Breeds, Toy Group

Chinese Crested

This guide explores the unique traits and characteristics of the Chinese Crested, a breed that captivates with its distinct appearance and lively temperament. Ideal for dog lovers seeking a companion with minimal shedding, the Chinese Crested comes in two varieties: Hairless and Powderpuff. Understanding their social needs, grooming requirements, and health considerations is crucial for anyone considering this breed.

With expert advice, this guide provides essential tips for nurturing and bonding with a Chinese Crested, ensuring a harmonious relationship between dog and owner. As we proceed, discover how to best care for these charming and affectionate canines.

Chinese Crested – Size & Life Expectancy

Chinese Crested Height

11-13 inches

Chinese Crested Weight

8-12 pounds

Chinese Crested Life Expectancy
Life Expectancy

13-18 years

About the Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested, a breed enveloped in mystique and allure, boasts a history as intriguing as its appearance. Despite its name, the breed’s origins are not definitively tied to China. Historical evidence suggests that these dogs, renowned for their sparse hair and graceful demeanor, began their journey in Africa or Mexico. Seafarers favored them for their prowess in hunting vermin aboard ships, a crucial task for maintaining health and safety on long voyages. It is believed that Chinese traders encountered these dogs and played a significant role in their propagation, giving the breed its name and introducing it to new lands.

The Chinese Crested comes in two distinct varieties: the Hairless, with soft, human-like skin and tufts of hair on the head, tail, and ankles, and the Powderpuff, which boasts a full coat of fine, silky hair. Both types share a common genetic pool, with the hairless gene being dominant. This unique genetic trait sparked curiosity and admiration, allowing the breed to carve out a niche in the canine world.

Evolution to Modern Popularity

Transitioning from the high seas to high society, the Chinese Crested gained prominence in the Western world during the 19th century. Dog enthusiasts were drawn to its exotic looks and amiable nature, making it a staple in dog shows and a companion in elite circles. By the 20th century, the breed had established a firm foothold, particularly in America, where it became celebrated not only for its distinctive physical traits but also for its spirited yet loving personality.

Today, the Chinese Crested enjoys a modest but dedicated following. The breed ranks in the middle tier of popularity according to kennel clubs around the globe. This status reflects a community of owners who appreciate the breed not only for its physical characteristics but also for its adaptability and affectionate disposition. These dogs excel in agility and obedience, showcasing their intelligence and eagerness to please.

The Ideal Owners

The typical owners of Chinese Crested dogs are those who cherish companionship and have a penchant for unique pets. The breed’s minimal shedding makes it a favorite among allergy sufferers, although its skin requires considerable care to prevent irritations or sunburn. Owners must commit to regular grooming routines, including moisturizing the skin of the Hairless variety and brushing the Powderpuff’s luxurious locks.

Emotionally, the Chinese Crested thrives on interaction and forms strong bonds with its family members. This breed is ideal for those who can provide frequent companionship, as it does not fare well with prolonged solitude. Its alert and curious nature makes it an excellent watchdog, though it is typically friendly towards strangers.

In conclusion, the Chinese Crested stands out in the canine kingdom for its striking looks and endearing qualities. Its journey from ship ratter to showstopper reflects a rich history that continues to attract a diverse group of admirers. Whether as a show dog or a family pet, the Chinese Crested remains a symbol of elegance and affection, making it a cherished choice for discerning dog lovers worldwide.

Traits & Characteristics of the Chinese Crested

  • Appearance: Hairless variety with hair on the head, tail, and ankles, or the fully-coated Powderpuff variety.
  • Size: Small, typically weighing 8 to 12 pounds and standing about 11 to 13 inches tall.
  • Temperament: Affectionate, playful, and gentle with family.
  • Intelligence: Highly intelligent and trainable, excels in obedience and agility tasks.
  • Social: Needs Thrives on human interaction and dislikes being left alone for long periods.
  • Grooming: Requires regular skin care for the Hairless variety to prevent irritation; frequent brushing needed for the Powderpuff’s coat.
  • Health: Generally healthy but can be prone to dental issues, skin irritations, and allergies.

Owning a Chinese Crested

Considering a Chinese Crested as your next pet? This section delves into what potential owners should know about caring for this distinctive and affectionate breed. From health specifics to grooming needs, this comprehensive overview will equip you with the essential knowledge to nurture a healthy, happy dog.


Chinese Cresteds are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they face specific health challenges. Common issues include dental problems due to their small mouths, which can lead to early tooth loss if not maintained properly with regular dental check-ups and cleanings. Skin care is paramount, especially for the Hairless variety, which is prone to acne, sunburn, and dryness. Regular vet visits can help manage these conditions effectively. Additionally, this breed can experience allergies and eye problems, so monitoring their health and consulting with a vet for preventative care strategies is crucial.


Despite their small size, Chinese Cresteds possess a lively and playful nature that requires regular exercise. Daily walks and interactive play sessions are necessary to keep them mentally stimulated and physically fit. They excel in agility training due to their nimble movements and keen intelligence. Owners should engage them with activities that challenge both their minds and bodies, keeping training sessions short and fun to hold their attention. A well-exercised Chinese Crested is not only healthier but also happier.


Grooming needs vary significantly between the two varieties of Chinese Crested. The Hairless requires frequent skin care to prevent irritation, including the use of moisturizers and sunscreen to protect against environmental elements. Conversely, the Powderpuff variety boasts a double coat that needs regular brushing to prevent matting and to keep the fur smooth and clean. Regardless of the type, all Chinese Cresteds benefit from regular baths, nail trims, and dental care to maintain overall hygiene and appearance.


Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in the health of a Chinese Crested. High-quality dog food appropriate for the dog’s age, size, and activity level ensures they receive balanced nutrition. Owners should avoid foods that can cause allergies in this breed, such as corn or excessive grain fillers. Additionally, due to their propensity for dental issues, soft foods are not recommended as they can exacerbate dental decay. Treats should be given sparingly to prevent obesity. Always have fresh water available, and consult your vet to tailor a diet plan that suits your pet’s individual needs.


Chinese Cresteds are highly trainable and eager to please, making them excellent candidates for both basic obedience and more complex commands. Early puppy training and socialization are vital to develop a well-rounded and sociable dog. They respond best to positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play, and treats. Consistency in training routines fosters a secure learning environment, allowing them to thrive. The social aspect cannot be overstated; exposing them to various people, pets, and environments early on reduces timidity and builds confidence.

By understanding and addressing these five key areas, owners can ensure their Chinese Crested leads a vibrant, full life. This guide provides a solid foundation for embarking on a rewarding journey with this uniquely charming companion.

The Chinese Crested Standard

The Chinese Crested stands as a paragon of unique beauty and elegance in the canine world, defined by breed standards that highlight its distinctive traits and graceful structure. This breed, celebrated for its exotic appearance and spirited personality, is judged against a set of criteria that ensures each dog exemplifies the ideal characteristics expected of the breed.

General Appearance

The Chinese Crested appears as a fine-boned, elegant, and slender dog, exuding an aristocratic demeanor. Despite its delicate build, the breed is surprisingly hardy and agile. The overall balance and grace are more significant than mere size, with an alert expression that mirrors its lively and lovable nature.

Size and Proportion

The ideal Chinese Crested dog stands between 11 and 13 inches at the withers, with a weight that is not specified in the breed standard but should be proportionate to the height, maintaining a svelte and graceful silhouette. The body length, from the sternum to the buttock, slightly exceeds the height, contributing to a slightly elongated appearance that enhances its elegant stance.


A breed hallmark, the head of the Chinese Crested, conveys its alertness and intelligence. It features a clean, tapered skull, slightly rounded but not domed, and a pronounced stop. The muzzle is fine and elongated without appearing snipey. Eyes are almond-shaped, dark in color, and convey an intense, yet gentle expression. The ears can be erect or dropped with long fringes, adding to its distinctive look in the Hairless variety.


The breed is famously known for its two varieties: the Hairless and the Powderpuff. The Hairless displays soft, human-like skin with hair only on the head (crest), tail (plume), and feet (socks). The skin should be smooth and soft, without excessive wrinkling. The Powderpuff sports a full coat of soft, straight hair that feels silky to the touch, covering the body in a veil of fine fur that requires regular grooming to maintain its luxurious texture.

Color and Markings

In both varieties, all colors and combinations of colors are acceptable, allowing for a wide range of individual appearances. This inclusivity in color and pattern reflects the breed’s diverse genetic heritage and contributes to its exotic allure.


The gait of the Chinese Crested is a critical aspect of its breed standard, reflecting its agility and soundness. The movement is graceful and springy with a slight prance, showcasing drive and stamina without any sign of awkwardness. The breed’s light-footed gait is as much a part of its appeal as its physical appearance.


The ideal Chinese Crested is affectionate, lively, and playful without being hyperactive. It forms strong emotional bonds with its owners, displaying a blend of sensitivity and alertness. The breed is known for its ability to perform tricks and excel in dog sports, reflecting its intelligence and willingness to please.

By adhering to these standards, the Chinese Crested not only excels in conformation shows but also thrives as a cherished companion. This detailed breed standard ensures that each Chinese Crested not only looks the part but also embodies the breed’s cherished traits of elegance, agility, and loving temperament.

Chinese Crested – FAQ

Explore the fascinating world of the Chinese Crested with our comprehensive FAQ. Get insights into their unique characteristics, care needs, and suitability as pets, ensuring you have all the information needed to understand and possibly choose this distinctive and affectionate breed for your family.

Alternatives to a Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested shares many similarities with other small, lively breeds that are known for their distinctive appearances and endearing personalities. For example, the Italian Greyhound mirrors the Chinese Crested in its elegant, fine-boned structure and affectionate nature. Like the Chinese Crested, Italian Greyhounds are sensitive, thrive on companionship, and possess a similarly graceful demeanor.

Another breed that aligns closely with the Chinese Crested is the Xoloitzcuintli, often simply called the “Xolo.” This breed also comes in a hairless variety, offering a unique aesthetic similar to the Hairless Chinese Crested. Xolos are known for their loyalty and intelligence, matching the Chinese Crested’s traits of being highly trainable and loving towards their families.

The Chihuahua, while not hairless, shares the small size and lively personality of the Chinese Crested. Chihuahuas are also companion-oriented dogs that form strong bonds with their owners and display a range of coat types and colors, similar to the variation seen in Chinese Cresteds.

Lastly, the Toy Poodle offers another comparison, known for its intelligence and active disposition, which are qualities highly valued in the Chinese Crested. Toy Poodles also require a commitment to grooming and care that is akin to the needs of the Powderpuff variety of Chinese Cresteds, with their soft, curly coats necessitating regular maintenance.

Each of these breeds shares key traits with the Chinese Crested, such as small stature, distinct physical traits, and a deep capacity for companionship, making them appealing to those who cherish the unique qualities of the Chinese Crested.