A-z - Animals

Chinese Crested

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The Chinese Crested is a small toy breed with an unusual hairless appearance.

In addition to the flowing mane and large, shaggy ears, this breed has smooth, hairless skin that can be flesh-colored or dark in color. It is believed that the breed was originally brought to China from Africa and then modified to suit the preferences of its breeders.

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Besides their obvious use as loyal pets, they also served as mousetraps on Chinese ships, and they were introduced to other parts of the world during their voyages. They became popular in the United States in the late 19th century. Although uncommon or widespread, this breed is a prized companion for many owners.

Chinese Crested 1

© AZ-Animals.com


The Chinese Crested Dog is thought to have evolved from the African Hairless Dog, which was bred by Chinese breeders to be a small pug similar to the popular Shih Tzu and Pekingese. Chinese sailors sail the seas with puppies — and the puppies are traded in ports around the world. These dogs act as mousetraps while at sea. British, French, and Portuguese explorers also picked up these dogs from Chinese ports in the 1700s and 1800s. By the 1900s, the Chinese crested began to appear in European paintings.

In the 1950s, famous American entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee was given a Chinese Crested by her sister. The singer became an avid breeder and has been credited with promoting Chinese Crested dogs around the world. Some of the most active kennels in the world trace their dogs back to lines bred by Gypsy Rose Lee.

Types of Chinese Cockatoos

There are two types of Chinese crested dogs: powder puff dogs and hairless dogs. As the name suggests, powder puffs have a coat of long, soft fur, while hairless only have hair around the face, ears, tail, and feet. To clear up confusion, the hairless and puff versions are not separate Chinese breeds.

Chinese Crested Health and Recreation

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The hairless trait is actually caused by an incomplete dominant gene, which means that offspring only need to inherit the trait from one parent to express it. The puff trait needs to be inherited from both parents. For this reason, it is possible for the hairless and powderpuff variants to appear in the same litter of two purebred parents. The two variants are otherwise identical, so it simply comes down to a matter of hair preference.

Portrait of two beautiful Chinese crested dogs
There are two types of Chinese crested dogs: powder puff dogs and hairless dogs.

© Lenkadan/Shutterstock.com

Owning a Chinese Crested: 3 Pros and Cons!

advantage! shortcoming!
Friendly and loyal <br>This breed wants nothing more than to please its owner and stay out of trouble. Somewhat fragile <br>Due to their small size and bare skin, this breed may not tolerate a lot of rough play or outdoor exposure.
EASY TO TRAIN <br>This breed pays close attention to its owner's commands. Fat-prone <br>This breed should be kept away from fattening foods.
Minimal Shedding <br>Hairless breeds require very little grooming and cleanup. It makes a great hypoallergenic pet. Designed for shorter bursts of activity <br>If you want a dog that is constantly active, there may be some downsides to this breed.
Chinese crested prancing like a pony
Chinese cockatoos are small and fragile — weighing up to 12 pounds.

© Abramova Kseniya/Shutterstock.com

size and weight

The breed is known for its small size. There is little difference between males and females.

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height (male) 9 to 13 inches
height (female) 9 to 11 inches
weight (male) 5 to 12 lbs
weight (female) 5 to 12 lbs
Chinese Crested female lying on gray background.
Sensitive skin issues aside, the Chinese Crested is a fairly healthy breed.

©Medvedev Andrey/Shutterstock.com

common health problems

The Chinese Crested is a fairly healthy breed with only a few serious health problems. In its most common form, it predisposes to a variety of eye diseases, including retinal atrophy (a degenerative disease), lens dislocation (where the lens separates from the rest of the eye), and glaucoma (damage to the optic nerve).

