Originally brought into the United States as a sort of a novelty breed, the Chinese Crested has really come into its own as a wonderful companion pet and unique breed of dog. There are actually two forms of the Chinese Crested, one with a silky, coat, known as the Powder Puff, and one that is hairless over the body. Most litters will have both hairless and Powder Puff puppies born at the same time. Both make excellent pets although there are some definite differences in the care required for the hairless variety.
The first misconception to clear up is that the Chinese Crested is a completely hairless dog or that it even originated in China. It was first bred in Africa but then was taken to China with trading ships and really became fashionable. The hairless variety is more recognizable, but it does have hair on the feet and the head as well as the tail. The Powder Puff variety has a very smooth, soft and fine coat over the entire body. Both have an almost terrier looking head with a longer, tapered muzzle. The ears are large and placed to the sides of the skull. The eyes are dark and almond shaped and, like the color of the muzzle, they will match the skin and coat color.
Generally the Chinese Crested does best in a home with older children only because younger children may be too rough with the dogs and unintentionally frighten or hurt the pet. While not delicate, they are also not a robust breed that likes to play rough as they only mature at about 10 pounds. They have long, fine boned legs and they are playful, just a bit more reserved in their play. This is a highly affectionate dog that would rather sit on your lap than on the floor.
One of the biggest issues to watch for with the Chinese Crested is dental problems. The breed, as a whole, has an increased rate of early tooth loss and dental decay. Routine tooth brushing should be part of the daily regime for these dogs. The hairless variety is also prone to sunburn and both varieties are not able to tolerate cold temperatures.
The Chinese Crested can be sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements so early socialization and lots of new experiences are essential to prevent this from being an issue. Very willing to please these dogs are excellent companions and may be an ideal pet for an older family member or couple. They are very clean dogs that typically are well tolerated by allergy sufferers.