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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Chinese Crested
Average Cost to keep/care for a Chinese Crested
Breed Specific Buying Advice
The Chinese Crested is one of the most easily recognisable dogs on the planet with their hairless bodies and delightful tufts found around their faces, ears, necks and lower legs. However, these hairless dogs are not the only type of Chinese Crested because there's a Powder Puff too and they boast having an undercoat that's covered in an ultra-soft veil of longish hair.
Whether a hairless or with a coat, the Chinese Crested is known to be active, fun-loving, lively and intelligent while at the same time being loyal yet mischievous 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 Chinese Crested is also a firm favourite in the showring winning many international events every year.
Although the origins of the Chinese Crested are a bit of a mystery, they are thought to be a breed that originates in the ancient orient and that they were around in China as far back as the 13th Century. However, there is some belief that Cresteds could have originated 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 China at all.
In ancient times, the Chinese travelled extensively and they explored many different regions of the world where they set up trade routes. It is believed that Chinese traders bought these little dogs back with them from their travels and that the dogs job was to keep vermin under control during long sea voyages. The breed was renamed by their new Chinese owners and this is how they came to be known as the Chinese Crested.
They were first introduced to Great Britain during the late 1800's when they were exhibited at a zoological event and it was then that the first Chinese Crested was registered in the country. 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. An American called Ida Garrett immediately became a breed enthusiast and began breeding and showing Chinese Crested for the ensuing 60 years. Together with another breed enthusiast, Debra Woods, she continued promoting the breed for the next few decades in the States.
A Breed Club was established in 1979 and the Chinese Crested was finally recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1991. They were officially recognised by The Kennel Club several years earlier in 1981. With this said, to this day the Chinese Crested remains one of the "rare breeds" of the world and anyone wishing to share their home with one, would need to go on a waiting list for the pleasure of doing so although they are ranked as one of the more popular breeds on the Pets4homes website.
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 larger areas of 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. The accepted colours for Kennel Club registration are as follows:
When a Chinese Crested moves they do so with a flowing and elegant gait covering a lot of ground and showing a tremendous amount of drive while at the same time remaining very light on their feet.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggeration or departure from the breed standard and would judge any faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that dogs can be a little shorter or taller as well as a little lighter or heavier than stated in the Kennel Club breed standard which is given as a guideline only.
Powder Puffs unlike their hairless counterparts have a double coat and as such they are higher maintenance when it comes to grooming. A lot of owners like to have their dogs clipped by a professionally groomer several times a year which makes it easier to keep on top of things in-between visits to the parlour and it helps prevent any matting or knotting which often happens around a dog's armpits, their backsides and groins.
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 providing they are aware that hairless dogs have different care needs than your typical dog and that they need to be protected from the elements which 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 they certainly make up for this in personality and can be quite dominant and wilful if allowed. 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' a Chinese Crested, however, this should not be encouraged as dogs often grow up to be timid and nervous characters if they are molly coddled too much. It can also lead to dogs developing unwanted behavioural issues which includes 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 which makes them harder to live with and handle. It is also worth noting that although incredibly social by nature, these little dogs tend to be wary and aloof around people they don't know preferring to keep their distance until they get to know someone. As a result, they can seem a little skittish when strangers are about.
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 often results in them developing a few destructive behaviours around the home which includes digging things up. They are also very skilled climbers when the mood takes them. Because they are known to be a little head-strong at times, early socialisation and training is a must. Another thing to bear in mind, is that the Chinese Crested is a notorious escape artist and as such back gardens must be made ultra-secure and fences need to be a least 5-foot tall to keep these little dogs safely in.
A Chinese Crested is a good choice for first time dog owners providing they have the time to dedicate to their canine companions because they can be quite demanding. Cresteds are extremely people-oriented, loving nothing more than to please and to entertain their families all the time. They are particularly good with young children and older people providing they have been well socialised from a young age and have grown up together.
Chinese Cresteds are very social by nature, but they do boast having quite a high prey drive and even for such little dogs, they will happily chase any animal they meet which includes the cat from next door. As such, care should always be taken when a Chinese Crested meets other pets and animals whether in a home environment or in the great outdoors.
