Chinese Crested

Table of Contents

chinese crested portrait
Welcome to the fabulous universe of Chinese Crested dogs, where flair meets eccentricity in a stunning canine package! These extraordinary pups boast hairless bodies and stylish fur tufts that turn heads wherever they go.

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 Chinese Crested dog is ideal for those who crave a unique, affectionate, and loyal companion. Whether you live in an apartment or a house, this breed can adapt beautifully. They’re perfect for individuals or families who enjoy a lively yet low-maintenance pet that loves being the center of attention.


OFFICIAL NAMEChinese Crested
OTHER NAMESCrested, Puff
HEIGHT11-13 inches
WEIGHT8-12 lbs
LIFESPAN13-18 years
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERHigh (Hairless) – Moderate (Powderpuff)
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERHigh (Hairless) – Moderate (Powderpuff)
SHEDDING LEVELLow (Powderpuff)
chinese crested dog outdoor in the field
Photo: Kurt Pas/Getty Images


The Chinese Crested dog breed is a striking and distinctive canine, known for its unique appearance that sets it apart from other breeds. These small dogs typically stand between 11 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 8 to 12 pounds, making them an ideal size for a lap dog or companion pet.

The breed comes in two varieties: Hairless and Powderpuff. The Hairless variety has smooth, hairless skin on most of its body, with tufts of hair on its head (called a “crest”), tail (termed “plume”), and feet (referred to as “socks”).

The skin can be of various colors, including shades of pink, black, blue, and chocolate, often with spotted or mottled patterns. The Powderpuff variety, on the other hand, is covered in a soft, silky double coat that can be long or short and comes in a wide range of colors and combinations.

Both varieties share similar physical features, such as their slender, elongated bodies, which give them an elegant and graceful appearance. The tail is long, tapering, and often carried high, adding to its overall allure.

Their heads are wedge-shaped, with a slightly rounded skull and a defined stop that gives them a refined look. The breed’s large, erect ears are set high on the head and contribute to its alert and curious expression.

One of the most captivating aspects of the Chinese Crested’s appearance is its eyes. The breed’s almond-shaped eyes are medium-sized, dark in color, and set wide apart, lending an endearing and expressive quality to their faces. The Chinese Crested’s expression is often described as being both gentle and mischievous, reflecting their playful and affectionate personalities.

The Chinese Crested’s legs are long and slender, giving them a graceful and agile gait. Their feet are unique, with hare-like elongated toes that are well-arched and equipped with thick, elastic pads. This feature stems from their historical role as ratters on ships, where their nimble feet allowed them to efficiently navigate the ship’s decks and catch vermin.

chinese crested sitting at an open field
Photo: Kurt Pas/Getty Images


One of the first things you’ll notice about a Chinese Crested is their deep sense of companionship. They form strong bonds with their families and thrive on love and attention. They’re happiest when they’re spending time with their favorite humans, whether that’s cuddling on the couch or playing a game of fetch in the backyard.

Chinese Cresteds are known for their playful nature. They love to entertain and be entertained. Their agile bodies and sharp minds make them excellent at learning tricks and games. They’re always up for a fun activity, and their cheerful disposition can brighten even the gloomiest of days.

Despite their playful nature, Chinese Cresteds also have a calm and gentle side. They’re often described as “cat-like” in their mannerisms, enjoying high perches and warm spots. They’re just as content to curl up for a quiet afternoon nap as they are to embark on a play session. This balance between playfulness and tranquility makes them an adaptable companion, able to match the mood of their household.

When it comes to strangers, Chinese Cresteds tend to be reserved at first. They’re loyal to their families and can be wary of unfamiliar people. However, once they get to know someone, they’re quick to offer their friendship. They’re sociable creatures who enjoy being part of the action.

Chinese Cresteds have a charming side to them as well. They’re known for their cleverness and ability to problem-solve. They’re quick learners who enjoy mental stimulation. Plus, their expressive eyes and endearing facial expressions are sure to melt your heart.

This breed is also known for its sensitivity. Chinese Cresteds are attuned to the emotions of their owners, often mirroring their feelings. They provide empathetic companionship, offering comfort and companionship when you need it most.

