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Chinese Crested Dog: Gentle, Lovable, Tiny "Hairless" Companion

Chinese Crested Dog

The Chinese Crested Dog actually comes in two varieties: the Powderpuff and the Hairless. The Hairless variety isn't quite hairless, in that it has tufts of hair on its paws and tail, and a flowing "crest" on its head. Some Hairless varieties of the Chinese Crested Dog actually exhibit a weaker expression of the gene, such that if they are left ungroomed, they will grow nearly full coats. This wonderful little dog makes an excellent pet, although the Hairless variety especially must be treated with extreme tenderness, as your pet will not have the natural protections a fur coat would normally afford against the sun, inclement weather, cuts, scrapes, abrasions, and so forth. Even the Powderpuff variety is a small dog that is quite fragile and must be treated with care.

History
Hairless Chinese Crested Dogs may have come from Africa originally and may be the reason that the breed was referred to as the "African Hairless Terrier" in several 19th century texts. However, other genetics indicate that it may share origins with the Mexican hairless. In the 1950s, the first Chinese Crested Dogs were specifically bred for their lineage by a woman named Debora Wood who began to breed and keep records of her dogs' heritage. Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous burlesque dancer, also bred these dogs, which were incorporated into Crest Haven, the kennel that Wood established when she began to keep formal breeding records. The Chinese Crested Dog was registered officially with the American Kennel Club in 1991.

Appearance
The Chinese Crested Dog is a tiny dog, with a very fine-boned skeletal structure and a graceful, elegant appearance. Although the Powderpuff and Hairless varieties are separate types of Chinese Crested Dogs, they are in fact the same breed specifically because each encompasses a specific genetic trait rather than breed type. The Powderpuff variety (with hair) is brought about by a recessive gene; the same female can have both Hairless and Powderpuff puppies in the same litter.

Besides their obviously distinct hairless appearance, what sets these dogs apart are their eyes. The eyes are wide set, very alert, intense, and intelligent. In general, dogs with dark coloring have darkcolored eyes, while light dogs have light-colored eyes. Your pet's elegant appearance comes from its lineage. The neck is long and slightly arched, the body sleek and tapered, with clean, narrow shoulders, long legs for its size, and narrow, elegant feet. Fully grown, your puppy will stand about 11 to 13 inches at the shoulder, usually, and adults weigh about 10 pounds.

Temperament
Properly socialized, these little dogs make great family dogs, but because of their extremely delicate nature (especially for the Hairless type), care should be taken that they aren't handled roughly, especially by rambunctious children.

In terms of its behavior, your little pet will be a loyal, extremely loving companion for life. Your pet is very agile and intelligent, and will love to learn tricks.

In spite of its rather delicate physic stature, you should not overly baby your pet. Your dog will need plenty of exercise, and you should take care not to spoil it so that it thinks it's in charge. Doing so could cause "Small Dog Syndrome" to develop, whereby your dog will turn from a loving, obedient and charming companion to a little terror who is, quite simply, spoiled rotten. In spite of its delicate nature, this little dog can be somewhat dangerous to small children especially because your pet can bite and snip if it feels threatened or simply does not have the proper socialization so that he or she is well behaved.

Exercise
It's important to note that you shouldn't carry your pet everywhere, although it may be tempting to do so. In order to be properly behaved, your dog needs plenty of exercise, including a daily walk. Make sure, however, that whenever your pet goes outdoors, he or she is covered with proper "doggie clothing" suitable for the weather, such as a T-shirt for sunny weather (to prevent sunburn), or a sweater for cold weather. Sunscreen is also advised whenever your pet will be outdoors.

Proper Environment These little dogs are great apartment dogs, and although they do need a daily walk, they don't need other types of extensive exercise outside. In fact, it's advised to take care not to have your dog outdoors too much simply because sun exposure can cause skin problems and irritation. That said, your dog will be very active indoors, and loves to play, learn tricks, and so forth.

These gentle, lovable little dogs are extremely friendly to everyone, including children, as long as those children can treat them with proper, tender care. Again, they will not do well with rambunctious children who handle them roughly; not only will even well-socialized dogs become snippy if they feel threatened, but they could actually be seriously injured if not handled prudently. Therefore, if you have small children in your home who won't understand that your little pet should truly be handled like a china doll, it's best to wait until those children are older to get a Chinese Crested Dog.

In addition, the Chinese Crested Dogs are excellent companions and demand generous human attention. They will make friends with just about anyone, including other pets, but it's important that you intend to devote a lot of personal time to your small dog. If this is not possible and your dog will be alone frequently, it's best to go with another breed.

Health
As stated previously, the Chinese Crested Dog is a delicate little dog that must be handled carefully. In addition to the extra care you must take because your dog has no hair (if of the Hairless variety) and is fragile and delicate, your pet is also prone to breed-specific problems like tooth loss, decay and gum disease. They also have what are called "primitive mouths," which means that most of their teeth are canine, or tusk-like, and generally are lost in their early life. The Hairless variety can be prone to poor teeth, although the Powderpuff variety usually does not have these problems.

In addition to tooth problems, Chinese Crested Dogs are prone to progressive retinal atrophy and canine multiple system degeneration. The progressive retinal atrophy can lead to blindness; one specific type can be detected with a genetic test, although regular veterinary exams by specialized veterinary ophthalmologists are still necessary. In regard to canine multiple system degeneration, symptoms usually begin at about 2 to 3 months of age. Allergies and other autoimmune diseases can also be present in the Chinese Crested Dog, which can be fatal without careful monitoring. Finally, patellar luxation is also common as with other small breeds, although breeders can generally certify that their puppies will not have this problem.

Grooming
The Chinese Crested Dog is a very clean breed, and doesn't have any doggie odor whatsoever. The Powderpuff variety needs daily brushing, since the long hair can become matted if not groomed regularly. Hairless dogs should be bathed quite frequently, and then should have oil or cream massaged gently into their skin to keep it soft. The hairless variety is not prone to fleas and is also a perfect pet choice for those who suffer from allergies and may otherwise not be able to keep a dog.

References
AKC MEET THE BREEDS®: Chinese Crested.
Retrieved March 22, 2012.

Chinese Crested Dog.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Crested_Dog
Retrieved March 22, 2012.

Chinese Crested (Hairless and Powder Puff).
http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/chinesecrested.htm
Retrieved March 22, 2012.

Group Classification: AKC Toy

Recognized By: CKC, FCI, AKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR

Country of Origin: Africa

Date of Origin: 1885

Hair Length: Long

Shedding: Does Not Shed, Lite Shed

Body Size: Toy, Small

Weight Male: 10 pounds

Height Male: 12 inches

Weight Female: 10 pounds

Height Female: 12 inches

Litter Size: 2-4 puppies

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Playful:

Affection:

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Trainable:

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Watchdog:

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Energy:

Excercise:

Hot Weather:

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Colors
All colors and patterns acceptable.

Living Area
The Chinese Crested Dog is an inside dog under almost any circumstance. The Powderpuff can tolerate being outside more easily than the Hairless. They will self exercise in the house or apartment and make ideal indoor pets.