Chinese Crested

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Chinese Crested Facts

  • Breed Type: Purebred
  • Size: Small
  • Lifespan: 13 – 15 years
  • Temperament: Affectionate, Alert, Happy, Lively, Playful, Sweet-Tempered
  • Colors: Apricot, Black, Blue, Chocolate, Cream, Tri-Color
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Related Dog Breeds:

Chinese Crested drawing by Dog Breeds List

If you’re looking for a small, naked pup, then the Chinese Crested might be your pooch. These dogs are the smallest of the hairless breeds and make excellent snuggle buddies. In fact, they’re believed to have been bred specifically to keep bedridden people company!

So they’re the perfect companion if you like lounging around.

Plus, the breed is rumored to have healing powers. So that’s pretty cool, too, just in case you do happen to get a cold.

(Granted, it was this pup’s ancestors that had the healing powers, so who knows if those magical properties got passed down or not.)

But either way, the Chinese Crested makes a great snuggle buddy! And even if he doesn’t have official healing powers, chances are his sweet disposition will give you a smile if you’re feeling under the weather.

Chinese Crested dog breed information infographic

History

The Chinese Crested is a breed so old that we don’t know for certain how it originated. It’s assumed that this little pup descended from large, hairless dogs in Africa.

At some point, the not-so-hairy canines arrived in China. There, they were bred down to the size they are today.

But the Chinese Crested’s story doesn’t end there. As expert ratters, these dogs were brought on board Chinese trading vessels.

Known as Chinese Ship Dogs, they traveled the world far and wide, ending up in places such as Egypt, Asia, and even South America.

Despite the prolific existence of this breed around the world due to Chinese trade, the Crested didn’t become established in the U.S. for quite some time.

Sure, he existed in the U.S. as early as the 1880’s. But the Crested wasn’t recognized by the AKC until very recently, in 1991.

Are Chinese Cresteds Good Family Dogs?

Personality wise, the Chinese Crested makes an excellent family dog. He’s loving, loyal, and happy.

But for his own safety, this pup would do best in a home with older children. His small size and delicate nature are not suited to rough toddler play.

With children that know how to properly handle him, though, the Crested makes a wonderful companion.

These dogs bond closely to their family. And while they may be somewhat wary of strangers, they know no bounds when it comes to snuggling and kissing their owners.

In fact, this breed will love you so much that he may experience some separation anxiety if left alone too long. So make sure someone can be around most of the day before bringing one home.

Care

While you may be drawn to the Crested’s unique and exotic appearance, you should first understand how to care for this breed before getting one.

Some of the basics you’ll need to provide for include nutrition, grooming, exercise, training, and health.

And lots of love and warm snuggles!

Nutrition

Because Chinese Cresteds are so small, it doesn’t take a lot of food to fill them up. In fact, you’ll need to be careful to not overfeed your pup.

Of course the amount of food this breed needs is determined by activity level, metabolism, age, and overall health.

But as a general rule, a Crested should eat between ¼  to 1 cup of high-quality dog food each day.

You should feed your pup twice daily on a schedule, dividing his daily portion into two meals. Don’t leave food out for your dog all the time as this doesn’t allow you to watch how much he is eating.

Since the feeding range suggested for the Crested is rather wide, you should check out the guide listed on your dog’s food bag. You may also want to talk to your veterinarian about exactly how much your individual dog should be eating.

Again, several factors affect feeding amounts, and each individual dog is different. But these tips should give you a good starting point.

Grooming

Because the breed comes in two varieties (Hairless and Powder Puff), your pup’s grooming needs will depend on what kind of Chinese Crested you have.

Though, of course some things will apply to both types. For instance, both will need the typical care given to all dogs:

  • Brush the teeth two to three times a week to keep your dog healthy.
  • Check the ears regularly for signs of irritation or infection.
  • And trim the nails!

In addition, both types will need a regular trip to the groomer for a haircut. (Though of course, there isn’t much to cut on the Hairless, but even he’ll need a touch-up every now and again.)

Beyond that, though, there are some specifics:

Hairless Variety

With a Hairless Crested, you’ll need to give special attention to your pup’s skin.

He may not have much hair to brush, but like people, his exposed skin will need some care. Especially since his hairlessness makes him more prone to allergies, skin irritations, acne, and sunburn.

Depending on the individual, your pup may need special acne lotion or other skin treatments. And doggy sunscreen is a must for all individuals when spending time in the sun.

When it comes to bathing, the Hairless will need a soap-up quite frequently. A moisturizing lotion made for dogs will also be in order to keep his skin from getting dry.

