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Whether it is the hairless or the powder puff variety with its silky coat, the Chinese crested is a lively and loving dog. Even though the hairless variety appears maintenance free, this is not so.

     Chinese Crested At a glance


Weight Range:

Male: 5-12 lbs.
Female: 5-12 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 13 in.

Female: 11 in.


Upright ears (naturally)


Exercise Requirements: < 20 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average
Longevity Range: 13-15 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Low Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Low
Tendency to Dig: Low Social/Attention Needs: High

Bred For:

Ratting, lapdog, curio


Length: Hairless: Long on head, feet and tail/Powder puff: Long
Characteristics: Straight
Colors: Any color permissible
Overall Grooming Needs: High

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Toy
UKC Classification: Companion Dog
Prevalence: So-so

The Chinese Crested Dog Breed

Two distinct varieties can be born in the same Chinese crested litter: hairless (except head, tail, and feet) and powder puff (full hair).

A toy dog, the Chinese crested is fine-boned, elegant and graceful.

Happy and alert, these dogs make loving companions. They range in weight from five to 12 pounds (two to five kilograms) and stand from nine to 13 inches at the shoulder.

Two distinct varieties can be born in the same litter: hairless — hair on the head, tail and feet only and powder puff — completely covered with hair. A single dominant gene causes the hairless feature; dogs with two copies of the hairless gene do not survive the embryonic stage. This is why both varieties are needed for the breed to survive.

The hairless variety has hair on certain portions of the body: the head (called a crest), the tail (called a plume), and the feet from the toes to the front pasterns and rear hock joints (called socks). The texture of all the hair is soft and silky, flowing to any length. Placement of hair is not as important as overall type. Areas that have hair usually taper off slightly.

Wherever the body is hairless, the skin is soft and smooth. The head crest begins at the stop (forehead in people) and tapers off between the base of the skull and the back of the neck. Hair on the ears and face is permitted on the hairless and may be trimmed for neatness in both varieties. As in most hairless breeds, hairless individuals tend to have crooked or missing teeth.

The powder puff variety is completely covered with a double soft and silky coat. Close examination reveals long thin guard hairs over the short silky undercoat. The coat is straight and of moderate density and length. Any color or combination of colors is acceptable. Grooming is minimal.


A lively and loving dog, this toy breed can quickly capture the hearts of its guardians and become quite spoiled- The Chinese crested has a lifespan of 12 to 13 years.

Living With:

An affectionate companion, the Chinese crested is a lively and loving dog. He makes a perfect lap heater, since the lack of body hair increases the amount of heat his body gives off. But he does need to be protected from extremes of temperature, both hot and cold. Even though the hairless variety appears maintenance free, this is not so. Aside from regular nail clipping, regular grooming is required to keep both varieties looking well.

The hairless variety requires frequent bathing to maintain healthy skin. You may need to remove unwanted hair to keep the look you want. Many cresteds have natural facial hair and some have excess body hair. The skin can sunburn from prolonged exposure. It can also develop blackheads.

The powder puff requires frequent grooming to maintain a silky, flowing coat.


There is actually no documented proof that that Chinese crested originated in China. One of several hairless breeds in the world, they may have evolved from hairless dogs that have appeared in pariah dog litters as a result of mutations. The similarities between the Chinese crested and hairless South American dogs suggests that these breeds might be distantly related.

Descriptions of this breed are found in records as early as the late 1800s. The Chinese crested enjoyed a temporary popularity in the late 1800s and early 1900s in the United States, then again became popular in the 1970s. The breed's most well-known promoter was Gypsy Rose Lee. AKC recognition came in 1991.