Meet The Breed: The Chinese Crested

twin Chinese crestedI’ve always been fascinated by these elegant, yet unusual Chinese Crested dogs, especially since one of our customers began sending in photos of hers. These two are named Sassy and Allie, and they live in Miami, Florida. Somehow they look appropriate, like two starlets awaiting their yacht.

Read on to learn if this breed might be for you!

The Chinese Crested Powder Puff photo by SheltieBoy.

The Chinese Crested Powder Puff photo by SheltieBoy.

The Chinese Crested dog is available in two varieties: the hairless version, and the haired version, known as the Powder Puff. The hairless variety is mostly hairless except for its feet, head and tail. The Powder Puff has a long, soft coat. The skin and coat can be any color – solid, mixed or spotted. Both varieties can be born in the same litter.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find photos for commercial use of these dogs as puppies, so please view the video below to get an idea of what they look like.

The Chinese Crested is becoming more popular, but is still rare.



  • Height: 11″-12″ at the shoulder
  • Weight: Not over 10 pounds
  • Historical Function: Vermin controllers on ships
  • Modern Function: Companion
  • AKC Classification: Toy group, recognized in 1991

Physical Characteristics: The Chinese Crested is a small dog with a wedge-shaped head, with fine bones, and elegant features. Wherever they are hairless, the skin is soft and supple. The Powder Puff varieties are covered in long, fine fur everywhere and resemble terriers. Their faces are shaved for the show ring, however. Their large ears stand erect and are not cropped. I’ve seen the Powder Puff variety kept shaved on their torsos, upper legs, and faces to resemble their hairless kin.

History of the Breed: Even though this breed is called Chinese, it is more likely that they originated in Africa, and were adopted by Chinese mariners to control vermin on ships during the plague. The hairless variety were probably popular due to the fact that they aren’t as susceptible to fleas. There is also genetic evidence that shows a shared origin with the Mexican Hairless (Xoloitzcuintli). Because of the breed’s rareness, the Chinese Crested was only accepted into the AKC in 1991 as a certain population of the dogs is required for admittance.

Temperament: The Chinese Crested is a lively, friendly dog that is not very yappy, which is unusual in the toy category. They are agile and graceful, as you’ll see on the video below. Although they should not be babied so as to not cause them to be timid, they should be handled carefully by children as they are somewhat fragile. Early and regular training from a calm, confident leader will allow a Chinese Crested to feel safe and be well adjusted to life with a variety of people and circumstances.

  • Best Suited For: Families with gentle children, apartment dwellers, allergy sufferers, and retirees.
  • Preferred Living Conditions: Chinese Crested dogs, particularly the hairless variety, do best in warmer climates. Cooler weather or air conditioning may require sweaters (but do avoid wool ones as they may cause allergic reactions.) They love burrowing in bedding, so a nesting bed and blankets will make them comfortable. Though they like to be carried, they still need exercise in the form of a walk.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming: Chinese Crested dogs don’t shed much, are odorless, and are great for people with allergies. The hairless variety requires care for their skin to keep them from developing skin problems. They need sunscreen and clothing to protect them from the sun. The long-haired variety require brushing and trimming. Good oral hygiene is a must as they are prone to tooth problems. The hairless gene is an indicator of poor dentition as well, so the Powder Puff version will have fewer problems with their teeth.
  • Exercise needs: Chinese Crested need a daily walk to keep them fit and well behaved. They are prone to overeating, so watch their diets.
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Health Issues: Crested can have eye and dental issues. They may be prone to skin allergies, particularly to wool. Luxating patellas (shifting knee caps) can also be problematic.

Breed Club Links: American Chinese Crested Club.

Perfect BaxterBoo Pairings: Any of our clothes, excluding wool sweaters! KissAble Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste Combo.

Photo submitted by BaxterBoo customer Debra Kempi.

6 thoughts on “Meet The Breed: The Chinese Crested

  1. I just thought I would let you know that the kennel where we got our Shih Tzu (Sophie) from is a long established place, (starting I think in 1894 with Saint Bernards) and is now breeding and showing Chinese Crested. They are Edelweiss Kennels in Ill. For anyone really serious about owning this breed, I would e-mail Anna May Fleischli-Brown. She is not only a very well informed person, (she and her dad I believe, are also dog show judges) she is helpful and seems very nice. At least it is a place to start.

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. Being such a rare breed, and with the concerns about breeding for the hairless recessive trait, it’s important to go with an established and conscientious kennel. I think I’d love one myself for a great family companion and to use as a model here at BaxterBoo!

  2. I have two Chinese Cresteds, both females. Qia, mom, is a powder puff, and Gigi, her daughter is a hairless. They have such sweet and playful personalities. They do require grooming but I am learning to do most of that myself.

  3. Or you can go on petfinders and adopt one from a rescue ! ( yes they do end up in rescues too!) And there is some available for adoption on petfinders , and they are beautiful too :)

  4. Hi there, just checked your site to see the information on the Chinese Crested. I was so surprised to see the long haired version, this was so cool, they are very beautiful. The pups are adorable ! Baxter Boo is the best for all things dog, and cat, maby a sweater for your pet rabbit ! Please, may all of you at Baxter Boo be blessed this Christmas with the best life can give.Kisses from our small bunch here, kits, Samwise, Penne, and inherited chihuahua,Tippers ……………. Cheryl Gentz and family ……..

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