The Chinese Crested Dog breed is a playful and lively member of the Toy Group. They are extremely friendly and loyal to the members of their family and show their affection by snuggling up on their owners’ laps.
There are two types of Chinese Crested dogs; one has a nearly hairless body with some tufts of hair restricted to the face, end of limbs and tail tips. The other type called ‘powder puff’ has a double coat of hair covering the whole body. But it is non-shedding and hypoallergenic. Both types are free of doggy odor too.
The Chinese Crested dogs make excellent family pets even for those living in apartments and for people who are prone to allergies.
The name of the breed points to China as its place of origin, but there are no proper records throwing light on their early existence. Unlike many other breeds of hairless dogs that trace their beginnings to Central and South America, Chinese Crested Dog breed is thought to have originated in Africa, from where they were brought to China.
The Chinese Crested Dog breed has been known in China from the 13th century, where they were mainly used for catching rodents. Ships doing trade with China used them on board as ratters and carried them to many other countries, including Turkey, Egypt and South Africa, ensuring wider distribution of this breed. It is not known exactly when they became popular in Europe, but many 19th century paintings have these dogs on them.
An American lady named Ida Garret is credited with making the Chinese Crested Dog breed more popular in the United States. Official recognition for dog was granted by AKC in 1991.
Hairlessness in dogs is a result of mutations that are passed down the generations. The Chinese Crested dogs can be nearly hairless or completely hairy depending on the intensity of the mutant gene expression that produces hairlessness. The ‘hairless’ type may have light or dark colored skin, with patches or spots. The tufts of hair on their limbs are referred to as “socks”, on the tip of the tail as “plume” and on the head as “crest.”
The powder puff type has a long coat of straight hair, which can be solid white, solid black, or with colored patches. Even though these two types differ considerably in their appearance, they are one and the same breed. It is not rare to find both types of puppies in the same litter. The dogs usually weigh 10 to 12 pounds and measure 10 to 13 inches.
The Chinese Crested Dog breed is an intelligent breed, highly trainable as long as the handler is gentle and consistent with these sensitive dogs. They do well in obedience and agility tests and love to play fetching and retrieving games. They are good with children, and even ready to make friends with strangers. These dogs may become too timid unless socialized early.
Grooming and exercise
Depending on the type of Chinese Crested Dog you have, the grooming requirements vary. The hairless type has a skin similar in texture to human skin. You can use moisturizers to keep the skin soft and well hydrated. When the dog is taken outdoors on sunny days, sun block may help protect it from radiation damage. The hair on the head and elsewhere needs to be trimmed on a regular basis. As for the powder puff variety, thorough brushing of the double coat once or twice a week will do.
Chinese Crested Dog breed needs only moderate amounts of exercise. They may get sufficient exercise by running about in the house, even though they like to go out every now and then. They usually find it very difficult to tolerate cold; the hairless type in particular should have ample protection while going out.
They love to be with their family at all times, and are not suitable for living outside. These tiny dogs are adept at jumping on to higher surfaces and climbing up wherever possible. It is essential to have proper protection to keep the dog from wandering off.
Common health issues of Chinese Crested Dog breed
The Chinese Crested Dog breed is relatively free of most of the health problems commonly found in toy breeds. However, they are prone to several eye disorders such as glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy that can lead to blindness, as well as a painful condition called Primary Lens Luxation (PLL) which is an inherited disorder. Musculoskeletal disorders include patellar luxation and Legg-Perthes. Deafness and seizures are also occasionally seen in this breed. Regular health checkups are essential to keep Chinese Crested Dogs in good health. They have a life expectancy of 13-15 years.