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Chinese Crested Dog: Info, Pictures, Traits, and Care

Written by: Elizabeth Gray

Last Updated on March 25, 2024 by Dogster Team

Chinese crested dog at the park

Chinese Crested Dog: Info, Pictures, Traits, and Care

Selecting a new dog for your home may seem challenging, but if you’re looking for an affectionate pet with a unique appearance, the Chinese Crested is ideal. They’re the perfect lap dogs, but they’re also lively enough to participate in canine sports. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the Chinese Crested so you can determine if they’re the right canine for you.

Breed Overview


11–13 inches


8–12 pounds


13–18 years


Cream, slate, black with white and tan, white, chocolate, black, palomino, pink and chocolate, pink and slate, apricot, blue

Suitable for:

Families with older kids, seniors, small-space living, people looking for a low-shedding dog


Affectionate, playful, eager to please, smart, loving

The Chinese Crested comes in hairless and “powderpuff” varieties, but the hairless is more well-known. Besides their coat, there’s no difference between furry or naked Chinese Crested dogs. Both types are affectionate and playful and love following their owners around.

If you can spend plenty of time keeping their skin moisturized, the Chinese Crested makes an excellent companion for almost any living situation.

Chinese Crested Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Chinese Crested Breed Puppies

Chinese Crested Puppies in the lawn
Image Credit: Aneta Jungerova, Shutterstock

The Chinese Crested is a well-known and established breed in the United States, ranking in the top 100 for registrations according to the American Kennel Club.1 Toy breeds tend to get adopted quickly, so you might need to be patient if you’re looking to rescue a Chinese Crested.

In most cases, you’ll probably need to look for a breeder, especially if your heart is set on a Chinese Crested puppy. Be careful in your search because puppy mills and other unethical breeders frequently produce toy breeds like the Chinese Crested. Look for a breeder who performs genetic testing and is forthcoming about the health history of their dogs.

Like all toy breeds, Chinese Crested puppies are fragile and easily injured. As they grow, it’s vital to avoid rough play and handling. Chinese Crested puppies will benefit from early socialization and puppy classes.

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Chinese Crested Breed Origin & History

The Chinese Crested is an old breed, but their origins are a bit of a mystery. Although they were refined in China, the Chinese Crested probably descended from African and possibly Mexican hairless dogs originally. They were brought to China by sailors and miniaturized into the Chinese Crested by local breeders.

Ironically, the Chinese Crested gained global popularity by way of the sea. Chinese sailors kept the dogs on board to hunt rats, and they made their way to ports worldwide because of it. The Chinese Crested was first bred in the United States in the late 19th century but wasn’t recognized by the AKC until 1991.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested dogs bond closely with their humans and are quite affectionate. They’re incredibly playful and provide as much entertainment as love. Because of their low exercise needs and quiet nature, Chinese Crested dogs make excellent companions for seniors and thrive in small spaces like apartments.

Chinese Crested dogs are intelligent and eager to please, but they’re also sensitive. If they get scared or intimidated by harsh treatment, it can easily damage their bond with their owners. Craving as much affection as they offer, the Chinese Crested can occasionally be needy and won’t do well if left alone frequently.

two chinese crested dogs in the lawn
Image Credit: Lenkadan, Shutterstock

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Chinese Crested dogs generally do best in families with older kids. Although they’re tougher than they look, they’re still toy breeds. Young kids, especially toddlers, may play too rough with a Chinese Crested and accidentally hurt them.

With proper supervision and socialization, the Chinese Crested makes an excellent family pet. They’re playful, loving, and attentive, and they make excellent friends and companions. Their small size makes them suitable for nearly any living situation too, so families who live in apartments don’t have to miss out.

However, the Chinese Crested probably won’t enjoy being left alone frequently, so busy families should ensure they have enough time to devote to their pets. Because they don’t have much fur to shed, the hairless version of the Chinese Crested may be a good choice for families with allergy sufferers.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽 

The Chinese Crested can get along with other dogs if properly socialized and introduced slowly. They can also tolerate living with cats. However, the hairless Chinese Crested is more vulnerable to scratches or bites.

Supervise interactions with other animals carefully to ensure playtime doesn’t get too rough. If you have small exotic pets, keep them separated from the Chinese Crested. Even if the dog is not interested in harassing the smaller animals, they could become dangerously stressed when the dog is nearby.

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Things to Know When Owning a Chinese Crested

Because of their unique skin and coat, the Chinese Crested has more intense grooming needs than some other breeds. Here’s what else you need to know when owning a Chinese Crested dog.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Calorie counting is vital when feeding a Chinese Crested. Most of them love to eat and can easily become overweight if you aren’t careful. Ask your vet to help you calculate how much your pet should eat, and remember to include any treats in their daily calorie total.