Other potential problems include cancer, autoimmune disease, and luxation of the patella, a genetic condition that dislocates the kneecap and can cause lameness and difficulty gaiting. These Chinese dog breeds may be allergic to certain fabrics or materials that may cause rashes or skin irritation. It's a good idea to ask the breeder if they screen for any genetic diseases before buying. To summarize the most common health problems with this breed:

  • eye disease
  • allergic reactions or skin problems
  • cancer
  • Patella luxation (also known as trick knee)

Temperament and Behavior

The Chinese Crested is a docile, docile, and affectionate breed that develops a deep bond with its owner. No matter your life situation, a dog's intelligent and adaptable personality makes him very alert and attentive to his owner and his surroundings. This is a very versatile breed, perfect for training and teaching tricks.

However, since dogs are quite sensitive by nature, you should not be harsh or bossy with them. A gentle and patient attitude is most likely to yield results. As long as you pay attention to your dog's personal desire for companionship, you should have little problem.

Chinese Crested, Powder Puff
The Chinese Crested is a gentle, affectionate breed that bonds easily with family members.

©David Raihelgauz/Shutterstock.com

How to Care for a Chinese Crested

Pet owners should be aware of the time and effort required to care for this breed. While not as high-maintenance as some breeds, the Chinese Crested does have its own unique challenges, including its sensitive skin. It's best to have your puppy screened by a breeder or later at the veterinarian for early signs of health problems.

Best Dog Food for Chinese Crested Dogs

Chinese Cresteds should be fed a high-quality diet that supports a moderately active lifestyle. It's also a good idea to hand out treats occasionally to encourage training. However, you should monitor its calorie intake carefully, as this breed is prone to obesity.

If your dog appears to be gaining weight, then you should consider reducing calories or purchasing a leaner food to compensate. You should avoid cooked bones and fatty foods entirely. Table scraps and human food should not be offered on a regular basis.

Since these dogs may be allergic, research some dog food options with limited ingredients and allergy control.

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AZ Animals chose Wellness CORE Small Dry Dog Food with wholesome grains, high protein dog food as the best dog food for Chinese Crested Dogs.

This filler-free chicken and turkey treat contains natural glucosamine and chondroitin to protect joints, plus calcium and phosphorus for extra protection and bone strength. Plus, both carrots and taurine help keep eyes clear and sharp.

Consider adding Wellness CORE Small Breed Wholesome Grains High Protein Dog Food to your Amazon cart.

Best High Protein for Small Dogs

Maintenance and Grooming

The Chinese Crested has its own special grooming challenges. Obviously, the hairless breed requires relatively little grooming and maintenance, but since the skin is very sensitive, it's best to apply lotion as needed to stop or prevent the skin from drying out or chafing. You should also wear sunscreen whenever you take your dog out in the sun. Because it sheds so little, this is a great hypoallergenic dog.

Chinese crested dog standing on the grass
Hairless Chinese cockatoos tend to have sensitive skin that requires lotion and sunscreen.

© Tommy Gildseth/Creative Commons

The puff variation is a bit different. It has a longer coat and a shorter undercoat, which makes it easier to brush than typical of the breed, but the coat is also prone to matting. You should brush this dog regularly.


The Chinese Crested is a very intelligent breed that is easy to train. The ease with which he obeys commands and his affection for his owners should make training a breeze, especially if started at an early age.

However, due to the sensitive nature of dogs, your training should be as gentle and patient as possible. If you raise your voice or make aggressive gestures when you're angry, it can backfire and make it harder for the dog to take your commands. It can even strain or break the loyalty and bond with your dog.

Chinese Crested running in the grass and flowers
Moderate exercise is enough for the Chinese Crested.



Chinese Cresteds need only moderate amounts of exercise and playtime each day. A short brisk walk should be enough to release some excess energy. It's also a good idea to have a toy or ball on hand. When walking outside in the warmer months, you should make sure your dog gets plenty of water and (due to the exposure of the dog's skin) some sunscreen. During the colder months, you should try to keep it warm enough and protected from these conditions. This breed is athletic enough to compete in some agility and athletic competitions for small dogs.


There aren't many extra problems with the Chinese Crested as a puppy, but you should make sure it's up to date on its vaccinations and health checks as soon as possible. If you're interested in a Powder Puff, it should become apparent shortly after birth whether or not it grows fur around its body. This breed fits easily into a family if socialized and trained as a puppy.

