Dog Breed Review

Chinese Crested




If your dream is to have a hairless dog following you room to room, you’re in luck! The Chinese Crested is just that dog. From therapy to rat chasing, this toy group breed is the complete companion.

While the breed’s origins and ancestry is a bit of a mystery, the Chinese Crested’s devotion to family is as clear as day.

So where does this breed come from and why are so many enthusiasts in love with this unique specimen?

Here is what you need to know about the Chinese Crested.


There’s a great possibility that the Chinese Crested dates as far back as the 13th century. In fact, historians believe that records kept in that time indicate a dog resembling the Crested.. This dog went by the name of “Little Horse.”

Yet, that would seem to conflict with the most popular narrative. That narrative being, the Crested came from Africa to China around 1530. Moreover, these dogs were thought to be large and of course, hairless.

Furthermore, the popular train of thought is that Chinese breeders began breeding feverishly to reduce that dog in size. This is historical speculation, that even the breed’s club admits isn’t concrete.

During the early 16th century, the Chinese Crested was popular with Chinese sailors as these sailors would take the breed with them on expeditions. Early on, it appears that the breed was a vermin killer. In fact, historical claims indicate the Crested would chase and kill rats onboard ships.

When European travelers began exploring African and Asian seaports, these travelers took special notice to the Chinese Crested. After a series of trading between Europe and China, it is most likely that this breed began to spread out and around the world.

In the mid 1800’s, the Chinese Crested began to appear at exhibitions in England, while appearing in the U.S. at the end of the 19th century. In fact, in 1885, the Chinese Crested made their first appearance at a New York Westminster Kennel Club Show.

Their popularity has come and gone throughout time. Thanks to the help of journalist Ida Garrett, who began showing the breed and writing about them in the early 1900’s; a renewal of interest took place here in the United States.

Garret and friend, Debra Woods, were two women who may be responsible for today’s version of the Chinese Crested. Yet, you can’t forget about the enthusiasm from famous dancer Gypsy Rose and her sister, June Havoc. Both brought attention to the breed after each made appearances with their Chinese Crested’s in Life magazine and other popular print mediums.

The formation of the American Chinese Crested in 1979 would help create a standard for the breed. In 1991, the breed was given full recognition by the American Kennel Club.

Today, the Chinese Crested is a valuable companion and therapy dog. According to the American Kennel Club’s rankings, this breed is the 77th most popular.


The Chinese Crested is a small dog breed. According to the standard, this breed should stand between 11 to 13 inches. The America Kennel Club lists their weight between 8 to 12 pounds.


Cresteds want nothing more than to be around their master. In fact, as previously written, this is a breed that is prone to follow you room to room. They love to relax and hit the couch in true couch potato form. This is a breed many describe acting “cat like.” The Chinese Crested will often slug around the furniture, your lap, or wherever else they can find affection from you.

Alive and alert, the Chinese Crested isn’t afraid to bark around people they don’t know. Although they are generally friendly, with the proper socialization, the breed does exude a bit of skepticism around strangers. Nothing serious or big that cannot be broken.

Once you’ve taught your Chinese Crested how to social, they are, indeed, a very sweet and loving pet. Devout to their master at a fault. Many describe their energy levels from medium to high. This all depends on how engaging you are with them. Of course, if you give them the option, the breed will lay around collecting weight.

They do, however, enjoy getting outdoors and engaging in obedience, agility and k-9 activities. This breed is eager to please their owner. They can be stubborn at times, but with patience and positive reinforcement, the Chinese Crested will pick up on new tasks.

This is a dog that does better as a single household pet. A breed that plays better with older children, who know how to treat a gentle and smaller dog such as the Chinese Crested. Good for people with allergies and people who need a therapy dog.


The American Chinese Crested Club says that this is a relatively healthy breed. If all is well, you should expect your Chinese Crested to live between 13 to 18 years. 

Obviously, when you buy a puppy from a breeder, you want to make sure you make a purchase from a reputable breeder, who can provide you with the proper documentation and health clearances. Couple that with regular visits to the veterinarian office, and you will enhance the chances of your Crested’s health.

Most of the issues seeming to affect this breed involves the eyes. First, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, is an inheritable disease of the retina. When the rod cells inside the retina die systematically, this can lead to partial or complete loss of vision. At times, Progressive Retinal Atrophy can lead to Glaucoma.

Breeds like Beagles, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniels, Akita, Malamutes, Danes and Basset Hounds are prone to suffer from Glaucoma. When pressure builds up in the eye, which affects how fluid permeates, the pressure often leads to optic nerve damage and blindness. That is, if nothing is done and the Glaucoma is persistent.

