Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is an anomaly, and are some of the strangest looking dogs out there. The hairless variety is nearly naked, with a profuse amount of fur peeking out around the head. However, these dogs are more than their crazy visage. They are also sweet, playful companions that bond strongly to their owners. Read on to learn more about the Chinese Crested.

Description of the Chinese Crested

These dogs are hard to miss. They have utterly delicate bodies. While many small dogs hide behind puffy coats, you can see exactly how fine-boned the Chinese is.

In the hairless Chinese Crested, its soft pink or grey skin is easily visible on most of the body. They have a headdress of hair on their faces and ears, as well as some “feathers” on their feet. These dogs can be a variety of shades, but most hair is white or grey.

The Chinese Crested also comes in what is called the “puffball” variety. These dogs are completely covered in soft hair.

No one is exactly sure about the origins of the Chinese Crested. It is believed that the Chinese bred them into toy dogs. They may have come from larger versions originating in Africa. These dogs were used as ship ratters, which is how they became famous: they traveled all over the world with their jobs.

Life Expectancy and Size

The Chinese Crested is one of the more fragile toy breeds, and is amazingly long-lived. Most of these dogs live happily into their early teens, and some even longer. Their life expectancy is between 13 and 18 years.

These toy dogs are not only short, but also fine boned. They stand between 11 and 13 inches tall, yet weigh only 8 to 12 pounds.

Protective Ability

This breed has absolutely no protective ability. They may bar, on occasion, but that’s it. In fact, they’re just as likely to bark at a stray butterfly as something more serious. The Chinese Crested is small and fragile, sometimes not even able to protect himself, let alone the family.


Training the Chinese Crested should be done with care. They are perfectly capable of learning, but are quite sensitive. Thus, it is important to have the correct mindset when entering training situations.

As with most dogs, the Crested do best with a reward- and relationship-based training regimen. They respond instantaneously to soft words. You can see their whole body relax as soon as they are told that they are doing the right thing. That said, praise alone is rarely enough. You wouldn’t stay in a job that only paid with words. Use treats, playtime, or petting as rewards to really see results.

Indeed, these dogs respond quite poorly to harsh words, and even worse to physical force. You can easily harm a Chinese Crested, and they are privy to that fact. Even an angry scolding may send them scurrying, and make them fearful of you. Their sensitive little bodies should not be exposed to such harsh methods.

Energy Level

This breed is neither an athlete nor a couch potato. They have a moderate energy level, which is usually channeled into a bright and alert expression. These dogs are not ones to race around the house like mad men. However, they may make bold attempts to climb or jump.

Most of this dog’s energy is channeled toward social interaction. They crave time with humans, and can become quite destructive if they don’t get enough attention.

What Living with a Chinese Crested is Like

This breed can be an absolute joy to live with. They are sensitive and attentive, great household companions. The Crested would be perfect for an owner that works from home. They would be more than happy to curl up on a pillow or a lap all day.

That being said, these are not lazy dogs. When given the opportunity, they are quite playful and enjoy time outdoors. However, their exercise needs are by no means difficult to manage.

These dogs can also be good for owners that have allergies. Especially as the hairless version sheds little if at all. They do require some maintenance though, despite their limited hair.

Well-socialized Crested are happy and playful. Some individuals can be quite timid or afraid of other pets.

Care of the Chinese Crested

These are fragile dogs that require some looking after. However, they can be masterful companions with plenty of personality.

Environmental Needs

The Chinese Crested is not exactly prepared for the outdoors. Although they do appreciate their time outside, a few steps need to be taken to ensure they remain safe and healthy. They require sunscreen during most of the year, as there skin is very sensitive to burning. In the winter, they will also need a sweater or jacket. They do not have much hair, after all!

Exercise Needs

Exercise is generally easy going for the Chinese Crested.

They are alert dogs, but do not require much directed activity. Most individuals love to play gentle games with their owners. These can occur either inside or in a safely enclosed yard. It is surprising how well the Crested can jump and climb, so supervision is usually a good idea. Plus, they’re always more happy around their owners anyway.

The Crested may enjoy short daily walks. Make sure that the terrain is not too difficult, and that the weather is good. It’s probably a smart idea to carry water to help prevent overheating.

Shedding and Grooming

These dogs shed very little, especially the hairless version. This can be perfect for owners that suffer from allergies or do not like to pick dog hair off clothing and couches.

However, grooming these pups can be surprisingly difficult. Many Chinese Crested have trouble with their skin. All require sunscreen to remain healthy and pain free. It is also not uncommon to use acne cream and moisturizer to keep these hairless friends looking and feeling their best.

The powderpuff variety, on the other hand, requires daily brushing. Their hair matts quite easily.

The Chinese Crested does not generally have that doggy smell, which can be a surprising bonus.

Ideal Home Environment

This breed is a good choice for an owner that understands the unique sensitivities and needs. Cresteds require plenty of social interaction, so the ideal owner would not be out of the house all day long.

These dogs are simply too fragile for most children. When they are young, owners need to pay enough attention to ensure that they don’t hurt themselves.

They may get along with other, gentle pets. However, many Crested are timid with other dogs. Socialization can help, but be sure to keep the Crested with reliable pets only.

Although playful, this is not a breed for an athletic owner. They may be good for those with allergies, though. Owners should be willing to care for their specific health concerns, most notably skin conditions.

Health Concerns

This breed is generally quite healthy and long-lived.

Their skin can be quite difficult to care for, requiring various potions and lotions. They will definitely need sunscreen, and perhaps other treatments recommended by a veterinarian.

Eye problems are not uncommon with this breed. Epilepsy is a concern as well.

Behavior Problems

This breed has the behavioral problems of a typical toy.

They require a lot of attention, and can become needy. If they do not receive enough interaction with their humans, they may become sad or even destructive. This is the trade off for their sweet temperament and desire to cuddle.

The Chinese Crested is also surprisingly good at jumping and climbing. They may prove to be escape artists, or simply hurt themselves. Watch out!