Chinese Crested Dog Characteristics, Temperament, Origin

The Chinese Crested dog is a hairless breed of dog. It is a small breed and suitable for many kinds of dwellings, including apartments. Like most hairless dog breeds, this breed also comes in two varieties, with or without fur (which are born in the same litter). These two varieties are Hairless and the Powderpuff.

As the name suggests, the Chinese Crested breed is actually from China. It is also known by some other common nicknames such as Crested and Puff.

Although, hairless dogs have been found in many places in the world, it is unlikely that the origins of the modern Chinese Crested dog are in China. The breed was believed by some to have originated in Africa and was called the African Hairless Terrier in several 19th-century texts.

However, there is genetic evidence that shows a shared origin with the Xoloitzcuintli. The current name of the breed likely comes from their use on Chinese ships as ratters. They are also believed to have been bred as a companion for people living with an intellectual disability and as such can remain healthy with little exercise.

In the 1950s, Debora Wood created the “Crest Haven” kennel and began to purposefully breed and record the lineages of her Chinese Crested Dogs. The famous burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee also bred Chinese Crested Dogs, and upon her death her dogs were incorporated into Crest Haven. These two lines are the true foundation of every Chinese Crested dog alive today.

The Chinese Crested dog was officially recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1987, by The Kennel Club (UK) in 1981, by the American Kennel Club in 1991, and by the Australian National Kennel Council in 1995.[1]

Chinese Crested Dog Characteristics

The Chinese Crested dogs are considered as small sized breed. They come in two varieties, and these two varieties appear to be two different breeds (but hairlessness is an incomplete dominant trait within a single breed).

The Hairless variety has soft, human like skin, as well as tufts of fur on it’s paws and tail and long, flowing hair on it’s head. In addition to being an incomplete dominant gene, the “hairless” gene has a prenatal lethal effect when homozygous.

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 doesn’t have as much furnishings. The difference between a very hairy Hairless and a Powderpuff is that the Hairless has a single coat 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.

A Powderpuff variety has a long, soft coat. 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.

The Powderpuff Chinese Crested is an elegant and graceful dog who makes a loving companion, playful and entertaining. The Powderpuff’s coat is long and silky soft. Ears are large and erect. Both Hairless and Powderpuff varieties can appear in the same litter.

As a smaller sized breed, average body height of the mature dog is between 11 and 13 inches at the withers. And their average live body weight is between 4.5 and 5.9 kg.

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Temperament

The Chinese Crested dogs are alert and happy. They don’t accept strangers easily. Once it comes to love you, you become it’s world.

This dog makes an excellent companion and is extremely intelligent. However, be aware, that many dog trainers unfairly rate them low on the intelligence scale because they don’t fit the typical dog personality profile. The Crested is not a good breed for insensitive trainers.

Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who’s beating up his littermates or the one who’s hiding in the corner.

Like every dog, the Crested needs early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they’re young. Socialization helps ensure that your Crested puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.[2]

Lifespan

Average lifespan of the Chinese Crested dog is between 12 and 14 years.

Feeding

How much a mature dog eats depends on it’s size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food.

The Chinese Crested dogs are small in size and they are not highly active. So, their diet should be formulated for a smaller sized breed with low exercise needs. Generally 1/4 to 1 cup of high quality dry food will be enough for a dog daily. Please consult with a vet in your area for better feeding recommendations.

Caring

Taking good care of the animals is very important for raising Chinese Crested dogs. You should always keep up with your dog’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early.

They generally require only minimal exercise. They are good jogging companion, but mental stimulation is important. There are many toys and puzzles are available which are designed for dogs on the market, and they can enjoy many of them.

They enjoy getting outdoors for daily exercise, although they are not a high energy breed. They are great for apartment or city living, but being very versatile, also love country living and long hikes.

The Chinese Crested dogs are generally easy to train, but they have a stubborn streak, which means you need patience. Positive reinforcement is the only route, and correction needs to be handled sensitively, because the breed can be naturally timid.

Early socialization is necessary. If possible find a place that offers separate small-dog puppy classes, so your dog can socialize with similarly sized dogs. It could be injured while playing with a larger breed.

Health

The Chinese Crested dogs are generally healthy. But like all other dog breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions.

Their common health problems include dental issues, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, legg-calve-perthes disease and progressive retinal atrophy. Always try to keep good contact with a vet in your area.

Breed NameChinese Crested
Other NamesAlso known by some other common nicknames such as Crested and Puff
Breed SizeSmall
HeightBetween 11 and 13 inches at the withers
WeightBetween 4.5 and 5.9 kg
Good as PetsYes
Climate ToleranceAll climates
ColorAny color or combination of colors
LifespanBetween 12 and 14 years
Good for ChildrenYes
RarityCommon
Country/Place of OriginChina

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