American Hairless Terrier

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american hairless terrier portrait
Get ready to go wild for the American Hairless Terrier – the dog breed that's bringing a whole new meaning to the term 'naked and fabulous'! From their adorable, hairless charm to their energetic and playful nature, these little bundles of joy are sure to leave you barking for more!

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The American Hairless Terrier is a perfect match for those seeking an intelligent, loyal, and spirited companion with a spunky twist! Ideal for active families, allergy sufferers, or anyone who loves a small, energetic dog with a big personality.


OFFICIAL NAMEAmerican Hairless Terrier
ORIGINUnited States
BREED GROUPTerrier Group
HEIGHT7-16 inches
WEIGHT5-16 lbs
LIFESPAN12-14 years
american hairless terrier walking on grass
Photo: lenanet/Getty Images Pro


Meet the American Hairless Terrier, a small to medium-sized dog with a presence that’s larger than life! These dogs are muscular and active, embodying both strength and agility in their compact frames.

Typically, they stand about 7 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 5 and 16 pounds. Although small, there’s nothing diminutive about their energy levels or their personality. With a well-built body and sturdy legs that are built for action, they are always ready for their next adventure!

Their tails are usually carried in an upward curve when the dog is excited or moving. But when at rest, the tail hangs down naturally. It’s just another endearing feature of this lively breed.

Their heads are proportionate to their bodies, with a smooth, wedge-like shape that ends in a pointed muzzle. Their ears stand erect when alert, adding an extra dash of character to their expressive faces. Speaking of expression, the eyes of an American Hairless Terrier are one of its most charming features. They’re round, clear, and full of curiosity and intelligence that reflect their playful nature.

Now let’s talk about what truly sets this breed apart – their skin. As their name suggests, the American Hairless Terrier is hairless, save for possible eyebrows and whiskers. However, some do have a very short, fine coat.

Their skin can come in a variety of colors, from black, sable, blue, brindle, red, to brown. Some may even have a solid color skin or coat, while others have bi-color, tri-color, sable, or brindle patterns.

The American Hairless Terrier is a breed like no other. At first glance, they might seem different, even unusual. But one look into their bright, intelligent eyes and you’ll see a heart full of love and a spirit brimming with joy.

american hairless terrier's face close up
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American Hairless Terriers are true terriers at heart with a lively spirit that’s impossible to ignore. They’re playful, curious, and always up for some mischief, making them an entertaining companion for anyone who loves a dog with a bit of sass and a lot of heart.

These dogs are renowned for their intelligence. They are quick learners, eager problem solvers, and can be quite inquisitive. They love to explore their surroundings, sniff out new scents, and get to the bottom of any mystery. This intellectual curiosity makes them highly engaging pets that won’t just sit on the sidelines of life.

Despite their small size, these terriers have a big personality. They’re known for their spunky attitude and aren’t afraid to stand their ground. But don’t mistake their feisty nature for aggression. These pups are far from it! They’re friendly, sociable dogs that love to make friends, both with humans and other animals.

One of the most endearing traits of the American Hairless Terrier is their affectionate nature. They adore spending time with their favorite humans and can be quite the cuddle bugs. Whether it’s curling up next to you on the couch or following you around the house, they love being close to their family. Their loyalty and devotion are truly heartwarming.

That said, American Hairless Terriers are not just lap dogs. They are spirited and courageous, always ready to embark on a new adventure or take on a challenge. They’re also known for their playful antics that can keep you entertained for hours. Whether it’s a game of fetch or a playful chase around the yard, these dogs know how to turn any moment into fun.

As with most terriers, the American Hairless Terrier can be a bit stubborn at times. They may try to test boundaries, which adds to their cheeky charm. However, they’re also eager to please and respond well to positive reinforcement.

The American Hairless Terrier makes a wonderful family pet. They’re great with children and can adapt well to different living situations. They’re also known to get along well with other pets, especially when properly socialized.

american hairless terrier lies on a chair
Photo: Ekaterina Gorokhova/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

The American Hairless Terrier is a versatile breed that can adapt to many different living situations, but they do have some specific needs that potential pet parents should be aware of.

Ideal Owner

Firstly, these pups thrive on companionship and interaction. They’re perfect for active individuals or families who enjoy engaging with their pets often. Whether it’s playtime, training sessions, or simply a cozy cuddle on the couch, they love being part of the action and don’t do well with long periods of isolation.

