Chinese Crested Dog: A Bizarre Beauty [Complete Breed Information]

Chinese Crested Dog: A Bizarre Beauty [Complete Breed Information]
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The spotted and hairless Chinese Crested is often listed as one of the ugliest dog breeds in the world. But what some people think is ugly, others think is completely adorable, unique, and cute. The Chinese Crested is polarizing due to its spotty, hairless body, beady eyes, and mop of white hair on its head and tail. It's definitely a unique look that makes the Chinese Crested dog breed stand out no matter what!


The Chinese Crested isn't just an adorable/ugly face. The Chinese Crested has an infectious personality that makes it a great fit for every family. They are empathetic, intelligent, loving, and loyal. This dog will make its mark on any household, becoming the favorite family member!



Chinese Crested Dog Characteristics (Physical)

This dog breed's appearance is the first thing you'll notice — and it's hard to look away! The Chinese Crested is one of the most unique and unusual-looking breeds in the dog world. This includes its spotted, hairless body and the mop of hair on its head.


Chinese Crested Dog Breed Size

The Chinese Crested is a small dog breed that's 11 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder. Some individuals are a little smaller or a little bigger, but that's the average. They weigh only 5 to 12 pounds.



This toy dog should have an elegant and graceful appearance overall. They are considered "fine-boned" by the American Kennel Club. This is a slender dog with well-developed ribs and a tucked-up flank.


The Chinese Crested has long and straight legs that are as slender as the rest of the breed's body. The dog's gait is lively, agile, and smooth.



The Chinese Crested has a slender tail that tapers into a curve. It should be long enough to reach the dog's hock. When the dog is walking or running, the AKC notes that the tail should be carried "gaily," slightly forward over its back. At rest, the tail hangs down and curls at the end.



The Chinese Crested has an alert and intense expression. Their almond-shaped eyes are far apart, and their ears are large and erect. Overall, the Chinese Crested has a narrow face and skull with a small muzzle and a dainty appearance.



hairless dog bounding through air



Chinese Crested Dog Breed Personality

This is a devoted and sensitive breed that is known as a gentle lapdog. This dog loves to please and has a positive, infectious energy. This is an affectionate breed that loves to cuddle and be around its owners. Their favorite spot is often underneath a blanket, curled up by your side.


But sometimes, the Chinese Crested is considered clingy. Some think this a quality of the hairless variety of the breed. This dog will always try to find a way to be the center of attention. They might engage in goofy antics that make you laugh. Sometimes this can turn into whining and destructive behavior, especially if you leave your Chinese Crested alone too long.


The Chinese Crested becomes very attached to its owners, and this has led to the breed being very empathetic. They will be able to easily read your emotions. When you're happy, the Chinese Crested is happy. When you're sad, you'll notice your dog trying to make you happy.

The Chinese Crested enjoys having plenty of toys around. This intelligent pup will often invent games when you're not around to play with, running around outside or racing down the hall. This is an active dog that loves to play, so you'll definitely need to set aside time to exercise with your pup.


Related Article: How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need Every Day? [All Breeds & Ages]



Chinese Crested Dog Breed Exercise

Even though the Chinese Crested is a small breed, they are very, very active. This isn't a dog you can simply carry around or cuddle with on the couch (although they will probably enjoy both of those activities A LOT). To make sure your dog is healthy, happy, and well-behaved, you will need to provide at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.


The best way to give your dog the proper amount of exercise is to bring them on daily walks, maybe two. Walking around a neighborhood or in a nature trail would both excite your Chinese Crested.



Chinese Crested Dog Breed Training

Even though the Chinese Crested is loyal and sweet, they have a side to them that can frustrate some newer dog owners. This breed is known to be very difficult to housetrain.


It's very important to have a strict "potty" schedule, giving your pup no chance to pee or poo in the house. The more often your Chinese Crested uses your house as a toilet, the more difficult it will be to teach them it's not allowed. Always keep the potty schedule the same to avoid these bad habits. Contain your dog in a specific area of the home while they are learning good potty habits.


