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The Chinese Crested
Small but Incredibly Agile

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 Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is a small toys sized purebred often found in agility events. There are two varieties, the Powderpuff and the Hairless. Both look like completely different breeds but are in fact the same. It is a fragile and fine boned dog, quite unique in its looks and was bred to be a great companion to the infirm. It is certainly a dog that gets very attached so avoid this one if you do not want it underfoot or close by all the time.

Here is the Chinese Crested at a Glance
Name Chinese Crested
Other Names Powder puff Chinese Crested, Hairless Chinese Crested
Nicknames Crested, Puff
Origin Africa or Mexico, China
Average size Small
Average weight 5 to 12 pounds
Average height 11 to 13 inches
Life span 13 to 15 years
Coat type Powder Puff is silky, dense, long and hairless
Hypoallergenic Yes
Color Black, tan, blue, grey, red, silver, brown, yellow and white
Popularity Somewhat popular – ranked 75th by the AKC
Intelligence Average
Tolerance to heat Good – can handle very warm weather but not very hot or extremes
Tolerance to cold Low – not good in even cooler weather, needs care
Shedding Low – can be a little shedding but not much
Drooling Low – not prone to lots of drool or slobber
Obesity Moderate – not prone to obesity but being so small can gain weight easily if overfed
Grooming/brushing High maintenance so be prepared for daily care even with the hairless
Barking Occasional to frequent – some do bark a lot
Exercise needs Slightly active – likes to get out but doesn't need a lot as it is small
Trainability Difficult as can be willful
Friendliness Very good – social dog
Good first dog Good but best with experienced owners
Good family pet Good but best in home that does not have young children
Good with children Very good to excellent but should not be with young children
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Good to very good with socialization
Good with strangers Good with socialization
Good apartment dog Excellent due to size but barking needs controlling
Handles alone time well Low – hates being left alone and often suffers from separation anxiety as a result
Health issues Quite a healthy breed, some issues though can include dental problems, eye problems, patellar luxation and Legg-Calve-Perthes
Medical expenses $435 a year for pet insurance and basic health care
Food expenses $75 a year for good quality dry dog food and treats
Miscellaneous expenses $495 a year for miscellaneous items, toys, license, grooming and basic training
Average annual expense $1005 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $850
Biting Statistics None Reported

The Chinese Crested's Beginnings

The Chinese Crested is actually not a Chinese breed despite its name! It is believed this dog comes from either Africa or Mexico. Recorded evidence shows that at one time it was called the African Hairless Terrier but there is also genetic evidence that it is related to the Mexican Hairless. It is thought the name became the Chinese Crested because it was taken on board Chinese trading ships and used as a ratter sometime in the mid 1500s. The Chinese also had a hand in trying to breed the dog smaller and believed it had healing powers.

Its original use was thought to be a companion to the sickly and infirm as they do not need a lot of exercise and are happy to lay still beside a person in bed. Other names for it were Chinese Hairless, Chinese Ship Dog, Chinese Edible Dog and Chinese Royal Hairless. As well as being used on board ships it was also kept by Chinese emperors. By the mid 1800s it had arrived in Europe and can be found in a number of prints and paintings.

New Lease on Life

The first Chinese Crested dogs to be shown in an American dog show was in 1885. In the 1950s the Crest Haven kennel was created by Debora Wood and when the famous burlesque dancer and Chinese Crested dog breeder Gypsy Rose Lee died, her dogs went to Crest Haven. Debora Wood started the American Hairless Dog Club in 1959 but that was not enough. By 1965 there was still no national club for the breed and the numbers in the US were very low.

In 1979 that breed club was established finally and Ms Woods club was incorporated into it. It was recognized by the AKC in 1991 and is ranked 75th in popularity. In China this breed is now very rare.

The Dog You See Today

The Chinese Crested is a small dog only weighing 5 to 12 pounds and standing 11 to 13 inches tall. As mentioned there are two kinds, the Powder puff and the hairless so the coat can vary quite dramatically. The Powderpuff Chinese Crested has a double coat that is thick, dense and silky. The Hairless variety happens because of a dominant trait that is incomplete. Its skin is soft and much like a humans and can be black to pale, then it can vary how much hair they have, some being almost completely hairless and some having hair still on the head, tail and paws. Common colors are black, silver, brown, tan, grey, yellow, blue and white.

