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  • Temperament: Affectionate, Alert, Lively
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 77 of 194
  • Height: 11-13 inches
  • Weight: 8-12 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13-18 years
  • Group: Toy Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Chinese Crested standing in three-quarter view
Chinese Crested head facing left
Chinese Crested sitting in three-quarter view facing forward
Coated Chinese Crested coat detail
Chinese Crested puppies

Find a Puppy: Chinese Crested

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

A toy dog, fine-boned, elegant and graceful. The distinct varieties are born in the same litter. The Hairless with hair only on the head, tail and feet and the Powderpuff, completely covered with hair. The breed serves as a loving companion, playful and entertaining.

HEAD

Expression – Alert and intense. Eyes – Almond-shaped, set wide apart. Dark-colored dogs have dark-colored eyes, and lighter-colored dogs may have lighter-colored eyes. Eye rims match the coloring of the dog. Ears – Uncropped large and erect, placed so that the base of the ear is level with the outside corner of the eye. Skull – The skull is arched gently over the occiput from ear to ear. Distance from occiput to stop equal to distance from stop to tip of nose. The head is wedge-shaped viewed from above and the side. Stop – Slight but distinct.

BODY

Neck – Neck is lean and clean, slightly arched from the withers to the base of the skull and carried high. Topline – Level to slightly sloping croup. Body – Brisket extends to the elbow. Breastbone is not prominent. Ribs are well developed. The depth of the chest tapers to a moderate tuck-up at the flanks. Light in loin. Tail – Tail is slender and tapers to a curve. It is long enough to reach the hock. When dog is in motion, the tail is carried gaily and may be carried slightly forward over the back. At rest the tail is down with a slight curve upward at the end resembling a sickle. In the Hairless variety, two-thirds of the end of the tail is covered by long, flowing feathering referred to as a plume. The Powderpuff variety’s tail is completely covered with hair.

FOREQUARTERS

Angulation – Layback of shoulders is 45 degrees to point of shoulder allowing for good reach. Shoulders – Clean and narrow. Elbows – Close to body. Legs – Long, slender and straight. Pasterns – Upright, fine and strong. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet – Hare foot, narrow with elongated toes. Nails are trimmed to moderate length.

COAT

The Hairless variety has hair on certain portions of the body: the head (called a crest), the tail (called a plume) and the feet from the toes to the front pasterns and rear hock joints (called socks). The texture of all hair is soft and silky, flowing to any length. Placement of hair is not as important as overall type. Areas that have hair usually taper off slightly. Wherever the body is hairless, the skin is soft and smooth. Head crest begins at the stop and tapers off between the base of the skull and the back of the neck. Hair on the ears and face is permitted on the Hairless and may be trimmed for neatness in both varieties. Tail plume is described under Tail. The Powderpuff variety is completely covered with a double soft and silky coat. Close examination reveals long thin guard hairs over the short silky undercoat. The coat is straight, of moderate density and length. Excessively heavy, kinky or curly coat is to be penalized. Grooming is minimal-consisting of presenting a clean and neat appearance.

HINDQUARTERS

Angulation – Stifle moderately angulated. From hock joint to ground perpendicular. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet – Same as forequarters.

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Chinese Crested

About the Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested, a lively and alert toy breed standing between 11 and 13 inches high, can be hairless or coated. The hairless variety has smooth, soft skin and tufts of hair on the head, tail, and ankles. The coated variety, called the “powderpuff,” is covered by a soft, silky coat. Besides the coat, there’s very little difference between the powderpuff and his undressed brother. Both varieties are characterized by fine-boned elegance and graceful movement.

Cresteds are as fun as they look: playful, loving, and devoted to their humans. The hairless has its advantages: there is no doggy odor, and for obvious reasons shedding isn’t much of a problem. Both varieties are attentive housemates, totally in tune with their family.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Chinese Crested puppies

Find a Puppy: Chinese Crested

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Chinese Crested Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

A high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and ideally formulated for small or toy breeds will have all the nutrients the Chinese Crested needs. Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

GROOMING

You might think that the hairless variation of the Chinese Crested would require almost no grooming. After all, he has no hair. However, because his skin is exposed, the hairless Crested is prone to skin irritations, allergies, and sunburn. Careful grooming, including skin treatments specifically for your dog’s skin type, sunscreen, and acne lotions are necessary to maintain a healthy pet. The Powderpuff version needs to be brushed daily to maintain his fluffy coat. The Powderpuff’s coat is different than that of most other dogs. The undercoat is shorter than the longer overlay, which is the opposite of most haired breeds. This makes them easier to brush, but the coat can mat quickly.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Occasional Bath/Brush

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Infrequent

EXERCISE

The exercise needs of the Chinese Crested can usually be satisfied with daily short walks with his owner and play-sessions in his backyard. It is good for the Crested to exercise outdoors, but care must be taken to use either sunscreen or place protective clothing on him. These are tough little dogs who can be very competitive in canine sports.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

The Chinese Crested loves to spend time with his owner. This makes him a great candidate for competitive sports such as agility, flyball, and obedience, and they make great therapy dogs. They also enjoy and do well at lure coursing. They have a very sensitive nature and must be trained with gentle patience. Harsh words and negative actions on your part can damage your relationship to the point that he will not be interested in learning further from you.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Friendly

HEALTH

Responsible breeders consistently screen their breeding stock for inherited eye problems that are known to occur in the Chinese Crested, including progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma, and primary lens luxation. Epilepsy occurs in the breed occasionally. Patellar luxation (slipped stifles) affects Cresteds, as it does most small breeds. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease has no DNA test to screen parents, but it does sometimes show up on X-ray.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Patella Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • PRA-RCD3 DNA Tes
  • PLL DNA Test

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Chinese Crested
Chinese Crested
Chinese Crested
Chinese Crested

History

Chinese Crested origins go so far back in time, we can make only educated assumptions about how the breed was created. It is thought that in ancient times large hairless dogs from Africa were brought to China, where after generations of breeding they were reduced in size. (The Chinese were the master miniaturizers of the ancient world; the Shi Tzu and Pekingese are two further examples of breeds born of Chinese mini-mania.)

