Choosing a Chinese Crested

Selecting a Chinese CrestedSelecting a Chinese Crested
Selecting a Chinese CrestedSelecting a Chinese Crested

Though known as a hairless dog, the Chinese crested is not completely bald. With tufts of hair on the head, feet and tail, this breed is popular for being a low shed breed. There is even a variety that has a full coat, referred to as the powderpuff.

History and Origin

The Chinese crested dog is like many other breeds in that the exact origin is uncertain. Many believe that the breed evolved from the African hairless dog. The Chinese, with their love of toy dogs, are credited for reducing their size.

Despite being named the Chinese crested, China may not really be the dog’s country of origin. Diaries of early missionaries who traveled with the explorers described similar hairless dogs in many countries. It is unclear whether the dogs were already present in these countries or the breeds were developed after sailors from China traded the puppies with local merchants at port cities. Regardless, hairless dogs are loved and cherished all over the world.

Originally, hairless dogs were kept and bred as curiosities. Likely due to a genetic mutation, a lack of hair was not typical and the dogs were thought of as strange looking, but people quickly realized that these dogs make wonderful pets.

By the late 1800s, the Chinese crested was being exhibited and shown in the United States. Eventually, a breed standard was developed and a breeding program was established. The Chinese crested Dog was admitted to the American Kennel Club in the Miscellaneous Group classification in 1985 and became eligible for registration in 1991 in the toy group.

Appearance and Size

The Chinese crested is a small dog standing 11 to 13 inches at the shoulder. Adults weigh five to twelve pounds. The muzzle is long with a slightly rounded head. The neck is gracefully arched with a broad deep chest. The feet of the Chinese crested are uniquely narrow and long with a grip similar to human hands. Another unique feature is that they have sweat glands to release heat and do not rely on panting as other breeds do.

Available in many different colors, the Chinese crested also comes in two varieties: hairless and powderpuff.

  • The hairless version has soft but tough skin. The eyes and nose are light, dark or spotted depending on the skin color. Although most of the body is hairless, the top of the head, feet and tail are covered with hair. The skin is warm to the touch and moisturizing cream is used to keep the skin supple. The ears are erect since there is little hair to weigh them down.
  • The powderfuff has a long, fine silky hair that covers his body. The ears of the powderpuff tend to droop due to the weight of the hair.


    The Chinese crested is an intelligent and entertaining breed. They love to play games and thoroughly enjoy a good game of ‘catch me if you can’. This breed is an excellent companion but prefers to live in warmer climates. The breed rarely barks or bites and seems to be perpetually cheerful and affectionate, although he can be wary of strangers.

    Home and Family Relations

    The Chinese crested is a clean and relatively odorless breed. With minimal hair, shedding is not much of a problem. This breed does not do well if kenneled for long periods of time and house training may take a little longer than in other breeds. As with other toys, the Chinese crested may be too small for young rambunctious children.


    The Chinese crested is an intelligent dog that is willing to do whatever it takes to please his owner. The breed does well in standard obedience classes.


    The Chinese crested has a clean and neat appearance and needs minimal grooming. Brush and bathe as needed.

    Special Care

    The Chinese crested needs to be protected from the hot and cold weather. The sun is too strong for their delicate skin and the breed is prone to sunburn. Winter’s chilly wind can cause frostbite. This breed has been known to climb fences to a high fence and supervision is necessary. It is not a good idea to leave your Chinese crested outside unattended as some tend to escape and wander off in search of fun.

    Common Diseases and Disorders

  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is a disorder of the eye that results when tear production is decreased.
  • Patellar luxation is a disorder affecting the kneecap.The Chinese crested is also prone to difficulty delivering puppies (dystocia), acne and Sunburn.

    Life Span

    The life span of the Chinese crested dog is 12 to 16 years.

    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.


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