Chinese Crested Puppies
History, Characteristics, Personality and More

When it comes to describing Chinese crested puppies, the saying "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" seems to perfectly fit this breed well.

Also affectionately referred to as Chinese Crested Hairless and Crested, this breed is virtually hairless other than for a few silky tufts on the head, tail and feet.

There is no denial over the fact that this breed has an unique and exotic look. Expect to attract a lot of attention from family and friends, but don't worry about it; this dog adores being the center of attention.

If you have fallen in love with Chinese crested puppies, you may want to learn more about these fellows so to determine if they are the right match for you.

Breed History

Although the origins of this breed are a bit blurred in history, there is belief it dates back to the 13th century.

Its country of origin is difficult to trace back because hairless dogs have been present in different parts of the world. Indeed, in the 1500's hairless dogs were found in Africa, Mexico and in Central and South America. But the general consensus is that the breed evolved from African hairless dogs which were reduced in size by the Chinese.

Chinese mariners are said to have kept these dogs on their ships so these pooches could hunt vermin. Because they were often traded, this breed ended up being distributed to Turkey, Egypt, South Africa and, very possibly, Central and South America.

In the 1800's Chinese crested dogs were recorded in Europe, initially with paintings and later with photographs. The breed began appearing in the United States in the late 1800's.

The effort of a few committed breeders allowed this breed to flourish and gain some popularity in Europe and the United States. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1991 and was categorized under the toy group.

Among famous owners who were fortunate to own Chinese crested puppies is the American actress Gypsy Rose Lee. She was so passionate about this breed that she founded one of the first breeding kennels in the United States. Still as of today, the most active breeders of this breed can trace the bloodlines of their breeding stock to those initial lines.

Chinese Crested Dog Standing on a Rock

Physical Characteristics of Chinese Crested Puppies

Overall, the Chinese crested boasts a delicate, fine-boned body blessed with a touch of elegance. This breed comes in two varieties: the "Hairless" which has no coat other than a few tufts of hair and the Powder Puff which is covered with hair.

Crested are slightly longer than tall with a rectangular-proportioned body. They are slender without appearing excessively fragile or heavily structured. Their neck appears lean, slightly arched and carried high. The ribs are well developed. The chest area tapers into a moderately tucked flank. The tail is gracefully thin, ending in a curve, slightly resembling a sickle.

Chinese Crested Sitting

The forelegs are distinguished by clean and narrow shoulders with elbows close to the body. The dewclaws may be removed. The feet are narrow with long toes. Hind legs boast a moderately angulated stifle. The dewclaws may be removed. The back feet have the same hare-foot characteristics as the forelegs.

The facial expression of this breed is intense and denotes an alert dog. The eyes are shaped like almonds and are positioned widely apart. The ears are left un-cropped and are distinctly large and erect. The head is shaped like a wedge with a gently arched skull. The stop is distinct, but slight. Hairless varieties are not penalized for missing teeth, while the Powder puffs are. The nose color varies, depending on coat color.

The coat in the hairless variety has silky tufts of hair on the head, which is known as the "crest", the tail, which is known as the "plume" and the feet, which are known as the "socks". Hairless areas are smooth and soft to the touch. The Powderpuff variety is blessed with a soft, straight silky coat.

This breed is categorized by the American Kennel Club under the toy group.

    Height Weight
  Male 11 to 13 inches 8 to 12 pounds
  Female 11 to 13 inches 8 to 12 pounds


Puffs are high-spirited, happy dogs that are very people oriented. This "Velcro" dog forms strong emotional attachments with the owners and appreciates lots of interactions.

This breed can be reserved and standoffish towards strangers, which is why it is important to properly socialize Chinese crested puppies, especially during their critical period of development.

Chinese crested dogs are usually good with other pets. However, with other dogs, this breed needs to be supervised, especially if the other dogs are larger in size.

At times, Crested can be stubborn and manipulative; however, they are very bright and alert dogs that respond well to reward-based training methods. This breed is prone to developing the "small dog with big attitude" syndrome.

Chinese crested puppies are not one of the easiest breeds to potty train, and unaltered male dogs may be prone to extensive territorial marking.

Best Owner and Living Conditions

Due to this breed's strong desire to be with the owner, it does best in a home where lots of attention can be provided. Don't leave this breed home alone for too long; they may become barking and digging machines prone to developing separation anxiety.

Some are clever escape artists capable of jumping over fences or digging under them to make their way out.

Being a toy breed, Chinese crested puppies and dogs do best in a home with older children. Small children may easily injure these small dogs by clumsily stepping over them or accidentally dropping a puppy on the patio floor. Their slender legs are also quite fragile and prone to fractures. It is best to always supervise interactions between children and dogs regardless of size, breed and temperament.

Because of its lack of hair, the breed will do best in a warm climate. Needless to say, it's not suited for an outdoor living.

Activity and Exercise

Chinese crested dogs are very playful and a moderately active breed.

Agile and animated, these dogs love to spend time engaging in inquisitive activities. Opportunities to romp around and loads of mental stimulation help get this breed tired. A tired dog is a good dog!

At a minimum, take your pet for one or two brisk walks every day. This will help keeping him physically and mentally sharp.

Chinese Crested on Agility Course


The Chinese crested dog is often referred to as "hypoallergenic" for the fact that it has hair and not fur. However, it is important to clarify that there is not such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed simply because allergens can be also be found in the dog's saliva, skin secretions and dander.

While there is little hair in the hairless variety, this dog still requires routine brushing sessions to avoid it from becoming a matted mess. An alternative to frequent brushing is to keep the hair short and neat by trimming.

Due to the lack of coat, the hairless variety may get cold in chilly climates. To prevent shivering, some warm "jammies" may keep your crested comfortable. In hot climates and during the summer, this breed needs to be protected from the UV rays and potential sunburn.

Health Concerns

While generally healthy, the Chinese crested puppies may be prone to several hereditary and non-hereditary problems. Progressive retinal atrophy, patellar luxation and Legg Calve Perthes disease are a few genetic problems common to this breed.

Visit dog health problems to learn more about dog diseases and health care.

To reduce the chances of hereditary disorders, it is important to purchase Chinese crested puppies only from reputable Chinese crested breeders who health test their breeding stock.

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems from becoming big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy Chinese Crested puppies is between 12 and 15 years.

Final Thoughts...

While Chinese crested often rank as top "ugliest dog" in some dog beauty contests, it is undeniable that this breed is quite exotic-looking, graceful and also elegant. If you are considering opening your heart and home to a lively and devoted companion, then Chinese crested puppies may be the right match for you.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Chinese crested rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

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Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? If you answered "YES", then check this Chinese Crested Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.


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