Often appearing on the list of ugliest dog breeds on Earth, the Chinese Crested is unique for its hairless and spotted appearance. While some may find them bizarre, others find them enchanting, lovable, and sweet. Why is the Chinese Crested so polarizing? Many point to its spotty, hairless body, beady eyes, and odd mop of […]

Often appearing on the list of ugliest dog breeds on Earth, the Chinese Crested is unique for its hairless and spotted appearance. While some may find them bizarre, others find them enchanting, lovable, and sweet. Why is the Chinese Crested so polarizing? Many point to its spotty, hairless body, beady eyes, and odd mop of white hair on its tail and head. If you’re a potential pet owner looking for a dog that stands out among the many white fluffy dogs of the world, the Chinese Crested dog breed might be for you!

The Chinese Crested is more than its looks. The adorable Chinese Crested has a loving personality that makes it a great potential member of your family. These dogs are intelligent, loyal, empathetic, and affectionate. This dog will become a favorite family member of any household it joins!

Chinese Crested Dog Characteristics (Physical)

This dog breed’s eye-catching appearance is the first thing you will notice! The Chinese Crested is one of the most bizarre and unusual-looking breeds in the dog world. This is often credited to its combination of having a spotted, hairless body and a wild mop of hair on its head.

Chinese Crested Dog Breed Size

The Chinese Crested, a true small dog breed, typically stands between 11 to 13 inches in height at the shoulder. While variations in size exist, the average weight falls within the range of 5 to 12 pounds.


When it comes to the overall appearance of this toy dog, they are elegant and graceful. This slender dog is considered “fine-boned” by the American Kennel Club and has well-developed ribs and a tucked-up flank.

The Chinese Crested has slender, straight legs that complement this dog’s overall sleek physique. Its gait is characterized by liveliness, agility, and smooth movement.


The Chinese Crested sports a slender tail that gracefully curves, extending long enough to reach the dog’s hock. According to the AKC, during walking or running, the tail should be carried ‘gaily’, slightly arched forward over its back. At rest, it naturally hangs down, forming a gentle curl at the end.


The Chinese Crested presents an alert and focused expression, characterized by far-set almond-shaped eyes and large, erect ears. With a narrow face and skull, complemented by a petite muzzle, the Chinese Crested exudes a delicate appearance.

Chinese Crested Dog Breed Personality

This gentle breed is devoted and sensitive, making it an excellent lapdog. With its positive and infectious energy, this dog loves to please their owners. If you’re looking for an affection breed that loves to snuggle and cuddle with its owner, this pup is for you! Their favorite spot in the world is underneath a cozy blanket, curled up next to you.

That being said, the Chinese Crested can be considered clingy by some. Some attribute this behavior only to the hairless variety of the breed. A fan of the spotlight, this dog thrives when it’s the center of attention and will engage in goofy antics to make its owners laugh. This desire to be close to the family can turn into destructive behavior if your Chinese Crested dog is left alone too long or too often.

Since the Chinese Crested has such a close relationship with its owners, this breed is incredibly empathetic and emotionally intelligent. With time, they will be able to quickly notice and interpret your emotions with ease. When you’re happy and comfortable, so will your Chinese Crested dog. During times of sadness, you’ll notice your dog trying to lift your spirits and make you happy.

Just like little kids, The Chinese Crested loves having plenty of toys in their home. Intelligent and playful, this pup will often race up and down the hall or invent games to play when you’re not around. Since this active dog loves to play, be sure to set aside time to exercise with your pup.

Chinese Crested Dog Breed Exercise

Tiny but mighty, this small breed is incredibly active. The Chinese Crested is not just a purse dog or couch potato (even though they love all activities spent with their owner). It’s important to make sure your dog receives at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Routine exercise will keep them happy, healthy, and well-behaved.

The easiest way to give your dog the exercise they need is to take them on a daily walk or two.  Your Chinese Crested will adore a daily walk around the neighborhood or a closeby nature trail.

Chinese Crested Dog Breed Training

While the Chinese Crested is known for its loyalty and sweetness, some novice dog owners may find it difficult to train them. This breed often proves to be quite challenging when it comes to housetraining.

Maintaining a strict “potty” schedule is crucial, ensuring your pup has no opportunity to relieve themselves indoors. Consistency is key; the more your Chinese Crested uses the house as a toilet, the tougher it becomes to instill proper bathroom habits. Keep the potty schedule consistent to deter undesirable behavior and mess. During the training phase, confine your dog to a designated area of the house to facilitate the learning of good potty habits.