These dogs are intelligent and can be a bit stubborn. They need a pet parent who is patient, consistent, and willing to put in the work to train and socialize them properly.

Other Pets

As for other pets, American Hairless Terriers are generally sociable and can get along well with other dogs and even cats, especially if they’re raised together. However, they might chase smaller pets due to their terrier instincts, so proper introductions and supervision are essential.

Physical Environment

In terms of physical environment, they can happily reside in an apartment or a house with a yard. However, as they are curious and energetic, they do need a safe space to explore and play. If you have a yard, it should be securely fenced, as their terrier instincts might prompt them to chase after small critters or dig around!

Climate Adaptability

Now, let’s talk climate. Due to their hairless nature, they are more susceptible to weather extremes than other breeds. In colder climates, they’ll need a warm doggy sweater to keep them cozy.

On the other hand, in hot weather, they’re prone to sunburn, so they’ll need sunscreen or protective clothing and should avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

american hairless terrier in a barn
Photo: Ekaterina Gorokhova/Getty Images


When it comes to grooming, the American Hairless Terrier is a bit of an anomaly. As their name suggests, these dogs don’t have much hair, but that doesn’t mean they’re maintenance-free! In fact, their unique hairless trait brings some specific grooming needs that potential pet parents should be aware of.

Skin Care

Firstly, let’s talk about their skin. Without the protection of a furry coat, their skin is exposed to the elements, making it prone to dryness and sunburn. Regular moisturizing with a vet-approved lotion can help keep their skin healthy and supple. And yes, sunscreen is a must for these pups when they’re out enjoying the sunshine.

Bathing is another important part of an American Hairless Terrier’s grooming routine. These dogs should be bathed every 1-2 weeks to keep their skin clean and healthy. Use a mild, hypoallergenic dog shampoo to prevent skin irritation. After bathing, make sure to thoroughly dry your pup, as their skin can be sensitive to dampness.

Ear Care

While they might not have much hair to brush, these terriers do need regular ear cleanings to prevent infections. Check their ears weekly for signs of redness, itching, or bad odor, which could indicate an infection. Clean their ears with a vet-recommended cleaner and a cotton ball – never a cotton swab, as it could hurt their ear canal.

Dental Care

Dental care is also crucial for this breed. Like all dogs, American Hairless Terriers are prone to dental diseases, so regular teeth brushing is a must. Aim to brush their teeth at least two to three times a week with dog-specific toothpaste. Regular dental check-ups with your vet are also recommended.

Nail Trimming

Don’t forget about nail care! Their nails should be trimmed regularly, usually every 3-4 weeks, to prevent overgrowth and splitting. Some dogs wear down their nails naturally from walking, but many will need a trim with a dog nail clipper or grinder.

Paw Care

Lastly, remember to check their paws regularly. Without fur, their paws are more exposed and can get cuts or scrapes. Check for any signs of injury and apply a dog-safe balm if needed to keep their pads soft and healthy.

two american hairless terriers running in a park
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The American Hairless Terrier, despite its small size, is a bundle of energy that needs regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. These dogs are active, agile, and ready for action, making them a great fit for an equally energetic owner.

Exercise Amount & Types

On average, an American Hairless Terrier will need about 30 to 45 minutes of exercise per day. However, more active individuals might need up to an hour. Remember, a tired dog is a good dog, and these terriers are no exception!

Their exercise can come in many forms. A brisk walk around the neighborhood, a game of fetch in the yard, or even a vigorous play session indoors can all contribute to their physical activity needs. They’ll also appreciate the mental stimulation of interactive toys or puzzles.

One of the great things about this breed is their agility. They’re quick on their feet and love to jump, climb, and explore. This makes them excellent candidates for dog sports such as agility trials, where they can show off their speed and dexterity. Not only does this provide a fantastic outlet for their energy, but it also offers a fun bonding opportunity for you and your furry friend.

American Hairless Terriers are also known for their love of digging. A designated digging area in your yard can be a great way to let them indulge in this natural behavior without ruining your garden.

Exercise Precautions

While they’re energetic and lively, remember that these dogs are sensitive to extreme weather due to their hairless skin. In hot weather, avoid exercising them during the peak sun hours to prevent sunburn. In cold weather, they may need a doggy sweater to keep warm during their walks.

american hairless terrier standing on green grass
Photo: DevidDO/Getty Images


Training an American Hairless Terrier is an adventure in itself. These dogs are intelligent, inquisitive, and full of energy, which makes the training process both interesting and rewarding.