You might also want to consider a pee pad or litter box so your Chinese Crested has an indoor option. This might confuse your dog, however, and they won't understand if it's okay to go to the bathroom inside or not. It's always best to make your dog go to the bathroom outside to keep it consistent and straightforward.


When it comes to training in other areas, like walking, tricks, and being polite to guests, the Chinese Crested excels when treats are involved. This is a dog that loves to eat despite its small size. Start training with treats right when you bring your new puppy home. You might also want to consider obedience training while your puppy is still young and able to soak up positive behaviors.



Chinese Crested Dog Breed History

This peculiar dog's history is somewhat of a mystery. The American Kennel Club states that many assume that ancient and larger hairless dogs from Africa were brought to China. Generations of breeding reduced their size.


"The Chinese were the master miniaturizers of the ancient world," the AKC explained. "The Shi Tzu and Pekingese are two further examples of breeds born of Chinese mini-mania."


After being established in China, the dog quickly established itself as useful and loyal thanks to Chinese trading vessels. They carried the Chinese Crested on board while traveling through the high seas. During this time, the Chinese Crested became well-known for being shipboard exterminators. They were good at catching rats, which caught the attention of other countries.


The "Chinese Ship Dog" quickly became an exotic commodity in other countries, including Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa. European explorers recorded sightings of the Chinese Crested while visiting port towns throughout Central and South America, Asia, and Africa.


The Chinese Crested Comes to America

The Chinese Crested came to North America after the efforts of two women. The first was journalist Ida Garrett. The second was Debra Woods.


Starting in the 1880s, the women promoted the Chinese Crested for decades. Garrett would write about the breed and Woods started breeding the dog within her own program.


The American Chinese Crested Club formed in 1979, further promoting the breed. The American Kennel Club recognized the dog in 1991.



Chinese Crested Dog Breed Health Problems

All purebred dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems. Always choose a Chinese Crested breeder who can guarantee the health of their puppies. Reputable breeders will be honest and open about the breed's common health problems. They will also discuss their own bloodlines and will usually screen dogs for diseases before allowing them to breed.


Retinal Atrophy

This is an eye condition that damages the eye's retina. At first, your dog might suffer the loss of its night vision. But if left untreated, the Chinese Crested can become completely blind. Always have your dog's eyes examined when you bring them to the vet.


Dental Disease

Most small dogs are prone to dental diseases due to the tiny size of their mouths. If you notice your dog's breath smelling awful and see bleeding and sores in their mouth, they likely have a dental disease.


Other signs include missing teeth, itching at their mouth, and licking their lips excessively.



canine standing in short grass



Congenital Deafness

Chinese Crested dogs may go deaf. This is common in about 80 dog breeds. If you think your dog may be deaf, look out for these common signs:


  • Not responding to their name
  • Ears not moving around when sounds occur
  • Not able to follow commands
  • Loud, excessive barking



This is a chronic disease that can't be cured. Instead, it can be managed if you bring your dog to the vet and get proper treatment. The most common diabetes found in dogs is "sugar diabetes." It's a metabolism disorder that causes excessive sugar buildups in the dog’s bloodstream.


Common symptoms include:


  • Excessive thirst: Your dog will drink quite frequently.
  • More urination: Your dog might start having "accidents." This happens because your dog's body is trying to get rid of excess sugar by sending it out through urine.
  • Weight loss: Despite eating normal proportions, your dog will lose weight because they can't efficiently convert nutrients.
  • Increased appetite: Since your dog's cells aren't getting the necessary glucose, your dog may get very hungry even though they're eating the right portions.
  • Depression: Your dog will become lethargic since they aren't getting enough nutrients to be their energetic self.



This is a condition where your dog's thyroid doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone. When this happens, your Chinese Crested will become lethargic, heavier, and experience changes in their coat and skin.


