Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested looking forward

Quick Facts


8 to 12 pounds


11 to 13 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

13-18 years

Known For:

Their specific look along side with their loving and playful nature will melt your heart.


The Chinese Crested, with its unique appearance and delightful personality, has captured the hearts of many dog enthusiasts around the world. This breed, which comes in both hairless and powderpuff varieties, is a true testament to the diverse beauty of the canine world.Β 


Originating from China, as the name suggests, the Chinese Crested has a rich history that dates back centuries. Today, it stands as one of the most recognizable toy breeds, often celebrated for its elegance, grace, and affectionate nature. Pet lovers are drawn to its playful demeanor and the close bond it forms with its human companions.

History and Origin

The history of the Chinese Crested is as intriguing as its appearance. Despite its name, the breed’s origins are not solely rooted in China. It’s believed that African hairless dogs were brought to China, where they were reduced in size through selective breeding. These smaller hairless dogs then became the ancestors of today’s Chinese Crested.


Chinese sailors are credited with discovering these dogs and recognizing their potential as ratters on ships. As a result, the breed traveled extensively on Chinese trading vessels, making its way to various parts of the world, including Africa and Central America.


Over time, these dogs were bred with other small breeds, which led to the development of the two distinct varieties we recognize today: the Hairless and the Powderpuff. The Hairless variety, with its exposed skin and tufts of hair on the head, tail, and feet, is the more recognized of the two. The Powderpuff, on the other hand, boasts a full coat of soft, silky hair.


The breed’s popularity in the West began to rise in the 19th century, and by the 20th century, the Chinese Crested had established a firm foothold in the hearts of dog lovers, especially in the United States.


As for famous Chinese Cresteds, one cannot forget “Sam,” who gained international attention for winning the title of “World’s Ugliest Dog” three times in a row. Despite the title, Sam’s unique appearance endeared him to many and brought significant attention to the breed.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

The Chinese Crested is a small, elegant dog, standing at about 11 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing between 5 to 12 pounds. Its delicate and graceful appearance is complemented by its fine-boned structure and expressive almond-shaped eyes.


There are two varieties of the Chinese Crested: the Hairless and the Powderpuff. The Hairless variety is characterized by smooth, soft skin and tufts of hair on the head (called a “crest”), tail (known as a “plume”), and feet (referred to as “socks”). Their skin can come in a range of colors, from a pale flesh tone to black, and everything in between. It’s not uncommon to find a Hairless Chinese Crested with a combination of skin colors, often with spotted or mottled patterns.


The Powderpuff variety, on the other hand, is covered in a double coat of fine, silky hair. This coat can be any color or combination of colors. The hair on the Powderpuff is straight, and it gives the dog a soft, fluffy appearance.


Both varieties have a wedge-shaped head, with large ears that stand erect. Their eyes are dark and alert, often giving them an inquisitive expression. The breed’s body is slender, with a slightly arched neck, leading to a level back and a tail that is carried low.

Personality and Temperament

The Chinese Crested is a breed that captures attention and often incites double-takes due to its unique appearance. This breed comes in two distinct varieties: the Hairless and the Powderpuff.

Hairless Variety: As the name suggests, this variant is mostly bald, save for tufts of fur on its head (known as a crest), tail (known as a plume), and feet (referred to as socks). Their skin can be any color and may sport a combination of shades, often accompanied by a spotted appearance.


Powderpuff Variety: These have a full coat of soft, long, and straight hair. It’s often compared to the mane of a pony, covering the dog’s entire body uniformly.

The Chinese Crested is a small breed, typically weighing between 5 to 12 pounds and standing about 9 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder. Their build is graceful and elegant, with a fine bone structure.

Health and Lifespan

Every breed comes with its set of health quirks, and the Chinese Crested is no exception. Owners can expect these little canines to live a relatively long life, with an average lifespan of 13 to 18 years.


Hairless Variety: Being hairless, they’re prone to skin issues. Sunburn, acne, dry skin, and rashes can be a concern. Regular skincare, including moisturizing and sun protection, is a must.

