The Chinese crested, a gentle-natured, toy breed dog, loves to give and receive affection. This non-shedding dog fits well into the home of allergy sufferers. The Chinese crested earned a rather dubious distinction in recent years. According to the Sonoma-Marin Fair, the sponsor of "The World's Ugliest Dog Contest," the breed frequently wins the title.
Chinese crested dogs originated in Africa. Chinese on trading ships made stops along the African coast and brought the tiny dogs on the ship to hunt rats and mice. The Chinese sailors changed the dog's name from African hairless terrier to Chinese crested. The Chinese crested dog first exhibited at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 1885. The AKC rescinded the breed's show eligibility in 1965 due to lack of a national club. The breed was again added to the AKC roster in 1991.
The Chinese crested, a delicate-boned breed, comes in two varieties: the hairless and powderpuff. The hairless has silky, fine hair on its feet, head and tail. The powderpuff is covered with soft, silky, straight hair over its entire body. They come in a variety of colors. Both varieties can appear in the same litter. Any skin areas are soft, smooth and delicate. The American Kennel Club's breed standard for height is 11 to 13 inches high at the shoulders.
Charming and affectionate, these dogs love children. The dog loves to play, but you must protect it from overly rambunctious kids. The Chinese crested dog loves spending time with their owners; care must be taken to not baby them excessively. Too much babying can encourage this small breed to become timid and snappy. The breed requires an owner who will exhibit firm, gentle leadership. The Chinese crested usually gets along well with other pets in the household and is not considered an excessive barker. The Chinese crested does not shed and is known as one of the hypoallergenic breeds.
The delicate skin on the Hairless Chinese crested dog easily gets sunburned. Care must be taken to keep the dog out of the sun. Use sunscreen when the dog goes outside. The breed also gets cold easily and needs to wear a sweater when outside during winter months. The Chinese crested tends to gain weight easily; care should be taken not to overfeed. The breed can expect a 10 to 12 year lifespan.
The Chinese crested, despite its delicate appearance and small size, is a dog that needs exercise. Avoid letting your dog become a "couch potato." Usually they are content with room to run indoors and a daily walk. Chinese crested dogs are virtually odorless and require minimal grooming. The Powderpuff needs regular brushing to prevent the undercoat from matting. Lotion or a light oil massaged into the skin of the hairless will help keep the skin moist and soft.