Chinese Crested Dog Facts – The Almost Hairless Dog!

If you have ever laid eyes on the Chinese Crested dog breed, you may have wondered what it was - the adage of beauty is in the eye of the beholder has never rung truer than with this breed - whether you thought it was cute, odd, or somewhere in between. With a moppet of hair on top of its head and flowing down its neck, with a tad more on the tail and legs, this pooch is one odd dog.

Think you might want to own one of these beautiful canines or are just curious about this quirky pup? Check out these 11 fun facts on the Chinese Crested.

chinese crested dog

11 Fun Facts About the Chinese Crested Dog

1. Two Different Looks

One of the most notable qualities of the Chinese Crested is it’s hairless body (well, almost hairless). However, due to a recessive gene in the breed, this dog can also come in the “Powderpuff” variety that has thick silky fur covering its body. Both hairless and Powderpuffs can occur in the same litter and both types can measure up to 13 inches at the shoulder and weigh around 12 pounds.

2. They Were Once “Ratters”

In the 14th century, this breed accompanied Chinese sailors during their voyages. The beloved member of the crew would catch rats, therefore helping to prevent the spread of the “Black Death.” Plus, because the Chinese Crested has little hair, it didn’t harbor disease-carrying fleas.

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3. They Have African Roots

It is thought that the Chinese Crested originated from a larger hairless breed found in Africa. These dogs were brought to China where they were bred down in size. It wasn’t until the 1880s that this breed made its mark in the United States and was officially recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1991.

a small hairless chinese crested dog

4. They Have a Burlesque Dancer to Thank, Too!

The famous dancer, Gypsy Rose Lee, fell in love with the breed after her sister gave her one as a gift. Ms Lee became a breeder and advocate of the Cresteds and some dogs today can even trace their lineage back to Gypsy’s stud, Fu Man Chu.

5. Coat (and Skin) of Many Colors

The Chinese Crested may not have a lot of hair to work with, but its skin comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. These include pink, black, and slate. The Powderpuff variety can have coats in lavender, mahogany, blue, and copper in both solids and patterns.

6. The Crested Has the “Bested” Personality!

This dog breed makes an excellent companion for those folks that want a snuggly, loving pet. The Chinese Crested absolutely adores its people and wants to spend time on your lap or giving you wet kisses.

The Crested is wary of strangers and will bark to alert you if there is someone at the door or in its territory. However, once you have proven to be a friend over a foe, the Crested will bond tightly with members of his “pack.”

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hairless chinese crested dog

7. Can Have Skin Issues

When you have a dog that doesn’t have a lot of hair, you have to expect some skin issues, the Chinese Crested is no exception. In fact, this pooch can get sunburns, rashes, and even acne.

8. No Wool Allowed!

Since the Cresteds are hairless, they will need to wear protective clothing in the cooler months. Doggy jackets and shirts are perfect, except nothing made from wool or other “itchy” fabrics as these can lead to rashes and skin irritation.

9. Sweaty Pups!

Normal dogs pant to cool down, but not the Chinese Crested. They have sweat glands! Another oddity of this breed is its elongated feet. They have been compared to the rabbit’s feet.

chinese crested dog sitting on green grass

10. Nicknamed “Houdini Hounds”

Just because these dogs are small, that doesn’t stop them from being athletic. They are great at jumping, digging, and climbing and can escape over a six-foot fence if they can find a foothold. They can even clear a four-foot fence from a standing position.

11. Care of the Quirky Crested

Chinese Crested only need a minimum of exercise, but they do enjoy playing and having a variety of things to mentally stimulate them.

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They are generally easy to train, but can lean toward the stubborn side, so patience, praise, and plenty of treats are recommended for teaching your Crested. Because this breed is naturally timid, harsh corrections are not recommended.

Puppies should have early socialization to help prevent them from becoming overly shy; however, be sure puppy classes do not involve large dogs as your delicate Crested could become injured.

Well cared for Crested dogs can live from 10 to 14 years.

You & Your Chinese Crested

If you think a Chinese Crested would make a great dog for you, be sure to connect with a reputable breeder or rescue group. Never adopt a Crested (or any dog) from a puppy mill or backyard breeder, as these animals tend to be sick, and/or genetically weak.

Once you have your Chinese Crested, be sure to enroll it in puppy classes for socialization, and obedience classes for basic manners and commands. This breed needs both these programs to help curb its natural tendency of being timid and stubborn. Plus, they do well with plenty of mental stimulation.

The Chinese Crested may be a quirky-looking pooch, but the devotion and love it showers on its pet parent are second-to-none.

Further reading and references:

  1. FCI-Standard. Chinese Crested Dog
  2. American Chinese Crested Club
  3. Juliette Cunliffe. (2012). Chinese Crested: A Comprehensive Guide to Owning and Caring for Your Dog
  4. Brenda Jones. (1991). The Complete Chinese Crested (Book of the breed)

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