Despite their delicate appearance, Chinese Cresteds are also surprisingly robust and adventurous. They love exploring their surroundings and won’t back down from a challenge. They’re agile climbers and jumpers who love to show off their acrobatic skills.

chinese crested on a leash
Photo: jgaunion/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

The Chinese Crested dog breed is highly adaptable and can thrive in various environments, making them an excellent choice for different types of pet parents.

Physical Environment

Their small size and moderate energy levels make them well-suited for apartment living, as they do not require a large space to roam and play. However, they also appreciate having access to a securely fenced yard or outdoor area where they can safely explore and enjoy some fresh air.

Climate Adaptability

One crucial aspect to consider when providing an ideal environment for a Chinese Crested is their sensitivity to temperature extremes. The Hairless variety, in particular, is more susceptible to both cold and hot climates due to their lack of coat.

In colder temperatures, it is essential to provide your Chinese Crested with adequate warmth, including sweaters or coats during walks and a cozy indoor environment to prevent hypothermia.

On the other hand, during hot summer months, it is vital to protect their skin from sunburn by applying pet-safe sunscreen and offering plenty of shade when outdoors.

The Powderpuff variety, with its full coat, can tolerate cold temperatures better than their Hairless counterparts. However, they still need protection from extreme cold and should not be left outside for extended periods during frigid weather.

Ideal Owner

Chinese Cresteds are true companion dogs that crave human interaction and affection. They are ideally suited for pet parents who can spend ample time with them, whether they are singles, couples, or families with older children.

This breed is an excellent choice for seniors or retirees looking for a loving and low-maintenance companion, as well as for individuals who work from home and can provide the attention and companionship these dogs desire.

Other Pets

When it comes to other pets, Chinese Cresteds typically get along well with dogs and cats, especially when socialized from a young age. Their friendly and sociable nature allows them to coexist harmoniously with other furry companions.

However, it is essential to monitor interactions with larger dogs to prevent accidental injury during playtime due to the Chinese Crested’s small size and delicate build.

chinese crested (powderpuff) running on green grass
Photo: f8grapher/Getty Images


Grooming needs for the Chinese Crested dog breed vary depending on the variety – Hairless or Powderpuff. Both types require regular grooming to keep them looking and feeling their best, but the specific tasks and frequency differ between the two.

Hairless Chinese Crested Grooming:

The Hairless variety has unique grooming requirements due to its mostly hairless skin. Regular bathing is essential to keep their skin clean and healthy. It is recommended to bathe a Hairless Chinese Crested every 1-2 weeks using a gentle, hypoallergenic dog shampoo to prevent irritation. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the shampoo from their skin to avoid residue buildup.

Skin care is crucial for the Hairless Chinese Crested, as their exposed skin can be prone to acne, blackheads, and dryness. After bathing, apply a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer specifically formulated for dogs to maintain skin hydration. Keep an eye out for any signs of skin irritation or infection and consult your veterinarian if you notice any issues.

Sun protection is another vital aspect of grooming for Hairless Chinese Cresteds. Their exposed skin is susceptible to sunburn, so it’s essential to apply pet-safe sunscreen before spending time outdoors in sunny weather.

While the Hairless variety has minimal hair, they do have tufts of hair on their head, tail, and feet that require occasional trimming and brushing. A soft-bristle brush or comb is suitable for maintaining these areas and preventing tangles or matting.

Powderpuff Chinese Crested Grooming:

The Powderpuff variety has a soft, silky double coat that requires more frequent grooming to prevent tangles and matting. It is recommended to brush their coat daily using a pin brush or slicker brush, followed by a comb to ensure all tangles are removed. Be gentle when brushing to avoid damaging their delicate skin.

Powderpuff Chinese Cresteds should be bathed every 3-4 weeks, or as needed, using a gentle dog shampoo. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and follow up with a conditioner to maintain coat health and manageability.

Trimming the hair around their eyes, ears, and paws can help keep them clean and comfortable. Regular visits to a professional groomer may be beneficial for maintaining their coat in optimal condition.

Dental Care:

Dental care is essential for both Hairless and Powderpuff Chinese Cresteds. This breed can be prone to dental issues, so it’s crucial to establish a regular dental care routine, including daily teeth brushing using a pet-safe toothpaste and toothbrush.

