Chinese Crested Dog

Chinese Crested Dog

The Chinese Crested Dog is considered smart, playful, alert, very lively, agile, soulful, loyal and proud. The breed standard calls for a happy and never vicious dog. Certainly, not everyone will like its physiognomy, but a big heart hidden in a small body can effectively compensate for the greatest quirks of appearance. Therefore, in accordance with the saying that the inside matters, we encourage you to get to know this unusual dog better.

FCI classification

  • Group 9 – Companion and Toy dogs
  • Section 4 – Hairless Dogs
  • Without working trial.
  • Origin: China
  • Patronage: Great Britain
Chinese Crested Dog
Chinese Crested Dog.

There are two varieties of Chinese Crested Dog:

Hairless variety

Apart from the head, a part of the neck, legs and a tip of the tail, the body of Chinese Crested is hairless. On the head and the neck there is a long, impressive ruff, on the paws hair creates “socks” and on the tip of the tail there is a crest.


A soft, long fur on the body resembling the veil makes this variety looking more like “standard” breeds.

Chinese Crested Dog
Chinese Crested Dog – a hairless variety and a hairy variety (Powderpuff).

History of the breed

It is highly improbable that this breed originated from China. According to many specialists, the breed originated from Africa, what is indicated in the 19th century texts, where it was called “naked (hairless) terrier”. Apart from the mentions in the literature, there is no official information about where the breed really comes from. It was also supposed that the Chinese Crested came from Mexico.

There is no detailed information concerning the breed’s past. Nonetheless, it is known that in the 1950s Deborah Wood created a breed of Chinese Crested Dogs and called it Crest Haven. It was the beginning of the massive reproduction of Chinese Crested. A famous burlesque dancer, Gypsy Rose Lee also bred the dogs, which after her death were included in Crest Haven.

Those two women contributed to the creation of two lines of Chinese Crested Dogs that constituted a foundation for today’s Chinese Crested. What is more, in 1959 Wood founded an American Hairless Dog Club which was incorporated into the ACCC (American Chinese Crested Club) in 1978. When Chinese Crested was recognized by AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1991, ACCC became the most important society for Chinese Crested Dog. FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) accepted the breed in 1978.

Chinese Crested Dog
Chinese Crested Dog.

Appearance and personality

It may seem that the hairless variety and Powderpuff variety are two different breeds. It is not surprising, giving that the hairless variety has soft skin, resembling the human’s skin and the hair on the tail, paws and head. The hairless varieties vary when it comes to the number of hair on the aforementioned part of the body. Some specimens may have a beard.

The difference between the naked and the hairy Chinese Crested consists in the layers of the coat. The naked variety has a one-layered coat while the powderpuff has a thick undercoat. A naked skin may have different shades, ranging from pale-flesh to black. The hairless variety may lack the premolar teeth. As far as the shows are concerned, it is not a fault.

The “real” hairless Chinese Crested Dog may be entirely deprived of hair.

Chinese Crested Dog
Chinese Crested Dog.

Powderpuff has a long and soft coat, however, its look depends on the grooming. When the fur grows on the entire muzzle, the dog may look like a terrier which is why the Chinese Crested is usually shoved around the mouth, nose and eyes.

The Chinese Crested is elegant and charming. It is as well very loving and playful human’s companion. The dogs are not aggressive towards children or other dogs, therefore they are perfect family pets. It does not bond with other dogs, it prefers human company. If it is badly socialized, it is shy when meeting strangers. It is described as a pet with a look of a model and a personality of a saint.

Even though it looks like a toy, it does not like to be treated like one. It is very affectionate, brisk, joyful, it likes cuddling and…smiling. It is known for its beautiful howling. It is very patient when it plays with children, therefore children’s intensive affection does not bother it. It is fairly intelligent, it likes learning and it is very sociable, therefore it takes part in agility trials – obedience and skills competition.

Chinese Crested Dog
Chinese Crested Dog.


Both varieties require a lot of care and grooming. Powderpuff should be bathed and brushed once a week so its coat does not become mat. However, it is recommended to avoid combing when the hair is dry or dirty. The hair should be sprayed before any care treatment. In order to avoid so much combing many people shave their Chinese Crested dogs in the shape of so-called “pony tail”, leaving the hair only on the lower part of the legs, on the tail and on the head. The Chinese crested do not get dirty and does not smell regardless of whether it has hair or not. The breed does not molt a lot as well.

Keeping the naked skin healthy requires a lot of care, such as in the case of the human skin. Chinese Crested Dog’s skin may be prone to acne, dryness and sunburns. Hypoallergenic and oil-free creams may be applied every other day after the bath in order to avoid skin problems. The biggest risk of sunburns occurs obviously in the hottest, sunny places. The owners put a baby sunscreen on the dogs’ skin. It is worth remembering that some specimens may be allergic to lanolin, therefore the protective skin products should be chosen wisely.

Chinese Crested Dog
Chinese Crested Dog.

The Chinese Crested Dogs which are deprived of hair should be cut or shove on a regular basis in order to remove ingrown hair.

Chinese Crested Dogs have so-called “hare foot”, which in contrast to “cat foot” is a common feature of the majority of dogs. It is important to be careful while cutting the nails, because the sensitive areas are located deeper and it may result in pain and bleeding.

Powderpuff loves spending time outside. It likes to be active even though it is not a high-energy breed. As a result, it is perfect for an apartment in the city as well as for a house. It adapts easily to different environments. It loves long walks. It is intelligent, docile and obedient, therefore it is perfect for dogs’ competitions, where those features are desirable. Its trainer should be both gentle and consistent.

Chinese Crested Dog
Chinese Crested Dog – an agility competition (an obstacle course).

Detailed information / size

Chinese Crested Dog

  • Height at shoulders:
    • males 27 – 33 cm (10.6 – 13 in)
    • females 23 – 30 cm (9 – 12 in)
  • Weight: 4.5 – 5.9 kg (10 – 13 lb)
  • Life span: 12 – 14 years or longer
Chinese Crested Dog
Chinese Crested Dog – a puppy.

Chinese Crested – curiosities

  • A hairless gene is recessive and not fully dominant. Moreover, it may be lethal when joined with the same gene – from two hairless dogs never develop puppies, because they are reabsorbed in the womb. All Chinese crested are heterozygous (contain two different alleles of a gene).
  • Within one litter may be born hairless and hairy puppies.
  • Chinese Crested Dogs’ hair is odorless and hypoallergenic. The breed is perfect for people who suffer from allergies.
  • Powder puff is great at learning and performing tricks
  • Hairless Chinese Crested often takes part in the ugliest dogs’ competition (probably not totally voluntarily). The most famous breed’s representative was/is Sam that had been winning the International World’s ugliest dog contest in the years 2003 to 2005. Before the competition in 2006, he was put to sleep due to heart disease. He was 15 years old.
  • As with all other toy breeds, Chinese Crested Dogs can be prone to patellar luxation. This inheritable condition is caused by shallow knee joints (stifles) and results in kneecaps that pop out of place. Its onset is often at a young age, and can cause temporary to permanent lameness based on the severity. Other diseases that the breed is particularly prone to are allergies and autoimmune diseases which often lead to premature death. This is why the owners have to react quickly once they recognized the symptoms.
Chinese Crested Dog
Chinese Crested Dog.


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