Photo by © Hans Jan Durr

Chinese Crested - Breed Profile:

Origin: Unknown
Size: Small
Type of Owner:
Exercise: Moderate
Grooming: Very little (Hairless) to regular (Powderpuff)
Trainability: Slightly difficult to train
Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
Dominance: Low
Noise: Average barker

Physical characteristics

The Chinese Crested is a toy group dog with a quite bizarre look: it is almost hairless except for the plume on its tail, socks on the feet, and the crest on the top of its head tapering off on the back of the neck. There is also a full-coated variety of the Chinese Crested dog known as the Powderpuff. The head is wedge shaped with a slightly domed skull. Boning is fine. The body is elegant and graceful with well-developed ribs; it is slightly longer than tall. The legs are long, slender and straight. The almond-shaped eyes are set wide apart. Their colour and the colour of the eye rims fit the coat colour. The ears are large and erect. The cheeks taper into the muzzle. The nose is dark in dark-coloured dogs and may be lighter in lighter-colored dogs. The bite can be scissors or level. The tail is slender and tapers to a curve. It is carried gaily when the dog is in motion and hangs down when the dog is at rest. The gait is lively, agile, and smooth.
Chinese Crested dogs weigh up to 10 pounds. Their height is 11 to 13 inches.


Chinese Crested dogs are exceptionally affectionate and loving. They do well in families with gentle children as they become entertaining and amusing companions. Cuddly and cheerful. Chinese Crested dogs like to climb and dig holes. Generally good with other pets. These dogs enjoy companionship, and need constant human leadership. Do not baby this wonderful breed, and do not let it develop the "Small Dog Syndrome". Puppies should be well socialized and exposed to loud noises when young; this is to avoid timidity.

Coat and grooming

The Chinese Crested dog comes in any colour. The coat and skin pigment sometimes changes depending on the seasons for exposure to sunlight will tan and deepen it. The skin colour can be spotted, bi-coloured or solid. The Hairless variety has hair on certain parts of the body: the head (called a crest), the tail (called a plume) and the feet from the toes to the front pasterns and rear hock joints (called socks). The texture of the hair is soft and silky. The Hairless variety requires very little grooming.
Photo by © greypoint

The Powderpuff variety is completely covered with a double soft and silky coat. Close examination reveals long thin guard hairs over the short silky undercoat. The coat is straight, of moderate density and length. This variety requires much more grooming, preferably daily.


Chinese Crested dogs are very clean, with no doggie odour. They are not prone to fleas or ticks, but the exposed skin needs special care to prevent skin problems and irritations. Frequent baths and applications of moisturizer to keep the skin in good condition are recommended. Light-colored dogs can easily get sunburnt and should be protected with a good sunscreen. Sensitive to extreme cold. Many Chinese Cresteds are allergic to lanolin and wool. Dental care is especially important in hairless dogs, as they often lose many teeth as adults. Other health concerns include patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, and obesity. Don't overfeed.
The lifespan is 10 to 15 years.
Powderpuff variety. Photo by ©

Other interesting facts

The exact origin of the Chinese Crested dog remains unknown, and there is great disparity in theories. It is said that the ancient culture of the Aztecs kept this dog and used it as a bed warmer. There are sources that say this breed is a cross between the Mexican hairless dog and the Chihuahua. Some claim the breed originated in Africa, and it was called the "African hairless terrier." There it was picked up by Chinese trading ships to be used as a ratter in the 13th century and also used for trading with merchants throughout Egypt, Turkey, and Central and South America. History suggests that hairless dog breeds arose by mutation, principally in Central and South America, but that the Chinese Crested existed in China as early as the 1200s. In the 1800s, the evidence of this breed was first recorded in Europe by means of paintings and, later, photographs.