Powderpuff Variety: Their dense coat requires regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling. They can be prone to dental issues, so teeth cleaning is essential.


It’s also worth noting that both varieties can suffer from common canine health issues like progressive retinal atrophy, patellar luxation, and some genetic conditions. Regular vet check-ups and a healthy diet can aid in ensuring a long, healthy life for your Chinese Crested.

Care and Maintenance

Chinese Crested grooming

Caring for a Chinese Crested is not just about maintenance; it’s about bonding and building a deeper connection with your pet.


Hairless Variety: Their exposed skin means they can easily get cold, so a cute sweater or two is in order! However, this same skin can overheat in the sun, so sunscreen is vital. They require regular baths to keep their skin clean and free from blemishes.


Powderpuff Variety: Their hair is prone to tangling, so daily brushing is a must to keep them looking their best. This can be a therapeutic and bonding experience for both of you!

Diet is essential for this breed. Feeding them high-quality dog food, preferably one designed for small breeds, ensures they get the right nutrients. They also enjoy playtime and short walks, which helps keep them active and engaged.


Whether you have the Hairless or Powderpuff variety, remember that this breed thrives on companionship. They hate being left alone for extended periods. They’re known as “Velcro dogs” for a reasonβ€”they’ll stick to your side!

Training and Behavior

The Chinese Crested, with its alert and lively disposition, is both entertaining and challenging when it comes to training. These little dogs are intelligent and usually eager to please, making them relatively easy to train with the right techniques.


Positive Reinforcement: Like many small breeds, the Chinese Crested responds best to positive reinforcement methods. Reward-based training, where good behavior is rewarded with treats, praise, or play, can yield excellent results.


Socialization: Early socialization is essential. Due to their cautious nature, they can be shy or nervous around strangers or new situations. Introducing them to different people, pets, and experiences while they’re young can help develop a confident and well-adjusted adult dog.


Behavioral Quirks: It’s not uncommon for a Chinese Crested to exhibit “clownish” behavior, keeping their families entertained with their antics. However, they can also be known to “sing” or howl occasionally and might be a bit yappy if not trained otherwise.

Chinese Crested and Families

Chinese Crested with people

Chinese Cresteds are incredibly adaptable, making them suitable for families of all sizes, ages, and living situations. They are affectionate and love to be involved in family activities.


Children: Generally, they get along well with children, especially if they’re raised with them. However, due to their delicate size, it’s advisable to supervise interactions with very young kids to prevent any accidental injury.


Other Pets: They usually get along well with other dogs and even cats, particularly if introduced at a young age. Their friendly nature means they’re more likely to make friends than foes.

Adopting a Chinese Crested

If you’re considering bringing a Chinese Crested into your home, congratulations on choosing such a delightful and unique breed!


Where to Adopt: Always opt for reputable breeders or rescue groups. Many Chinese Cresteds find themselves in shelters or rescues, so consider adopting and giving one a second chance at a loving home.


Considerations: Remember that, whether you choose a Hairless or Powderpuff, this breed requires consistent care, love, and attention. Ensure you’re ready to commit to their grooming and health needs.


Lastly, always spend time with the dog before adopting. It’ll help you understand if you’re the right match for each other.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the two varieties of Chinese Crested dogs?

The Chinese Crested comes in two varieties: the Hairless, with hair only on the head, tail, and feet, and the Powderpuff, which has a full coat of soft hair.

Do Chinese Crested dogs need a lot of grooming?

Hairless Chinese Cresteds require regular skin care to prevent acne and sunburn. Powderpuffs need regular brushing to keep their fur mat-free.

Are Chinese Crested dogs good for allergy sufferers?

The Hairless Chinese Crested is often recommended for people with allergies due to their lack of fur, but no dog is truly hypoallergenic.

What health issues affect Chinese Crested dogs?

They can be prone to dental issues (especially in the Hairless variety), skin irritations, and eye problems. Regular veterinary care is essential for their well-being.

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