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UPDATED: Mar 27, 2021
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The Chinese Crested dog is not originally from China. They’re actually from either Mexico or Africa and were later bred to be smaller dogs in China.
The Crested were believed to have been companions of Chinese sailors in the early 1500s where they hunted vermin and helped catch fish.
The Chinese bred the Crested to chase rats off of ships and then sailors traded the dogs at the various ports.
In the early 1700s, there is documentation of hairless dogs that look very close to the Chinese Crested in Europe.
The Chinese Cresteds then began to appear in European prints and paintings in the mid-1900s.
The Chinese viewed the Cresteds as having healing powers and used them as heating pads. These little guys warm anyone up quickly!
Many Chinese emperors were known to have Cresteds in their palace.
It’s uncertain when Cresteds officially came to North America, but in 1974, the first breed club was formed by the American Kennel Club.
Today, the breed is very rare in China and more popular in the United States.
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Chinese Crested Dog Breed Characteristics
The Chinese Crested usually stands between 11 and 13 inches for both males and females and weighs anywhere from 10 to 12 pounds.
The Chinese Crested is not always hairless. It is actually found in two types:
The Hairless Chinese Crested
The Hairless is usually bald except for some hair on their feet, tail and little tuft. The hair on the body is usually shaved to protect their skin.
The Hairless skin tones are pink and black. They can sometimes appear almost naked due to his lack of hair.
The Hairless should get a weekly bath and use a high-quality shampoo (designed for dogs). It’s important to check the Hairless’ skin for any acne or blackheads because they are known to get some minor skin issues.
The Powderpuff Chinese Crested
The Powderpuff has a full coat and is usually derived from a genetically recessive gene, but both types can be found in a single litter!
The Powderpuff has a coat that comes in various colors and combinations: mahogany, clue lavender, blue and copper. They are either solid or spotted.
Powderpuff Cresteds require a lot of attention to broom. Their very silky, soft double coat and undercoat are prone to matting.
A weekly brushing should be sufficient but when they are puppies, the coat should be groomed daily.
Regardless of the type, the Crested is a slim, small-boned dog who is graceful and elegant-looking.
This dog, particularly the Hairless variation, is as close to a truly hypoallergenic dog that you will encounter.
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The Chinese Crested Personality
Chinese Crested are happy, upbeat dogs who love and adore his family. This is one affectionate dog who loves to be on your lap and spend time snuggling.
He is not an overtly social dog with new people or strangers so be careful when introducing your Crested to someone new.
The Crested is super-intelligent and can be a bit stubborn. Some trainers find the breed un-trainable but that is usually due to their very sensitive personality.
Trainers that are harsh or insensitive will have little luck with this breed.
The Chinese Crested can sometimes be reactive and with a combination of his need to be social, he or she can be a little needy.
But, of course, the temperament of the Crested can be affected by numerous factors including socialization, his parents’ demeanor, and training.
He will bark at strangers but isn’t big enough to really scare them off.
Their bark can be yappy or more like a howl with melody. This pup almost sings!
Similar to all other dogs, The Crested needs to be socialized at a young age and exposed to many different people, sights, and experiences to become more friendly and well-rounded.
Early training is a great start. Have friends over to meet him, take him with you to parks and on leisurely walks to help him adjust.
Chinese Crested only needs a little exercise. Don’t expect him to go on a run with you!
His small size makes the Crested a great choice for small homes or apartments.
Of course, keep your Crested stimulated with toys and puzzles that will keep him sharp, busy and not so needy!
Common Health Issues in Chinese Crested Dogs
Of course, your Crested might not develop any or all of the following conditions, it’s just important to be aware of them.
If you are buying a Crested from a reputable breeder, you can ask for health clearances for any of the conditions listed below to make sure your Crested (or their parents) is clear of the condition.
Dental Issues (Missing Teeth)
Chinese Crested tend to have dental issues that are a result of a genetic predisposition to missing teeth and being hairless. The Hairless Crested have small teeth that tend to slope toward the front of the mouth and cause issues including losing teeth. This can even happen at 2 or 3 years old. Wet food is always a good recommendation for this breed.
The Powderpuff Crested have less of an issue with missing teeth and just like any toy breed have dental issues, but not to the point of the Hairless. Good dental hygiene is always important for all breeds!
Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, which is also known as dry eye, is what the condition implies: the inflammation and dryness of the eye(s). This condition usually occurs when there isn’t enough water in the tear film portion of the eye. This results in the eye being dry and that the membrane is only left with oils and mucus.
The symptoms can be misleading and some might think it is conjunctivitis which is similar and results in yellow discharge. Your vet will diagnose your dog by using the Schirmer Tear Test. Treatment typically consists of special eye drops and ointment.
Legg- Calve Perthes Disease is a condition that involves the hip joint of the Crested. Legg-Perthes causes the blood supply to the femur to be decreased. This can result in the connective tissue of the femur that connects to the pelvis to disintegrate. Limping and even an atrophied leg muscle can occur in puppies that are five to six months old.
Surgery can often help and correct the condition so the puppy can walk normally.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a compilation of eye diseases that can lead to the deterioration of the retina. In the early stages, some dogs might only become blind at night. Their day vision will decrease as the disease progresses.
Many dogs will adapt to the limited vision as long as their environment, or home surroundings remain the same.
Seizures in dogs are a neurological disorder that can be caused by several factors: exposure to toxins, infectious diseases, or even brain tumors. It isn’t always possible to know the exact cause of the seizure and that condition is called “idiopathic”.
Seizures are usually a result of the abnormal amount of neuronal activity in the brain. This can result in very brief episodes of unconsciousness or uncontrolled movement. The treatment depends on the cause of the seizure.
Should You Purchase Pet Insurance for Your Chinese Crested?
There are many potential health conditions that might occur with your Crested and they can be very expensive to treat.
If your Crested loses his teeth or has dry eye, it is not uncommon for a vet bill to be anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 to treat.
And if you have enrolled in pet insurance, anywhere from 70% to 90% of the bill is covered.
The most important thing you can do for your Crested (and you financially!) is to insure your dog when he is a puppy and before any conditions are deemed pre-existing. In fact, there are no pet insurance companies that will cover a pre-existing condition.
You love your little Hairless Crested and want to always be in the position to be able to give your pup the best care. And, pet insurance will allow you to do just that.
If you are looking to enroll in a new pet insurance policy or simply want to see what others are out there, our best pet insurance companies is a great place to start!
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How do you choose a dog breed? There are so many awesome options! We have compiled a complete database about all the dog breeds, their mannerisms, care, and who they do best with. Statistically, some purebreds experience more health issues than mixed breeds. There are many pet insurance companies out there and we have put together a great article about the best puppy and dog pet insurance companies in the US.
You may be interested in one of these dog breeds: