Let's talk Chinese Crested Dogs

Whether it’s the Hairless or Powderpuff version, the decidedly distinctive Chinese Crested Dog, prized for centuries by Chinese royalty, does anything but fade into the background. This graceful, slender breed packs playfulness, deep affection, and oodles of character into one small package. Though agile and athletic, the Chinese Crested Dog is ideally suited for indoor life where they can curl up on their owner’s lap. If you’re looking for a fellow sofa spud, the Chinese Crested Dog may be the breed for you.

Official name: Chinese Crested Dog

Origins: China

Black and white headshot of a Chinese Crested dog
 Drooling tendencies

Very low

Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level Low
Suited to apartment living?  Very high
 Energy level (high, low, medium) *: Low Family pet? *
Very high
 Compatibility with other pets High
Can stay alone? * Very low

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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Illustration of a Chinese Crested dog
28 - 33 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
4 - 6 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
23 - 30 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
4 - 6 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight

 Baby age:  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age:  2 to 10 months
 Adult age: 10 months to 8 years
 Mature age:  8 to 12 years
 Senior age:  12 to 15 years

Chinese Crested dog sat on a tree stump


Get to know the Chinese Crested Dog

All you need to know about the breed

The Chinese Crested Dog is an eye-catching, fine to medium-boned Toy breed whose unique appearance and fun-loving energy make them hard to miss. Sensitive and highly sociable, Chinese Crested dogs are quickly smitten with their owners and immune to TLC overdose. A sterling companion, thanks to the breed's loyalty and great personality, the Chinese Crested Dog is an affectionate, lively breed that is most content when hanging out or playing with their human families.

Chinese Crested dogs come in two versions: The Hairless, instantly recognisable by the magnificent hair on their head (crest), tail (plume) and feet (socks) and an otherwise bare body – a trait inherited from their ancestors – and the Powderpuff, with their resplendent, silky, full-body coat. Both variants require a certain amount of grooming, but it seems only fair that looking this good should take some effort.

Ever eager for their owner’s affection and highly responsive to commands, Chinese Crested dogs do well with gentle, patient training. While generally friendly with other people and animals, it’s important to socialise and train your Chinese Crested dog as early as possible to make sure they are comfortable around unfamiliar faces.

An uncanny talent for jumping, digging, and climbing coupled with a distaste for being left alone for too long mean the Chinese Crested dog can and will escape any closed space. While the Chinese Crested is always up for some fun, outdoor playtime, it’s best if this happens under your watchful eye within a secure, high enclosure.

Chinese Crested dog stood on grass with one front paw lifted


2 facts about Chinese Crested Dogs

1. Genes: a hairy matter …

Chinese Crested Dogs come in both Hairless and Powderpuff versions but, aside from their follicular differences, they’re exactly the same breed. Despite this, the Powderpuff’s silky, full-body coat is in fact a recessive trait. So, what does that mean? You can have both Hairless and Powderpuff puppies in the same litter!

2. The “It” dog 

Is it their one-of-a-kind looks? Their life of the party personalities? Whatever the “it” may be, the Chinese Crested have long garnered celebrity attention. The breed has enjoyed roles on the big and small screen for decades. The famous burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee was a renowned Chinese Crested breeder who created one of the first American kennels devoted to the breed. 


History of the breed

Though their precise origins are unclear, the Chinese Crested Dog is thought to be a descendant of ancient hairless African dogs that were brought to China, where their presence can be traced back to the 13th century. There, Chinese Crested dogs became the preferred companions of Han Dynasty families who used them as treasure guardians, hunting companions, and even living heating pads, thanks to their naturally warm skin.

Prized for their keen ratting skills aboard seafaring vessels, the Chinese Crested breed was also a favourite of Chinese sailors who traded them in ports all over the globe, giving rise to variations of the breed in countries all over the globe.

The Chinese Crested Dog reappeared in European records, paintings and photographs in the 19th century. However, their big debut on the Western stage came in the 1880’s when American journalist Ida Garrett and breeder Debra Woods took a fancy to the Chinese Crested, widely promoting them through writing, speaking, and breeding programs. The Chinese Crested has since enjoyed burgeoning popularity and was officially recognised by the AKC in 1991.

Black and white portrait of a Chinese Crested dog standing to the side


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Chinese Crested dogs

1. Head

Head is smooth with minimal wrinkling and dark, alert eyes.

2. Ears

Ears are low-set, large and erect with or without fringe.

3. Body

Body is long to medium-long and supple.

4. Coat

Coat: long, tapered crest, plume and socks for Hairless, long, full coat for Powderpuff.

5. Tail

Long, tapered tail falling naturally at rest, carried up or out when moving.

Side view of a Chinese Crested dog stood on grass facing the right


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Chinese Crested Dog
One black and two white Chinese Crested dogs running towards the camera across grass


Caring for your Chinese Crested Dog

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Though not heavy shedders, the Chinese Crested Dog – both Powderpuff and Hairless – do require consistent grooming. The Hairless can experience minor skin irritations, allergies, and sunburn, so make sure to ask your vet which products are best suited for your pooch. The Powderpuff’s long double coat should be brushed weekly, preferably with a pin or bristle brush, to avoid matting. While fairly easy to train, the highly sensitive Chinese Crested Dog learns best with a gentle, patient trainer. A top performer in competitive sports, the Chinese Crested Dog excels when given positive reinforcement. While naturally athletic, they don’t have high exercise requirements. The breed does well with a short daily walk and supervised off-the-lead play in a safe enclosure.


All about Chinese Crested Dog

Because the Chinese Crested thrives on attention and is highly social, they can experience separation anxiety and resort to barking when left on their own for extended periods of time. The Crested can also “alarm bark”, but training and early socialisation can help them become more comfortable around people they don’t know. 

Though both Hairless and Powderpuff Chinese Crested dogs should be bathed occasionally, the breed is mostly clean and odourless. You read that right, they are virtually odour free.



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/