Although the Chinese Crested is associated with China doubts exist that the breed originated in that country. Hairless dogs have existed in many parts of the world and it is believed that the most likely progenitors of the Chinese Crested were hairless African dogs which were transported by traders into China where these dogs were bred to reduce size. Dogs of the Crested type are recorded as far back as the 13th century as being favoured pets of the Chinese ruling classes. Cresteds are thought also to have accompanied Chinese seafarers as vermin controllers, companions, and perhaps a food source, thus spreading around the world via ports on the ancient trade routes. The breed first came to the notice of the western world in the 1800s when British and European explorers encountered them in Central and South America, Africa and Asia. By the late 19th century a few of these exotic looking dogs had been imported into Britain. Although they initially had a certain novelty appeal their popularity as a pet dog was, and remains, limited. The breed was first recognized by the Kennel Club in 1981. Litters from the hairless variety will usually contain some Powder Puffs.
Whether hairless or sporting a cloak of long silky hair the Chinese Crested is an eye-catching dog and an endearing and delightful companion. He is very affectionate and totally devoted to his owners, his true happiness lying in being close to his people and being included in as many of their activities as possible. He enjoys the comforts of home but will gladly give up his place in front of the fire or on the most comfortable chair to go anywhere with his loved ones. The well-bred Chinese Crested has a pleasant disposition and, while he may at first be a little wary of strangers, he is never snappy or bad-tempered. He is very alert and will bark to announce the presence of visitors but is not particularly territorial or overly protective. Generally he mixes well with other dogs and animals and is good with older, considerate children. He has an abundance of energy and will play tirelessly with anyone who is willing to engage with him or, if no volunteers are forthcoming, he will invent games to play by himself. It is not unknown for a Crested in search of fun to climb over garden fences, so chain-link, or anything else that may offer footholds, should be avoided. He is reputed to have considerable problem solving skills which are likely to become evident when he manages to get hold of a forbidden item which his owner thought was safely out of the way. The Chinese Crested is very sensitive to the cold so it is essential for his physical comfort that he should be an indoor dog and that he should wear a coat when walked in inclement weather. If he is of the hairless variety it is of great importance that his skin is also protected from sunburn by the application of sunscreen lotions and the provision of plenty of shade. For those seeking a lively, graceful dog whose loyalty knows no bounds the distinctive Chinese Crested may be the answer.
The Chinese Crested is an active little dog and will get a good deal of exercise from playing and romping in the house and garden. However, he does like getting out and about and a daily walk will provide him with lots of interesting smells and sights to keep his mind stimulated and plenty of people to meet, greet and enchant. Being naturally very nimble he will enjoy the sport of agility and he can be a most successful obedience trial dog, both of which sports will exercise both his brain and his body.
It is important that basic obedience training should be started as soon as possible. The Chinese Crested, like any breed, large or small, needs and deserves to be kindly but firmly educated in good manners, and he will be much happier and more relaxed if he knows the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. He is a very intelligent dog, capable of learning quickly and with a willingness to please a loved and respected owner. Training should be made as interesting and as much fun as possible. Rewarding good efforts and a job well done with treats and praise will bring out the best in him. Tricks also are quite readily learned and he will enjoy showing off his repertoire to an appreciative audience. Harsh physical or verbal corrections should never be used. They are unnecessary and counterproductive. Socialization is also important and, again, should be commenced from early puppyhood. Accustoming the pup to as many as possible of the various types of people, situations, sights and sounds that he may encounter during his life will help to ensure that he matures into a friendly, confident, level-headed adult.
- Patella luxation
- progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
- Legg-Calve Perthes disease
- skin problems
- dental problems
Some photographs of the Chinese Crested...