The hairless Crested is better known (who can forget a naked dog?) but if you prefer your dogs covered up, the Powderpuff variety is completely covered with soft, silky hair.
With its graceful, fairy tale look, a hairless Chinese Crested can’t be mistaken for any other breed. Even though he weighs only 10 to 13 pounds, he has a bit of a pony look, with furred feet, head, and tail, and a mostly hairless body. Similar to many toy breeds, the Crested is lively, charming, and portable, an entertaining and loving companion for gentle households.
A hairless Chinese Crested can suffer from the cold, but he doesn’t often have to put up with it. He’s a renowned lap dog, happiest when curled up with his family. As for warmth, he seems to give as much as he gets, radiating heat from his exposed skin. When he does go out, his bare skin needs protection from the sun, which means canine clothes and human sun block. When cold days arrive, you’ll need to switch to a winter wardrobe: For this breed, sweaters are a necessity, not an affectation.
Chinese Cresteds come in two varieties, the hairless and the Powderpuff. The Powderpuff is a relatively low-shedding dog and can sometimes be tolerated by people with mild allergies. He does need frequent brushing to keep his coat from tangling.
While it’s easy and tempting to spoil and protect a small dog, resist the impulse with your Chinese Crested. Too much indulgence, and he’ll become a tyrant; too much guard and his slight tendency toward shyness can blossom into a real problem.
Cresteds tend to like children, but they’re far too small for rough-and-tumble play. They are not the best choice for families with toddlers, unless you are prepared to provide plenty of supervision. And sadly, this is among the most difficult of all breeds to successfully housetrain, so consider that carefully when deciding if it is the breed for you.
While not as yappy as some toy dog breeds, the Chinese Crested can still make noise. He needs gentle and consistent training from puppyhood on to prevent bad habits from taking hold.
A well-bred, well-socialized Chinese Crested is an intelligent dog with a happy and somewhat clownish nature. He’s not a fan of being left alone, and certainly can’t be left in the yard or garage. This is a dog that needs to live indoors as a member of the family.
Other Quick Facts
The hairless variety of the Chinese Crested has hair on his head — called a crest — from which he takes his name. He also has hair on his tail, giving it a plumed look, and on his feet, from the toes to the hock (the canine equivalent of the ankle). The hair on the feet makes it look as if he’s wearing socks.
The Chinese Crested can be any color or combination of colors.
The hairless Crested needs protection from temperature extremes. If you’re cold and need a sweater or coat, your Crested does too. On sunny days, he needs a coating of sunscreen so he doesn’t get sunburned.