The good news is, these terriers are quite trainable. They’re quick learners and very eager to please their human companions. However, they do have a streak of independence that can sometimes be mistaken for stubbornness. This means they’ll need a patient trainer who can provide consistent, positive reinforcement.

Start training your American Hairless Terrier early. Puppy classes can be a great way to socialize them and teach basic obedience commands. As they grow, you can further their training with more advanced commands or tricks. Remember, mental stimulation is just as important for these dogs as physical exercise.

When training, keep sessions short and fun. These dogs have a playful spirit and will respond best to training methods that feel like a game. Use plenty of rewards, whether it’s treats, toys, or praise, to motivate them. Avoid harsh corrections or punishments, as this can lead to fear or anxiety.

Socialization is another crucial aspect of training. Expose your American Hairless Terrier to a variety of people, places, and experiences when they’re young to help them grow into a well-adjusted adult. This breed is generally friendly and sociable, but early socialization can help ensure they’re comfortable in different situations.

American Hairless Terriers can also excel in dog sports, such as agility or obedience competitions. Their intelligence and agility make them naturals on the course, and the mental and physical challenge provides excellent stimulation.

two american hairless terriers standing on a green meadow
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Diet & Nutrition 

Feeding your American Hairless Terrier isn’t just about filling up their bowl, it’s about providing a balanced diet that fuels their energetic lifestyle and keeps them healthy.

Firstly, choose high-quality dog food that follows the AAFCO guidelines. This ensures your pup is getting all the essential nutrients they need. The food should be rich in animal-based protein, which serves as their primary source of energy and helps build strong muscles.

The amount of food your terrier needs will depend on their age, size, and activity level. Puppies usually require more frequent feedings, typically three to four times a day, while adults can be fed twice a day. Always follow the feeding guidelines on your dog food package and adjust as needed based on your dog’s weight and activity level.

While some owners opt for a raw or homemade diet, it’s important to consult with a vet or a pet nutrition expert before making this switch. These diets can be hard to balance properly and may lead to nutritional deficiencies if not carefully planned.

Remember, treats are a great training tool, but they should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Choose healthy options like pieces of fruits or veggies, or dog-safe commercial treats.

Water is another crucial part of your terrier’s diet. Ensure they always have access to fresh, clean water, especially after exercise or during hot weather.

Lastly, keep in mind that every dog is unique. What works for one American Hairless Terrier might not work for another. Monitor your pet’s weight, energy levels, and overall health to determine if their diet is working for them or if adjustments are needed.


The American Hairless Terrier is a generally healthy breed with a life expectancy of around 14-16 years. However, like all breeds, they can be predisposed to certain health conditions. Here are common health issues associated with this breed:

Hip Dysplasia: This condition occurs when the hip joint doesn’t fit together perfectly, leading to pain and mobility issues. Regular check-ups can help detect this early.

Cardiac Conditions: Heart problems can also affect this breed, so regular heart exams are crucial.

Luxating Patella: This is a condition where the kneecap dislocates or moves out of its normal location.

Allergies: These can manifest in skin irritations or gastrointestinal symptoms. If your dog is scratching excessively or has frequent digestive upsets, it’s worth consulting your vet.

Sunburn and Skin Issues: Due to their lack of fur, these dogs are more susceptible to sunburn and skin irritations.

Maintaining your American Hairless Terrier’s health goes beyond addressing these potential issues. A balanced diet plays a vital role in their overall well-being. Feeding your dog high-quality, nutrient-rich food can help strengthen their immune system, maintain a healthy weight, and promote good overall health.

Regular veterinary check-ups are also essential. These allow early detection and treatment of any potential health issues. Your vet can provide personalized advice on diet, exercise, and preventative care based on your dog’s age, weight, and health status.

And let’s not forget about vaccinations! They’re a critical part of preventing serious infectious diseases in your dog. Your vet will recommend a vaccination schedule based on your pet’s lifestyle and risk factors.

american hairless terrier dressed in black and white jumpsuit walking on the street
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The story of the American Hairless Terrier is a fascinating tale that begins in the early 1970s. This breed’s history is relatively recent compared to many other dog breeds, but it’s just as captivating.