Skin Conditions

Due to their lack of fur, the Chinese Crested often suffers from dry skin, blackheads, acne, and other skin conditions. They can also get infections from allergies. You'll notice redness, sores, wounds, greasiness, and oiliness. Your dog might also be scratching and chewing at its skin.



How to Care for a Chinese Crested Dog Breed

The Chinese Crested is loyal, loving, and social. They will give you cuddles, but this dog breed needs some care to stay healthy in return.


This breed is small but full of energy. You'll notice that they love to race around the home, jumping on furniture, and playing with toys (even if they are alone). Provide your pooch with plenty of exercise and toys to keep them stimulated and content.


Many Chinese Crested dog owners will get fenced-in yards so their dog can play in a secure area. The Chinese Crested is agile and a surprisingly good jumper, so you'll need a proper fence to ensure your dog doesn't escape.


Since some variations of the breed are hairless, you'll need to provide extra skincare you wouldn't have to do for most dogs. The Chinese Crested can get oily skin due to a lack of fur, which means they often develop acne and blackheads. You need to make sure that you wash them and take care of their skin to prevent this.


The Chinese Crested might get colder than dogs with fur. If you live in a state that is colder or has winter weather, make sure you provide your pup with sweaters and jackets if you go outside. You might want to consider booties as well. Inside, give your dog a heating pad and blankets. They'll also appreciate cuddles.


Check their ears weekly for dirt and wax buildup. They might get this more than other dogs due to their lack of fur to protect them. Study their eyes and nose as well for the same reason. You should also trim their nails regularly to keep them looking good and not harming themselves or others.


Related: How To Trim Dog Nails That Are Overgrown the Right Way!



Nutrition and Feeding for a Chinese Crested Dog Breed

Even though the Chinese Crested is described as "fine-boned and slender," this is a breed that LOVES to eat. They are known to gain weight quite easily so it's very important to provide them with proper nutrition and the right portions.


This dog needs high-quality dog food that provides them with the right proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. Make sure the meat source is something like lamb or chicken. Anything with "meal" is too low quality and might lead to weight gain. Too many unhealthy carbohydrates will also lead to obesity and allergies. But carbs will give your dog the energy they need to exercise and thrive.


Feed your dog two smaller meals each day, splitting the required daily portion in half. That means breakfast and dinner! This will help with your dog's digestion and stomach health. Smaller meals will reduce bloating, gas, and stomach pains. Feed your dog around the same time each day to create a routine, even using an automatic feeder that measures out servings.


The Chinese Crested is prone to diabetes. It's important to discuss food brands and diet with your vet. They will be able to recommend good food for this breed and tell you the exact portions their specific dog needs a day.



small white puppy on gravel



Coat Color And Grooming

There are two varieties of Chinese Crested: The hairless and the powderpuff.


The hairless Chinese Crested only has fur on its head and tail. The fur on the head is called a crest, and the tail fur is called a plume. The feet will also have fur. While the Chinese Crested has very little hair, the AKC states that their exposed skin should be soft and smooth.


The powderpuff is completely covered with a double soft and silky coat. This Chinese Crested has long, thin guard hairs over a silky undercoat. The coat is straight.


Both varieties of Chinese Crested don't require much grooming. For the hairless variation, keep in mind that he will get irritations, allergies, and sunburns. Skin treatments are very important, including acne lotion.


The powderpuff version should be brushed daily if you want the coat to remain fluffy in appearance. The undercoat is quite short, which is the opposite of most breeds where the undercoat is longer than the overcoat. While their coat is easy to brush, it does mat easily and quickly if you don't maintain it. Some powderpuff owners shave the muzzle every two weeks as well.



Children And Other Pets

The Chinese Crested dog is energetic, fun, and loves to play. This makes them a great companion for most older children who want to train or play games with a dog. They can probably fetch together in the backyard for hours!