It’s best to feed your dog a diet formulated for their appropriate life stage: puppy, adult, or senior. Healthy Chinese Crested dogs can typically eat any nutritionally balanced diet. If you aren’t sure what’s appropriate, your vet can help you choose a good brand to try.

Avoid feeding your Chinese Crested a homemade diet without consulting your vet first. Homemade diets often lack essential nutrients, which could lead to health issues.

Chinese crested dog lying on the grass
Image Credit: Katerina Morozova, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

Chinese Crested dogs are playful but only moderately energetic. Their daily exercise needs are simple to meet with quick walks and indoor or outdoor play sessions. Remember to protect your dog’s skin with protective gear and dog-safe sunscreen if they’re spending time outside.

During the summer, it’s best to walk them early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun isn’t too intense. Their sensitive skin is vulnerable to sunburn.

Despite their delicate appearance, many Chinese Crested dogs enjoy competing in dog sports, especially agility courses.

Training 🎾

Since they’re intelligent and devoted, the Chinese Crested is typically easy to train. They respond best to gentle, positive training techniques. Some dogs may be able to tolerate the occasional harsh tone, but not the sensitive Chinese Crested. Negative training techniques or punishment are more likely to damage your bond with your dog than produce the results you’re looking for.

As we mentioned, Chinese Crested may enjoy competing in dog sports. They’re agile and spirited enough to shine in agility courses. Because of their affectionate nature, they’re also trained as therapy dogs. Any chance the Chinese Crested gets to spend time with their humans, they will happily take.

Grooming ✂️

Whether you have a hairless or powderpuff Chinese Crested dog, you can expect to spend plenty of time caring for their coat and skin. The powderpuff Chinese Crested has a double coat that becomes matted easily. Daily brushing is essential to prevent tangles.

Hairless Chinese Crested dogs typically require an intense skincare routine to stay protected and moisturized. You should apply sunscreen if your dog goes outside and talk to your vet or groomer about appropriate products to keep their skin soft and acne-free.

Like many small breeds, the Chinese Crested is prone to dental disease. To keep their teeth and gums healthy, you can start brushing and other preventative care early. Keep their nails trimmed short and check their ears regularly, too.

three Chinese Crested Dogs
Image Credit: Medvedev Andrey, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions 🏥

The Chinese Crested has quite a long average lifespan, but they’re still prone to several inherited health conditions you should be aware of. Genetic screening and exams can catch many of these issues before the dogs enter a breeding program.

Only work with a breeder who performs all the recommended testing and can provide the results if asked.

Minor Conditions
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Deafness
  • Dental disease
Serious Conditions
  • Congenital and inherited heart problems
  • Patella luxation
  • Leggs-Calve-Perthes
  • Epilepsy

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Male vs Female

Male and female Chinese Crested dogs are similar in size and appearance, but they may have some personality differences. Male dogs frequently can be bolder and more outgoing than females, and female Chinese Crested dogs might be a little more sensitive, but this will vary by individual.

Unspayed Chinese Crested dogs will go into heat at least twice yearly unless spayed. To prevent accidental breeding, you’ll need to keep them away from unneutered males, who may display unpleasant habits like urine marking.

You can talk to your vet about the best age to spay or neuter your Chinese Crested if you don’t plan to breed them.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Chinese Crested

1. They’re Described as Having a “Cat-Like” Personality.

Chinese Crested dogs are known to display feline tendencies, such as perching in high places like the back of the couch or the arms of chairs. If you have cats in your home, the Chinese Crested will fit right in.

2. They’re Nicknamed “Dr. Seuss dogs.”

Hairless Chinese Crested dogs earned this nickname because they look like mythical characters who belong in magical, creative storybook worlds. Few breeds look similar to the Chinese Crested, and their spotted skin and tiny frames make them stand out.

3. They Frequently Posed for Artists.

Chinese Crested dogs are depicted in European paintings from as far back as the mid-19th century. This visual evidence shows how quickly the breed’s popularity spread around the globe due to their role as ship dogs.

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Final Thoughts

The unusual appearance of the Chinese Crested won’t appeal to everyone, but you should never choose a dog based solely on looks anyway. Fortunately, the Chinese Crested also has a calm, loving disposition to go with it.

If you’re a family with young, rowdy kids, you might want to think twice about bringing this toy-breed dog home. Otherwise, the Chinese Crested makes an exceptional pet. If you have the time to give them plenty of attention, the Chinese Crested can bring you many years of joy and companionship.

Featured Image Credit: Golland, Shutterstock

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