The Chinese Crested Dog is a smaller (10-13 lbs) breed of dog known for its unusual appearance. It a member of the toy dog group, and is available in two types: The Hairless and the Powderpuff.
Chinese Crested Dog Appearance
At first glance, the Hairless and Powderpuff varieties of Chinese Crested Dogs appear to be two different breeds. The Hairless is the more popular variety, prized for its lack of a fur coat. Instead, the Hairless has soft, humanlike skin, sensuous to the touch, as well as tufts of fur on its paws (“socks”) and tail (“plume”) in addition to long, wavy hair on its head (“crest”).
The Hairless variety can vary in amount of body hair. Fur on the muzzle, known as a beard, is not uncommon. A true Hairless often does not have as much furnishings (hair on the head, tail, and paws); however, many of the dogs seen in the show ring are actually a “moderate” or “hairy” hairless that is shaved down. The difference between a very hairy Hairless and a Powderpuff is that the Hairless has a single coat, often with hairless parts on the body, while the Powderpuff has a thick double coat. The skin of the Hairless comes in a variety of colors, ranging from a pale flesh to black, and is often mottled. Hairless Crested often lack a full set of teeth, and this is often used to verify to some extent that the dog is a true Hairless and not a shaved Powderpuff.
The Powderpuff shares the crest and build of the Hairless, but in addition has a full coat of long hair. The look of the Powderpuff varies according to how it is groomed. When its fur is completely grown out on its face, it strongly resembles a terrier; however, the Powderpuff is usually shaved around the snout as a standard cut. Its fur is incredibly soft and shedding is minimal. Due to its coat type, both Powderpuff and Hairless are considered good pets for allergy sufferers.
Chinese Crested Dog Temperament
Chinese Cresteds are affectionate, energetic, and playful. They are known to be great family pets, and have endearing personalities. They are known to be great with respectful children. Some are known “singers,” while others are known to “smile.” They are generally happy lap dogs with candid personalities.
Chinese Crested Dog Health
The Hairless variety can be susceptible to acne and sunburn. Maintenance of the skin is similar to maintaining human skinâ€”moisturising cream can keep the skin from becoming too dry, and in fair-skinned Cresteds, if one lives in a warm climate where there is a lot of sun (Australia, Spain, and so on) one should apply sunscreen to the dog’s skin.
Overall, if one is prepared to give proper maintenance, attention, and care, a Chinese Crested can, barring accident or illness, live up to fifteen years.
Chinese Crested Dog History
Though possibly associated with China since the 13th century, some believe the Hairless mutation originated in Africa, and others believe it may be a cross of the Chihuahua and Mexican Hairless Dog, which it resembles. European visitors in the 1700s remarked on hairless dogs in Chinese port cities, as well as dog owned by Chinese sailors plying the African trade route. Apart from the baldness, it is unclear how closely these dogs resemble the modern Chinese Crested.
The Chinese Crested was officially recognised by the UK Kennel Club in 1981 and by the American Kennel Club in 1991.
Chinese Crested Dog Miscellaneous
The Hairless allele is a dominant (and homozygous lethal) trait, while the Powderpuff allele (the wild type) acts as a simple recessive trait in its presence. Embryos that receive two copies of the Hairless allele will never develop into puppies. Thus all Chinese crested carry at least one copy of the Powderpuff allele.
The Powderpuff trait cannot be bred out because it is carried by all Chinese Cresteds (even the hairless ones). All Hairless Chinese Crested have the ability to produce Powderpuff puppies, even when they are bred to another Hairless.