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"One reason a dog
can be such a comfort when you're feeling blue
is that he doesn't try to find out why."

Author Unknown


Chinese Crested Dog

The Chinese Crested Dog is a smaller (10-13 lbs) breed of dog known for its unusual appearance and entertaining personality. It is a member of the toy dog group. Two types can be born in the same litter; the Hairless and the Powderpuff.

For seven consecutive years, from 2002 to 2008, the winner of the World's Ugliest Dog title has been a Chinese Crested.

At first glance, the "Hairless" and "Powderpuff" varieties of Chinese Crested Dogs appear to be two different breeds, but hairlessness is a dominant trait within a single breed. The Hairless has soft, humanlike skin, as well as tufts of fur on its paws ("socks") and tail ("plume") and long, flowing hair on its head ("crest"). In addition to being a dominant gene, the "hairless" gene is lethal when homozygous. All living hairless Cresteds are therefore heterozygous for this trait.

The Hairless variety can vary in amount of body hair. Fur on the muzzle, known as a beard, is not uncommon. A true Hairless often does not have as much furnishings (hair on the head, tail, and paws). The difference between a very hairy Hairless and a Powderpuff is that the Hairless has a single coat[3], often with hairless parts on the body, while the Powderpuff has a thick double coat. The skin of the Hairless comes in a variety of colors, ranging from a pale flesh to black. Hairless cresteds often lack a full set of teeth, but this is not considered a fault.

The look of the Powderpuff varies according to how it is groomed. When its fur is completely grown out on its face, it strongly resembles a terrier; however, the Powderpuff is usually shaved around the snout as a standard cut. Its fur is incredibly soft. Due to its coat type, both Powderpuff and Hairless are considered good pets for allergy sufferers.

The amount of bodyhair on the hairless variety varies quite extensively, from the true hairless which has very little or no bodyhair and furnishings, to what is called a hairy hairless, which if left ungroomed can grow a nearly full coat of hair. These hairy hairless are not a mix between powderpuffs and hairless Chinese Cresteds though, but is merely a result of the varying expression of the hairless gene, which the powderpuff does not have at all.

Perhaps the most famous of the Chinese Crested dogs was a hairless purebred named Sam, who was dubbed the "World's Ugliest Dog" in competition from 2003 to 2005. He died before he could compete in 2006. Sam's most characteristic ugly traits were his extremely wrinkled skin, deformed teeth, and cataracts. While other Chinese Crested hairless dogs have been in the competition and won, it is arguable that none have been as ugly as Sam, whose looks had literally scared people.

Chinese Cresteds tend to be affectionate, energetic and playful. They are considered great family pets, with endearing personalities. Some are known "singers" or "screechers" while others are known to "smile." They are generally happy lap-dogs with candid personalities and usually aren't the grumpy type but some males can become slightly aggressive as they age. In addition, Chinese Cresteds do not tend to be a "one-person" dog, spotting one particular member of the family as their "owner" seeing as how many of the Chinese cresteds are happy with anyone. Though most cresteds are like that sometimes they will choose to be attached to certain people. Often, this person is the one who gives the dog the most safe and secure feeling, and the dog would clearly show its affection towards him/her above others in the family.

Grooming of the Crested is work for both varieties. The Puffs have a very soft and fine double-coat that requires full brushing every other day to avoid matting. Although a Puff's coat does not continuously grow like that of some other breeds, it can be quite long at full length and some owners choose to put their Puffs into a "pony cut." This lower-maintenance option keeps the body hair and facial hair short, leaving the crest, feathers, and tail plume at full length.

Maintenance of the Hairless variety's skin is similar to maintaining human skin - and as such it can be susceptible to acne, dryness, and sunburn. A Hairless should be bathed at least once per week to avoid acne and other skin conditions(some dogs shower with their owners every day). Hypoallergenic or oil-free moisturizing cream can keep the skin from becoming too dry when applied every other day or after bathing. Burning can occur in regions that lend themselves to strong UV-rays, especially in lighter-skinned dogs. Many owners apply baby sunscreen to their pets before spending time in strong sun. Some Cresteds have skin allergies to Lanolin, so be cautious when using any products that contain it.


Chinese Crested
Nicknames: Crested, Puff
Country of origin: Africa / China

Unless the dog is a "True" Hairless (one with virtually no hair growth on non-extremities), trimming and/or shaving must be performed to remove stubble growth. Many owners use a clipper for the face and ears and to remove any longer growth that was allowed to occur, and then use a variety of methods to achieve complete hair removal of non-extremities. Commonly used methods include a man's razor and hypoallergenic shaving cream, waxing, and electric razors. Some people have had success with hair removal cream, although one should be sure to apply an amount to a small test area to be sure no adverse reaction occurs.

The Chinese Crested is further distinguished by its "hare foot," (having more elongated toes) as opposed to the "cat foot" common to most other dogs. Because of this the quicks of Cresteds run deeper into their nails, so care must be taken not to trim the nails too short to avoid pain and bleeding.

The crested is not affected by many of the congenital diseases found in Toy Breeds. They are, however, prone to some of the conditions below.

Cresteds have what is called a "primitive mouth." This means that most of their teeth are pointy like their canines. Hairless varieties of the Cresteds can be prone to poor dentition. Poor dentition may include missing or crowded teeth and teeth prone to decay when not properly cared for. Most dogs of the Puff variety have few, if any, dental defects.

Eyes are a concern within the breed, having at least two forms of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) which can eventually lead to blindness. For one of these forms of PRA, there exists a genetic test, prcd-PRA. Since this test can only reveal the existence of affected or carrier status of this one form of PRA, breeders and owners of the breed should still have regular eye exams by veterinary ophthalmologists.

As with all other Toy Breeds, the Cresteds can be prone to patellar luxation. This inheritable condition is caused by shallow knee joints (stifles) and results in kneecaps that pop out of place. Its onset is often at a young age, and can cause temporary to permanent lameness based on the severity. Breeders should have their stock certified free of patellar luxation. Many countries' kennel clubs maintain a centralised registry for health results.

Allergy and autoimmune diseases has been observed in the breed. The severity of these ailments, often leading to the premature death of the dog means this is something breeders need to take seriously, in order to avoid this becoming a problem for the breed.

The lifespan of a Chinese Crested Dog can be quite impressive. Many well-cared-for Cresteds live to see 15 years or more.

The Chinese Crested originated in Africa where they were called "African Hairless Terriers." It is commonly believed, that the Chinese trading ships stopped along Africa on their routes, and it was there that they picked up these dogs because they were excellent ratters[citation needed] for aboard their ships. Examples of these dogs eventually made their way to Europe in the 1800s, where they were displayed as curiosities.

In the 1920s, Debrorah Woods and Ida Garrett jointly created the 'Crest Haven Kennel' and began to purposefully breed and record the lineages of their Chinese Crested dogs. Their dogs are the true foundation of every Chinese Crested alive today. They founded the American Hairless Dog Club in 1959, which was eventually incorporated into the American Chinese Crested Club (ACCC) in 1978.

Recent DNA studies has shown that the dog have no correlation or genetic relation to the Mexican Hairless Dog or the Chihuahua, which was previously widely believed. The DNA test also approved that the dog is closely related to the Basenji, which is of African origin.