Portrait of beautiful young Chinese crested dog
It is easy to tell if a Chinese Crested is hairless or powder puffed after birth.

© Lenkadan/Shutterstock.com

A gentle child and a Chinese cockatoo make a good pair

The Chinese Crested is considered a great family pet and does well with children. It is friendly, loyal, and not easily aggressive or angry. However, there is one very important factor to keep in mind. Due to its small stature and bare skin, this breed may not like too much rough housing, tugging, or aggressive play. Dogs should be introduced to children gradually and observed carefully to ensure they get along well. If the dog appears uncomfortable, anxious or frightened, then it is best to intervene immediately.

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Two Mexican hairless dogs (Xoloitzcuintle, Xolo) against the background of green grass and trees in the park.
The Mexican Hairless Dog (Xoloitzcuintle, Xolo) is similar to the Chinese Crested.

© Masaryk/Shutterstock.com

Similar Breeds to the Chinese Crested

If you're a fan of the Chinese Crested, then you might want to look into these small or hairless breeds:

  • Peking Pug – The Peking Pug is another small toy dog that originated in China. Although the long coat gives it a distinct appearance from the Chinese Crested, the breed remains affectionate and loyal. It also has a tendency to be quite independent and assertive, which can get it into trouble.
  • Shih Tzu – Like the Pekingese, the Shih Tzu is another long-haired toy dog with a distinct personality. Originating in Tibet, he is intelligent, alert, and active, and may have been traditionally used as a watchdog. This breed also has a tendency to be stubborn in training, manifested in a desire for independence.
  • Chihuahua – This loyal and intelligent dog may be the smallest breed recognized in the world.
  • Xoloitzcuintli – Originating in Mexico, this is a relatively unknown toy breed with very little hair. Once considered a sacred animal by the Aztecs, it has become a loyal companion and watchdog of vigilant temperament.

According to madpaws.com, these are the most popular common dog names:

  • Bella
  • Charlie
  • maximum
  • Molly
  • cocoa
  • ruby
  • Oscar
  • partner

famous chinese crested dog

While not the most popular breed, the Chinese Crested has appeared in several notable fictional films.

  • This breed was featured in the romantic comedy film How to Lose a Man in 10 Days starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey.
  • Peek is a secret agent Chinese crested dog voiced by actor Joe Pantoliano in the cats and dogs movie series.
  • Fluffy was Cruella's personal dog in the 2000 live-action sequel 102 Dalmatians.

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It is a small toy dog with a very distinctive hairless appearance. Few other breeds are so unique.

The emergence of the Chinese Crested was bred over time. This is because it has a dominant gene for hairlessness and a recessive gene for hairiness. If it inherits two recessive genes, the dog's coat will be stronger. Otherwise, it is mostly hairless. The Chinese Crested is certainly not an ugly dog. Many homeowners find their appearance attractive. But interestingly, this breed has won the somewhat unserious World's Ugliest Dog contest more than any other breed. As the name suggests, the World's Ugliest Dog Contest selects a winner from the "ugly dogs" registered by the owners.

By choosing to adopt a Chinese Crested, one can be purchased for $300 or less. Breeders are much more expensive. That's easily over $1,000.

The Chinese Crested has many desirable characteristics. It is a medium maintenance breed that will be loyal and affectionate to its owner and has a good overall temperament for a smaller dog. This breed is not as good at any feat or specific task as the athletic breeds, so keep that in mind when making your purchasing decision.

The lifespan of the Chinese Crested is generally 12 to 14 years, but in rare cases it can live up to 18 years.

Chinese Cresteds are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals.

The Chinese Crested belongs to the animal kingdom.

The Chinese Crested Dog belongs to the class Mammalia.

The Chinese Crested Dog belongs to the phylum Chordate.

The Chinese Crested Dog belongs to the canine family.

Chinese crested dogs belong to the order Carnivora.

The Chinese Crested Dog belongs to the genus Canis.

The Chinese Crested is covered in fur.

The scientific name of the Chinese crested dog is Canis lupus.