But the Chinese Crested is not good with younger children. They are delicate and small dog, especially as a puppy. A rough kid who doesn't know how to properly handle a dog might do major harm. To avoid injury, always teach children how to properly interact with the Chinese Crested before letting them play together.


The Chinese Crested will also be playful with other pets, including dogs and cats. They love playing games with pets when you're not around to occupy them. And they are definitely not afraid of larger breeds!


But the Chinese Crested is known to get very jealous of other pets. This is a clingy breed (especially the hairless) that gets very upset if your attention is elsewhere. They might become loud or destructive to get your attention when you're cuddling or playing with another pet.



Rescue Groups

The Chinese Crested is a loving and cuddly breed that most families will never let go of! But there are certain situations that are sometimes out of an owner's control and they are left with hard choices. Luckily there are rescue groups that specialize in this unique pup, fostering them and finding the perfect homes for their personalities and needs.


  • Bald is Beautiful Dog Rescue: This is an independent rescue with experience rehabilitating dogs in need. According to the rescue, a lot of their rescues come from "backyard breeders." They educate the community through social media, fundraisers, and events.
  • Bare Paws Rescue: This organization is full of volunteers that foster hairless dog breeds and mixes that need a new home. They sell adorable pet clothing to raise money while simultaneously keeping your Chinese Crested warm.



Breed Organizations

Chinese Crested organizations are focused on spreading information about the breed and celebrating their strengths with specialized events.


The American Chinese Crested Club shares a lot of information about the Chinese Crested on their site, from breed standards and judging requirements to things you can do with your Chinese Crested. So what can you do with your hairless pup?


  • Conformation: A competition that judges your dog's appearance and movement.
  • Obedience: Your dog has to perform a variety of tricks and follow commands to show off its trainability.
  • Agility: You guide your dog through an obstacle course that requires your Chinese Crested to run up ramps, run through tunnels, and weave through poles. It's a timed competition.
  • Fast Cat: Your dog will chase a "lure" through a 100-yard course.
  • Trick Dog: Your dog must perform a variety of tricks in this competition all about obedience and intelligence.
  • Dock Diving: Your dog will jump off of a platform into a pool of water in a competition about which dog can jump the furthest.



More About This Dog Breed

The Chinese Crested is a peculiar pup with a striking appearance and a mysterious origin. Despite the mystery surrounding this dog, there are many names on record. The Chinese Crested is also known as the: Chinese Edible Dog, the Chinese Ship Dog, and the Chinese Royal Hairless.


But perhaps one of the weirdest nicknames is the Dr. Suess Dog. This nickname comes from the Chinese Crested's unique appearance and how similar the hairless variety looks to the bizarre creatures in Dr. Suess' books.


The Chinese Crested is considered exotic and interesting because of its hairless, spotted body and the crest of hair on its head. But it's not only their hairstyle that makes the dog unique. Compared to other dog breeds, the Chinese Crested is known to have very long feet that experts call "elongated." Breed enthusiasts call them "hare-like."


The Chinese Crested can be hairless or fully fluffy. But did you know that they also come in a variety of colors? They can range from pink to chocolate. What's interesting is that the popularity of certain color combinations has changed throughout the years. In the 1980s, palomino-colored Chinese Crested dogs were the big fad.


Speaking of their skin, the Chinese Crested can sometimes change color! Owners have noticed that when the weather gets warmer, their dog's skin will become darker. Of course, they will still need sunblock.


The Chinese Crested has a one-of-a-kind look that has made them popular in film. Nothing stands out like a Chinese Crested! You can spot this creative canine in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, New York Minute, 102 Dalmations, and Cats & Dogs.


But the Chinese Crested is also popular with everyday families all over the world. It's currently 79th amongst registered breeders at the American Kennel Club. Despite their hefty price tag ($2,000), the Chinese Crested is worth it for so many people thanks to their lively and social personality, energetic characteristics, and obsession with cuddling!

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