Chinese Crested Breed Information Puppies and Breeders Australia
Breed Type: Toy
Country of Origin: Unknown
Size:  Small
Also known as: Chinese Cresteds, Crested, Puff
Male and Females: Height: 28-30cm, Weight: less than 4.5 kg
Exercise Requirements: Low
Care Requirements: Medium
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Best Suited as: Family Pet

The high spirited Chinese Crested breed is rare and comes in two distinct varieties. While the hairless and powder puff varieties may look like two distinct breeds, the hairless variety actually comes from a mutated gene in their more hairy parents. In any given litter, there may be some siblings that are hairless will others are powder puffs.

There are two noticeably different varieties of Chinese Cresteds. Suitably named, one is the “hairless” variety and the other is called the “powder puff.” The hairless Crested Chinese are not completely hairless and often the amount of hair on each dog varies greatly. Most of them have tufts of fur on their feet that can look like socks, a crest of hair on their head, and hair on their tail, and sometimes muzzle. The color of their soft skin can range from a fleshy peach color to black and can be spotted, solid or multi-colored.

The powder puff, in contrast, has a long coat that is said to be soft or even silky to the touch. The hair color of the powder puff, like its brother, the hairless, can vary widely.

Both varieties have a wedge shaped head with wide set almond eyes, light or dark pointed nose and large alert ears. Their bodies are graceful and petite but not overly fragile.

Despite its name, the Chinese Cresteds’ roots are not directly tied to China. It is thought that the breed originated somewhere in either Africa or South America but even this is unknown. The breed got its name in the middle ages when Chinese sailors discovered the dogs during their travels and used them to trap vermin on their ships. They renamed the dogs “Chinese Crested” in honor of themselves and the breed has been called that since. The first evidence of Chinese Crested Dogs in Australia is found in 1892 when they were entered into a dog exhibition.

By the mid-nineteenth century, Chinese Cresteds were featured in European art and were being bred by two notable breeders, Debora Wood and famous burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee. Ms. Wood founded the “Crest Haven” kennel and when Gypsy Rose Lee passed away; her two dogs were welcomed into the Crest Haven “family”. These two lines were bred and every Chinese Crested today can be traced back to them.

Chinese Cresteds have lively personalities and demand a high level of their owner’s attention. While this breed is both animated and high spirited, Chinese Cresteds can often be found curled up in their owners laps taking a nap. The breed is also known for being fiercely loyal and affectionate and they can make good family dogs. While mostly reserved around newcomers, the Chinese Cresteds are said to have much more amiable personalities than their peers.

When Chinese Cresteds do not receive the proper amount of desired attention they can become high strung or fearful. They like to be treated like an important family member and do not easily integrate into a new family once they have formed a strong bond with their current owner.

Care and Grooming
While the Chinese Crested is not the highest maintenance dog, there are particular areas that require special attention. The hairless Chinese Crested is easy to groom due to its lack of hair but acute attention must be given to help your pet maintain healthy skin. When neglected, their skin can often become dry or may develop acne. Particularly in lighter skinned dogs, they can also be prone to sunburn. Applying a gentle sunscreen or one that is made for children can often prevent painful burn.

Hairless Chinese Cresteds should be bathed often and a coat of hypoallergenic lotion should be applied to complete their beauty regiment. This lotion should not contain lanolin because many Chinese Cresteds are allergic to lanolin based products.

Like any long haired dog, the Puffs need frequent brushing to keep their coats matt free. Both varieties rarely shed to the delight of their owners and their guests. While dog clothes have become popular for many of the toy breeds, avoid putting anything wool on your Chinese Crested due to common wool allergies.

Special care also needs to be given to your Chinese Crested’s teeth. Due to a light coating of enamel, a Chinese Crested teeth often rot quickly and may fall out at an early age. Purchase a toothbrush for your pet and brush their teeth often.

The Chinese Crested tends to be relatively healthy but like any breed there are several health conditions that occur more commonly. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an eye condition that may affect Chinese Cresteds.  A DNA marker for this condition was recently discovered which has helped researchers develop a test for one of the forms of PRA, progressive rod-cone degeneration. Some Australian breeders are aware of this risk and have gotten their dogs tested before breeding them. If you are buying your dog from a breeder, ask if this test has been completed.

There are also several leg issues that the Chinese Cresteds can develop. The first is called, Patellar Luxation, which is a dislocation of the kneecaps. Another leg related disease sometimes developed in Chinese Cresteds in called Legg Calve Perthes. This disease attacks the femur bone, causing degeneration and pain.

Suitability as a Pet
If you give your Chinese Crested plenty of love and attention, he will love you for life. Truly a man’s best friend, this breed is loyal, fun loving and likes to go everywhere with you. Your Chinese Crested may be prone to jealousy and develop a stronger bond with one of your family members over others. To help your pet understand her place in the family, she needs to be socialized early with all family members and other family pets.

Families that are not overly busy are the best for this breed. They do not like to be left alone for too long and will sometimes howl if they are frustrated. If you have a career that takes you away from home during the day or on weekends, you may want to reconsider your choice of dog. Most Chinese Cresteds live in the city and suburban areas.

The Chinese Crested is popular among dog owners that are worried about allergies and shedding. Due to their coat type (or very little coat) they do not shed nor do they have that doggie aroma that bothers some people.