Chinese Crested

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Get the 101 about the  Chinese Crested breed and learn the facts to see if they're a good match for you in our guide.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
13 to 18 years
Size:

Extra Small

Maintenance Level:

Low

Shed Level:

Very Low

Temperament:
High-SpiritedVelcro DogSensitive
Coat Color:
ApricotBlackTri-colorBlueChocolateCreamPalominoPink And ChocolatePink And SlateSlateWhite

Best For

Chinese Cresteds are best for pet parents who are able to be with them for most of the day and they are good with gentle, affectionate families. They can do well with older kids, other dogs and cats if properly socialized and are great for apartment-dwellers.

Chinese Crested Traits

What makes the Chinese Crested dog a Chinese Crested? Let's find out how they stack up.

Chinese Crested Temperament

Chinese Cresteds are sweet, playful and incredibly affectionate. But don’t mistake their buoyancy for a “devil-may-care” attitude. These dogs tend to be quite sensitive and respond best to tenderness and patience—they won’t quickly forget harsh words. Cresteds crave TLC in return for their unwavering attention and affection.

Does this mean Chinese Crested dogs are a little needy? Well, yes. They are known to be Velcro dogs. But if you don’t mind a sensitive little stalker who’s always up for snuggling, this might be the pup for you.

Like other toy breeds, Chinese Cresteds can be “mouthy” at times. Though they love their families, they can be nervous and nippy with strangers. In addition to getting your pup used to new people and situations (commonly referred to as “socialization”), savvy pet parents may be able temper their pup’s urge to nip and nibble by offering chew toys or playing tug-of-war.

Raising a Chinese Crested with kids or other small dogs or cats can be a great success if the household isn’t too chaotic. Little ones who enjoy rough play could endanger this tiny dog. Cresteds thrive with kids who know how to be calm and gentle with their diminutive pup. Children might need to be reminded not to try to wrestle or play roughly with this pup.

This ultra-affectionate, lively breed could be trained to excel as a companion dog, emotional therapy dog and a snuggly lapdog for tenderhearted kids and adults.

How to Care for a Chinese Crested

Raising a Chinese Crested will be easy-peasy—these are low-maintenance pups! But that doesn’t mean your dog doesn’t need TLC. Like any kid or fur baby, these pups need affection, play and a bit of grooming (yes, even the hairless ones).

Chinese Crested Health

Chinese Cresteds have a lifespan of 13 to 18 years and have some health problems to be aware of. It’s important for potential pet parents to know what these health issues are, so you can help your pup live the healthiest life possible.

  • Patellar Luxation: This common health problem happens when your dog’s knee cap pops out of place, resulting in a limp. Depending on the severity, treatments range from weight management to physical therapy to surgery.
  • Eye Problems: Sometimes, Chinese Crested dogs inherit eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), gradual failing eyesight with no cure. These dogs can also develop glaucoma (eye pressure that leads to optic nerve damage) and primary lens luxation (dislocation of the lens in the eye). Medication or surgery may be an option with glaucoma (if caught early enough) and lens luxation.
  • Skin Problems: Hairless Chinese Cresteds are prized (and yes, sometimes teased) for their delicate, bare skin. But their bare skin is prone to sunburn, acne and even skin cancer. Slather your dog’s pink skin areas with dog-friendly sunscreen to help prevent serious problems. If your pup gets a serious sunburn, rash or noticeable irritation, schedule a visit with the veterinarian. They can help you pinpoint the problem and prescribe an appropriate cream, ointment or medication.
  • Dental Disease: Researchers have found that hairless dogs are also genetically prone to teeth issues. That’s certainly true of Chinese Cresteds. Schedule annual teeth cleanings by a canine dentist or veterinarian to prevent serious issues.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: Some Chinese Cresteds are prone to orthopedic conditions like Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, a disorder characterized by joint degeneration that can lead to limping. This condition can be diagnosed with an X-ray evaluation and treated with surgery and pain medication.
  • Reactions to Medications and Vaccinations: Sometimes, Chinese Crested dogs have bad reactions to vaccinations or medications. It’s always best to chat with your vet about potential side effects or reactions before scheduling shots or treatments for your pup.

Chinese Crested History

The Chinese Crested origin story goes back centuries—long before breed history was meticulously recorded. The prevailing theory is that giant, hairless dogs were shipped from African nations to China, where the dogs were slowly miniaturized through selective breeding.

As Chinese Cresteds became more popular in Asia, they were also brought on board trading ships to take care of the rats. After showing up in ships across the world—from North Africa to South America—they became known as “Chinese Ship Dogs.” The breed documented in Europe in the 1800s through paintings and photographs is strikingly similar to the Chinese Crested type.

The breed was popularized in North America by two dog-loving professionals, Ida Garrett and Debra Woods. Through their observations and communications about Chinese Cresteds, the breed grew in popularity until the breed was welcomed into the American Kennel Club Stud Book in 1991.

Fun fact: Because of their spellbinding, fantastical appearance (especially that of the hairless variety), some folks refer to this breed as “The Dr. Seuss Dog.”

So, where is the best place to find a Chinese Crested puppy? You can find reputable breeders at the American Kennel Club’s website. The price for a puppy is about $1,200 to $2,000, depending on the breeder. But for that, you’re likely getting a pup who’s been carefully screened for health and temperament issues and may come with pedigree papers. If you prefer to adopt, reach out to Chinese Crested rescue organizations and dog shelters to find the breed.

FAQs

Do Chinese Cresteds shed?

Yes, Chinese Cresteds do shed, though minimally compared to hairier, shaggier breeds and are considered a good choice for people with allergies.

Where are Chinese Crested dogs from?

Chinese Crested dogs originally hail from Africa and Asia. The prevailing theory is that large, hairless dogs were transported from Africa to China many centuries ago. Once there, the dogs were bred to be smaller until the breed became the toy dog we know today.

Are Chinese Cresteds faster than Greyhounds?

Like personality, speed can vary from dog to dog. However, it’s unlikely that Chinese Cresteds are faster than Greyhounds, which have been used as racing dogs for decades.

Are Chinese Cresteds good family dogs?

Chinese Crested dogs are good family dogs—particularly in families with older children who understand how to play gently with this tiny pup.

Do Chinese Cresteds bark a lot?

Chinese Crested dogs do tend to bark, but not excessively, making them a good choice for keeping the peace with your apartment’s neighbors.

What are the most common Chinese Crested mixes?

The most common Chinese Crested mixes are:

  • Chinese Crested-Chihuahua mix (Chi Chi)
  • Chinese Crested-Yorkie mix (Crustie)
  • Chinese Crested-Maltese mix (Crested Malt)
  • Chinese Crested-Shih Tzu mix (Crested Tzu)
  • Chinese Crested-Jack Russell mix (China Jack)
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Top Takeaways

Chinese Cresteds are lively, tenderhearted pets who make great therapy or family dogs. This versatile breed is most famous for their hairless physique, but they’re so much more than their “naked ratter” reputation! These elegant, sensitive little dogs will become your family’s loyal, loving shadow if you put in the time and patience to get to know them.

Expert input provided by Amanda Williams, DVM, chief veterinarian at Furry Friends Adoption, Clinic & Ranch in Jupiter, Fla., and Emilea Byrum, KPA-CTP, RVT, owner and head trainer at Maggie’s Foundation: Pet Training in Indianapolis, Ind.

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