Chinese crested dogs originate from the Orient, where they were fixtures aboard seafaring vessels. These delicate dogs served as ratters, hunting pests to prevent disease and property damage. Today, the Chinese crested dog is a lovable companion, recognized by the American Kennel Club as good with children and a viable choice for dog owners with allergies. There are two types of Chinese cresteds -- powderpuffs, with long, double coats of fur, and hairless, with thin tufts of hair on their heads, tails and feet. Because of their skin and hair, Chinese cresteds require different care than most other dog breeds.
Form a bond with your veterinarian. Chinese crested dogs are prone to dental problems, eye problems, allergies, autoimmune disease and a degenerative disease called progressive neuronal abiotrophy (PNA.) Take your dog for regular checkups and screening, if necessary.2
Provide your Chinese crested with adequate food. Feed your dog a nutritionally complete food as defined by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Your veterinarian may prescribe your Chinese crested a food specifically formulated to aid or prevent dental problems. Supply your Chinese crested with plenty of fresh, clean water.3
Groom your Chinese crested regularly. Powderpuff dogs need regular brushing to de-tangle their coats. While they do not shed, their long fur is prone to mats and tangles. Hairless Chinese cresteds do not need as much grooming but benefit from a routine combing of what little hair they possess.4
Exfoliate regularly. The skin of a Chinese crested dog is somewhat similar to that of a human's. Oil buildup can lead to blackheads, which can lead to pain and discomfort.5
Apply a moisturizer to hairless Chinese crested dogs. Choose an oil-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer and apply it every other day and after bathing. Powderpuff cresteds do not need this special attention.6
Trim your dog's toenails on a regular basis. Chinese crested dogs typically have harefeet, a congenital formation resulting in elongated toes. Long toenails can cause pain in harefooted dogs. Take care to avoid trimming the dog's nails too short -- harefooted dogs have less visible quicks -- or blood vessels -- in their toenails.7
Avoid leaving your Chinese crested in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Both powderpuff and hairless Chinese crested dogs are prone to sunburn. Apply an oil-free, hypoallergenic sun screen formulated for use on dogs when necessary.8
Bundle your dog up in winter. Chinese cresteds, even powderpuff varieties, do not have thick winter coats. Invest in a sweater for wintertime wear and avoid prolonged exposure to cold, snow and moisture.9
Train your Chinese crested early and well. When improperly trained, Chinese cresteds can become snippy and short-tempered.