The Powderpuff trait is carried by all Chinese Cresteds. A Hairless bred with a Hairless can produce a Powderpuff, but Powderpuffs bred to Powderpuffs cannot produce Hairless puppies. Sadly a lot of breeders view Powderpuff puppies as bucket dogs meaning they drop the puppy in a bucket of water when its born to kill it, as this is not as in demand as the Hairless variety.

The head of this breed is shaped like a wedge when you look at it from above or the side. It has light or dark nose depending on its coat color and skin color. It has erect large ears and almond shaped eyes.

The Inner Chinese Crested


The Crested is a lively and playful dog who has a lot of affection to give and a lot of personality. It will want to give lots of kisses, have lots of cuddles and snuggle with you. It is very alert and is a good watchdog who will bark to let you know of an intruder. It is somewhat willful, stubborn and independent so training can be hard and the best owners are those with experience. It has a charming personality and can be a very funny companion to have around the home.


It is very important that just because it is a small dog you do not give in to babying it. This can cause it to be overly timid, difficult to control, snappy and aggressive. This dog needs lots of attention and companionship so if you are away a lot or even just out all day at work this is not the best choice. It can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for long periods which can lead to destructive behavior. It gets very attached to you and will follow you around. It is though more reserved with strangers. Some lines do have dogs that are more high strung especially with new situations or people so socialization is vital.

Another factor to be fully prepared for with this breed is how fragile it is. It just takes one miss step, sitting down without checking under the blanket and so on and it can be badly injured or even killed. They also tend to have a tendency to jump from places that are too high, like the back of the couch or your arms as puppies. Being an owner of this breed means dedicating yourself to being more aware of where it is at all times so that injuries are less likely.

Living with a Chinese Crested

What will training look like?

The Chinese Crested is a fairly hard dog to train as it can be stubborn, has an independent way of thinking and will try to manipulate you into letting it be the boss. This is a dog best suited for owners with experience who are able to be firm and are not tempted to baby it. You will need to be patient and consistent in your approach, maintain the alpha position at all times but be positive about it. Treats, praise and encouragement should be used to motivate and reward it. If needed there are professional trainers and schools that can help. Set rules and stick to them at all times.

House breaking is also something that can be difficult, as a small dog it is easier for the Crested to sneak off and do its business somewhere in the home without you noticing. Stick with it, and consider crate training to help. A particular issue can be when owners have a male who has not been neutered and is peeing around the home to mark its territory.

Another important area of is training is to ensure it has been well socialized. Start socialization as soon as you have it home. Find different ways to introduce it to different people, places and situations and show it how to deal with these things in an acceptable way. Some have a natural shyness and when not socialized that can turn into suspicion, fear and aggression.

How active is the Chinese Crested?

This breed is only slightly active so it is easy to care for and keep healthy as long as you can take it for a short walk once or twice a day and let it have some play time. It can live in an apartment happily but if there is a yard that is a bonus, just make sure it is secure as these dogs are surprisingly agile and can jump, though they shouldn't with their delicate bones! If it is cold when taking them out make sure they are wrapped up. Avoid the temptation to carry it around, the walking is good for it. Also make sure that as well as offering it opportunities for physical exercise each day you also give it mental stimulation too.


Caring for the Chinese Crested

Grooming needs

There is a fair amount of maintenance that goes into owning a Chinese Crested whatever type you own though the Powderpuff is more so. The shedding is low so there is not a problem with lots of hair around the home or on clothing. The Powderpuff with its soft double coat needs daily brushing to keep away tangles and matts and remove debris and burrs. Try to avoid brushing when it is dry so that you do not damage it. Some opt to have their dogs shaved leaving it longer around the head, legs and tails so that it is easier to care for.

