The Chinese crested is a small breed of hairless dog, it comes in two different varieties, with and without hair, these are born in the same litter, the powderpuff and the hairless.
Despite its name, it is unlikely that the breed originated in China, somewhere in Africa is the more likely place of origin. The name Chinese crested probably comes from their use on Chinese ships as ratters, .
At a glance the powderpuff and the hairless appear to be two completely different breeds, but hairlessness is an incomplete dominate trait within the single breed.
The amount of body hair on the hairless varies extensively, from the true hairless which as no, or very little hair on its body, to what is called the “hairy hairless dog” which if left ungroomed can grow a near full coat of hair, fur around the muzzle, known as a beard is also quite common. The difference between a hairless and a powderpuff is that the hairless as a single coat, with hairless parts on the body, while the powderpuff as a thick double coat.
The powderpuff trait cannot be bred out because it is carried by all Chinese crested dogs, even the hairless ones, all hairless Chinese crested dogs can produce powderpuff puppies even when bred with another hairless. On the other hand a powderpuff bred with another powderpuff will never produce hairless puppies, since they will not carry the hairless gene.
A powderpuff as a soft long coat, when its fur is completely grown out on its face it resembles a terrier, however it is usually shaved around the snout as a standard cut. The powderpuff Chinese crested is a playful, elegant, entertaining and loyal dog which makes a good companion.
Both varieties require regular grooming, although the powderpuffs coat doesn’t continuously grow, it can get to a full long length, therefore regular baths and brushing are required to prevent matting.
Maintenance of the hairless varieties skin is similar to that of human skin, therefore it is susceptible to acne, dryness and sunburn. Unless the dog is a true hairless, regular trimming can be required to prevent excess hair growth.
Care must be taken when trimming the nails of the Chinese crested dog, to avoid pain and bleeding, because unlike most dogs which have “cat feet” they have “hare feet” with more elongated toes.
Being an intelligent breed, they are easily trained and very obedient, ideal for learning and performing tricks. They are not a high energy breed so are ideal for apartments and city living, but are very versatile, being equally at home in the countryside.
Chinese crested dogs are not affected by a lot of the congenital diseases from which other toy dogs suffer, they are however prone to eye and dentistry problems. A healthy dog should weigh in between 4-5kg and stand around 10-13 inches. The average lifespan of the Chinese crested is 12-14 yrs, but if well taken care of they can live longer.