Providing dental chews and toys can also help maintain oral health. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian will ensure any dental concerns are addressed promptly.

Nail Care:

Like all dogs, Chinese Cresteds require regular nail trimming to prevent overgrowth and discomfort. It is recommended to trim their nails every 3-4 weeks, depending on their activity level and how quickly their nails grow. Use a pet-specific nail clipper or grinder and be cautious not to cut the quick, which can cause bleeding and pain.

chinese crested on agility course
Photo: s5iztok/Getty Images


The Chinese Crested has moderate exercise needs, making them a manageable choice for various lifestyles. Although they may not require as much physical activity as some larger or more energetic breeds, they still benefit from regular exercise to maintain their overall health, prevent obesity, and keep them mentally stimulated.

Exercise Amount & Types

Daily walks are an essential part of a Chinese Crested’s exercise routine. Aim for at least one 20-30 minute walk per day to keep them active and happy. These walks also provide opportunities for socialization and exposure to new environments, which is crucial for their mental well-being.

In addition to daily walks, Chinese Cresteds enjoy engaging in playtime with their families. Interactive games such as fetch, hide-and-seek, or gentle tug-of-war can help burn off excess energy while strengthening the bond between you and your dog.

Keep in mind that this breed’s small size and delicate build make them susceptible to injury, so it is essential to choose age-appropriate and size-appropriate toys and activities.

Dog Sports

Chinese Cresteds are known for their agility and grace, making them excellent candidates for dog sports such as agility, obedience, and rally competitions. Participating in these activities can provide both physical and mental stimulation for your dog while allowing them to showcase their natural talents.

Exercise Precautions

It is important to remember that the Hairless variety of the Chinese Crested is more sensitive to temperature extremes due to their lack of coat. During cold weather, ensure they are wearing appropriate clothing to keep them warm during outdoor activities.

In hot weather, protect their skin from sunburn by applying pet-safe sunscreen and limiting their time outdoors during peak sun hours.

chinese crested on green grass
Photo: Ratikova/Getty Images


Training a Chinese Crested dog can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for both the dog and their owner. These intelligent and eager-to-please canines generally respond well to training, making them a suitable choice for first-time dog owners or those with prior experience.

Chinese Cresteds are known for their sensitivity and gentle nature, so it is essential to use positive reinforcement techniques during training sessions. Praise, treats, and affection should be used as rewards for good behavior, rather than harsh punishments or scolding, which can cause fear or anxiety in this sensitive breed.

Consistency and patience are key factors when training a Chinese Crested. Establish a regular training routine and stick to it, ensuring all family members follow the same rules and commands. This consistency will help your dog understand what is expected of them and reduce confusion.

Socialization is a critical aspect of training for any dog breed, including the Chinese Crested. Exposing your dog to various people, animals, and environments from a young age will help them become well-rounded, confident adults. Regular walks, trips to dog-friendly parks or stores, and puppy classes are excellent ways to provide socialization opportunities.

Chinese Cresteds have a natural affinity for dog sports such as agility, obedience, and rally competitions. Training for these activities can be a fun way to challenge your dog mentally and physically while strengthening your bond. Their intelligence, grace, and eagerness to please make them well-suited for these disciplines.

It’s important to remember that every dog is an individual, and some Chinese Cresteds may take longer to learn new commands or behaviors than others. Patience and persistence are crucial to achieving success in training.

chinese crested (powderpuff) standing on green grass
Photo: f8grapher/Getty Images

Diet & Nutrition 

A well-balanced diet and proper nutrition are essential for the overall health and well-being of your Chinese Crested. Providing your canine companion with the appropriate food will help maintain their ideal weight, support their immune system, and promote healthy skin and coat.

What to Feed & How Much

When choosing a diet for your Chinese Crested, look for high-quality commercial dog food that follows the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines, ensuring it meets the nutritional requirements for your dog’s specific life stage.

You can opt for dry food (kibble), wet food (canned), or raw food, depending on your dog’s preferences and dietary needs. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best food choice for your individual dog.

The amount of food your Chinese Crested requires will depend on factors such as age, activity level, and metabolism. Generally, adult Chinese Cresteds should be fed approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup of high-quality dry food per day, divided into two meals.

