Chinese Crested Dogs are a unique breed that tends to draw a lot of attention. Whether it's the Hairless type or Powder Puff, they are sleek, graceful and abundant with character. These imperialistic little pups make an excellent addition to any family, but there are some things to know before acquiring one.
There are two types of Chinese Crested; the Hairless and the Powder Puff. The Hairless Chinese Crested does have some fur strategically placed on the head (crest), feet (socks), and tail (plume). The rest of the dog's body is soft and smooth, exposed skin. The Powder Puff is fully coated with a very fine, silky hair covering its body. The Chinese Crested is believed to have originated from the African Hairless and then bred smaller by the Chinese. In the 1500s they were a favorite on the ships of sailors and merchants and were stowed on board to hunt for vermin. The Chinese Crested began to travel in this way, and were eventually distributed throughout Central America, South America and Africa. Whether the dog we have today is an exact descendant of that dog is a topic for debate, but the AKC (American Kennel Club) recognized the Chinese Crested in the late 1800s.
Owners of the Chinese Crested use a whole slew of adjectives when describing their dogs. Words like happy, alert, loyal, funny, agile, playful, lovable, graceful, heart warming, and the list goes on. But the one trait that owners and breeders alike seem to agree upon is the Chinese Crested's strong suitability for human companionship. These dogs want to be with their people and become very attached to their owners. Chinese Crested are an intelligent breed that loves to explore. They don't require a lot of exercise, but they do enjoy mental and physical recreation. Owner Sue Klinkhardt-Gardner, says "It's the most fun you can have with a dog. There's a special connection between a Crested and its people that can only be described after you've experienced it". Lisa Hanks, Dog Fancy "Elegant import" (July/2010)
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has just ranked the Chinese Crested number 55 out of over 160 dogs on their "Most Popular Dogs" list.
Training is essentially easy with the Chinese Crested because they are so tuned in to their owners. They respond best to a calm demeanor and positive reinforcement. Cresteds are very food oriented also and can be directed toward a desired behavior with a treat.
The Chinese Crested's origin is China, with African roots. They tend to have an average life-span of 13-15 years. Their AKC registration is in the toy group and with the UKC they are listed as a companion dog. Cresteds can be any color combination, including palomino, chocolate, blue, apricot black, red silver and tan. Both varieties have soft, silky hair that will continue to grow long until groomed. Chinese Cresteds should be 11-13 inches, and 10-13 pounds. They are good with children and other pets if properly supervised and socialized. Health problems for the Chinese Crested include skin allergies, luxating patella (dislocating kneecap) and dental issues. Cresteds do okay alone for a while as long as they get plenty of attention otherwise.
The striking appearance of the Chinese Crested is what gets most people's attention. But their sensitive skin requires considerable attention. Hairless Cresteds get sunburned very easily, so whenever they are outside (even when it is cloudy) they need to be swathed in sunscreen. They should be bathed every 2-3 weeks followed by the use of a skin moisturizing lotion. And because of the baby fine softness of the Powder Puff's hair, many will use an after shampoo conditioner. Chinese Cresteds are extremely susceptible to temperature changes (even indoors) and should have a coat or sweater at the ready. Because of the potential for chronic dental problems, the Crested's teeth should be brushed, at least, bi-weekly.
Chinese Cresteds are not for everybody, but those who love them cannot seem to get enough. They are a breed that is becoming globally registered and there is no telling where one might run into someone with a Chinese Crested.