Chinese Crested

With a hairless body and a crest of hair reminiscent of a Chinese pigtail, this unique dog has other peculiarities; for example, many do not have a complete set of teeth. It is said to be one of the ancestors of the Chihuahua.

Sometimes given the slightly longer name of Chinese Crested Dog. In addition to the hairless type there is also a fully haired version called the Powderpuff.

Background Notes

This dog has caused a greater division of opinion than any other breed. Few are indifferent to it; it is either loved or hated. Almost entirely naked, with only a few tufts of hair on its head, tail and feet, this breed has in the past been described as a freak, and naked puppies have often been culled by breeders. Despite this unpromising beginning, it has survived and grown steadily in popularity until today it can boast a strong and devoted following. This is largely due to its happy-go-lucky personality, for this is a dog that exudes an infectious playfulness and joy of living.


When naked dogs were encountered by early European travellers and explorers, they made an immediate impact as "living curiosities" and were sometimes acquired and brought back to Europe for their novelty value. One of the earliest accurate portrayals of a Chinese Crested dog appears in Robert Plots Natural History of Staffordshire, published in 1686. He described the dog in question as "being curiously spotted, and for the most part naked, his head only adorned with an English Peruque, and his tail with a single tuft at the end". His illustration shows a dog that is almost identical to the modern Chinese Crested.

The ears are held erect. The reduced dentition that accompanies the nakedness of this breed involves the absence of premolars. And in 1928 the breed was briefly given the title of ‘Fever Dog, because it was believed that simply to touch its skin would cure a patient of a feverish condition.

In England a Chinese Crested Dog Club was established in the 1960s. In the United States a similar club was formed in the 1970s, and the breed was accepted for registration with the AKC in the 1990s. Because of the draconian attitude of the Chinese Communist government, which sees the ownership of a pet dog as a decadent bourgeois act, the breed has become an extreme rarity in the land of its birth. Fortunately there are already enough of these intriguing little dogs in other, more enlightened countries, to ensure the breeds future survival.


Small in size, the Chinese crested dog has well-laid-back shoulders; a straight back; a moderately long, slightly round skull with a slightly pronounced stop; a fairly long muzzle; dark eyes set wide apart; big erect ears either with or without fringe; hare feet. Some lack a few teeth, though the cause is unknown. The coat comes in two variations: hairless and powderpuff. The hairless has no coat except for its characteristic crest, socks, and a feather on the tail. The skin is supple and smooth. The coat may be any color or combination of colors, though darker skin is desirable.


Merry, loving, friendly with its family and never aggressive toward children or other animals, this dog is never noisy and makes a good house pet and a companion, though it may be somewhat proud and a little reserved.

Health Matters

The breed is generally hardy, which is no surprise considering that it has survived for so many years. Hairless specimens are sometimes born with missing teeth and claws — these being related to the hairless factor. However, breeders are striving to improve both features and today many Hairless Cresteds are bred with excellent mouths and full feet.

Care and Exercise

This dog obviously needs no coat care, but it does need skin care as the skin is rather fragile. If it seems dry, rub some cream into the skin. Outdoor exercise should take place only during the warm season and the dog should be kept inside during cold weather.


There are two to four puppies per litter, either with or without hair. The puppies tend to be weak and susceptible to the cold.

Gallery of Chinese Crested