Chinese Crested Dog – The Ultimate Guide

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
The Chinese Crested is one of the most astonishing breeds in the dog world. This dog craves human companionship. Learn all about this small and sensitive breed.
Dog Breed Group:
Companion Dogs
11 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder
Up to 12 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 14 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Chinese Crested Dog is known as a hairless breed of dog. This is one of the most elegant and graceful dog breeds. You may think that hairless dog means you will be maintenance freed, this is not the case. Discover what are the many traits of this breed and if Chinese Crested Dog might be your next best friend.

Quick Facts

Real name: Chinese Crested Dog
Other names: Hairless Chinese Crested Dog, Crested, Puff
Origin: China
Breed type: Companion Dogs
Weight:10–13 lb (4.5–5.9 kg)
Height: 11-13 (27.94-33.02)
Lifespan: 13-15 years
Color: Any color
Coat: Hairless: Long on head, feet and tail/Powder puff: Long

Chinese Crested Dog: History

The Chinese Crested dog is one of the oldest dog breeds still alive. The earliest found records go back to 1800s, while experts believe that the breed is even older.

With this old breed, we can only make numerous assumptions about how this breed was created. Therefore, there are strong beliefs that in ancient times large hairless dogs from Africa were brought to China, where after generations of breeding this breed was reduced in size. Back in the days, Chinese Crested dogs traveled the seas.

These dogs were gladly seen in ships, as they served as shipboard exterminators and expert at catching disease-bearing rats. So, they were traded among sailors in seaports around the world, and along the way, they got the name ‘Chinese Ship Dog’.

Chinese Crested dogs traveled everywhere, including South Africa, Turkey, and Egypt, and in each place, a variation of the dog was cultivated. That being said, no wonder that small hairless dogs were distributed all over the world, in port towns of Africa, Asia, South, and Central America.

When it comes to the States, the Crested got there thanks to two women, Debra Woods (breeder) and Ida Garrett (journalist). They promoted the breed for several decades, starting in the 1880s. Ida promoted it through its writing and Debra through her breeding program.The very first American Chinese Crested Club was formed in 1979, and in 1991 the breed was recognized by AKC.

Among many popular names and nicknames through history, the breed was also named ‘Dr. Seuss Dog’, because of a strong resemblance to the creatures who populate the books of the beloved author-illustrator.

Chinese Crested Dog: Physical Appearance

The Chinese Crested dog is a toy dog, elegant, and fine-boned. There are two types of Chinese Crested:

  • The Hairless – has hair only on the head, tail, and feet.
  • The Powderpuff – this type is completely covered with hair.

There are no other major differences when it comes to this breed. Interestingly, two distinct varieties can be born in the same Chinese crested litter. The size of the breed makes it perfect for a playful and loving companion. Therefore, they ideally are 11 to 13 inches, although they may be smaller or larger.

Overall, they are fine-boned and slender, with a heavy structure meaning that they are not too sensitive. When it comes to their coat it differs from Hairless to Powderpuff style.

Hairless Chinese Crested

When it comes to the coat of the Hairless type, they have hair on certain portions of the body:

  • the head (called a crest)
  • the tail (called a plume)
  • and the feet (called socks)

The texture of the hair is silky and soft, flowing to any length. Areas that are covered with hair usually taper off slightly, so wherever the body is hairless, the skin is smooth and soft.

Powderpuff Chinese Crested

Powderpuff type is completely covered with a double soft and silky coat. If you take a closer look you will see that a long thin guard hair lies over the short silky undercoat. Overall, the coat is straight, of medium length and density. Heavy, curly, or kinky coat is not accessible in the shows. Overall, Chinese Crested dog can have any color, but they will always have the same small size and built.

Chinese Crested Dog: Personality

The Chinese Crested is a combination of gentle sensitive companion and playful pixie. He is devoted to his family and every family member. They have a strong willingness to please. Besides, the breed is great when it comes to other pets including other dogs.

They are also great with strangers (but it doesn’t mean that they will accept them immediately), although they are highly alert. The Chinese Crested is an excellent companion and is extremely intelligent. Therefore, you won’t get immediately a well-disciplined dog, but you will have to work with him to create one.

He will bark to protect his home. Some also love to sing or to howl. Their temperament is usually affected by several factors, including socialization, training, and heredity. Always try to meet at least one of the parents – usually, the mother is available – to ensure that your dog will have a nice temperament that you’re comfortable with.

Like every other dog, Chinese Crested needs proper and early socialization. Socialization will help you ensure that your Chinese Crested puppy grew up to be a well-rounded dog.

Chinese Crested Dog: Living With

The Chinese crested is a loving and lively dog who make perfect lap heater. This dog will be fine living in a colder or hotter area, as long as you take proper care of his skin. He needs to be protected from extremes of temperature, both cold and hot.

