About the Breeds
See below for photos of the breeds
Some people think every hairless dog they see is a Chinese Crested, but did you know there are
many different breeds of hairless dogs? In addition to Cresteds, there are Xoloitzcuintli,
American Hairless Terriers, Peruvian Inca Orchids and more. Their personalities can be quite
different between each breed, so be sure to thoroughly research the breed that you are interested
in before deciding if it is right for your family. Since Chinese Cresteds are the most common
of the hairless breeds, we focus on their info here:
The Chinese Crested is a graceful, happy, intelligent breed. They thoroughly enjoy life and have
engaging, comical personalities. They are not a breed that should be left alone for long periods of time,
as they enjoy the company of their family immensely and will not be happy without it.
Chinese Cresteds are very intelligent and enjoy learning new things. They also have a moderate activity
level, so both mental and physical stimulation will keep your Crested happy. Despite their small size,
they excel at agility and other active pastimes. They also make good therapy dogs, as they are very affectionate.
Cresteds benefit from socialization to prevent them from being shy and over-protective of their humans.
They also make fairly good watchdogs, as they are not afraid to use their bark to alert their people to any
The Chinese Crested comes in two varieties, hairless and powderpuff. Both types may be present in the
same litter. The hairless variety has a hairless body, with hair on the head ("crest"), tail ("plume") and
paws ("socks"). The powderpuff variety has a long, soft coat. Both varieties may be any color or
combination of colors. The hairless variety often has delightful patterns and spots on its skin.
Chinese Cresteds weigh up to 12 pounds and measure up to 13" high at the shoulder. They have
distinctive "hare-foot" paws which are long and narrow. The paws are often compared to hands, as the
dogs are capable of curling their feet to hold objects. Some are also adept at climbing. Many enjoy
wrapping their paws around your neck and giving you a bear hug.
Cresteds are generally a healthy breed. As with any breed of dog, they are predisposed to certain
medical problems such as luxating patellas (kneecaps), eye and skin problems, and dental problems in
the hairless variety.
CARE AND GROOMING
Hairless variety: Hairless Cresteds are extremely susceptible to sunburn and require sunscreen
if they are going to spend time in the sun. They cool off by perspiring through their skin
rather than panting, so dressing them in warm weather is not a good idea. Good, high quality nutrition
is the most important element to acquiring and
maintaining smooth, clear skin. Lotion should be used sparingly, only when your dog's skin feels dry
to the touch. Overuse can result in breakouts. What hair they do have should be brushed regularly
to prevent matting. If you want your hairless Crested to have the look of a show dog, you may need
to groom its face. Many hairless Cresteds have hair on their entire face. Leaving them fuzzy is adorable,
too! (See photos below) Due to the hairless genes, the hairless variety tends to have poor teeth,
and tooth loss is common.When they lose enough teeth, their tongues will protrude,
as there is nothing to keep their tongue in their mouth! Regular tooth-brushing is crucial to maintaining
good dental health. Hairless Cresteds
living in cool climates appreciate clothing. If your Crested's activity level drops, it curls into a ball
and feels cool to the touch, it is probably cold. Most Cresteds also love burrowing beneath the
blankets at bedtime, and why not? They make great bed warmers! Hairless Cresteds are also prone
to certain allergies. Many are allergic to wool and lanolin, so wool sweaters and blankets should
never be used. Some also experience allergic reactions to certain medications and vaccinations, and
should be watched closely for signs of a reaction. Never give two vaccinations together in the same vet visit.
This is the best practice for all small dogs, not just Cresteds.
Powderpuff variety: Regular brushing of the coat is necessary to prevent matting. They also require periodic
grooming, as their coats get very thick and long. They do not have the poor dentition of the hairless variety,
but still benefit from regular tooth brushing.
Both varieties should be protected from the cold. Obviously, the hairless variety is at greater risk for
frostbite and hypothermia, but neither variety should be left outside in cold weather. You would not
go outside naked in the winter, and neither should your Crested!
Examples of types of hairless breeds
True hairless: Hair on the head, paws and tail. Typically little to no body hair.
Hairy Hairless: Hair over most of the body, heavier/thicker furnishings than true hairless
Powderpuff: Full, soft, solid coat of hair. Requires regular brushing and grooming. Note the difference between
shaved and groomed coats:
Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless)
GO TO NEXT PAGE FOR XOLOITZCUINTLI BREED INFO
Peruvian Inca Orchids
American Hairless Terrier
There are several other breeds of hairless dogs, but they are considerably more rare so we have focused
on the breeds that you are most likely to see.
We suggest visiting the American Kennel Club (AKC) website for more information on breeds you might
be interested in. Visit AKC