Puppies, on the other hand, have different nutritional needs and may require more frequent feedings – usually three to four times per day – to support their growth and development.

It is essential to monitor your Chinese Crested’s weight and adjust their food intake accordingly, as obesity can lead to numerous health issues. Regular vet check-ups will help ensure your dog maintains a healthy weight and receives appropriate nutrition.


Treats can be a great way to reward and bond with your Chinese Crested during training or playtime. However, treats should be given in moderation, as they can contribute to obesity if overused. Opt for healthy, low-calorie options, such as small pieces of boiled chicken or vegetables like carrots and green beans.


Fresh water should always be readily available for your Chinese Crested, ensuring they stay well-hydrated throughout the day. Make sure to provide clean water in a suitable dish and refill it as needed.

chinese crested (powderpuff) running at a park
Photo: enduro/Getty Images


The Chinese Crested dog breed is generally a healthy and robust breed, with a life expectancy of 13 to 18 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper exercise can help ensure your Chinese Crested maintains optimal health throughout their life.

Here are common health issues associated with the Chinese Crested breed:

Dental Issues: Both Hairless and Powderpuff Chinese Cresteds can be prone to dental problems such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. This is due in part to their small mouths and crowded teeth. Maintaining a regular dental care routine, including daily teeth brushing and providing dental chews, can help prevent these issues.

Skin Problems: The Hairless variety is particularly susceptible to skin issues such as acne, blackheads, dryness, and sunburn due to their exposed skin. Regular bathing, moisturizing, and sun protection are crucial to maintaining healthy skin in this breed. Monitor your dog’s skin closely for any signs of irritation or infection and consult your veterinarian if needed.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is an inherited eye condition that can lead to blindness. Responsible breeders screen their breeding dogs for this condition to reduce the likelihood of passing it on to their offspring. Regular eye exams by a veterinary ophthalmologist can help detect PRA early and manage its progression.

Patellar Luxation: This condition occurs when the kneecap (patella) slips out of its normal position, causing discomfort and potentially leading to arthritis or other joint issues. Patellar luxation can be congenital or result from trauma, and it is relatively common in small dog breeds like the Chinese Crested. Treatment options range from conservative management to surgical intervention, depending on the severity of the condition.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease: This is a disorder affecting the hip joint, where the head of the femur (thighbone) begins to deteriorate due to inadequate blood supply. It can cause pain, lameness, and eventually arthritis. Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease typically affects young dogs and is more common in small breeds. Treatment may include surgery, pain management, and physical therapy.

chinese crested dressed in pajamas
Photo: Денис Безобразов/Getty Images


The Chinese Crested dog breed boasts a fascinating history that traces its origins back centuries. Despite its name, the breed did not actually originate in China but is believed to have descended from African hairless dogs. These dogs were brought to China, where they were bred for their unique appearance and eventually became the Chinese Crested breed we know today.

Chinese sailors are thought to have played a significant role in the development and distribution of the breed. They kept these dogs on their ships as ratters, helping control rodent populations and prevent the spread of disease. As the sailors traveled, they introduced the breed to various parts of the world, including Central and South America, Africa, and Asia.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that Chinese Cresteds began to make their way to Europe, primarily through trading with the Chinese. The breed quickly gained popularity due to its exotic appearance and affectionate nature.

Notable enthusiasts of the Chinese Crested include Queen Victoria of England and the French painter Toulouse-Lautrec, who featured the breed in his artwork.

In the United States, the Chinese Crested breed was championed by journalist, author, and breeder Debra Woods. She devoted her life to promoting and preserving the breed, founding the Crest Haven Kennel in the 1950s.

Woods’ efforts led to the establishment of the American Hairless Dog Club (now the American Chinese Crested Club) in 1978, which sought to gain recognition for the breed from the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The breed’s journey to AKC recognition was a lengthy one, with the Chinese Crested first being admitted to the AKC’s Miscellaneous Class in 1986. It wasn’t until 1991 that the breed was officially recognized by the AKC and placed in the Toy Group.

In popular culture, the Chinese Crested has gained notoriety for its unique and sometimes polarizing appearance. The breed has frequently appeared in the annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, with several Chinese Cresteds taking home the top prize over the years.

