Chinese Crested

Breed Group: Toy

Temperament and Behavior

Joyful, alert, and animated, especially inside, Chinese Cresteds love to entertain. Sometimes referred to as "velcro" dogs, they are extremely devoted, affectionate with, and grow incredibly attached to their owners. As a result, a Chinese Crested needs a home where they are nurtured. They do not do well with long or frequent periods of confinement. With their happy, playful demeanor, they make great, but underappreciated family pets. But because they are small, easily injured dogs, he is not recommended for families with children under 12 years of age. With other dogs, they do reasonably well and thoroughly enjoy the company of almost any other family pet. Well socialized dogs also enjoy visiting with strangers.

Their exercise needs are met more easily than most dogs, but they should not be left in a fenced area without supervision. Some are escape artists who can dig under a fence or climb over it. Many bark more than average but still make no more than an average watchdog and a poor guard dog. They are extremely difficult to housetrain, especially intact males.

Physical Characteristics

Chinese Crested are small, elegant, exotic-looking dogs. There are two varieties, the hairless, with hair only on the head, tail, and feet; and the Powderpuff, fully covered with hair. Both varieties come in an array of skin pigments and coat colors and both varieties are very soft and silky. The ideal size of a Chinese Crested is 11 to 13 inches and weigh about 14 pounds.

Perhaps not surprisingly, they do not do well in cold temperatures, especially the hairless variety. Use a sweater in cool weather made from something other than wool; many are allergic to it. Both do quite well in warmer temperatures but the hairless variety needs special care taken of its skin. This includes wiping them off daily and applying lanolin-free hand lotion to control acne-like skin eruptions. When in the sun, they need sunscreen to prevent sunburn. The Powderpuff variety needs regular attention paid to its long hair. The hairless variety is virtually non-shedding making it an excellent choice for people allergic to dander.

Trainer's Notes

While often hard to housebreak, training Chinese Crested dogs is fairly easy, especially if one appreciates a dog that is inclined to entertain rather than obey. These dogs do best when they are encouraged and shaped with positive reinforcement. Punishment or harsh handling only creates an anxious dog that has trouble trusting people.

They make a reasonable choice for a first-time dog owner provided that owner is dedicated to the high need the dog has for socialization and does not have young children. They do well in condos or apartments as long as their barking is controlled.

Photo © by TommyG available under the GNUFDL
Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested, hairless variety


Patellar Luxation is common to both varieties. Many Chinese Crested are allergic to lanolin and wool.

Hairless Chinese Crested tend to lose teeth as young adults, their remaining teeth, which are soft, should be well cared for to prevent decay. Their life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.


The American Kennel Club ranks the Chinese Crested 53rd in popularity with between 2,000 and 3,000 dogs registered a year.

Breed History

The Chinese Crested originated in Africa. DNA analysis shows they are related to the Basenji. In Africa, they were called "African Hairless Terriers." There were several Chinese trading ships that stopped along the continent of Africa on their routes and while doing so, picked up these dogs for their superior rat hunting ability aboard ship. The breed was hence renamed the "Chinese Crested," and the name stuck. The breed was first shown in the West in 1885, but the first American breed club was not established until 1979. Full American Kennel Club recognition followed in 1991.

Additional Information

Notable Chinese Crested owners include Gypsy Rose Lee. The National (US) Breed Club is The American Chinese Crested Club.

Is A Chinese Crested THE BEST Dog For YOU?

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