Chinese Crested Dog

Other names: Crested, Puff

Chinese Crested Dog

There are two varieties of Chinese Crested dog: the Hairless and the Powderpuff. Although both types of dog look very different they are in many ways the same (only a genetic mutation separates one from the other). The Hairless type is usually completely hairless with the exception of fine wispy hair on the paws, tail and head. However, the fur of some hairless breeds may grow as long as that seen of the Powderpuff. The characteristics and trainability of each type are the same.

Key facts about the Chinese Crested Dog

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful

Size :

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Origins and history

Supposedly the Crested originated in ancient China and was a dog favoured by some of the ruling families to protect their homes and valuables. The Crested also has a long history of use as a ratter on Chinese trading ships. The first Crested arrived in the United States in 1885 and enjoyed some degree of popularity but from the 1930s onwards until more recently it was not a breed of choice.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 9 - Companion and Toy Dogs


Section 4 : Hairless Dogs

Physical characteristics of the Chinese Crested Dog

  • Chinese Crested Dog
    Chinese Crested Dog
  • Chinese Crested Dog
    Chinese Crested Dog
  • Chinese Crested Dog
    Chinese Crested Dog
  • Chinese Crested Dog
    Chinese Crested Dog
  • Chinese Crested Dog
    Chinese Crested Dog
  • Chinese Crested Dog
    Chinese Crested Dog

    Adult size

    Female : Between 9 and 12 in

    Male : Between 11 and 13 in


    Female : Between 7 and 11 lb

    Male : Between 7 and 11 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    Hairless: Graceful and fine-boned. Some types of this breed may be bulkier than others. The skin of the hairless is smooth and not too wrinkly, warm to touch and feels like human skin. Graceful, well proportioned head. Tail straight and high is carried upwards when the dog walks but hangs when the dog is still. 
    Powderpuff: As above but with a generous double coat of fur.

    Good to know

    House training a Crested is notoriously difficult to accomplish. Training should be consistent, confident and forthright but on no account should it also be harsh. An adult male Crested that is not castrated will often mark his territory indoors.


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      Now bred as a companion dog the Chinese Crested is a loving dog that is happiest among its people. Far more of a lap dog than a ratter, the dog is known for its neediness and want for human contact.

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      If socialised and treated well an adult Chinese Crested is curious and playful, and is happy to indulge its owner in a few light-hearted and gentle games. Any rough play is not tolerated by this breed.

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      Like other small dogs the Chinese Crested is easily spooked and can become agitated by sudden movements and noise. If the dog is held too much and feels as though its only protection is in the arms of its owner it becomes very timid and nervous. Feeling this way can lead the Crested to behave antisocially.

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      This dog is not known for its overwhelming intelligence but it makes up for a lack of brainpower by being exceptionally attentive. The Crested always wants to please its owner.

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      The Chinese Crested is thought to have been used as a ratter by ancient Chinese mariners, but this hunting talent has today been substituted with companionship. As a result the prey drive of a Crested is next to non-existent. In fact, a dog of this breed is more likely to become prey due to its size.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      Although relatively sociable, the Crested is not comfortable during first contact with strangers. They become agitated especially if the stranger is of a dominant character. Lots of barking and some nipping may occur.

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      This dog is not independent. It will follow its owner to the ends of the earth; it is not happy when isolated or separated from its owner.

      Behaviour of the Chinese Crested Dog

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        Tolerates solitude

        Because it is a companion dog the Chinese Crested much prefers to be in the company of its pack. If left indoors for a long period of time it will become destructive; if left outdoors it will attempt to escape from wherever it finds itself.

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        Easy to train / obedience

        The Crested is not easy to train and training requires great patience and tolerance. The dog is sensitive and will not respond to anything that resembles harshness or discipline. However, if you succeed in the training of a Chinese Crested you will notice how immensely loyal and obedient the dog becomes.

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        The Crested believes itself to be bigger than it is. It barks to warn and to control, and will do so regularly throughout the day.

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        Tendency to run away

        This breed sometimes exhibits a stubborn streak. It is not advisable to let a Crested roam free for two reasons:
        1) unless exceptionally well-trained it will not respond to a recall
        2) it can run very fast.

