A Chinese Crested, named Sam, won the World's Ugliest Dog Contest 3 years in a row before passing away in 2006. The Chinese Crested breed is a very unique one!
The Name Says It All - China is the Origin of this Breed
Although the Chinese Crested that we see today is originally from China, it is known that their ancestors were the African hairless dogs. They came to China from Asian traders using the African hairless dogs on their ships to control rats. The breed was modified in China to today's version.
The Aztecs and Chinese believed the breed had healing powers, and they used the Crested in the same way as hot water bottles are used for sore muscles.
They arrived in the United States in the 19th century, and weren't recognized by the AKC until 1991.
Although Small, they are Full of Energy
The Chinese Crested only grows to about 10-14 pounds at the most. Don't let their size fool you, this is an active breed who enjoys learning tricks, participating in agility competitions, and taking a daily walk.
This breed is known to climb and enjoys digging. A fenced in-yard is a good idea for this busy-body. They are not barkers, but they will strive to get your attention if they are feeling "neglected." Chinese Crested enjoy the company of humans and don't do well if left unattended for hours.
The breed gets along well with respectful children (not toddlers), other dogs, and cats. Like any dog, early training and proper socialization will help ensure this breed maintains these qualities. Overall, they are a very friendly, outgoing, and social breed.
PowderPuff or Hairless - Which do you prefer?
Yes, this breed comes in two different varieties: Hairless and the Powderpuff. The Hairless is, well, just that, hairless, with the exception of having tufts of hair on their ears, top of their head, paws, and tail. Their skin is very susceptible to sunburns, and weekly bathing is required for the Hairless. Also, a special cream with sunscreen should be used to keep their skin soft and supple on a daily basis to protect it. During cold months, a sweater will be much appreciated by this breed.
The Powderpuff is the total opposite. Completely covered in long, silky, fine hair, that needs more grooming then the hairless. Daily brushing helps prevent mats from forming in their undercoat, which is curly. The Powderpuff is a minimal shedder, but their fur can grow long, which requires regular grooming.
Fleas typically are not a problem for the Hairless, however they are still prone to ticks, which can easily be seen on the hairless.
They are NOT hypoallergenic (there is no such thing), however the Hairless is a great breed for allergy sufferers.
Small Dog Syndrome - I Hope NOT!
The Chinese Crested can develop Small Dog Syndrome. A common behavioral issue in small dog's that are not given proper guidance, rules, and boundaries from their pet-parent. This syndrome is not cute by any means. A dog with Small Dog Syndrome displays aggressive type behavior, and will be quick to nip at people, and have resource guarding issues with food and toys.
This can easily be prevented by training your Chinese Crested in puppy obedience. Teaching them mannerisms will benefit them greatly, and make for an enjoyable breed to be around long-term.
They do NOT enjoy being carried by their humans everywhere, and are not considered a pocket purse dog. Instead, the Chinese Crested LOVES walking. They enjoy going for walks, taking a hike (don't forget the sunscreen), or even window shopping in the city with you!
Some Health Issues to Consider Before Adopting a Chinese Crested
The pet-parent of a Chinese Crested will need to maintain their hairless breeds skin every day. Providing the hairless with a special oil or cream to help maintain and protect their bare skin.
Yearly dental cleanings will be a requirement for the hairless Crested too, the Powderpuff doesn't seem to have the same teeth problems. They genetically have issues with their teeth, known as "primitive mouth": their teeth are pointy like wild canines, they have missing or crowded teeth, and are prone to tooth decay and disease. Maintaining a healthy mouth for a Chinese Crested will be imperative to their overall well-being.
The both types of the Chinese Crested are prone to blindness as well. Regular eye exams should be done. They may also suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome, and require eye drops administered daily.
Their average life span is 10-12 years.
The Idea Living Situation
The Chinese Crested is an all-around perfect breed for any type of living situation. They would do best in the city or suburban lifestyle.
Because they are an active breed, they would enjoy a fenced in-yard, but a daily walk is preferred, so this won't necessarily be a deal breaker.
An active person, that enjoys walking or running with their dog every day, and doesn't mind giving lots of affection to a very "needy" dog, as they are considered a great companion to have around would be the ideal pet-parent for this breed.
As you begin looking for a Chinese Crested, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe