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!)
Chinese Crested Dogs are small, unique-looking dogs that come in two varieties: Hairless and Powderpuff. The Hairless are the more recognizable of the breed, but many litters have a mix of both varieties.
With a loyal, affectionate personality, they are a great dog for families or for people who want to spend a lot of their time with their dog. They can have a goofy personality and can love to play just as much as they love to cuddle.
The breed may be often be seen in the World’s Ugliest Dog, but many people think they are adorable and quirky dogs with a beautiful personality.
Also Known As...
Crested. Puff. "The dog that always wins the ugliest dog contest, despite being ridiculously cute."
There is some debate about the true origins of Chinese Crested Dogs, but they most likely come from African or Mexican hairless dogs that were later bred in China. They were found in many port cities as Chinese sailors took them on board, possibly as early as 1530. The dog was bred in China for their ratting abilities on the ships.
One of the first records of a modern Chinese Crested was a dog named Chinese Emperor, who was shown at a British dog show in 1881. This breed came to the United States in the late nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, newspaper reporter, Ida Garrett, and her friend, Debra Woods, bred and showed the breed during this time. They increased the popularity of the breed which led to the AKC recognizing the Chinese Crested Dog in 1991.
Chinese Crested Dogs are, on average, 11 to 13 inches tall.
Chinese Crested Dogs are usually between 8 to 12 pounds.
Chinese Crested Dogs are attention-loving and will become very attached to their owners. This attachment makes for a very affectionate breed that is also very sensitive, especially to your emotions. Watch out for this during training, as your frustration may make them too sensitive to want to continue training. In addition to wanting to cuddle, they will also want to play with you every day. They enjoying playing with toys and spending some time outside, as long as it’s with their owner!
They are a calm lapdog when they're with you, but when you're gone they may have separation anxiety that can turn into destructive behaviors. Though they're known to be a bit stubborn, training can ensure that they can live happily alongside their family.
Intelligence / Trainability
Chinese Cresteds are intelligent, but stubborn dogs. If you ignore your dog’s needs, training may be difficult, but it just takes some special love to train this breed. They care about their owners, so they will enjoy training as a way to spend time with their person. Use this to your advantage, as they will be happy trying to please you! Chinese Crested Dogs are notoriously difficult to housebreak, so consistency and patience are necessary for succeeding in this important training step.
Best Training Techniques For Chinese Crested Dogs
Chinese Crested Dogs can be great dogs to train if you are patient and know what they need to succeed. They can be very stubborn if they don’t want to do something, so it’s important to go along with your dog’s abilities and to stay calm in the training process.
They are sensitive to your emotions which can interfere with training them if you get too frustrated. They won’t do what you want them to do if you scold them too much. This breed is also very food motivated, so training them with small bits of food or treats can help them stay focused in training.
With their small size and lack of hair, Chinese Crested Dogs are not equipped to deal with cold weather. They are extra susceptible to frostbite because of their exposed skin, so it’s important to take care during the winter months. Because of this limitation, Chinese Crested Dogs are much happier living somewhere with a warmer climate. However, they are also susceptible to sunburn, so it’s important to watch them in hot temperatures, as well. Overall, Chinese Cresteds are sensitive to extreme weather, so you should pay attention to how their feeling and keep them indoors if it is too hot or too cold.
Besides needing moderate weather, a Chinese Crested Dog’s ideal environment is one where their owner is present. They can adapt well to small living spaces if they’re still getting enough exercise and playtime, but they will not be happy if left alone for long periods of time.
They are also great at escaping, so it’s important that a yard has a good fence and that they are supervised outside. They know how to jump very high and dig, especially if they’re having separation anxiety, so they’re environment should keep them safe.
Good For Families And Kids?
Chinese Crested Dogs are loyal and attached to their people, making them great family dogs. They like to be around kids, but because this breed is small and delicate, it’s important to supervise playtime with kids. Kids should be taught how to play gently and respectfully with the dog.
Chinese Cresteds are playful and like to have fun, so they’ll be happy to play games with their family. At the end of a day of play, they want nothing more than to cuddle up.
On average, Chinese Crested Dogs live between 13 and 18 years.
Chinese Crested Dogs are at risk for a few health problems that owners should look out for. There are some inherited eye problems that are common in the breed, including progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma, and primary lens luxation. Because of this, this breed should have ophthalmologist evaluations to ensure their health. They are also at risk for epilepsy, patellar luxation, and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.
Chinese Crested Dogs have moderate energy levels, requiring daily exercise to be happy and healthy. This exercise should include short walks and playtime with their owner. After exercise, they’ll probably want to go back home to cuddle and take a nap. Though they may not look like it, they have athletic bodies and usually excel in canine sports. If left alone, their separation anxiety may turn into excess energy that could lead to them jumping and digging.
Friendly With (Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
Most Chinese Crested Dogs are good with other dogs. They are social, affectionate, and playful, making them a good match for living with another dog.
Just as Chinese Crested dogs are calm around other dogs, they tend to be calm around cats, as well. Like with any breed, early socialization is important for a dog and a cat getting along, but Chinese Cresteds are not typically the type to chase or harass their feline companions.
It is important that Chinese Crested Dogs are socialized around many people when they're still young. They love the people they know but they can be apprehensive around strangers until they get to know them. This suspiciousness can be shown through aggression, which is why socialization and training are so important.
Coat & Grooming
The two variations of Chinese Crested Dogs require different types of grooming, but both require a moderate level of care. Hairless Chinese Crested Dogs, may not have hair, but grooming is still important! Their skin is exposed, so it’s sensitive to skin irritation and sunburn. Grooming should include skin treatments made for your dog’s skin type along with sunscreen to protect from the sun.
The Powderpuff Chinese Crested Dog does not have the risks associated with exposed skin. They have a short undercoat and longer outer coat and they require daily brushing to maintain. The coat is prone to matting, so brushing is important for keeping their coat nice and fluffy.
This hairless breed has a silly look and many have competed in the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. One Chinese Crested Dog, Sam, was the winner of the contest from 2003-2005 and many others have finished high in the competition.
Toys Chinese Crested Dogs Would Like Best
Bred to catch rats, Chinese Crested Dogs enjoy a good game of fetch outside with their owners. So Fetch Toys like "The Best Balls Ever" would be a great option for the breed. They’ll be excited to get their energy out by running back and forth to fetch for you. They will also enjoy the bonding time they get to spend with their owner.
If fetch isn't their game, maybe try out a Plush Toy or two (or seventeen).
Recommended Diet Or Supplements
Chinese Crested Dogs are prone to becoming overweight, so it’s important to pay attention to their diet. Though they will be excited to eat treats during training, it’s important to not give them an excess amount of treats. A balanced meal with not too many calories per day will keep your Chinese Crested Dog feeling healthy. In addition, Omega-3 supplements are a great way to help your Chinese Crested Dog with their skin problems.
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)
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.)
This joint supplement is veterinarian-formulated, made with all natural ingredients (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid), and comes in the form of 150 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help your Chinese Crested with their hip and joint issues. ($32.99.)
A dog as cuddly and affectionate as a Chinese Crested Dog deserves a comfy place to sleep after a day of playing. An orthopedic dog bed can ensure that your pup has a comfortable place to relax, even if they have started to develop joint pain.
This dog bed is great for supporting your pup’s tired body. A high quality combination of ergonomic memory foam and gel foam helps ease body aches, joint pain, hip dysplasia and arthritis. This bed offers the best therapeutic support for your buddy. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues to Find the Chinese Crested Dog of Your Dreams
Notable Instagram Chinese Crested Dogs
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Featured image via Crestedbrothers.mm/Instagram