The breed has also made appearances in various films and television shows, showcasing their distinctive appearance and charming personalities. Notable examples include the 2001 movie “Cats & Dogs,” where a Hairless Chinese Crested named Mr. Tinkles played the villain, and the television show “Ugly Betty,” which featured a Powderpuff Chinese Crested named Wiccan.

Today, the Chinese Crested continues to captivate dog enthusiasts worldwide with its unique appearance, grace, and affectionate nature. The breed remains relatively rare compared to other toy breeds but has gained a dedicated following of admirers who appreciate its charm and elegance

Parent Club

The official parent club for the Chinese Crested dog breed in the United States is the American Chinese Crested Club (ACCC). The ACCC is dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and improvement of the breed. The club serves as a valuable resource for Chinese Crested owners and enthusiasts, offering information on breed standards, health, and events.

To learn more about the American Chinese Crested Club, visit their website here.

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 Chinese Crested’s breed standard set by the American Kennel Club (AKC) here.

chinese crested puppy sitting at a backyard
Photo: Jarrycz/Getty Images


Thinking of adding a Chinese Crested to your family? Excellent choice! Prepare a warm, comfortable space for your new friend, complete with toys, a soft bed, and lots of love.

If you’re buying, always opt for a reputable breeder who prioritizes health and temperament. Don’t hesitate to ask for health clearances and meet the puppy’s parents to gauge their personality.

But how about rescuing? Many Chinese Cresteds in shelters are waiting for loving homes. The American Kennel Club and the American Chinese Crested Club can guide you towards rescue organizations. Adopting not only gives a deserving dog a second chance but fills your life with unconditional love.

Whether you choose to buy or rescue, remember that every Chinese Crested deserves a caring, committed owner. With the right preparation and mindset, you’ll gain a loyal and entertaining companion in a Chinese Crested.


Why are Chinese Crested dogs so expensive?

Chinese Crested dogs can be expensive due to factors such as demand, rarity, and breeding costs. Responsible breeders invest in health testing, proper care, and socialization of their puppies, which can drive up the price. Additionally, the breed’s unique appearance and relatively small breeding population contribute to the higher cost.

Do Chinese Crested dogs bark a lot?

Chinese Crested dogs are not known to be excessive barkers. However, they may bark to alert their owners of new people or unusual noises. Proper training and socialization can help minimize excessive barking and teach your dog when it is appropriate to bark.

Why do Chinese Crested dogs look the way they do?

The Chinese Crested’s unique appearance can be attributed to its hairless gene and selective breeding over centuries. The breed has two varieties: Hairless, which has smooth skin and tufts of hair on the head, tail, and feet; and Powderpuff, which has a full coat. Both varieties were bred to emphasize their distinctive features, resulting in the breed’s exotic appearance.

Why are some Chinese Crested dogs hairless?

The hairlessness in Chinese Crested dogs is due to a genetic mutation that affects hair growth. This mutation results in the Hairless variety, which has smooth skin with sparse hair on the head, tail, and feet. The hairless gene is dominant, meaning that when bred with a Powderpuff (non-hairless), there is a chance of producing both Hairless and Powderpuff offspring.

Are Chinese Crested dogs hypoallergenic?

While no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic, the Hairless variety of the Chinese Crested produces less dander and shed hair than most other breeds, making them a suitable choice for allergy sufferers. The Powderpuff variety, however, has a full coat and may not be as suitable for individuals with allergies.

Do Chinese Crested dogs require a lot of grooming?

Grooming requirements for Chinese Crested dogs vary between the two varieties. Hairless Chinese Cresteds require regular skin care, including bathing, moisturizing, and sun protection. Powderpuffs have a soft, silky coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting and tangles. Both varieties need routine dental care, nail trimming, and ear cleaning.

Can Chinese Crested dogs tolerate cold weather?

The Hairless variety of the Chinese Crested is more sensitive to cold temperatures due to their lack of coat. In cold weather, they should wear appropriate clothing to keep them warm during outdoor activities. The Powderpuff variety, with its full coat, can tolerate cold weather better but still requires protection during extreme conditions.

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