You will have to take care of this dog regardless of its hairless body. This breed is also great with city life as long as you training him and socialize properly.

Chinese Crested Dog: Children And Other Pets

It’s better if you have older children around your Chinese Crested because younger children tend to pick him, pull his tail or try to pick him up. Therefore, it’s crucial to educate your children on how they should act when they are dogs and to leave him alone when he is eating (not to disturb him during that period) or sleeping, or to try to take the dog’s food away. After all, no matter how friendly the dog might be he shouldn’t ever be left alone with any dog.

Crested is also amazing when it comes to sharing their time and living space with other pets.

Chinese Crested Dog: Grooming

People usually believe that the hairless variation of the Chinese Crested requires a little or no grooming. However, this type still has some hair, although the body center is completely hairless – so, they don’t shed. This dog is also considered to be hypoallergenic.

He has hair on the head, tail and his feet. But the majority of his skin is exposed, meaning that Crested is prone to skin irritations, sunburn, and allergies. He should be groomed carefully, next to a skin treatment that is specially designed for his skin type. Therefore, for this skin type, sunscreen, and acne lotions are mandatory to maintain a healthy pet.

On the other hand, when it comes to the Powderpuff version, he needs to be brushed daily to maintain his fluffy coat that is different than the coat of the other dogs. The undercoat is always shorter than the longer overlay, which is the opposite of most haired breeds. Therefore, they are easy to brush, while the coat can mat quickly.

Chinese Crested Dog: Training

The Chinese Crested loves to spend time with his owner. Therefore, this instantly makes him a great candidate for competitive sports such as flyball, agility, and obedience.

Chinese Crested Dogs are also great therapy dogs. However, they have to be trained well if you want to get the most from this breed. Training has to be done carefully. This breed has a very sensitive nature and must be trained with gentle patience. Any form of negative actions or harsh words can damage the relationship with the dog to the point that he will not be interested in learning anything from you.

Chinese Crested Dog: Exercise Needs

The Chinese Crested might be a small dog, but it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t need daily exercises. In general, this breed will be satisfied with daily short walks or play-sessions in the backyard. Don’t forget to apply cream on dog’s skin when you are going to exercise outdoors.

They love being outdoors and they are very competitive when it comes to canine sports. Thanks to their size they can even have indoor training with a proper set of toys and space big enough, for rainy days.

Chinese Crested Dog: Health

If you are dealing with a responsible breeder you will know the health state of your Crested immediately, because all necessary check-ups will be already performed. The most common health issue in this breed are eyes problems, including progressive retinal atrophy, primary lens luxation, and glaucoma. Also, epilepsy can be seen in this breed occasionally. Slipped stifles, or patellar luxation will affect Crested, as it does most small breeds. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease has no DNA test to screen parents, but it does sometimes show up on X-ray.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Patella Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • PRA-RCD3 DNA Tes
  • PLL DNA Test

Chinese Crested Dog: Nutrition

Overall, dog’s health should always be supported with proper nutrition for dog’s health. High-quality dog food should always be chosen based on your dog’s size and age.

When it comes to Chinese Crested nutrition it’s the best to go for food that’s originally formulated for small or toy breeds with all necessary nutrient for the breed. Also, some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so you should be strict about dog calories and weight level. Traits should be a daily snack, especially while you are training your Chinese Crested. Just make sure that you don’t give him too much, as it may lead to obesity.

Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. This knowledge will empower you to avoid table scraps. If you are in any way, for any reason, concerned about the dog’s weight check with your veterinarian.

Frequently Asked Questions On Chinese Crested Dog

1. Do Chinese Crested Dogs Bark?

Chinese Cresteds demands a significant amount of owners time and love. Simply said, they have a high need for their humans. Therefore, they don’t like being left alone for more than a few hours. Otherwise, they may become destructive and anxious, which often results in destructive barking and chewing. So, if you work all day, this is not the breed for you.

2. What Is The Lifespan Of A Chinese Crested Dog?

The smaller the dog, the higher the longevity, The Chinese Crested in general lives between 13 to 15 years.

3. Do Chinese Crested Dogs Smell?

This breed is extremely clean, with no specific doggie odor. In fact, they are considered to be dogs that don’t smell. But, they are prone to ticks and fleas. Also, the exposed skin demands special care to prevent skin irritations and problems. Also, if you are dressing up your Crested during the windy and cold winter days (which is highly recommended) make sure that you avoid wool and lanolin because many Chinese Cresteds are allergic to this material.

4. Can Chinese Crested Dogs Swim?

Long story short, yes. Chinese Cresteds is the only dog with sweat glands and can cool down without panting. This breed can learn to swim, but most of them don’t enjoy the water actually and will stay away if possible.

5. Do You Have To Shave Chinese Crested?

The breed standard allows the ears to be shaved clean or left natural but depending on the dog’s coat. In general, dogs with sparse hair or drop ears are usually shaved.

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