You might opt for a pee pad or litter box indoors as an option for your Chinese Crested if you live somewhere with extreme weather. However, be cautious as this could potentially confuse your dog about appropriate bathroom locations. It’s generally preferable to establish a consistent routine of outdoor bathroom breaks to maintain clarity and simplicity for your pet.

Aside from toilet training, the Chinese Crested excels in many other areas of training, like, walking, tricks, and socializing with guests, especially when treats are involved. Despite their small size, they have a big appetite for yummy food rewards. It’s recommended to start treat-based training as soon as you welcome your new puppy home. Early obedience training can be beneficial as your puppy is receptive to learning positive behaviors.

Chinese Crested Dog Breed History

The definitive origin story of this unique dog is still a mystery. The American Kennel Club theorizes that their breed came from ancient and larger hairless dogs that were brought to China from Africa. Over time, generations of breeding resulted in their diminutive size.

The AKC explains, “…The Chinese were the master miniaturizers of the ancient world; the Shi Tzu and Pekingese are two further examples of breeds born of Chinese mini-mania”.

After this breed was established in China, this useful and loyal dog quickly became popular with Chinese trading vessels. The Chinese Crested was welcomed on board during high-seas travel for its hunting abilities. The Chinese Crested made delightful shipboard exterminators, catching rodents with ease. Their ability to catch rats soon caught the attention of other countries.

The demand for the “Chinese Ship Dog ” exploded in other countries, including, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa. European explorers often recorded sightings of the Chinese Crested in faraway port towns throughout Central and South America, Africa, and Asia.

The Chinese Crested Comes to America

Two women are primarily responsible for bringing the Chinese Crested to North America. Ida Garret, a journalist, and Debra Woods made a massive difference in the history of this breed.

Garrett actively advocated for the breed through her writings in the 1880s, while Woods initiated her dog breeding program and wrote about the breed.

The establishment of the American Chinese Crested Club in 1979 further strengthened the efforts to popularize this dog breed. Finally, in 1991, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Chinese Crested.

Chinese Crested Dog Breed Health Problems

Genetic health issues can affect any purebred dog. It’s crucial to select an ethical Chinese Crested breeder who guarantees the health of their puppies. Reputable breeders will be transparent about common health concerns associated with the breed. They typically conduct health screenings on their dogs before breeding and openly discuss their bloodlines.

Retinal Atrophy

This health problem describes an eye condition that damages the eye’s retina. Generally, it starts with your dog suffering the loss of their night vision. Left untreated, this condition can completely blind your Chinese Crested. Be sure to have your dog’s eyes and vision examined every time you bring them to the vet.

Dental Disease

Due to the small size of their mouths, most small dogs are prone to dental diseases. If you start to notice your dog’s breath smelling terrible or see bleeding or sores in their mouth, it’s likely that they have a dental disease.

Other signs of dental issues include itching at their mouth, licking their lips excessively, or having missing teeth.

Congenital Deafness

Common in about 80 breeds, Chinese Crested dogs may go deaf due to genetic predisposition. If you’re worried that your dog may be deaf, here are some common signs to look out for:

  • Not responding to their name
  • Ears not moving when loud sounds occur
  • Loud, excessive barking
  • Unable to follow commands


This chronic disease, known as diabetes, cannot be cured but can be effectively managed with proper veterinary care and treatment. The most prevalent form of this disease in dogs is “sugar diabetes,” a metabolic disorder characterized by elevated sugar levels in the bloodstream.

Common symptoms include:

  • Excessive thirst: Your dog will drink quite frequently, consuming more water than usual.
  • Increased urination: Your dog might start having “accidents” indoors despite being house trained. This happens because your dog’s body is trying to get rid of excess sugar by sending it out through urine.
  • Increased appetite: Since your dog’s cells aren’t getting the necessary glucose, your dog may get incredibly hungry even though they’re eating the correct portions.
  • Weight loss: Despite eating normal proportions, your dog may lose weight because their body can’t efficiently convert nutrients.
  • Depression: Your dog will become lethargic than normal since they aren’t getting enough nutrients to be their energetic self.


This condition occurs when your dog’s thyroid no longer produces enough thyroid hormone. When this happens, your Chinese Crested will experience changes in their fur coat and skin and they will become heavier and lethargic.

Skin Conditions

Because of their hairless nature, Chinese Cresteds are prone to various skin issues such as dryness, blackheads, acne, and other dermatological conditions. Allergies can also lead to infections in their sensitive skin. Look out for symptoms like redness, sores, wounds, excessive greasiness, and oiliness. If your dog is frequently scratching or chewing at its skin, it might indicate discomfort or irritation that requires attention from a veterinarian.

Related: Soothing CBD Pet Balm for Cats & Dogs

How to Care for a Chinese Crested Dog Breed

Loyal, loving, and social, the Chinese Crested is a wonderful dog breed. It’s important to provide them with excellent care to keep them happy and healthy.

This breed is a bundle of energy. You’ll often see them racing around the home, jumping up on furniture, and playing with their toys (even when you’re away). Make sure to give your pooch plenty of exercise and a collection of toys to keep them stimulated and content.

Ideally, Chinese Crested dog owners will make sure their yards are fenced-in so their dogs can play in a secure area. Despite their short legs, the Chinese Crested is impressively agile and can jump very high, so it’s best to get a proper fencer to make sure your dog doesn’t run off.

Caring for a hairless Chinese Crested requires extra attention to their skin, unlike other dogs. The absence of fur can lead to oily skin, predisposing the Chinese Crested to acne and blackheads. Regular bathing and proper skin care are essential to prevent these issues.

Since the Chinese Crested dog often lacks fur, they might feel colder than dogs with fur, especially in colder climates or during winter weather. When venturing outdoors, it’s essential to outfit your pup with sweaters, jackets, and possibly booties to keep them warm on colder days. Indoors, provide them with a cozy environment by offering a heating pad, blankets, and plenty of cuddles to ensure their comfort during chilly days.

Inspect their ears weekly for any accumulation of dirt and wax, as they may be more prone to this due to their lack of fur protection. Similarly, pay close attention to their eyes and nose for any signs of buildup. Last but not least, maintain their nail length through regular trimming to ensure they look neat and avoid causing harm to themselves or others.

Nutrition and Feeding for a Chinese Crested Dog Breed

Despite being described as “fine-boned and slender”, the Chinese Crested LOVES to eat. This breed is known to easily gain weight so it’s very important to select food with the proper nutrition and serve them the correct amount.

To meet the nutritional needs of your dog, opt for high-quality dog food rich in essential proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. Look for lean meat sources such as lamb or chicken, avoiding those with “meal” as they may be lower in quality and potentially contribute to weight gain. Be mindful of excessive unhealthy carbohydrates, which can lead to obesity and allergies. However, appropriate carbohydrate intake is vital to provide your dog with the energy needed for exercise and overall well-being.

Offer your dog two smaller meals daily, dividing the recommended daily food portion into breakfast and dinner servings. This feeding schedule aids in digestion and promotes better stomach health by minimizing bloating, gas, and stomach discomfort. Consistency is key, so aim to feed your dog at the same times each day to establish a routine. You can even consider using an automatic feeder equipped with portion control to streamline the process and ensure accurate servings.

As said before, the Chinese Crested is genetically prone to diabetes. We recommend discussing potential food brands and diets with your veterinarian. They can recommend suitable food options for the Chinese Crested breed and provide precise guidance on the daily portions required for individual dogs.

Coat Color And Grooming

The Chinese Crested comes in two varieties: the powderpuff and the hairless.

The hairless Chinese Crested typically only has fur on its head (referred to as a crest) and tail (known as a plume), with fur on the feet as well. Despite their minimal hair, the American Kennel Club (AKC) notes that their exposed skin should be soft and smooth.

In contrast, the powderpuff is completely covered with a double soft and silky coat. This fluffy Chinese Crested has long, thin guard hairs over its silky undercoat. The coat is typically straight.

Both the powderpuff and hairless varieties of the Chinese Crested don’t need a lot of grooming. As noted before, the hairless variety is more prone to irritations, allergies, and sunburns. Skin health is very important, including soothing balm treatments.

To keep your powderpuff fluffy, daily brushing is recommended. Unlike most breeds where the undercoat is longer than the overcoat, this variety’s undercoat is quite short. Although their coat is easy to brush, it’s prone to matting if not properly maintained. Some powderpuff owners opt to shave their dog’s muzzle every two weeks to keep it tidy.