The Hairless might have less hair to look after though it generally still has some that needs at least weekly care, but it also needs its skin looking after. They can be prone to things like acne, dry skin and of course sunburn if not covered or protected when out walking or in the yard. Be careful about using sunscreen as some can be allergic to some ingredients. Use moisturizing cream after bathing to help with dry skin. Only bathe either variety when it really needs one.

It should have its teeth checked at least two to three times a week to prevent bad breath, gum disease and dental problems. Its ears too should be checked for infection signs and then wiped clean using a dog ear cleanser and taking care to not insert anything into the ear at all. Its nails need to be trimmed when they get too long, making sure you do not cut too low as that can cause bleeding and pain. Using a professional groomer may be a good idea if you are not familiar with dog nails.

Feeding Time

A Chinese Crested should be fed ½ to 1 cup of a good quality dry dog food a day, split into two meals. How much it needs exactly can vary depending on how large it is, its age, health, level of activity and its metabolism rate.

How is the Chinese Crested with children and other animals?

The Crested is good with children, it likes to play and it is affectionate with them. However it is a small and fragile breed and really it is best in homes that are child free or ones with children who are older and know to take care with this dog when touching and playing with it. Small children are clumsy, can touch too hard and play too roughly which can cause injury to the dog. Another issues with small kids is the their loudness and tendency to making loud sudden noises that can upset this dog.

It can be good with other pets with socialization and can even be playful with them, but often gets jealous of them and any attention that you might give them! It gets along well with other dogs too but because of its size and fragility care should be taken when it plays with larger dogs as they can hurt it or even kill it accidentally.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The Crested lives for 13 to 15 years and is quite a healthy breed though there are some issues it can be prone to. These include eye problems, patellar luxation, Legg-Perthes, dental problems, canine multiple system degeneration, allergies, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases as well as leg injuries. Sunburn and dry skin can also be a problem.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of dogs attacking people and doing bodily harm in the US and Canada over the last 34 years, there is no mention of the Chinese Crested. This does not mean it does not have the potential to become aggressive, just that being small its is less likely to do serious injury. Any dog breed can snap in certain conditions or situations. Make sure you get a dog that suits your level of experience and that you can give it the attention, exercise, training and socialization that all dogs need.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Chinese Crested puppy is going to cost more if it is the more desirable Hairless variety at about $850. It will probably cost half that for a Powderpuff variety when getting pet quality dogs from a good and trustworthy breeder. If you want to buy from a top breeder who produces show dogs then expect to pay at least a couple of thousand dollars. There are many ads nowadays you can find online and in papers offering puppies for sale. Beware as most of these are backyard breeders that need to be avoided. Likewise you should avoid places that use puppy mills to get their dogs like pet stores. It is unlikely you will find a Crested in a shelter or rescue as it is a rarer dog but should you find one it will be $50 to $300.


Initial costs will include getting certain items ready for the puppy at home like a crate, carrier, collar and leash and so on. These will cost about $120. Medical tests and checks need to be done when you bring the puppy home. Take it to a vet for a physical and they will also do things like deworm it, give it vaccinations, micro chip it, spay or neuter it, do blood tests and such. These come to about $260.

Annual costs come under three general categories, food, basic health care and miscellaneous costs. Food and treats will come to a yearly cost of about $75. Basic health needs like check ups, shots, tick and flea prevention and pet insurance is a yearly estimated cost of $435. Miscellaneous costs covers things like a license, basic training, toys, grooming and miscellaneous items and this is estimated at about $495. This gives a total annual cost of about $1005.


Looking for a Chinese Crested Puppy Name? Let select one from our list!

  • Male and Female Chinese Crested Puppy Names
  • This is a small and dainty dog so is best in homes with older children or none at all. It needs a lot of attention and needs to have someone around a lot of the time. With socialization and training it is not aggressive, it is confident and balanced. When spoiled though it is snappy, yappy and overly anxious. Make sure that even though that training can take a longer time to achieve you stick with it. Experienced owners will do a lot better with it. If you want a spirited dog that has some independent thinking and loves to snuggle this is the dog for you.

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