Chinese Cresteds have a very playful and rather mischievous side to their natures and love nothing more than to entertain and be entertained. They remain extremely puppy-like well into their senior years which makes sharing a home with a Crested so much fun.
Chinese Cresteds are highly adaptable dogs providing they are given enough daily physical exercise combined with as much mental stimulation to prevent boredom from setting in, bearing in mind that Cresteds are highly intelligent with a low threshold which is why they are better suited to households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out or for people who work from home.
Chinese Cresteds form extremely strong ties with their families and dogs are never very happy when they find themselves left on their own for longer periods of time. They are not a good choice for anyone who spends most of the day at work which could see a dog suffering from separation anxiety. This can lead to them being destructive around the home which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and a way to keep themselves entertained.
Chinese Cresteds are not "barkers" and will only bark when they feel it is necessary which is usually to let an owner know there are strangers about or when something they don't like is going on in their environment. With this said, Cresteds like to howl and more especially as a way of greeting their owners when they come home no matter how short a time they have been out.
Most Chinese Cresteds like swimming and will happily splash around in water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up frightening them and making them timid whenever they are near water. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Chinese Cresteds off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing.
Chinese Cresteds are natural watchdogs even though they are small in stature. They are always very quick to let an owner know when there are strangers about although they would rarely do this aggressively preferring to keep their distance when they do. They only bark when necessary and are not known to bark just for the sake of it, although as previously mentioned they are partial to howling when the mood takes them.
Chinese Cresteds 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 these little dogs can be trained, it just takes time and patience along with an understanding of the breed. The same applies when it comes to housetraining a Chinese Crested because like a lot of other "toy" breeds, it takes time and patience to house train them. This means accidents will happen and even when owners think their pets have understood they “rules”, the first sign of bad weather and they do their "business" in the house again.
Crested puppies are incredibly cute whether hairless or a Powderpuff which means it is all too easy to spoil them which would be a big mistake because they are quite dominant by nature. It can lead to a Crested developing "small dog syndrome" which makes it harder to live with a dog. As such, puppies should be taught basic commands as well as limits and boundaries right from the word go so they understand what their owners expect of them. With this said, a Crested will always tests any boundaries just for the fun of it and to see how much they can get away with. The first commands a puppy should be taught are as follows:
The Chinese Crested is generally very good around children providing they have been well enough socialised from a young enough age and grown up together. With this said, 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. The Crested is not a fragile dog, but they need to be handled gently because they are small boned which means they should never be "pulled about".
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 end in disaster.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
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 that seem to affect the breed the most are as follows:
Chinese Crested puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Some Chinese Cresteds gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older Chinese Cresteds too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which has to work that much harder to pump blood through it and around a dog's system.
Chinese Cresteds are prone to suffering from allergies and skin issues so it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Chinese Crested breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
As well as the standard breeding restrictions set out by the Kennel Club for all recognised breeds, owners and breeders have the option to register Crested as Powder Puffs both online and in writing accompanied with a letter.
The Kennel Club strongly advises that all breeders use the following schemes on all their stud dogs:
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, bearing in mind that the breed is predisposed to suffering from skin issues and that Powder Puffs are higher maintenance on the grooming front. 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.
Chinese Crested puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a Chinese Crested puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Chinese Crested puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Chinese Crested puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be
Older Chinese Cresteds need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Living with a Chinese Cresteds in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include taking a look at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Chinese Cresteds need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older Chinese Cresteds is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Chinese Cresteds don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
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, but these little dogs do not need to have lots of lotions and potions to keep their skin healthy. With this said, their skin can get a bit dry at times and this could lead to sores developing which is when the right sort of products should be used and preferably ones that have been prescribed or recommended by a vet. 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.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Chinese Crested puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 11 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Chinese Crested must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Chinese Crested can be fed the following amounts every day:
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 male 3-year-old Chinese Crested in northern England would be £19.81 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £42.61 a month (quote as of November 2017). 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 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 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 healthy, well-bred, pedigree Kennel Club Chinese Crested puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Chinese Cresteds are an extremely popular breed both in the UK and elsewhere in the world which means that well-bred puppies command a lot of money. As such, with Chinese Cresteds there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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