In the autumn of 1972, a unique puppy was born into a litter of Rat Terriers in Louisiana. This pup, named Josephine, was hairless – a trait not typically seen in her breed. The owners, Edwin and Willie Scott, were intrigued by Josephine’s unusual appearance and decided to keep her.

Josephine proved to be quite extraordinary. Not only was she hairless, but she also had a fantastic personality and excellent health. The Scotts decided to breed her, hoping to produce more hairless terriers. After several attempts, they succeeded, and the American Hairless Terrier breed was born.

The breed is a testament to the determination of the Scott family, who worked tirelessly to establish and promote this unique breed. Their efforts paid off when the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2016. Since then, the American Hairless Terrier has been gaining popularity, although it still ranks relatively low on the AKC’s list of Most Popular Dog Breeds.

One of the reasons for the breed’s growing popularity is its hypoallergenic properties. Unlike most dogs, American Hairless Terriers don’t shed fur, making them an excellent choice for people with allergies. This trait, along with their friendly and intelligent nature, has made them increasingly sought after as companion animals.

But the American Hairless Terrier isn’t just a great family pet. These dogs are also making a name for themselves in canine sports. Their agility, speed, and intelligence make them excellent competitors in events like flyball and agility trials.

The breed has also made appearances in popular culture. While they may not be as ubiquitous as some breeds, their unique look has landed them roles in movies and TV shows. And as more people discover the charm of these hairless terriers, it’s likely we’ll see more of them on our screens.

Parent Club

The parent club for the American Hairless Terrier in the United States is the American Hairless Terrier Club of America (AHTCA). The AHTCA was founded by the Scott family, who originally developed the breed, in 2009. The club is dedicated to promoting and preserving the breed, providing resources for breeders and owners alike.

You can visit their webpage for more information about the breed and the club’s activities.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed.

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

You can check the American Hairless Terrier’s breed standard set by the American Kennel Club (AKC) here.

american hairless terrier standing on a chair
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Bringing an American Hairless Terrier into your home is a joyous occasion. Before you welcome your new furry friend, prepare your home by setting up a cozy space for the dog and getting all the necessary supplies like food, water bowls, toys, and a leash.

If you’re purchasing an American Hairless Terrier, it’s crucial to choose a reputable breeder. Look for breeders who prioritize health and temperament over appearance. The American Hairless Terrier Club of America can provide guidance in finding a responsible breeder.

But remember, there are many wonderful American Hairless Terriers waiting for their forever homes in rescue organizations. Rescuing a dog is a rewarding experience and gives a deserving pet a second chance at happiness.

Both the American Kennel Club and the American Hairless Terrier Club of America can help connect you with rescue organizations specializing in this unique breed. Your perfect companion could be waiting for you!


Are American Hairless Terriers good pets?

Absolutely! American Hairless Terriers are known for their friendly and playful personalities. They’re intelligent, easy to train, and great with families, making them excellent pets.

Do American Hairless Terriers bark a lot?

While they can be vocal, especially when they see something interesting, they’re not typically excessive barkers. Proper training from a young age can help manage their barking.

How big do American Hairless Terriers get?

American Hairless Terriers are a small to medium breed. Adults typically weigh between 12 to 16 pounds and stand about 12 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder.

Are American Hairless Terriers hypoallergenic?

Yes, they are considered hypoallergenic. Their lack of fur means they don’t shed like other breeds, which can be beneficial for people with allergies.

How much exercise does an American Hairless Terrier need?

They are an active breed and require 30-45 minutes of regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. This can include daily walks, playtime in the yard, or even agility training.

What is the lifespan of an American Hairless Terrier?

The average lifespan of an American Hairless Terrier is around 14 to 16 years. Of course, this can vary based on factors like genetics, diet, and overall health care.

Are American Hairless Terriers good with children and other pets?

Yes, they usually get along well with children and other pets, especially if they are socialized from a young age. However, it’s always important to supervise interactions between dogs and young children to ensure safety for all.

Fun Facts

  • American Hairless Terriers are known for being hypoallergenic. Because they don’t have fur, they produce little to no dander, which is the primary cause of allergies in humans. This makes them a great choice for individuals who are allergic to dogs but still want to enjoy the companionship of a furry friend.
  • American Hairless Terriers have a higher body temperature than most other dog breeds. Due to their lack of fur, their skin is more exposed, leading to a slightly higher body temperature. This characteristic makes them seek out warmth, and they may appreciate cozy blankets or cuddling up with their humans to stay comfortable.

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