Furthermore, the Chinese Crested may encounter an inheritable condition, that is both painful and blinding, leading to Glaucoma, Primary Lens Luxation. PLL is a result of “zonular” fibres breaking down in the lens, causing the lens to fall out of place.

Additionally, cataracts and dry eye is something else to watch out for when it comes to this breed’s eye issues.

While Epilepsy is possible for any breed,  the Chinese Crested seems to suffer from Idiopathic Epilepsy. Breeds like Labs, Belgian Tervuren, Bernese Mountain Dog and Golden Retriever share this breed’s pain when it comes to suffering from seizures.

The abnormal alignment of the knee joint resulting in discomfort, lameness and pain called, Patellar Luxation, is another issue you’ll want to watch for. Look for signs like your dog limping around, having a hard time mobilizing and the lack of running ability.

Congenital Deafness, Von Willebrands, Legg Calve Perthes Disease, Heart diseases, and Degenerative Myelopathy are additional items to keep an eye out for.


When it comes to the Chinese Crested, it comes in two types. You have the Hairless version, and the Powderpuff version. With the Hairless type, your work is cut out for you when keeping the dog safe from the sun. That’s right. Many breeders of the Crested warn that the skin of this breed is sensitive to the sun. However, you can use certain sunscreen lotions and other sun protectors to keep your Chinese Crested safe from the sun. In the cold, you’ll want to keep a sweater on the dog to keep them warm.

This is a breed that only requires two short walks per day. If you let them, they’ll slumber around the house as you do. However, you should push them to get outdoors and get some exercise. It’s best to expose your Chinese Crested to many different environments. This will help them acquaint themselves with other pets and strangers but also helps them not be so dependent upon you. Otherwise, this is a breed that doesn’t want to be left alone for long periods of time.

You’ll want to start with early socialization and training as you would with other breeds. Keep in mind, they can be stubborn and standoffish at times. Patience and persistence will pay off with the Chinese Crested.

Check their teeth and ears routinely for infections. This is a breed that is prone to certain dental problems. You’ll want to clean their teeth and ears as you deem necessary.

In addition, trim their nails once a month to help reduce the chances of overgrowth and splitting. Check their skin for acne and treat as necessary. Check with your veterinarian to see which product is appropriate in the event of acne.

All in all, this is a breed that is happiest with affection and attention. Keep their little minds full of stimulation and exercise them regularly. Keep yourself proactive with their skin, ears, nails, and bathing.


As a small breed, the Chinese Crested needs to eat a high quality dry food from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup  per day. While the chances of a breed this size picking up Bloat is less likely, you should break up their meals to reduce any chance at all. 

Meat should be the first ingredient in their diets. Lean chicken, lamb, turkey and salmon are all fine. That said, you should check with your Vet about an appropriate diet for your Chinese Crested.

As always, you should provide your Chinese Crested with fresh drinking water.


There are two versions of the Chinese Crested. You have your Hairless version, which entails a crest (hair on head) a plume tail and socks (hair on feet and toes. The hair that is on the hairless version should be smooth and silky.

Powderpuff types have a double coat. Their undercoat should be soft and silky, dense and straight top coat that is long and thick.

According to the American Kennel Club, the Chinese Crested has 11 coat colors; Slate, white, pink and slate, pink and chocolate, palomino, cream, chocolate, blue, black white and tan, black, and Apricot.

There are two acceptable markings: white markings and spotted.

Weekly grooming is necessary.

Fun Chinese Crested Facts

  • The Chinese Crested was once known as: Chinese Hairless, Chinese Edible Dog, Chinese Royal Hairless, and the Chinese Ship Dog.
  • This breed was given recognition by the UKC in 1995, the Australia National Kennel Council in 1995 and the FCI in 1987.
  • The Crested has made appearances in movies and shows: Marmaduke, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Young and the Restless and Ugly Betty.
  • Sam, a Chinese Crested, once voted the world’s ugliest dog from 2003 to 2005.

Closing Words

If you were lost for words about the Chinese Crested, but had to describe them to someone, a simple picture of the Hairless and Powderpuff would suffice. This affectionate dog with a sporty and spotty pink coat, funky hairstyle and feathering on the tail is a unique breed if anyone has ever seen one.

Yet, beyond their dynamic appearance is a fun loving dog, capable of providing someone therapy, and even better, proving that they are the complete package when it comes to companionship.




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