The Chinese Crested, also known as the Crested, the Chinese Hairless, the Chinese Edible Dog, the Chinese Ship Dog, the Chinese Royal Hairless and the Puff, is believed to have descended from African hairless dogs which were reduced in size by selective breeding in China. It has been known by various nick-names depending upon where it was found. In Egypt, it was called a Pyramid or Giza Hairless; in South Africa it was called the South African Hairless, and in Turkey a larger version was called the Turkish Hairless. In China, this toy breed was originally known as the Treasure House Guardian.
The Chinese Crested was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1985 as part of its Miscellaneous class, and was accepted for full registration in 1991.
The history of the Chinese Crested is uncertain. It is believed that for many centuries Chinese mariners sailed the seas with this breed on board to manage the vermin population, which was infested with parasites and carried disease. Puppies probably were traded with local merchants at port cities. As early as the 1500s, dogs resembling today's Chinese Crested were found in Mexico and other parts of Central and South America. British, French and Portuguese explorers also found the breed in various parts of Africa and Asia during the 1700s and 1800s. By the middle of the 19th century, the Chinese Crested began to appear in many European paintings. During the 1850s and 1860s, several Cresteds were shown at an exhibition in England, and photographs of them were circulated.
The Chinese Crested was entered in American dog shows beginning in the late 1800s. Ida Garrett, a young New York newspaper reporter, became interested in the breed and over the course of sixty years bred, exhibited and wrote extensively about these dogs that she loved. In the 1920s, Ida helped Debra Woods of Homestead, Florida, obtain Chinese Cresteds and other hairless breeds. The two women became fast friends. For almost 40 years, they jointly promoted the Chinese Crested with great focus and success. Mrs. Woods kept a log of all of her dogs starting in the 1930s, and by the 1950s that journal became a registration service for all hairless breeds. She maintained these records and guarded them with great pride until her death in 1969. These studbooks were maintained for nearly twelve years by Jo Ann Orlik, and then they became the property of the American Chinese Crested Club, which was founded in 1979.
The Chinese Crested Dog Club of England was established in the 1960s. The Chinese Crested was admitted to the American Kennel Club's Miscellaneous class in September of 1985. It became eligible for full AKC registration in February of 1991 and became eligible to show at AKC-licensed events in April of that year, as a member of the Toy Group.
The Chinese Crested dog breed generally is a sturdy and healthy little breed. The average life expectancy of the Chinese Crested dog breed is between 10 and 12 years. This is comparable to the median lifespan of most purebred dogs (10 to 13 years), but lower than most breeds similar in size. Potential hereditary defects and disorders commonly found, but not necessarily found, in the Chinese Crested are as follows:
Allergies: Overreaction by the immune system to an allergen, which is any substance capable of inducing a reaction in that particular animal
Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: Defined as the spontaneous degeneration of the hip (coxofemoral) joint
Patellar Luxation: Commonly known as a "slipped knee cap," occurs when the patella is displaced from the joint.
Dental Problems: Diseases and disorders affecting the dog's mouth
Skin Problems: Conditions that affect the dog's fur and skin. Causes are often related to allergies, bacteria, fungus or parasites.
Chinese Cresteds are expressive dogs who can smile and even hug. Always happy and energetic, this breed loves people and can become quite attached to their primary caregiver. Often called "velcro" dogs, they will physically attach themselves to their favorite person, and will use their paws to hug that person around the neck. This toy breed loves to climb like a cat, and never tires of playing with children, adults, or other animals. Their size, desire to please, and low activity requirements make them a good choice for first time dog owners, and an even better choice for retirees who have lot time to devote to their dog. The Chinese Crested loves to be the center of attention, soaks up affection and does not like to be left alone for long periods of time.
This tiny breed can live easily in apartments or condominiums, and require one or two walks per day and the opportunity to run once in a while. Chinese Cresteds have a lot of energy, and even though they are typically not destructive, keeping them calm requires daily exercise. Toy breeds are prone to obesity, as people tend to overfeed and under exercise them. Make no mistake, these dogs are not cats and do require a commitment to daily walking to keep them healthy.
Like all toy breeds, the Chinese Crested has a willful streak, but is generally a breed who loves to please people. Training requires lots of positive reinforcement and treats – harsh treatment will cause them to develop avoidance behaviors. Many Cresteds can be taught tricks and enjoy the attention that comes with being a showman.
This breed is not well-suited for a home with small children. Kids can be clumsy and accidentally injure such a small breed. Cresteds are also very jealous dogs, and won't appreciate the time and attention given to small kids. They are also not very patient with kids who tease or want to play roughly with them, and have been known to snap and even bite.
Barking is often a problem with the Crested, as with most breeds of small dogs. They bark at everything, all the time. Socialization is important so that they are welcoming to visitors.
Separation Anxiety is also very prevalent in this breed. They crave constant companionship, and prefer that companionship come from people. If left alone too long, even if well-exercised, they can bark and cry excessively and can become destructive.
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.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Size - Ideally 11 to 13 inches. However, dogs that are slightly larger or smaller may be given full consideration. Proportion – rectangular-proportioned to allow for freedom of movement. Body length from withers to base of tail is slightly longer than the height at the withers. Substance – Fine-boned and slender but not so refined as to appear breakable or alternatively, not a robust, heavy structure.
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. Muzzle - Cheeks taper cleanly into the muzzle. Nose - Dark in dark-colored dogs; may be lighter in lighter-colored dogs. Pigment is solid. Lips - Lips are clean and tight. Bite - Scissors or level in both varieties. Missing teeth in the Powderpuff are to be faulted. The Hairless variety is not to be penalized for absence of full dentition.
Neck, Topline, 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.
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.
Angulation - Stifle moderately angulated. From hock joint to ground perpendicular. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet - Same as forequarters.
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.
Any color or combination of colors.
Lively, agile and smooth without being stilted or hackneyed. Comes and goes at a trot moving in a straight line.
Gay and alert.
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Sources: American Kennel Club