Chinese trading vessels traveled the high seas with Cresteds onboard. The dogs became famous as shipboard exterminators, expert at catching disease-bearing rats. They were traded among sailors in seaports around the world and, along the way, acquired the name Chinese Ship Dog.

Their far-flung travels brought Cresteds to exotic ports of call—Egypt, Turkey, South Africa, among them—where local variations of the breed were cultivated. So thoroughly was the small hairless ratter disseminated around the world that, during the Age of Discovery, European explorers recorded sightings of Crested-type dogs in port towns of Central and South America, Asia, and Africa.

The Crested took root in the United States through the efforts of two women, journalist Ida Garrett and breeder Debra Woods. For several decades beginning in the 1880s, they promoted the Crested in America—Garrett through her prolific writing and speaking, and Woods through her breeding program and scrupulously kept studbooks. The American Chinese Crested Club was formed in 1979, and in 1991 the breed entered the AKC Stud Book.

Among the many nicknames this unusual breed has acquired over the years is the “Dr. Seuss Dog,” a reference to the hairless Crested’s resemblance to fanciful creatures who populate the books of the beloved author-illustrator.

Did You Know?

The exact origin of the Chinese Crested is unknown, but it believed to have evolved from African hairless dogs which were reduced in size by the Chinese.
The Crested is believed to have accompanied Chinese sailors on the high seas, hunting vermin during and in between times of plague; today the breed can still be found in port cities worldwide.
Entries of the Crested breed in American dog shows began in the late 1800's.
Earlier names of the Crested include: Chinese Hairless, the Chinese Edible Dog, the Chinese Ship Dog, and the Chinese Royal Hairless.
By the mid-19th century, Cresteds began to appear in numerous European paintings and prints.
The Cresteds come in two varieties: Hairless and Powderpuff (Powderpuff is genetically recessive).

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

A toy dog, fine-boned, elegant and graceful. The distinct varieties are born in the same litter. The Hairless with hair only on the head, tail and feet and the Powderpuff, completely covered with hair. The breed serves as a loving companion, playful and entertaining.

HEAD

Expression – Alert and intense. Eyes – Almond-shaped, set wide apart. Dark-colored dogs have dark-colored eyes, and lighter-colored dogs may have lighter-colored eyes. Eye rims match the coloring of the dog. Ears – Uncropped large and erect, placed so that the base of the ear is level with the outside corner of the eye. Skull – The skull is arched gently over the occiput from ear to ear. Distance from occiput to stop equal to distance from stop to tip of nose. The head is wedge-shaped viewed from above and the side. Stop – Slight but distinct.

BODY

Neck – Neck is lean and clean, slightly arched from the withers to the base of the skull and carried high. Topline – Level to slightly sloping croup. Body – Brisket extends to the elbow. Breastbone is not prominent. Ribs are well developed. The depth of the chest tapers to a moderate tuck-up at the flanks. Light in loin. Tail – Tail is slender and tapers to a curve. It is long enough to reach the hock. When dog is in motion, the tail is carried gaily and may be carried slightly forward over the back. At rest the tail is down with a slight curve upward at the end resembling a sickle. In the Hairless variety, two-thirds of the end of the tail is covered by long, flowing feathering referred to as a plume. The Powderpuff variety’s tail is completely covered with hair.

FOREQUARTERS

Angulation – Layback of shoulders is 45 degrees to point of shoulder allowing for good reach. Shoulders – Clean and narrow. Elbows – Close to body. Legs – Long, slender and straight. Pasterns – Upright, fine and strong. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet – Hare foot, narrow with elongated toes. Nails are trimmed to moderate length.

COAT

The Hairless variety has hair on certain portions of the body: the head (called a crest), the tail (called a plume) and the feet from the toes to the front pasterns and rear hock joints (called socks). The texture of all hair is soft and silky, flowing to any length. Placement of hair is not as important as overall type. Areas that have hair usually taper off slightly. Wherever the body is hairless, the skin is soft and smooth. Head crest begins at the stop and tapers off between the base of the skull and the back of the neck. Hair on the ears and face is permitted on the Hairless and may be trimmed for neatness in both varieties. Tail plume is described under Tail. The Powderpuff variety is completely covered with a double soft and silky coat. Close examination reveals long thin guard hairs over the short silky undercoat. The coat is straight, of moderate density and length. Excessively heavy, kinky or curly coat is to be penalized. Grooming is minimal-consisting of presenting a clean and neat appearance.

HINDQUARTERS

Angulation – Stifle moderately angulated. From hock joint to ground perpendicular. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet – Same as forequarters.

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Chinese Crested

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Apricot Check Mark For Standard Color 002
Black Check Mark For Standard Color 007
Black White & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 034
Blue Check Mark For Standard Color 037
Chocolate Check Mark For Standard Color 071
Cream Check Mark For Standard Color 076
Palomino Check Mark For Standard Color 282
Pink & Chocolate Check Mark For Standard Color 285
Pink & Slate Check Mark For Standard Color 284
Slate Check Mark For Standard Color 281
White Check Mark For Standard Color 199
Black & Tan 018
Black & White 019
Brown 061
Pink 283
Red 140
Sable 164
Silver 176
White & Black 202
White & Chocolate 287

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Spotted Check Mark For Standard Mark 021
White Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 014
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