Hairless dogs have been found throughout various parts of the world, it is very unlikely that the modern day Chinese Crested originated in China. There are some historians who believed they originated in Africa where they were called ‘African Hairless Terriers’, mentioned in several nineteenth Century texts. That said, there is genetic proof which shows the Chinese Crested shares its origin with the Xoloitzcuintli ( Mexican Hairless ). During the 1950s, Debora Wood founded her “Crest Haven” kennel where she began to breed and record the lineages of her dogs, including those dogs she acquired after the death of another breeder, the dancer, Gypsy Rose Lee. These two bloodlines created the foundation of every modern living Chinese Crested today. The Kennel Club recognised the Chinese Crested in 1981 followed by the FCI’s recognition of these dogs in 1987. Interestingly, all the hairless variety can produce both ‘Powder-Puff’ and ‘hairless’ puppies in the same litter, whereas, ‘Powder-Puff’ mated to another ‘Powder-Puff’ can only produce ‘Powder-Puff’ puppies because these do not possess the hairless gene.
There are two distinct coat types, the hairless and the powder puff. The Hairless has humanlike soft skin throughout his body apart from ‘tufts’ of hair on the paws, top of the head (crest) and end of the tail. Whereas, in contrast the ‘Powder-Puff’ has a long, soft, thick, double coat throughout his body. As part of his make-up, the ‘Powder-Puff’ would normally have the whiskers over his muzzle clipped away. The Chinese Crested has a ‘hare foot’ – Where the ‘quick’ is deeper into the nail, so great care must be taken not to cut the nails too far back, which would course bleeding, and pain.
The Crested Dog, which has an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years, is prone to minor problems like deafness, patellar luxation, and seizures and major health issues like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), lens luxation, and glaucoma. Occasionally Legg-Perthes is noticed in the breed. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may recommend eye, hearing and knee exams for the dog.
The Hairless Variety is prone to sunburn, wool allergy, blackheads, and tooth loss. It also has thinner enamel and irregular dentition.