Chinese Crested

AKC Toy Group


Chinese Crested (hairless). Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Chinese Crested (hairless). Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Scholarly dog fanciers can’t agree on where the Chinese Crested originated. Seafaring traders and explorers reported encountering small hairless dogs as long ago as AD 1200 in China and Africa. They were distributed to other countries by seafarers, and were first recorded in Europe and America in the 1800s. Gypsy Rose Lee and her sister June Havoc popularized Chinese Cresteds in America. This unusual breed was first exhibited in the West in 1885, but the first American breed club was not established until 1979. Full AKC recognition was granted in 1991. The similar Mexican Hairless is a distinct breed, and not to be confused with the Crested.


The Chinese Crested is small, elegant, and graceful. The hairless variety is almost hairless except for soft and silky tufts on his tail, lower legs and feet, and the top of his head. There is also an equally correct longhaired variety called the Powderpuff. The body is rectangular, slightly longer than the height at the withers. The dog is fine-boned, but not excessively fragile. The head is wedge shaped with a slightly domed skull. The large ears stand at attention and the paws look like rabbits’ feet. Dewclaw removal is optional. The almond-shaped eyes are wide set. The plumed tail reaches at least to the hock. It is carried gaily when the dog is in motion and hangs down with a slight sickle-shaped curve when the dog is at rest. The Chinese Crested can be any color, and the colors on the coat and skin sometimes change with the seasons. The skin color can be spotted or solid.

Key Facts

  • Height:  11 to 13 in.
  • Size:  Small
  • Weight:  up to 10 lbs.
  • Availability:  Difficult to find
  • Talents:  Agility and performing tricks


This happy little dog likes to climb. Some like to dig. A healthy and hearty dog. The Chinese Crested is very clean, with no doggy odor, and he is not prone to fleas or ticks. Hairless skin feels warmer to the touch than furred skin, but the body temperature is the same. The exposed skin needs special care to prevent skin problems and irritations. The breed needs frequent baths and applications of moisturizer to keep the skin in good condition. Light-colored dogs sunburn easily and should be protected with a good sunscreen. Blackheads can be a problem. Many Chinese Cresteds are allergic to lanolin and wool. The teeth should be well cared for to prevent decay. The dominant gene that causes hairlessness also results in missing and misaligned teeth. Dogs with two copies of the hairless gene do not survive as fetuses, which means the breed must have both hairless and powder puff coat types, and they often occur in the same litter.


Sweet and lively. Playful and cuddly. Exceptionally loving, and likes to hug and smile. Affectionate with children. An entertaining companion. Intelligent and very alert. Puppies should be well socialized and exposed to loud noises when young to avoid potential timidity. If owners do not baby them, these dogs can grow up to be very well-adjusted.


  • Children:  Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness:  Loves everyone
  • Trainability:  Slightly difficult to train
  • Independence:  Fairly independent
  • Dominance:  Low
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness:  Friendly with other dogs
  • Noise:  Not a barker
  • Indoors:  Fairly active indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners
  • Indoors:  Fairly active indoors


  • Grooming:  Regular grooming needed in both coat types
  • Trimming and Stripping:  No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Hairless or long coat
  • Shedding:  Very light
  • Exercise:  Very little exercise needed
  • Jogging:  A poor jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Good for apartment living
  • Outdoor Space:  Does all right without a yard
  • Climate:  Prefers warm climates
  • Longevity:  Average (10 to 12 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Chinese Crested Breed Standard

Chinese Crested Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested Gifts