The Chinese Crested is a breed with a deceptive name. At first glance it’s reasonable to assume that this breed is from China, but they actually trace their heritage to Africa. They were originally called “African Hairless Terriers.” Chinese traders who sailed to Africa adopted these dogs and used them on their ships to hunt rats. They earned the nickname of Chinese Crested, a name which stuck with them.
In 1885 the breed was first displayed in the Westminster Kennel Club Show. However, because of their small numbers no club was formed and the breed was not eligible to be shown. In the latter half of the twentieth century this changed. Although still relatively rare, the Chinese Crested is now recognised in kennel clubs around the world.
There are two types of Chinese Crested dogs: the hairless and non-hairless (also known as “powder puff”). Both of these types can be born in the same litter. Whether a Chinese Crested has hair or not does not affect their size or shape. They are very small dogs, standing between 23 and 33 centimetres at the withers and weighing around 4.5 to 5.4 kilograms. Their ears are large and stand tall and their almond shape eyes will match the colour of their skin.
The hairless Chinese Crested can have some hair – usually tufts of fur on the head, feet, and tail. The hairless variety only has a single coat. The powder puff has a long, soft, and full coat which is double layered. There are no limits to the colour and pattern of the coat and skin. As you can probably imagine, there’s more time required in grooming the powder puff than the hairless. In fact, a daily brushing is recommended for the powder puff’s thick coat. The hairless should be bathed frequently and should have an oil massage every now and again to keep the skin soft and supple, they will also require sunscreen during hot weather as they do not have much of a coat to protect them from sunburn. The hairless variety do not shed very much and are great for people with allergies.
Chinese Crested are very outgoing dogs. Expect yours to become very attached to your family and to play well with children. Make sure to teach your children to be gentle with him as his small size and lack of hair could cause him to become injured easily. He’ll want to be with you all the time and won’t be happy kept by himself in the yard or in a kennel, although he won’t tend to bark.
Although his small size might make it easy to do so, be careful not to pander and overprotect him. If not given adequate space to solve his own problems he is likely to become very timid. Allowing small dogs to get away with behaviour we would not permit in larger dogs can also cause behavioural problems.