The Chinese Crested is one of the hairless dog breeds, like the American hairless terrier or the Peruvian dog. It is friendly, affectionate and active. It adapts very well to family life either in houses or apartments, thanks to its small size. There are two varieties: the naked Crested with its characteristic and peculiar lack of hair, except on the crown, feet and tail. The other variety has a long silky coat. This small and unique canine is a cuddler and does not separate from its owners.
- Weight. The Chinese Crested’s weight is less than 10 lbs.
- Height. Its height at the withers is about 12 inches.
- It reaches its adult height at around 6 months of age.
- Skin. Their skin is smooth, slightly granulated, and warm to the touch. It is very sensitive, so it should be protected from the sun.
- Contrary to popular belief, they do not have a higher body temperature than other breeds; it’s just a tactile sensation due to their lack of fur.
- The fine fuzz-like hair on their head is known as the crest, the hair on their feet is like socks, and their tail hair resembles a feather.
- There is also a variety of the Chinese Crested with straight, silky hair, known as “Powder Puff.”
- Colors. The color of their skin varies with the seasons, being more pink in winter and having dark spots in summer.
- General Build. It’s a small, flexible dog with long, slender legs.
- Their tail is high-set, and they have a long, slender neck, fine bone structure, except for their head, feet, and tail.
- Their muzzle tapers gradually, they have large, thin ears, and their eyes are widely spaced, dark, with hardly any white visible.
The Chinese Crested is an affectionate and friendly dog with its owners; it’s generally active and playful.
However, it can be distant with strangers. Early socialization is essential to prevent this. They are quick learners and very affectionate towards their owners. Their nakedness requires skincare and protection from the sun and cold weather.
Guard Dog. Their small size doesn’t make them suitable as a guard dog, but they make good watchdogs and will alert you with their barks to any anomalies in the environment.
Barking. The Chinese Crested can be prone to excessive barking for various reasons: when nervous or restless, if their exercise needs are neglected, or if left alone for long periods, which can lead to undesirable behaviors like constant barking, among others, as a way to alert.
Training and Obedience. Early socialization is crucial, exposing them to different environments, people, and animals from a young age to prevent excessive shyness or fearfulness. In training, thanks to their gentle nature and intelligence, the Chinese Crested learns quickly and is obedient. Always use positive reinforcement methods.
The Chinese Crested with Children. They usually get along well with children, but proper socialization is important. For very young children, adult supervision is needed to ensure neither the child nor the dog accidentally harm each other.
The Chinese Crested with Other Pets. They generally get along with other pets as they are not an aggressive breed. However, as with children, proper socialization is necessary to ensure good behavior.
Adaptation to Solitude. Chinese Cresteds don’t like to be left alone for long periods, as mentioned earlier. They can develop undesirable behaviors like constant barking, destructive behavior, and separation anxiety. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that their needs align with your lifestyle. If you need to leave them alone for a few hours, you can gradually acclimate them and take them for a walk before leaving.
Daily Walks and Activity. Chinese Cresteds have moderate exercise needs, so they require several daily walks for exercise and bathroom breaks, as well as playtime.
Skin Care. Because they lack fur, special care is necessary for their skin. Protect them from the sun and cold. There are specific products in the market, such as shampoo, cream, and exfoliating products for their skin.
Bathing should be done every two weeks using a shampoo formulated for their skin with a neutral pH, followed by the application of moisturizing cream to care for their skin.
Pros and Cons
Advantages of Chinese Crested:
- They are affectionate and great companions.
- They are generally compatible with children.
- They are obedient and intelligent.
Disadvantages of Chinese Crested:
- They don’t tolerate solitude.
- They can become excessive barkers if left alone and bored.
- They require special care for their sensitive skin.
- They are prone to dental issues, so dental hygiene must be maintained.
The hairless variety of the Chinese Crested typically has fewer teeth than other breeds, usually lacking premolars and possibly other teeth. Their teeth tend to be fragile, so good dental hygiene is important to prevent future problems. Use dog-specific toothpaste and brushes. There are dental cleaning snacks that they often enjoy, which can be integrated into their routine.
Skin problems are another area of concern for the health of the Chinese Crested. Since they lack fur, their skin is very sensitive and can suffer from burns if exposed to the sun without protection. However, they can enjoy moderate sun exposure and are comfortable in warm climates. In cold weather, they should be protected and kept warm.
Other common health issues in the breed include patellar luxation and some eye problems.
Otherwise, they are generally healthy. If you have any doubts, consult your veterinarian and ensure they receive the necessary vaccines and regular deworming.
History and Origin
The Chinese Crested, also known as the Chinese Hairless Dog, was introduced to the United States by Chinese sailors.
Its name comes from the unique characteristic of being hairless. It is believed to be originally from China, although its exact origin is not entirely clear.
The presence of hairless dogs in various continents, including America, Africa, and Asia, has led to different theories regarding the origin and spread of the breed.
Regarding its antiquity, some archaeologists claim its ancient history based on ceramics found in Mexico, dating between 900 and 200 B.C., which depicted hairless and obese dogs.
These could potentially be ancestors of the Chinese Crested. However, nothing is certain, as it is unknown whether the different hairless dogs in various parts of the world are derived from the same lineage.
Popularly, a pair of Chinese Cresteds, one in white and one in black, is known as yin and yang.
As for the lack of hair, it is a genetic accident in the breed. There is speculation that it is a trait related to climate or other motivations in breeding selection. There is even a somewhat macabre theory that in some countries where dog meat is considered a delicacy, breeding this hairless breed may have been a response to this demand. In breeding, specimens of each hair variety are often paired to ensure the health of the litter.
The breed was officially recognized by the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) in July 1972, and the most recent breed standard was published in October 2010. It was classified in Group 9: Companion and Toy Dogs, Section 4: Hairless Dogs.