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8 Hairless Dog Breeds: Pictures, Facts & History

Written by: Codee Chessher

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

Chinese crested dog walks in the park

8 Hairless Dog Breeds: Pictures, Facts & History

Want a dog but your allergies won’t tolerate the fur? Or maybe you just don’t want to deal with shedding dog hair all over your furniture. While there is no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog breed, hairless dogs do tend to be a bit better for allergy sufferers. Plus, not having to clean up as much shedded hair is a major bonus.

Whether you’re just fascinated by the idea of hairless dogs or want to determine the best one for you, we’ve got you covered. Join us below as we break down the various types of hairless dog breeds and what makes them each special.

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What Qualifies as a Hairless Breed?

Despite the name, hairless dog breeds aren’t always entirely hairless. In fact, many hairless breeds do have some minimal amounts of fur, but the amount varies based on breed and bloodline. Broadly, this hairlessness across various hairless breeds is the result of a genetic mutation. A hairless dog with a muddled ancestry is more likely to exhibit some fur, however.

The 8 Hairless Dog Breeds

1. Chinese Crested Dog

Chinese Crested Dog standing on the grass
Image Credit: Zuzule, Shutterstock
Origin: Mexico
Lifespan: 12 to 18 years
Height: 11 to 13 inches

Featured in Hollywood blockbusters like 102 Dalmatians and Cats & Dogs, the Chinese Crested is a hairless breed thought to be related to the Mexican Xolo because of strong genetic similarities. Two varieties exist: hairless and “powderpuff.” Hairless Chinese Cresteds vary widely in color and have patches of hair on their heads, tails, and paws, while powderpuffs are covered in hair.

2. Peruvian Inca Orchid

Peruvian Inca Orchid on a leash
Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock
Origin: Peru
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Height: 9 to 26 inches

Often called the Peruvian Hairless Dog, the Peruvian Inca Orchid is a hairless dog breed that stems from the ancient Incan Empire of South America. Some have called them as culturally significant for Peru as Macchu Picchu! Described as intelligent, watchful, and affectionate, they make great family watchdogs that dote on children. Peruvian Inca Orchids come in a variety of colors, like gray, brown, and copper, but only a few have some sparse hair on their head. Otherwise, this is a true hairless breed.

3. Xoloitzcuintli

xoloitzcuintlis dog outdoor
Image Credit: George Trumpeter, Shutterstock
Origin: Mexico
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Height: 15 to 23 inches

Also called the Xolo, the Xoloitzcuintli is thought to be the modern descendant of the dogs that lived alongside the ancient Aztecs. Historians believe we can trace their ancestry back over 3,000 years with fairly minimal genetic drift, and the modern Xolo goes back about 1,000 years. This sweet dog has a strong loyalty toward their family members, and they’re known to make excellent watchdogs.

Xolos come in a riot of colors, and some of them even have fur, whether it’s the diminutive toy Xolo or the more dignified standard-size Xolo.

4. American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terrier outdoors in nature
Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock
Origin: United States
Lifespan: 14 to 16 years
Height: 12 to 16 inches

A new breed, all American Hairless Terriers alive come from a single dog named Josephine. Born in 1972, Josephine was a purebred Rat Terrier born with a mutation that made her hairless save a light peach fuzz all over her body. American Hairless Terriers are squat, graceful-looking dogs with a vigilant watchfulness and tenacious spirit. Though they come from the once-ubiquitous Rat Terrier, in 2016, the breed was formally recognized as a distinct breed all its own by the AKC.

5. Argentine Pila Dog

two Argentine pila standing on grass
Pilas Argentinos-Felix-&-Fortuna (Image Credit: Monica S. Cassels, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)
Origin: Argentina
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Height: 9 to 22 inches

The Argentine Pila is strongly suspected to be related to the Peruvian Inca Orchid, and indeed, it’s thought that the Incans gifted the dog to the Argentinians because of their close ties. Prized by Argentina, the breed isn’t formally recognized by any kennel clubs outside the country due to their unclear lineage. This is one of the rarest hairless breeds of all, with just 1,700 Argentine Pila Dogs living in the northern Salta province of Argentina.

6. Hairless Chihuahua

Image Credit: Rosa Jay, shutterstock
Origin: Mexico
Lifespan: 12 to 18 years
Height: 6 to 9 inches

Hairless Chihuahuas are a select few Chis with a genetic mutation that causes their bodies to not produce hair. It’s very rare for a Chihuahua to be entirely hairless, and most have some tufts of fur on their head or body. Unlike other hairless breeds, the Hairless Chihuahua is more of a genetic accident than a true breed. They still have all the scrappy spirit, sass, and loyalty that the breed is known for, however.

7. Abyssinian Sand Terrier

abyssinian sand terrier dog standing by the door
Image Credit: Linda Hughes Photography, Shutterstock
Origin: Africa
Lifespan: 12 to 16 years
Height: 15 to 20 inches

More commonly called the African hairless dog, the Abyssinian Sand Terrier is a reclusive breed native to various parts of Africa. Not much is known about them, but biologists believe their hairlessness was an evolutionary reaction to the sweltering African sun. With a fiercely independent personality, Abyssinian Sand Terriers often accompanied cattle herds at a comfortable distance and sometimes helped guard them from predators.

8. Ecuadorian Hairless Dog

Ecuadorian Hairless Dog laying in the ground taking the sun_Flickr
Image Credit: Peruvian Hairless Dog, Peter Burka, Flickr, CC BY 2.0
Origin: Ecuador
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Height: 15 to 18 inches

A cross between the Xolo and Peruvian Inca Orchid with a penchant for rat catching, the Ecuadorian Hairless Dog isn’t officially recognized as a breed of its own. Most have gray skin, and some have tufts of fur, depending on their bloodline. Virtually all Ecuadorian Hairless Dogs live in their home country of Ecuador and are considered one of the rarest dog species in the world.

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Wrapping Up

Hairless dogs might be off-putting to folks who love their dogs furry and fluffy, but their hearts and personalities are just as big. It takes special care to help keep a hairless dog’s skin healthy, but for allergy sufferers and people who hate dog hair, a hairless dog could be the perfect doggo for you.

Featured Image Credit: Golland, Shutterstock

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