Chinese Crested Dog History, Health And Care

Introduction Of Chinese Crested Dog

The Chinese Crested, also known as the Crested, the Chinese Hairless, the Chinese Edible Dog, the Chinese Ship Dog, the Chinese Royal Hairless and the Puff, is believed to have descended from African hairless dogs which were reduced in size by selective breeding in China. It has been known by various nick-names depending upon where it was found. In Egypt, it was called a Pyramid or Giza Hairless; in South Africa it was called the South African Hairless, and in Turkey a larger version was called the Turkish Hairless. In China, this toy breed was originally known as the Treasure House Guardian.

The Chinese Crested was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1985 as part of its Miscellaneous class, and was accepted for full registration in 1991.

Affenpinscher Dog Breed Quick Facts

Affection Level4/5
Apartment Friendly5/5
Barking Tendencies4/5
Cat Friendly3/5
Child Friendly2/5
Dog Friendly3/5
Exercise Need2/5
Grooming Needs3/5
Health Issues2/5

Chinese Crested Dog – Appearance & Grooming


The Chinese Crested is a small, unique dog that comes in two varieties: Hairless and Powderpuff. The hairless version has no hair on the body except for long tufts of silky hair on the tail, lower legs and top of the head. The Powderpuff has more hair and requires a lot more grooming. Cresteds have wedge-shaped heads, large ears and feet that resemble the paws of a rabbit. Their long toes can actually be used to grasp onto things. Their plumed tails reach to the dog’s hock and is carried gaily. The Chinese Crested can come in almost any color, and some dogs change color with the change of seasons. They may be solid, spotted or parti-color.

Size and Weight

The ideal size for a Chinese Crested is anywhere from 11 to 13 inches, but show dogs who are slightly larger or smaller will not be disqualified. The average weight for this breed is 12 pounds. They are slender and fine boned, but should not appear frail.

Coat and Color

There are two varieties of the Chinese Crested breed: the hairless and the powder puff. They may appear to be separate breeds, but they are not. The only difference in type is the coat. The hairless should have hair on its head (called a crest), on its feet and legs (called socks) and on its tail (called a plume), while the powder puff should be fully-coated with a double, soft and silky coat. Both come in a variety of colors.

Grooming Needs

The powder puff variety should be brushed regularly. The Hairless Crested should be bathed frequently with a good shampoo, recommended by a groomer or veterinarian. This breed is prone to skin irritation and other skin problems, when bathing the dog, check for problems such as acne, blackheads, dry skin, etc. Powderpuffs should be bathed regularly, but not as frequently as the Hairless.

The Hairless is more prone to dental problems than the Powederpuff, but good oral hygiene should be practiced by all dog owners. Brushing several times per week will help keep teeth and gums healthy and will keep bad breath at bay.

Chinese Crested – History and Health


The history of the Chinese Crested is uncertain. It is believed that for many centuries Chinese mariners sailed the seas with this breed on board to manage the vermin population, which was infested with parasites and carried disease. Puppies probably were traded with local merchants at port cities. As early as the 1500s, dogs resembling today’s Chinese Crested were found in Mexico and other parts of Central and South America. British, French and Portuguese explorers also found the breed in various parts of Africa and Asia during the 1700s and 1800s. By the middle of the 19th century, the Chinese Crested began to appear in many European paintings. During the 1850s and 1860s, several Cresteds were shown at an exhibition in England, and photographs of them were circulated.

The Chinese Crested was entered in American dog shows beginning in the late 1800s. Ida Garrett, a young New York newspaper reporter, became interested in the breed and over the course of sixty years bred, exhibited and wrote extensively about these dogs that she loved. In the 1920s, Ida helped Debra Woods of Homestead, Florida, obtain Chinese Cresteds and other hairless breeds. The two women became fast friends. For almost 40 years, they jointly promoted the Chinese Crested with great focus and success. Mrs. Woods kept a log of all of her dogs starting in the 1930s, and by the 1950s that journal became a registration service for all hairless breeds. She maintained these records and guarded them with great pride until her death in 1969. These studbooks were maintained for nearly twelve years by Jo Ann Orlik, and then they became the property of the American Chinese Crested Club, which was founded in 1979.

The Chinese Crested Dog Club of England was established in the 1960s. The Chinese Crested was admitted to the American Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous class in September of 1985. It became eligible for full AKC registration in February of 1991 and became eligible to show at AKC-licensed events in April of that year, as a member of the Toy Group.

Health Characteristics

The Chinese Crested dog breed generally is a sturdy and healthy little breed. The average life expectancy of the Chinese Crested dog breed is between 10 and 12 years. This is comparable to the median lifespan of most purebred dogs (10 to 13 years), but lower than most breeds similar in size. Potential hereditary defects and disorders commonly found, but not necessarily found, in the Chinese Crested are as follows:

  • Allergies: Overreaction by the immune system to an allergen, which is any substance capable of inducing a reaction in that particular animal
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: Defined as the spontaneous degeneration of the hip (coxofemoral) joint
  • Patellar Luxation: Commonly known as a “slipped knee cap,” occurs when the patella is displaced from the joint.
  • Dental Problems: Diseases and disorders affecting the dog’s mouth
  • Skin Problems: Conditions that affect the dog’s fur and skin. Causes are often related to allergies, bacteria, fungus or parasites.

Chinese Crested – Temperament & Personality


Chinese Cresteds are expressive dogs who can smile and even hug. Always happy and energetic, this breed loves people and can become quite attached to their primary caregiver. Often called “velcro” dogs, they will physically attach themselves to their favorite person, and will use their paws to hug that person around the neck. This toy breed loves to climb like a cat, and never tires of playing with children, adults, or other animals. Their size, desire to please, and low activity requirements make them a good choice for first time dog owners, and an even better choice for retirees who have lot time to devote to their dog. The Chinese Crested loves to be the center of attention, soaks up affection and does not like to be left alone for long periods of time.

Activity Requirements

This tiny breed can live easily in apartments or condominiums, and require one or two walks per day and the opportunity to run once in a while. Chinese Cresteds have a lot of energy, and even though they are typically not destructive, keeping them calm requires daily exercise. Toy breeds are prone to obesity, as people tend to overfeed and under exercise them. Make no mistake, these dogs are not cats and do require a commitment to daily walking to keep them healthy.


Like all toy breeds, the Chinese Crested has a willful streak, but is generally a breed who loves to please people. Training requires lots of positive reinforcement and treats – harsh treatment will cause them to develop avoidance behaviors. Many Cresteds can be taught tricks and enjoy the attention that comes with being a showman.

Behavioral Traits

This breed is not well-suited for a home with small children. Kids can be clumsy and accidentally injure such a small breed. Cresteds are also very jealous dogs, and won’t appreciate the time and attention given to small kids. They are also not very patient with kids who tease or want to play roughly with them, and have been known to snap and even bite.

Barking is often a problem with the Crested, as with most breeds of small dogs. They bark at everything, all the time. Socialization is important so that they are welcoming to visitors.

Separation Anxiety is also very prevalent in this breed. They crave constant companionship, and prefer that companionship come from people. If left alone too long, even if well-exercised, they can bark and cry excessively and can become destructive.

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