The Chinese Crested Dog is one of the rarest hairless dog breeds. However, it is not an unknown breed; on the contrary, it is in fact a highly appreciated breed, both in dog shows, and as a pet. Although it has a long history, the breed was not recognized by specialized organizations until recently. The geopolitical unrest of the 20th century was not at all beneficial for this breed, as it was, like many others, on the brink of extinction.
As it was previously mentioned, this Chinese dog has a long history. And this is precisely why it is so controversial. Hairless dogs are found in many areas of the world. This particular dog breed appears to have originated from Eastern Africa, on the shores of which Chinese traders landed their ships. They took this small-sized dogs on to their ships in order to extermine rodents. This is how the breed was introduced in China. In Europe, it was introduced around the 1800s and only much later in the United States. The breed was recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (World Canine Organization) in 1987, by the Kennel Club (UK) in 1981 and by the American Kennel Club only in 1991.
There are two varieties of this breed: hairless and powderpuff. Genetic heritage is of great importance for this breed. Its situation is similar to that of the Peruvian Hairless Dog. The gene that produces the hairless variety is the dominant one. The powderpuff variety appears when the dominant gene is missing.
The zygotes with the dominant homozygous gene pair are not able to survive, being absorbed by the uterus. In other words, a pair comprising two dominant genes is not viable. Therefore, all hairless specimens are heterozygous, which means they have one dominant gene (the hairless one) and one recessive gene. The powderpuff variety has a pair of recessive genes and that is why the specimens of this variety are covered with hair. When two specimens of the hairless variety are mated, their offsprings will be of the powderpuff variety. However, when two powderpuff specimens are mated, their offsprings will also be powderpuff, because the dominant gene that causes the absence of hair does not exist.
The Chinese Crested Dog is a small-sized dog, listed by the FCI in its 9th group, namely that of Companion and Toy Dogs. This dog is perfect for holding and cuddling. The specimens of the hairless variety have a soft skin, similar to the human skin. They have soft tufts of hair on their legs (“socks’), tail tip and head. Some “hairless” specimens can be rather “hairy” on the rest of their bodies. That is not to say they belong to the powderpuff variety. The difference between the two varieties is that the hairless variety has only on type of coat, while the powderpuff has a double layered coat: a coat and an undercoat. Both varieties are accepted in dog shows. The powderpuff dogs enrolled in beatuy pageants have their muzzle hair trimmed. If they have long hair in this area, they will end up resembling a terrier.
They have a long, cone-shaped muzzle with a prominent stop. The nose can be dark- or light-colored, depending on the rest of the body’s color. They have large, erect ears. They have an overall robust, muscular build. Coat color varies from even to stripped or spotted. More often than not, they may lack a set of premolars, but this is not considered a fault. Their soft coat does not shed, which is why they are considered a hypoallergenic breed, suited for those who are sensitive to dog hair.
They are energetic, docile and loving dogs. They are affectionate towards children and very playful. However, they should not be left unsupervised around a young child, because the lack of a protective coat layer makes them vulnerable to skin injuries. They make delightful and entertaining companions to their owners. They are a bit shy around strangers, but they feel very comfortable around family.
They should not be spoiled when young, as they might turn out to be shy later on. Moreover, they could develop the “Small Dog Syndrome“, which means that they are excessively spoiled, they act as the leaders of the “pack” and they can no longer be reasoned with. Socializing and training should be started from an early age. They must become famliar with different types of situations and noises. They love to dig and climb. They are intelligent, but stubborn. They get along well with other pets and they don’t bark too much. They are considered to be good “whistlers.”
Powderpuffs need to have their coat groomed periodically. As they have a long coat, formed of two types of hair, they need to be brushed two or three times a week, in order to prevent tangling. The hairless variety has no specific odor and they are not prone to external parasites. Their skin, however, does require special care. Just like humans, they can suffer from acne, dryness or sunburn. They should not be exposed to sunlight for long periods of time with no protection, especially the light colored specimens. Many owners use baby sunscreen for their pets protection. In order to prevent dryness, the application of a moisturizing cream every two or three days or after bathing is recommended. They must be bathed once a week. Some specimens of this breed may be allergic Lanolin, so be cautious when using a cream that contains this ingredient.
This dog is ideal as an apartment dog, but as it is very energetic, it does require physical exercise. It must be taken out for a walk every day. Being a small-sized dog, it is prone to obesity, so pay close attention to its diet. It cannot be kept exclusively outside in the yard. Its unprotected skin is sensitive to low temperatures. During the cold season, it is best not to take this dog out; or if it’s necessary to go out, it should be dressed.
Some specimens of this breed make great candidates for “ugliest dog” competitions, especially if they have been crossbred with other small-sized breeds. However, most specimens have an appealing, distinctive look. With such a dog on your leesh, people will be sure to turn their heads; usually in admiration. The Chinese Crested Dog is an ideal pet, a breed certainly worth considering when looking for an animal companion