Children And Other Pets

The Chinese Crested dog is fun-loving, playful, and full of energy. These traits make them an ideal companion for older children who are interested in training or playing games with a dog. Together, they can play fetch in the backyard to their heart’s content.

With that in mind, the Chinese Crested is not as great with younger children. This small dog is fragile, especially as a puppy. An excited child who doesn’t know how to properly handle a dog might unintentionally harm these delicate animals. To avoid injury to your dog, always teach children in the household how to properly interact with the Chinese Crested before letting them play together.

The Chinese Crested enjoys being around other animals, including cats and dogs. They love playing with other pets to keep themselves occupied when you are away. This friendliness extends to larger breeds of dogs as well.

The Chinese Crested, particularly the hairless variety, is often characterized as a clingy breed that is prone to jealousy. They can become upset if they feel their owner’s attention is directed elsewhere, potentially displaying behaviors such as vocalization or destructiveness to regain their owner’s attention during moments of cuddling or playing with another pet.

Rescue Groups

The Chinese Crested is a breed beloved by families for its cuddly and loving nature. However, there are situations out of an owner’s control that may leave them with hard choices. Thankfully, there are many wonderful rescue groups that specialize in protecting this unique pup, fostering them, and helping them find forever homes that suit their needs.

  • Bald is Beautiful Dog Rescue: This independent rescue is very experienced with rehabilitating dogs in need. According to the rescue, a lot of their rescues come from unethical “backyard breeders.” They educate the community through events, social media, and fundraisers.
  • Bare Paws Rescue: This organization is full of terrific volunteers who foster hairless dog breeds and mixes that need a new home. They raise money by selling adorable pet clothing to keep your Chinese Crested warm.

Breed Organizations

Chinese Crested organizations prioritize spreading information about the breed and celebrating its unique qualities through specialized events.

The American Chinese Crested Club shares helpful information on the Crested Chinese on their website. You can find information on breed standards, judging requirements, and fun things you can do with your Chinese Crested.

Looking for some fun suggestions for activities to do with your hairless pup? Read below!

  • Dock Diving: Your dog will jump off a platform into a pool of water in a splashy competition about which dog can jump the furthest.
  • Fast Cat: Your dog will speedily chase a “lure” through a large 100-yard course.
  • Trick Dog: Your dog must perform a variety of tricks in this impressive competition all about obedience and intelligence.
  • Conformation: A dog show competition that judges your dog’s appearance and movement.
  • Obedience: Your dog must perform a variety of tricks and follow different commands to show off its trainability.
  • Agility: You help guide your dog through an obstacle course that requires your Chinese Crested to run up ramps, run through tunnels with agility, and quickly weave through poles. Speed and accuracy are important as it’s a timed competition.

More About This Dog Breed

Referred to as the Chinese Edible Dog, the Chinese Ship Dog, and the Chinese Royal Hairless, the Chinese Crested is a unique pup known by many names with a striking appearance and mysterious origin.

Of all its many names, perhaps the weirdest one is the Dr. Suess Dog. This nickname comes from the Chinese Crested’s bizarre appearance and how the hairless variety looks like something that just popped out of a Dr. Suess book.

Deemed exotic for its hairless, spotted body, and the crest of hair on its head, this dog is one unique creature. When compared to other dog breeds, the Chinese Crested also has remarkably long feet. While some experts call their feet “elongated”, breed enthusiasts call them “hare-like”.

While we’ve mentioned that the Chinese Crested can be hairless or fluffy, did you know that they also come in a variety of colors? They range from pink (due to their naked bodies) to rich chocolate. Common color combinations change with popularity and go in and out of fashion throughout the years. In fact, palomino-colored Chinese Crested dogs were a big fad in the 1980s.

Just like humans, the Chinese Crested’s skin color will change with sun exposure. Owners have noticed that the warmer season often results in their dog’s skin becoming darker. With that being said, it’s important to provide them with skin protection in the form of sunblock.

With the one-of-a-kind look, it’s no surprise that the Chinese Crested has become popular in movies. The Chinese Crested certainly stands out on film! You can spot this spotlight-loving canine in movies like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, New York Minute, 102 Dalmatians, and Cats & Dogs.

In addition to Hollywood’s fascination with the Chinese Crested, these dogs are popular with everyday families all over the globe. The American Kennel Club currently ranks them 79th amongst registered breeders. These pups will cost a pretty penny (around $2,000) but the Chinese Crested is more than worth it for their loving and social personalities.