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        If it finds itself in an enclosed space or at home for long periods of time without exercise and fresh air the Chinese Crested will notify you of its displeasure by destroying your furnishings, doors, window sills and carpets.

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        Greedy / Gluttony

        Toy breeds are often prone to obesity because their owners treat them too well. Overfeeding, spoiling with human food and lack of exercise do not work in the favour of the Crested.

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        Guard dog

        Because the Crested is highly strung it is very alert to any noises around it and will bark instinctively if it hears something untoward. This can be something as innocuous as the firing up of a gas boiler. The Crested makes a worthwhile guard dog but be prepared for plenty of instances of crying wolf!

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        First dog

        A smart choice of first dog is the Chinese Crested (especially the Hairless) due to its lack of need for vigorous exercise and grooming. However, care should be taken because some of the characteristics of this dog are challenging.

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          Chinese Crested Dog in a flat

          The Crested is well-suited to any living environment and can live quite happily in a flat. A garden or green space must be properly fenced because the Crested can jump and leap quite high. Indoors, the Crested does not need a lot of space; you being there is all that matters.

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          Need for exercise / Sporty

          One to two walks a day is sufficient for this breed; if you have access to a secure area you should let the dog run off its energy. The more chance of exercise you give this breed of dog the calmer it will be.

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          Travelling / easy to transport

          A nervous dog at the best of times, the Crested does not enjoy car journeys or travel of any sort. It will seek reassurance and may vocalise its unhappiness.


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            Chinese Crested Dog and cats

            The Chinese Crested gets very jealous especially when the attention of its owner is directed towards something like a cat. The Crested is not afraid to indicate its unhappiness by biting or charging at the cat.

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            Chinese Crested Dog and dogs

            Although the Crested can get accustomed to other dogs of the household it is more likely to vie for your attention. It will become jealous if your time is not spent petting the Crested.

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            Chinese Crested Dog and children

            The jealousy the Crested exhibits of other animals translates to further anti-social behaviour in respect of children. Furthermore, the breed does not react well to being teased or played with roughly; it becomes impatient and angry and has a tendency to bite. Additionally, young children who play too roughly with a Crested are likely to hurt the dog.

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            Chinese Crested Dog and the elderly

            This breed of dog is better suited to households of one or two reasonably sedentary people. The Crested is far-better suited to living with an elderly couple than a family with young children or with a person whose life is hectic and time-restrained.



            The price for a Chinese Crested can vary according to its origin, gender and age. For a dog registered at the Kennel Club, they will cost on average £615.

            Concerning your average monthly budget to satisfy your Chinese Crested’s needs, it will vary between £100 to £140 per month.


            Hairless: Brush through the areas of fine hair and wash them if necessary but pay more attention to your care of the dog’s skin. Apply oil-based skin creams to the skin of the Hairless; some vets advise the additional use of sun cream during the summer months to protect the dog from sunburn. Be aware: some hairless dogs are allergic to ointments designed for human consumption. 

            Powderpuff: Bath weekly or when needed and brush frequently to avoid the coat becoming matted and tangled. Do not brush the coat when it is dry; spray a mist of water against the coat before brushing otherwise you will damage the hairs.


            The Powderpuff sheds moderately; the hairier types of Hairless will also shed in moderation.

            Nutrition of the Chinese Crested Dog

            This dog does not need to take on board as many calories as a more active dog; quality nutrition is important to the health of a Crested. Avoid the temptation to spoil this dog with excess treats and food designed for human consumption.

            Health of the Chinese Crested Dog

            Life expectancy

            13 to 18 years.

            Strong / robust

            The Chinese Crested is not a hardy and resilient dog. It has small, fine bones and is easily hurt.

            Withstand heat

            Understandably, the Hairless variety of the Chinese Crested tolerates heat very well. However, even in the summer the Crested needs access to fresh water. Due to its double coat the Powderpuff does not do as well in the heat.

            Withstand cold

            The Hairless Crested does not tolerate the cold; the Powderpuff is marginally more tolerant.

            Tendency to put on weight

            These dogs will eat to obesity, especially if fed human food and exercised less than they should.

            Common illnesses

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