The Chinese Crested Dog got it's name from the Mongolian Emperors of China who collected these rare dogs to decorate their palaces. Chinese merchants helped to spread this breed throughout the world by taking them on their ships. It's thought that they were handy rat killers, and not having hair they did not carry fleas! The Chinese Crested is much older than the merchant ships of China though. Small hairless dogs roamed the African dessert for thousands of year before being "discovered". It is thought that the Chinese Crested bred with a Chihuahua to produce the toy Mexican Hairless, however there is currently no proof of this theory. Because there are naturally occurring hairless dog breeds found throughout the world, many of these dogs have been inadvertently mixed.
Hair growth on the Chinese Crested varies greatly but is commonly known by the full silky mane of hair on the head- the crest, the tail- or plume, and the feet- or socks. My personal opinion on why this hair pattern emerged is simple. Days on the African deserts get to unbearable temperatures, while nights become cold, even frigid! This hair pattern protects the dogs extremities susceptible to frostbite, but prevents the dog from overheating in the hot sun.
They resemble tiny ponies in both appearance and gait. The coated variety, called the Powderpuff, can be born in the same litter as the hairless and has a full fluffy coat. The only notable difference between the two is in dentition, or tooth formation. Hairless dogs have primitive, or tusk teeth that do not have a full root system. Often the hairless are born with missing or malformed teeth. This is not considered a fault and is normal for the hairless variety of the breed.
Of the coat varieties I mentioned above, there are other variations as well. The "veil coat" is not seen often but was once common to the breed. Characterized by a single layer of soft, downy; hair that in the light resembled a veil placed over the dog. The curly coat, again not seen often as it is not a desired trait, is a tightly curled coat that resembles a combination of Maltese and Poodle. I have groomed one of these coats, and let me tell you.. not fun at all! Talk about frizz!! See photo on left. Yet another coat type is the terrier coat. The terrier coat is made up of mostly guard hairs and is the most like "fur".
Chinese Crested Dogs are very people oriented, both to family and strangers. Nicknamed the "clown dog", they will do what it takes to get plenty of attention. Unfortunately this can also lead to destructive behavior. Many times people get these dogs because they are unusual or rare but don't really have the time to spend with them. They keep them crated, or allow them to wander and entertain themselves. Which of course they will do! Just not in the constructive way one would hope.
Our Chinese Crested Ming took great pride in shredding paper and tissues when she felt ignored by us. Our Chinese Crested Powderpuff once had a tantrum after a bath and left a wonderful "present" on the bed to show his displeasure. They will always find new and unusual way to capture your attention. We like to say it's a good thing Chinese Crested's don't have thumbs or else we would be in big trouble! That's not to say they are bad dogs, not in the least! They are the most personable, comical, elegant, and intelligent dogs I have ever met. BUT they will let you know when they are not pleased or are feeling ignored.
The Chinese Crested Dog is one of the most unique, intelligent, loyal, and devoted dogs I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I am honored to have shared my life with them.