Chinese Crested Dog Guide

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The Chinese crested is fine-boned and slender, among the most elegant and graceful of breeds. It is slightly longer than tall. Its gait is lively and agile. It has an alert, intense expression. In the hairless variety, soft silky hair is found only on the head (crest), tail (plume), and feet and lower legs. The skin of the hairless areas is smooth and soft. In the powder-puff variety, the entire dog is covered with a soft silky coat of moderate density and length.

The Chinese crested is a combination of playful pixie, gentle lap dog and sensitive companion. It is devoted to its family and willing to please; it is also good with other dogs, pets and strangers. Its demeanor should be gay and alert.


FAMILY companion, Southern (hairless)



ORIGINAL FUNCTION ratter, lapdog, curio


AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 11-13 Weight: 5-12

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 11-13 Weight: 5-12


Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Low

Playfullness Very playful

Affection level Very affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Very friendly

Ease of training Moderately easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Moderate maintenance

Cold tolerance Low tolerance

Heat tolerance High tolerance

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The crested enjoys a romp outside, but it hates the cold. It is small enough that it can get sufficient exercise with vigorous inside games. Hairless varieties will need a sweater for cold-weather outings. This is not a breed for outdoor living. Chinese crested dogs are gifted jumpers and some climb. Coat care for the powder-puff variety entails brushing every day or two. The muzzle is usually shaved every two weeks in puffs. The hairless needs regular skin care, such as the application of moisturizer or sunblock, and bathing to combat blackheads. Most hairless need some stray hairs removed prior to showing.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: none
• Occasionally seen: Legg – Perthes
• Suggested tests: none
• Life span: 13 – 15 years
• Note: The hairless is susceptible to blackheads, sunburn, wool allergy and tooth loss; it has irregular dentition and thinner enamel.
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The origins of the Chinese crested are difficult to trace. Hairless dogs seem to arise by mutation all over the world, but they have been principally perpetuated in Central and South America. The Chinese crested is the exception, apparently existing in China as early as the 13th century. Chinese seafarers are said to have kept the dogs on ship as ratters and curios and to have traded them with local merchants wherever they called. Thus, the breed was distributed throughout Turkey, Egypt, South Africa and possibly Central and South America. Only in the 1800s were they recorded in Europe, with paintings and later, photographs, including dogs of Chinese crested type. In the late 1800s, the breed found a proponent in Ida Garrett, an American who popularized several types of hairless dogs. With the help of a handful of committed breeders (including the famed Gypsy Rose Lee), the Chinese crested gradually gained admirers in both America and Europe. In 1991 — after a century of effort — the breed was recognized by the AKC. The Chinese crested quickly became popular with dog-show enthusiasts, but the breed has been slower to attract average pet owners. As the breed gets more exposure, this situation is almost certain to change.
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