Powder Puff Variety

The Powder Puff Crested looks just the way he sounds–fluffy! This variety has a full coat of hair that’s just as silky as the furnishings found on the Hairless.

And, you guessed it! This pup needs to be brushed frequently to maintain his fluffiness. You’ll want to do this at least weekly to keep his hair free of tangles (though daily is always better).

Baths don’t need to happen as frequently as with the Hairless. But you’ll still want to bathe these pups on a regular basis.

Exercise

As you can imagine, a dog bred to snuggle up with sick people doesn’t need a ton of exercise.

Still, the Chinese Crested does require some physical activity. But a short daily walk and some good play sessions are enough to keep this little dog happy and healthy.

He’s definitely not the type that needs to sprint 5 miles every day! (In fact, he really can’t handle that sort of thing, so please don’t make him try it!)

While the Crested may not need a lot of physical exercise, he’s a smart pup that does need a brain challenge every now and then.

Trick training, puzzles, or fun games like hide-and-seek will keep your Chinese Crested on his toes.

Training

For the most part, Chinese Cresteds are easily trained. They love being with their owner no matter the activity and tend to excel with obedience, agility, and other canine sports.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Crested is very timid and sensitive in nature. You’ll need to use only positive reinforcement training. And gentleness is key to maintaining a good relationship with your pup.

Unfortunately, you may encounter some difficulty when it comes to housebreaking. Being a toy breed, the Chinese Crested tends to struggle with holding his bladder.

Crate training can be helpful for teaching your pup when and where to relieve himself. But don’t expect him to learn overnight!

Chinese Crested Health Issues

Chinese Cresteds are a generally healthy breed. They usually live to be between 13 and 15 years of age.

Still, the Crested is prone to certain conditions and diseases. These include the following:

  • Dental issues (particularly the Hairless variety)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye)
  • Glaucoma
  • Primary lens luxation
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Allergies

Chinese Crested Fun Facts

1. A Love Bug

The Chinese Crested is one of the ultimate Velcro dogs–he thrives on being with his people.

So please make sure you have the time to devote to this breed before you get one. They’re not meant to be left in a crate for hours on end. And they especially aren’t meant to live alone outside.

This is truly a lap dog that wants to be in the house and by your side all day long!

Even though the Crested can be a bit needy, he’ll repay you tenfold. He’s a highly devoted dog, and he’ll love you with all his little heart! Plus, you can expect lots of kisses and snuggles!

2. The Hugger

And that’s not all he has to offer.

Your Crested will probably also give you lots of hugs!

And, no, I’m not being repetitive.

I know I just told you this breed likes to snuggle a lot. But Crested cuddles are very different from Crested hugs.

That is, when you pick up your pup, you may be surprised to find that he actually grips your neck with his paws! In effect, giving you a “hug!”

3. Bigfoot

Why all the doggy hugs?

Well, the Chinese Crested has unique paws among the dog world. Instead of rounded feet, this pup has elongated, hare-like paws.

So while he may not have thumbs to grip things with, those long toes work just as well. Especially when it comes to clinging onto you and refusing to let go!

(Yup, he just loves you that much!)  

4. Not Very Stranger-Friendly

While the Chinese Crested is a complete love bug around his family, this pup can be wary of strangers.

It’ll take some time for him to adjust to someone new. So you’ll need to be sure to take it slow.

You should also be aware that because the breed can be so shy, your pup is somewhat likely to bite unfamiliar people.

Luckily, this is a trait that can easily be trained out and avoided with early socialization.     

5. Wonderful Watchdog

You may assume from his suspicious nature that the Chinese Crested would make a good watchdog.

And you’d be right!

While too small to do much physical defending, the Crested does nevertheless make the perfect alarm system.

The breed doesn’t tend to be very yappy. But he won’t hesitate to bark if there’s anything suspicious going on.   

6. The Spotlight of the Choir

Alert barking isn’t all the Chinese Crested does.

He’s also famous for the other noises he makes, too, which include a sing-song-like howl.

Check it out below.

(But be warned. Far from having perfect pitch, Chinese Cresteds actually boast a really high pitch.)

If that video hurt your ears, you may want to train your pup out of his howling habit from the start!

7. Sweater Dog

The Hairless Chinese Crested is prone to the chills. He’s very human-like in this sense–having bare skin with no body hair to keep him warm.

So if you’re feeling a little chilly, remember that your Crested probably feels the same way! Wrap him up in a blanket. Or if you’re going out, put a sweater on him.

