The origins of the Chinese Crested dog can be traced back to the 13th Century in China and today, they are one of the few hairless dog breeds that are gaining popularity among dog enthusiasts around the world. Let us study the Chinese Crested in detail. Also, please do check out our article on the Mexican hairless aka the mystical Xoloitzcuintli.
Cool facts and the history of Chinese Crested dogs
- As with most hairless breeds around the world, the origins and history of the Chinese Crested are surrounded by mystery and speculation. The earliest written records about the Chinese Crested can be traced back to as far as the 13th century.
- Apart from the Xoloitzcuintli and the Chinese Crested, other hairless breeds around the world include the African Sand Dog, Buenos Aires hairless, Inca Orchid, the Peruvian hairless, the Turkish hairless, Nubian dog, and the Zulu Sand dog.
- The Chinese Crested has been known by various names over the years including the Chinese Royal hairless, Chinese Edible dog, Chinese Ship dog, or simply the Chinese hairless dog.
- Chinese crested dogs were often registered as wedding gifts in the early days of the breed.
- Many studies have been conducted to find out the reasons behind the hairlessness of these animals. Some speculate that it is owing to climatic conditions, while others felt that it was due to some deficiency in the dog’s diet. Experts in London later concluded that none of these reasons were responsible for the feature.
- In the 13th century, records of a Chinese Crested named Little Jade have been discovered. Little Jade had ‘jade beads’ plaited into her mane and she also had a fur-lined coat to protect her from the winter.
Two varieties of the Chinese Crested exist today: the hairless and the Powderpuff varieties. Both are rather similar and only have minor differences.
- Both varieties come in different colors and combinations of colors. The skin of the Hairless is often mottled. These color variations along with mottling ensure that no two Chinese Crested dogs look alike.
- The crest atop their head resembles the pigtails of China men. A fringe over the ears adds to their characteristic, elegant look.
- The Powderpuff variety can have erect or drop ears whereas the hairless variety needs to have erect ears only. Powderpuff also has a lovely black fringe over the ears.
- The body temperature of the hairless variety can go up to 104 F as opposed to the normal body temperature of 100-101 F in most dog breeds. It is, therefore, deservedly, known as the ‘walking hot water bottle’. For these high temperatures, these dogs are often preferred by people with arthritis.
- Size – Chinese crested size can vary considerably. Males measure between 11-13 inches and females between 9-12 inches. Ideally, the weight of both genders and variety should not exceed 12 lb.
- Colors – Chinese crested colors include white, pink, blue-gray, copper, silver, and combinations thereof.
This is a happy dog that loves people. He is not a dog you can leave alone for long periods of time. You will never see a Chinese crested that is aggressive or vicious; any aggression can be attributed to poor breeding or puppy mills.
They get along well with children and other pets and love to have fun. This is a dog that loves to be cuddled. His warm body temperature helps the cause and is particularly beneficial for elderly people having aches and pains! Note that this is an agile dog that also loves play-time and walks with his owner.
Make sure you socialize your Crested with other dogs and people right from puppyhood, for this is a shy breed. They usually make good guard dogs as well and will notify you of intruders with their loud barking.
Training a Chinese Crested
This intelligent dog can be trained fairly easily provided you invest time in training him. As with any breed, positive, consistent, and patient training is important to get positive results. Start early, almost as soon as you bring your puppy home. You can start with crate training and house training. This is a primitive breed and both male dogs and bitches like to mark their territory. So you must show your pet where it is (and isn’t) okay to void. Here are some more training tips:
- Keep training sessions short. End each session with plenty of hugs, playtime, and praise.
- Use the same command each time and do not change words during training. That would confuse your pet.
- Never shout or scold your dog; this is a sensitive breed. Positive training works best.
- Use healthy treats while training your Crested but do wean off treating soon. Your Crested must eventually learn to obey you based on commands alone.
- Practicing obedience is not a military exercise; your Crested will only learn until he is having fun. A bored puppy will not enjoy training, so keep lessons short and fun.
- If needed, enroll your pet in puppy kindergarten or obedience classes near you.
General care instructions
- No matter what the weather, your dog needs exercise. So take him out for a romp, walk, or run daily.
- In winter, keep your Chinese crested warm with sweaters. In summers, avoid taking your dog out when it is very hot. Also, use sunscreen as the hairless variety tends to sunburn easily. Many Chinese crested are allergic to woolen items. So avoid sweaters and bedding made of wool.
- Ticks and fleas are usually not an issue in the hairless breed but can be a problem in the powderpuff variety. Use appropriate medicine to avoid the same.
- Make sure you are up-to-date with all of your pet’s annual vaccinations.
- Provide a clean, well-ventilated area for your dog to sleep in. Wash his bedding once every few weeks.
- A regular grooming routine is important to examine your pet’s coat. This breed is prone to acne, blistering, etc. So watch out for these skin issues. The powderpuff variety needs to be brushed and combed daily to remove dead hair.
Good exercise, nutrition, proper environment, and regular grooming can keep your pet healthy and happy for a life span of 12-14 years. Common health concerns in the breed are also the ones seen in other toy breeds. That includes the Legg-Calve Perthes Disease which is a type of hip joint disease and arthritis. The hairless variety is very sensitive to the sun and the use of sunblock is a must in case of exposure to sunlight. Cataracts are also seen in the breed.
Where to find a Chinese Crested
The advantage of buying your Chinese Crested from a breeder is that these are usually registered with a Kennel Club who adhere to a set of rules. You can find a list of registered breeders on the American Chinese Crested Club website. The average Chinese crested dog price is in the range of $1000 to $4000 and usually depends on the pedigree, the breeder, and even the dog’s coat color. You can also visit animal shelters to find Chinese crested powderpuff rescue or hairless rescues. However, being a bit of a rare breed in the United States, a breeder may be your best bet for finding a healthy puppy.