American Hairless Terrier Breed Info Guide: Quirks, Pictures, Personality & Facts

Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.  

Intro / Overview

(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)

The American Hairless Terrier, a sprightly little pup, actually comes in two different varieties that might surprise you — a hairless and a coated version! Yes, some American Hairless Terriers have a soft coat of fur. The tiny dogs are peppy pups that love to play but will also happily snuggle on the couch with you. They’re the first hairless breed of dog native to the United States and are about as allergy-friendly as they come! Keep reading to learn more about this cute little breed.

Also Known As…

AHT. “Basically looks exactly like a Mexican Hairless Dog, and yet is completely unrelated to that dog! Dog breeding, everybody!”


The American Hairless Terrier, quite obviously, hails from the United States. It’s derived from the Rat Terrier and traces back to just the 1970s. Rat Terriers, however, go back to the 1800s and were used to, you guessed it, catch rats and prevent them from spreading disease. The American Hairless Terrier came about as a happy accident, though, in the 1970s. A hairless Rat Terrier was born and after breeding it for a few years and extending the family tree, more hairless terriers were born, and it became enough to create the breed.


Both males and females tend to be about the same size. They’re 12-16 inches tall.

Weight Range

These little pups stay small! They usually only get to about 12-16 pounds.


If you’ve met a terrier, then you know how fun and feisty they can be! The American Hairless Terrier is no different. The breed is spunky and bright and is happy to play with you whenever you like. They’re smart little dogs that get along with just about anyone and anything. Though they are protective, they lighten up quickly once they’ve decided they like you (and it’s pretty quick!).

Intelligence / Trainability

American Hairless Terriers are very smart and trainable. They do well with puppy classes right away, especially to get them socialized. This helps them learn how to behave around other dogs and people. They do well with authority, so make sure they know you’re in charge. Once you’ve gotten that message across, they’ll be eager to continue listening to your commands.

Best Training Techniques For American Hairless Terriers

These dogs want to make you happy! This means training them can be pretty easy. Follow what you expect of standard training techniques (teaching them commands and rewarding them with treats) to help them learn whatever you need. Puppy classes are a great option, because this breed will do well in class.

Ideal Environment

American Hairless Terriers do great in an apartment because they’re small and don’t require an abundance of exercise. They need daily walks — just like any dog — but they don’t need to run around and play for hours outside. They’re fine to simply go out for a walk to use the bathroom and then hang out inside with you the rest of the time. This makes them an ideal dog for whatever home you’re living in.

Good For Families And Kids?

American Hairless Terriers can be territorial but shouldn’t have any problems getting along with anyone in the family. Dogs that are trained to be around people usually have no issue in the home. If you socialize your AHT from the time he’s a puppy, he’ll behave around the children in the home. However, as with any animal, it’s always a good idea to provide supervision when your dog is around a small child, especially in new situations.

Average Lifespan

American Hairless Terriers have a pretty long lifespan at 14-16 years.


American Hairless Terriers are very healthy dogs. One of the primary things you need to watch out for with this breed is sun burns on their skin. The completely hairless breed has much more skin exposed to the sun than the average dog, so yes, they can get sunburned! Don’t let them out in the sun too long to avoid this problem. If they are outside for an extended period of time, put some sunblock on them or a little shirt.

They can also experience other skin issues like rashes or allergic reactions. They’re also prone to dog acne because their skin is so visible.


You might think the American Hairless Terrier is a tireless animal, being so small and spunky, but they’re not a breed that needs an endless amount of playtime. They’re happy to be taken for a walk every day but don’t require much more than that. They will enjoy playtime with you but are also just as happy to nap for hours.

Friendly With…(Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)

American Hairless Terriers should have no problems with other dogs. Their territorial side can come out when confronted with another dog, but for the most part, they’re more than happy to bounce around and make friends.

This breed loves everyone, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much about them meeting new people. Always gauge the situation carefully, especially if your pup is skittish, but just know that you probably won’t experience any issues.

Your American Hairless Terrier shouldn’t have any problems with other animals in the house, especially if they were raised together. AHTs are friendly, sprightly dogs that just want to be everyone’s pal.

Coat & Grooming

American Hairless Terriers don’t require much grooming, considering most of them don’t actually have hair. You should wash them regularly still, because their skin still needs to stay clean! Also clip their nails, brush their teeth, and clean their ears as needed.

The nonhairless American Hairless Terriers do have a little bit of hair on them, so you can run over it with a brush every so often, but it doesn’t require much.

Toys American Hairless Terriers Would Like Best

  • Plush toys: Why not give your American Hairless Terrier something to snuggle with while you’re together on the couch for movie night? They’ll love a plush toy for that.
  • Tug Toys: Let your pup expend some energy with a Tug Toy that you can both play with.
  • Fetch Toys: Same goes for Fetch toys like the “Best Balls Ever.” What better way to run off some energy than throwing balls for your AHT to fetch?

Recommended Diet Or Supplements

This breed doesn’t require anything special when it comes to diet. You’ll want to feed them good-quality food, like you would with any dog, that’s appropriate to their size. It’s a good idea to stick with a small-breed food that’s made up of smaller pieces easy enough for small mouths to handle.

And as much as you love to give your dogs table scraps, it’s probably best to avoid it. Some human food is OK for dogs, but in general, they’re best off with food designed specifically for them.

Fish Oil Skin & Coat Supplement

These delicious, vet-formulated chews are made with all-natural ingredients including Omega 3, 6, 9, and Vitamin E. They are designed to support immune health, provide relief from itchy allergic skin, and promote a healthy coat. ($19.99)

Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil

BARK’s Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. ($17.99-22.99.)

Glucosamine Supplement For Hip & Joints

These veterinarian-formulated supplements are made with all natural glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, all packed into a delicious soft chew. ($32.99.)

Recommended Products

American Hairless Terriers, just like any dog, love to take a load off after a long day of…running around for hours on end or whatever they’re doing. That’s why they deserve their own bed, especially if they have joint issues.

Orthopedic Ultra Plush Memory Foam Dog Bed

This ultra plush orthopedic dog bed provides support for even the most active of dogs! The combination ergonomic memory foam and gel foam relieves pressure points, and helps ease body aches caused by hip dysplasia, arthritis and other orthopedic issues. ($27.99-64.99.)

Notable Rescues to Find The American Hairless Terrier Of Your Dreams

Notable Instagram American Hairless Terriers

Bentley @hairlessbentley

Fabio (+ Lionel and Bubby) @lionelbubbyandfabio

Margo and Macho @margoandmacho

Juniper @juniperthespottedsidekick

Dobby @dobbydog2017

***Looking for a gift to blow your AHT’s mind? Spoil them with BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <– This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription!

BarkBox Poo York City Best Subscription Dog Box

Featured image via HairlessBentley/Instagram

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Dr. Katy Nelson

2 years ago

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