A good measure is this: if you need something extra, then your pooch will, too.

8. Sweat-er Dog

And this doesn’t just go for sweaters.

It also goes for sunscreen. Like people, hairless dogs can get sunburned. So get some doggy sunscreen to protect your pup’s skin during those sunny summer months.

Speaking of summer, your dog (like you) will be feeling the heat. And also like you, his body will respond by sweating!

That’s right.

Even though almost all dogs lack sweat glands on their bodies, the Hairless Crested is one of the few exceptions. He actually sweats all over just like people!

So he can actually cool himself down without lolling his tongue out everywhere!

9. The World’s Ugliest Dog

I promise I’m not saying that to be mean. The Crested has the potential to be very elegant and graceful.

But there are also some individuals that are, er, a bit on the opposite side of the “refined” spectrum.

Luckily for these less-polished pups, there’s such a thing as the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest.

And the Hairless Chinese Crested has won the competition more often than any other breed. In fact, one little superstar named Sam won the contest three years in a row!    

(It may seem cruel to call a dog ugly. But for context, the event seeks to show the worth of every animal, imperfections and all.)

So to have been the breed to win most often–the Chinese Crested must be a very special little dog, indeed.   

10. Toothless

What makes this breed the most likely to win an ugliness contest? Well, there’s the hairlessness for one.

But there’s also the frequent lack of teeth…

Interestingly, the gene for hairlessness is also linked to missing teeth. So it’s not uncommon for even a young hairless dog to have a few gaps in his mouth.

Missing teeth aren’t necessarily an issue, per se. (You can just feed wet food.)

But poor overall dentition is common in hairless breeds and can lead to some serious problems if ignored.

This is why teeth brushing is especially important for the Hairless Crested. You’ll also want to get regular teeth checkups and dental cleanings from your vet.

11. Escape Artist

A lack of teeth may get in the way of chewing, but it definitely won’t get in the way of escaping!

Both varieties of Chinese Cresteds are experts at getting out of enclosures. Those elongated feet make them adept climbers, after all.

Plus, these dogs are excellent jumpers. And diggers. And just clever smarty-pants all around.  

All combined, these traits make for a pup that isn’t easily contained by fences. (Another reason to not leave your Crested in the yard by himself!)

So keep that in mind when your dog is out for a potty break in the yard.

12. The Circus Clown

Realizing your dog just jumped the fence isn’t much fun. But when put to a better use, those springy, agile legs can make for some excellent entertainment.

Despite his lap dog qualities, the Crested is surprisingly capable. He masters tricks really well and loves learning new moves.

Take a look:

13. Chinese Crested Healing Powers

I talked a bit about the Crested’s supposed magical qualities paragraphs ago.

But you may still be wondering why people believed these dogs’ ancestors had healing powers.

So here’s the answer: Hairless dogs feel really warm to the touch. They have the same normal body temperature readings as dogs with hair. But because they lack the insulation to keep that warmth in, they feel a lot toastier to us.

Ancient people of Africa realized this and used it to their advantage.

Lacking the luxury of central heating, they used Chinese Cresteds to keep them warm instead. These pups served as bed warmers, blankets, and even as heating pads for aches and pains.

And so from there, the breed as we know it today became associated with healing powers.  

14. “My Powder Puff’s Littermate is Hairless!?”

If you ever go see a litter of Chinese Crested puppies, you could very well find both Hairless and Powder Puff pups among the mix.

This is completely normal and in fact, is pretty standard. There’s a big, long sciency explanation for it. But basically it involves genetics and breeding selection.

Here’s a summary in case you’re interested:

  • Two Powder Puff dogs make only Powder Puff pups.
  • One Powder Puff and one Hairless can make a mix of both kinds of pups.
  • And two Hairless dogs can also make a mix of both, but the results can be lethal for some of the pups.

That last bullet point sounds a little scary…

But that’s genetics for you–so make sure to find a reputable breeder!

15. Chinese Crested Colors: What are Your Options?

In two words:

A lot.

The Chinese Crested color combinations are nearly endless:

  • Apricot
  • Black
  • White
  • Tan
  • Blue
  • Chocolate
  • Cream
  • Palomino
  • Pink
  • Slate
  • Brown
  • Red
  • Sable
  • Silver

But these can come in virtually any combination.

On top of that, there’s also the infinite possible markings and the fact that the Hairless can get a suntan and change color!

So have fun picking out your pup! I can almost guarantee his coat (or lack thereof) will be unique to him!