Chinese Crested dogs are small and fine-boned. Their coat comes in two varieties. The Hairless variety has a hairless body and silky hair on the head, tail, and feet. The Powderpuff variety is fully covered with a straight, soft coat. A single litter may produce both varieties of Chinese Crested dogs, and any dog can have a coat of any color or combination of colors. These dogs have large ears and almond-shaped eyes. Their skin is soft and smooth. Chinese Crested dogs measure 11 to 13 inches tall and weigh 10 to 13 pounds. With proper care, they live 12 years or longer.
During the winter, it is important to dress them in a sweater or similar item of clothing to keep them warm.
These dogs crave human companionship. They are playful and do well with families with children. They become very attached to their owners and insist on staying by their side, whether they are cleaning the kitchen or watching a movie on the couch.
While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, the AKC lists the Chinese Crested dog as a breed recommended for those with allergies. Their hairlessness is the result of a natural genetic mutation.
These curious dogs are lively and sweet and they love affection and attention. Chinese Crested dogs tend to follow their owners around and stay glued to them, whether they are watching TV, cleaning the house, taking a bath, or working in the yard. This is nice for people who love constant companionship, but it can be a bit suffocating for others.
Chinese Crested dogs get along very well with children, and they absolutely love to snuggle. Their size makes them a good choice for city dwellers, and they are generally polite, clean, and quiet. They don't need much space or exercise, and they don't bark much. They do, however, have a distinctive howl that they sometimes use when playing.
These dogs are equal parts playful pixie and laid-back lap dog. They enjoy playing outside, but they hate the cold. These dogs do not like to be left alone and they cannot survive in the yard or garage. A fenced yard is good for these little dogs, though, as they benefit from a little playtime every day.
A fairly healthy breed, Chinese Crested dogs are not at high risk for most genetic disorders. However, their hairlessness makes them more prone to skin irritation, sunburn, and allergies than dogs with coats. Precautions must be made to protect against these conditions, and these dogs should wear sunblock and clothing every time they go outside. During the winter, it is important to dress them in a sweater or similar item of clothing to keep them warm.
Chinese Crested dogs are at increased risk for tooth decay, hypothermia, progressive retinal atrophy, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and Legg-Perthes disease. Additionally, they will eat nonstop if allowed and can become dangerously obese in a short period of time. Food should be stored in a secure cabinet, and treats should be used sparingly. Obesity is a very serious health condition that can lead to diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and certain cancers.
Proper nutrition, weight management, attention to skin care, and routine veterinary care help ensure Chinese Crested dogs live a full life of up to 12 years.
Chinese Crested dogs are eager to please and enjoy learning new tricks. They are trainable if training is consistent and structured, and they are fairly well behaved. However, they dogs will become tyrants if indulged. And, if interaction with them is too harsh or strict, the breed's tendency toward shyness can become problematic.
These intelligent dogs are prone to barking and yapping, and this can quickly become excessive if they are not trained to keep their barking in check. Additionally, some may steal or beg for food, a bad habit that can quickly lead to weight gain.
Chinese Crested dogs are the most difficult of all breeds to successfully house-train. Some never become trained and need to wear doggy diapers indoors. This fact needs to be carefully considered before adopting or purchasing one of these dogs. A strict potty schedule can help, and avoiding changes in routine is an essential part of preventing accidents.
Powderpuff Chinese Crested dogs have long thin guard hairs on top of a short, silky undercoat. They need daily brushing or combing to maintain the health and appearance of their coat. They should also be bathed every few weeks using a mild canine shampoo.
Hairless Chinese Crested dogs need less brushing than Powderpuffs, but they require greater attention to skin care. It's important to use a veterinarian-recommend cream or oil designed to prevent irritation and dry skin. Their head and body should be washed frequently with a mild cleanser, and this variety needs sunscreen before going outdoors.
Chinese Crested dogs are at high risk for tooth decay and other dental problems. Their teeth should be brushed daily with a canine toothpaste, and they benefit from dental treats and water additives designed to improve oral health. Additionally, their ears should be cleaned and checked weekly and their nails need clipping every few weeks, or as often as necessary to prevent snagging.
Legend has it that Chinese mariners sailed with these dogs on board, and that this breed may have evolved from African hairless dogs. When the Chinese plagues were peaking, hairless dog breeds were stowed aboard ships to hunt rats and other disease carriers.
During the mid 1800s, Chinese Crested dogs started appearing in art all over Europe. Soon thereafter, during the late 1800s, these dogs made their way to America and attracted the attention of a newspaper reporter named Ida Garrett. She would go on to breed, show, and write about Chinese Crested dogs for the next 60 years, which contributed to the breed's recognition by the AKC.
The breed has been a beloved companion animal in the United States for more than a century. It is a favorite of singles and families due to its small size, charming personality, and loving nature.
in 1991, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Chinese Crested breed.