Country of Origin: The Chinese Crested is a small breed known for its distinct appearance and personality. There are ‘Hairless’ and ‘PowderPuff’ varieties which are so different in appearance that they are sometimes mistaken for different breeds, but in fact hairlessness is a genetic trait; both types can be born in the same litter! There are many theories as to the Chinese Crested’s ancestry. Some say it a cross between Chinese breeds and an African breed which introduced the hairless gene and others say it is a cross between the Chihuahua and Mexican Hairless Dog. Some even think that Chinese Cresteds (along with the Rhodesian Ridgeback and a few other breeds) are a distinct species from all other dogs! In any case, the Chinese Crested was brought to China in the thirteenth century where it became a popular rat hunter and trading curiosity among sailors. It spread on sailing vessels throughout the mid-East, Africa, and South America. The Chinese Crested was not recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1991. Today, it is a popular show dog with a modest but devoted fan base among pet owners. Chinese Cresteds are sure to catch on in popularity in the coming years. A Chinese Crested named ‘Sam’ was the three time winner of the World’s Ugliest Dog competition, but don’t let that spoil the whole breed for you—Sam just happened to be quite ugly!
Size: The Chinese Crested has a shoulder height of 23-33 cm (9-13 in) and weighs up to 6 kg (13 lbs). It has a broad head, long muzzle, very large, upright ears, and almond shaped eyes. Chinese Cresteds have a flat back, merrily carried tail, and distinctive long, narrow ‘hare feet’.
Coat: There are two distinct varieties of Chinese Crested—the ‘Hairless’ Chinese Crested and the more common ‘Powder Puff’ Chinese Crested. The Hairless Chinese Crested (slight misnomer) has soft, humanlike skin and tufts of fur on its head and ears (the ‘crest’), tail tip (‘plume’), and feet (‘socks’). It may have small tufts of fur elsewhere. The Hairless Chinese Crested ranges from pale to black. The Powder Puff Chinese Crested has a thick double coat with a very soft, silky topcoat. It may be groomed with a full face of hair, in which case it has the appearance of a Terrier, but more commonly the snout is shaved. All Hairless Chinese Cresteds carry the Powder Puff gene as a recessive trait, as the mix of two Hairless genes is fatal in unborn puppies. This means that two Hairless Chinese Cresteds may give birth to a PowderPuff Chinese Crested. Both types of Chinese Crested are good fur allergy sufferers (pun intended).
Character: Chinese Cresteds have a distinctive extroverted personality. They are playful, sensitive, and high-spirited, but cautious of people they do not know. A few Chinese Cresteds are ‘one person’ dogs which grow particularly attached to one person, but most will grow attached to the whole family. Chinese Cresteds are highly entertaining and cuddly.
Temperament: The Chinese Crested gets along well with children (provided they respect its personal space), other dogs, and any household pets. Young children should be watched around the Hairless Chinese Crested as it does not have the coat most breeds have to protect it from rough play.
Care: The Powder Puff Chinese Crested must be groomed daily and washed frequently to prevent matting. The muzzle must be shaved every few weeks (or allowed to grow out). The Hairless Chinese Crested’s skin should be cared for with lotion and exfoliating creams. It should be kept out of the sun or protected by sunscreen. Chinese Cresteds are not suited to outdoor life or cold climates; the Hairless Chinese Crested should be given a sweater for walks in cold weather. Hairless Chinese Cresteds may not have a full set of teeth, but this is not considered a health risk or a fault for show dogs. Most need to be shaved, but carefully so as to avoid irritating the skin. Avoid overfeeding as it may result in obesity.
Training: The Chinese Crested's intelligence makes it easy to train, but it is sensitive and requires a gentle approach. The Chinese Crested can learn a wide variety of tricks.
Activity: The exercise needs of the Chinese Crested are uncomplicated. It prefers a daily walk, but can usually have its needs met by indoor play. The Chinese Crested is well suited to apartment life.
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