The Chinese Crested Dog appears fox-like in appearance, with a dome-like or round-like skull topped by natural ears spread wide on both sides of the head instead of the top. A fine-boned and slender dog that is longer than tall, unfortunately, the hairless variety has very bad teeth alignment with many teeth absent, while the Powder Puff has all their teeth.
Absent is excess leg movement that causes a graceful movement of the dog, with a natural happy-go-lucky movement that makes it one of the most dainty and elegant moving of all breeds.
When people think of the Chinese Crested Dog, they think of the hairless variety with velvety smooth skin. But what is not recognized is the Powder Puff variety. Both types of varieties can be found born in the same litter, with nobody knowing what type will be born.
The Powder Puff has a long full coat of silky hair that covers the entire body, while the hairless variety looks naked with tufts and fringes of hair on the feet, tail, head and ears. Owners of this breed find it necessary to place a sweater on the hairless variety, as it is not considered an outdoor-type of dog. The Powder Puff variety requires routine brushing and grooming.
The African hairless breed is thought to be the origin of the Chinese Crested, found and deported by the Chinese sailors who used them as rat killers on their ships. Once they got them to their homeland of China, they crossbred them to reduce their original size, with a much greater focus on their temperament. From this moment on, they were distributed under a new name--"Chinese Hairless" or "Chinese Crested."
Another theory is they originated by Aztecs, who crossbred the original Chinese Crested Dog with the Mexican Chihuahua. Developed for companionship and bedwarmers, this breed has always had a unique personality about it.
The intelligent pixie-like little Chinese Crested Dog is a excellent house pet and totally devoted to those who own it, becoming slightly destructive when left alone in the house as it "gets in a mood." It is considered the perfect pet by those who already own one, and the perfect home is one whose owners are not gone very often, as they need continuous companionship and human contact of all sorts.
Bonding with certain members of their family, this is a breed of dog that is devoted to its family members for life. For this reason, they are extremely difficult to place in homes when they become older, and hard to place for adoption. Breeders who raise the Chinese Crested Dog have to be very careful where they place their puppies, as it usually will have to be for life. They are also extremely timid and nervous about new environments, people, and loud noises.
No major or minor health diseases show up for this breed of dog, with no testing required other than the usual skeletal issues. The leg patella is an occasional issue that can develop, which is a dislocation of the kneecaps--common in many of the smaller breeds.
The hairless, as compared to the Powder Puff, has skin issues that may develop, such as blackheads, sunburns, wool and lanolin allergies, and tooth loss. The thin enamel in the teeth of the hairless variety of dog allows for tarter to build-up and the tooth to eventually fall out. Another skeletal issue is Legg-Perthes Disease, where the femur develops a degeneration that causes a chronic and joint immobility.
This is the type of dog whose grooming needs vary with the type of dog born into the litter. It stands to reason that no hair usually does not require much grooming. But its skin requires lots of time and maintenance to prevent any skin issues from developing. This can be in the form of bathing, special sun preventives or conditioners.
But its sister breed, the Powder Puff, actually needs a steady routine due to the nature of its hair. The length and type of silky hair require lots of TLC, as the dead hair actually drops off onto the living hair. This forms tangles and knots that can become serious problems.
Obesity can be a big problem for this breed if left inactive, and not enough exercise is applied. Even though they are small and get chilled easily, sweaters can be put on and walks can be done for the health of both the dog and the owner. They love to dig more than anything, so keeping them on a leash or monitoring their outdoor activities is essential.
Due to the sensitive skin of the breed, walking through any brush or heavy rough grass is discouraged. The Chinese Crested Dog can be a perfect animal around the children of the family, as long as they play gentle with it. This is a delicate dog whose bones break easily, with accidents very common with them when handled roughly.
This breed is easy to train, as it has such a strong bond with its owner. It will do just about anything to remain clean and do what their beloved owners desire of them. Because of their extreme sensitivities to the extreme weather, they have been known to be trained to use a box with litter or the new puppy pads.
Dogs that are not socialized enough have a tendency to become very timid and frightened with new people and surroundings. And if they become bored or left alone too long, they have been known to become a barker and destructive around the home. All of this can be prevented with adequate attention by their owner and exercise.
A uniquely intelligent little dog, this breed can be taught to do just about anything with the correct type of owner. It is said that a caring and loving owner is in perfect "tune" with their little pet, due to the Chinese Cresting Dog's nature.