA of the Xoloitzcuintle, the Peruvian Hairless and the Chinese Crested Hairless indicated that all of these breeds have the same shared hairless mutation called the FOX13 gene, which can be traced to around 2,000 BC in Mexico. This mutation also causes missing teeth, which explains why Chinese Crested dogs often do not have a full set of teeth. At some point in their lineage, hairless ancestors of the Chinese Crested dog are likely to have been part of the diet of Aztecs and Toltecs of South America, on account of their supposed healing properties.
In the 1950s, Debora Wood, the founder of the American Hairless Dog Club, bred and recorded Chinese Hairless dogs. Many examples of modern day Chinese Hairless dogs can also be attributed to the burlesque actress and dancer Gypsy Rose Lee, who took a particular interest in the breed. Her dogs were merged with Wood’s after her death in 1970. Every Chinese Crested dog alive today derives from these two lines.
Hairless Chinese Crested dogs often rank highly in the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, including Sam from California, who won three times between 2003-2005.