The Chinese Crested Dog is probably one of the most easily recognisable looking dogs on the planet with their hairless body and tufts around their faces, ears, necks and lower legs. However, these hairless dogs are not the only type of Chinese Crested because there is the Powder Puff dog which boast having an undercoat that's covered in a super soft veil of hair that's actually quite long. Whether a hairless Crested or a dog with a coat, they are known to be active, lively and intelligent characters by nature which is why over the years they have become a firm favourite with fans of the breed both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world.
The origins of the Chinese Crested are a bit of a mystery, but there is some belief that these dogs were originally found in Africa where they were known as African Hairless Terriers with evidence of them being found in texts written during the 19th century. However, there is also some evidence of a genetic connection to the Mexican Hairless dog called the Xōlōitzcuintli. In short, although the breed bears the name Chinese Crested, they do not originally hail from that part of the world at all.
In ancient times the Chinese travelled extensively exploring different regions of the world where they began trading. Trade routes were set up and it is believed they bought these little dog back with them from their travels. The dogs kept vermin under control during the long sea voyages. The breed was renamed by their new owners which is how these little dogs came to be known as Chinese Crested.
It was not until the 1950's that the breed started to gain in popularity in the US when breeders kept records of their dog’s lineage. The first club was set up in 1979 and then in 1981, the breed was officially recognised by The Kennel Club here in the UK. With this said, to this day the Chinese Crested remains one of the "rare breeds" of the world.
Height at the withers: Males 28 - 33 cm, Females 23 - 30 cm
Average weight: Males 5.4 kg, Females 5.4 kg
The Chinese Crested is a unique looking small dog and there are two very different types with one being deer-like, very fine boned and racy looking whereas the other type of Crested is a lot heavier with more bone and more cobby looking. Over the years, the breed has become a popular choice of pet and a firm favourite in the show ring. These little dogs are active and graceful with some of them boasting no hair on their body at all whereas another type, the Powder Puff has a longish, soft and silky coat that's made up of a veil of hair. The hairless Crested just has hair on their lower legs and feet as well as on their heads and their tails.
The Crested has a slightly elongated and rounded head with well-defined cheeks and a slim, tapering muzzle. Their faces and heads are smooth with no wrinkles and a dog's nose can be any colour. The Crested is a proud little dog and they hold their heads gracefully always giving the impression of alertness. Their lips are tight and their crest should start at a dog's stop before tapering off down the neck with hair being long and flowing. However, some dogs have less hair which is acceptable as a breed standard.
The Crested boasts very dark almond shaped eyes which look almost black and which are set wide apart on a dog's head adding to their overall endearing looks. Their large ears are set low and they can have fringes on them or not. Dogs hold their ears erect although the Powder Puff's ears drop down which is acceptable as a breed standard. Their jaws are strong and these little dogs boast a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones.
They have lean, long necks that slope nicely into their shoulders and when on the move, dogs carry their heads high with their necks slightly arched. Their shoulders are quite narrow and well laid back. They have long, slender legs and neat feet. Their bodies are nicely proportioned and quite long with dogs boasting a broad and deep chest.
Their rumps are well rounded with taut loins and their back legs are set well apart. Their back feet are quite hare-like being long and narrow. Nails can be any colour and are typically quite long. Their "socks" are normally just found around their toes. Dogs carry their tail straight although when at rest the tail falls gracefully downwards. Plumes are long and flowing and covering just the lower two-thirds of a dog's tail.
When it comes to a Chinese Crested's coat, they don't have any hair on their body whatsoever and their skin is smooth, finely grained and warm to the touch. However, Powder Puffs boast having an undercoat with a soft veil of long, flowing hair that covers their entire body. Cresteds can be any colour or a combination of colours which is acceptable as a breed standard.
The Chinese Crested is known to be a happy character by nature, rarely showing any sort of aggressive behaviour. They are a very good choice for first time dog owners as long as the people are aware that hairless dogs have different care needs than your typical dog. They need to be protected from the elements and this includes when it is hot or when the weather is cold and the temperature drops.
These little dogs really do think they are much bigger than they really are. The Chinese Crested Dog may be small in stature, but it certainly makes up for this in personality. Despite its outward delicate appearance, this dog is tough, alert and agile, excelling in numerous canine sports such as agility. They are friendly. playful, energetic and surprisingly good with children, given that many toy dogs can be a little 'snappy' when they feel threatened by kids and when they get a bit too excited and boisterous around them.
There is a temptation for owners to 'baby' this small dog, however, this should not be encouraged as dogs often grow up to be timid and nervous characters which means they are more likely to develop unwanted behaviours including nipping and barking. The Chinese Crested may be small, but they do need to be handled firmly yet gently so they understand who is boss otherwise they could start to show a more dominant side to their natures and become unruly dogs.
These little dogs do not like being left on their own for long periods of time and if they are, boredom soon sets in which could result in them developing a few destructive behaviours around the home which includes digging. They are also very skilled climbers when the mood takes them. They are known to be a little head-strong at times which is why early socialisation and training is so important.
Chinese Cresteds are very people oriented dogs and don't like to be left on their own. As such, they form strong bonds with their families. However, they can be a little nervous and ultra sensitive which means they need to be handled gently, yet firmly when being trained. They are intelligent and in the right hands with the correct amount of positive reinforcement training these little dogs can be trained, it just takes time, understanding of the breed and patience.
The Chinese Crested is generally very good around children although it is always a good idea to introduce them to any children carefully. With this said, when they grow up with the kids and other pets in a household these little dogs are more than happy to be around them. They very rarely show any sort of aggression towards other dogs and they are generally very tolerant of cats too especially when they have grown up together.
However, it is never a good idea to leave a Chinese Crested alone with any small pets because they might perceive them as fair game which could be disastrous.
The average life expectancy of a Chinese Crested is between 12 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Chinese Crested is known to be a hardy little dog, but like so many other pure breeds, they are known to suffer from certain conditions which are worth knowing about if you share a home with one of these little dogs. The health issues most commonly seen in the breed include the following:
As with any other breed, the Chinese Crested needs to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, they need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
When it comes to keeping a Chinese Crested looking good and their skin in top condition, it does take a little bit of time and care. The reason being that their skin can get a bit dry at times and this could lead to sores developing. The hair on their heads, legs and tails only needs to be tidied up using a soft slicker brush and being careful not to scratch a dog's skin in the process.
Powder Puffs need a little more in the way of grooming to keep their coats looking good and tangle free. This means a daily brush is essential using a soft slicker brush and again it's important to do this gently to avoid scratching a dog's skin.
The Chinese Crested is a lively little dog which means they need to be given a minimum of 30 minutes exercise every day. They also like to run around a garden as often as they can, but this needs to be a secure area because these little dogs are highly skilled diggers and will think nothing of climbing over a low garden fence if the mood takes them. They also feel the cold and are at risk of being sunburnt when the weather is hot which is why it's important for them to wear coats during the winter and not to be left out in a garden during the summer months. It's also a good idea to use a dog specific sun block on a Chinese Crested when the weather is hot.
If you get a Chinese Crested puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule for your new pet and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same type of puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upset and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change their diet again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed an adult Chinese Crested twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories which is important or they might start to gain too much weight.
If you are looking to buy a Chinese Crested, you would need to pay anything from £350 to over £600 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a 3-year-old Chinese Crested in northern England would be £19.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of March 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things and this includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not a dog has been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £30 - £40 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Chinese Crested and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and then their annual health check visits, all of which could quickly add up to over a £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Chinese Crested would be between £70 to £100 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree Chinese Crested puppy.
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