The Chinese Crested Dog is probably one of the most distinctive looking dogs you will ever see! Hairless for the main, with occasional tufts and plumes of hair, this small, active dog is one of a kind!
Despite the name, it is thought that this breed actually originated in Africa. However, the Chinese were extensive travellers and shipping trade routes bought them into close contact with the large African continent. Here, the Chinese traders bought the local, small dogs and took them on board their ships and used them to control vermin. Originally called 'Hairless African Terrier' their new Chinese owners renamed them with their current name. There is some evidence that indicate this breed shares some history with the Mexican Hairless Dog, including the novel use as a bed warmer and also the more dubious honour of being used as food for people.
In the 1950's this breed stared to gain in popularity in the US, and the 'Haven Kennel' of breeders started to record lineage and breeding, with the first club devoted to the breed being established in 1979. In 1981 the UK Kennel Club finally recognised them as a breed; however it continues to be classed as a rare breed.
Average height to withers: Both males and females up to 12 inches with little variation between sexes.
Average weight: Should not exceed 4.5kg for both males and females.
This name of this toy breed of dog says it all really! The standout feature of this breed is its lack of coat. That said, there are two distinctive varieties of this breed - the 'hairless' and the 'powder puff'. The hairless is just that, with the exception of a little hair on the feet, tail and head, often displaying a 'beard'. It has soft skin and in cold weather it does need 'clothing' such as a dog coat or jumper. The hair it does have is a single coat, and is silky soft. It can come in any colour from pale, white, cream, brown and black.
The 'powder puff' variety has more extensive hair covering its body than the 'hairless', having a longer, soft double coat. Both varieties of pups may be present in any given litter of them.
Overall, this breed of dog is slight, delicate and very small but displays large ears for its size.
This breed thinks it is a large dog trapped in a small body! 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 both friendly and playful and are surprisingly good with children, given that many toy dogs are 'snappy' with over enthusiastic children, especially when they are younger and do not understand how to approach a dog. That said, children must be made aware that as small dog, they can be more prone to injury, especially when roughhousing. It is a good idea to introduce the Chinese Crested Dog to any children and other pets in the household as soon as possible. There is a temptation for owners to 'baby' this small dog, however, this should not be encouraged as the dog may turn out to be timid, and more prone to snappy, yappy behaviour. If strong and consistent leadership is not shown by its owner, then this little dog can rule the roost - you have been warned!
They are capable of attaching strongly to one person in the house but are generally very loyal and protective of the whole household. An interesting fact about this breed is that they are excellent climbers and diggers. If left alone for prolonged periods of time, the owner may find that they rapidly display these types of behaviours in an effort to alleviate boredom.
While there are few congenital diseases, this breed tends to react to its environment in some ways not found with dogs with a coat. On average and in dog health, the Chinese Crested Dog lives to around 12 to 14 years of age.
The Chinese Crested Dog has a tendency to gains weight easily, and as such, the owner needs to take care to not overfeed. Any exposed skin on the hairless dogs need special care to prevent skin irritations. Hairless dogs will get sunburn and a good sunscreen should be used if the dog is going to be out in the sun even for a short time and when the sun is not strong. The hairless variety is also prone to tooth loss and decay so a good dental regime is essential. Powder Puffs tend to have healthier teeth.
This dog can also suffer from allergies, especially to wool and lanolin.
It goes without saying that grooming is minimal with the hairless type of this breed of dog, however, certain care must be taken. As mentioned, in hot or cold weather conditions, precautions must be taken by the owner to protect it from the elements - either a coat/jumper or sunscreen depending on the prevailing weather conditions. The Powder Puff variety must have its long coat groomed daily to prevent tangles. Both varieties will benefit from the application of a suitable oil to its skin to keep it supple. While the hairless variety does not suffer fleas as such, it can be prone to picking up ticks, but these are easy to see and therefore remove, with your vets help if you are not confident to do yourself.
There is always a temptation to carry small dogs, but they need their exercise just as much as larger dogs, although maybe not in the same quantity. The Chinese Crested Dog will need at least one walk or play a day. Given its ability to gain weight, this is especially important.