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Bald Faced Truth About Hairless Dogs

Mexican Hairless Trio


Chinese Crested Powder Puff and Hairless


There’s new hope for allergy suffering dog lovers. Get a hairless! That’s a lame joke, but an interesting concept nonetheless. Their hairlessness makes them the ideal canine companion for people with allergies. Today, hairless dogs have become increasingly popular with canine fanciers.

Hairless dogs tend to be cleaner and don’t have the annoying odor of other dogs since they don’t have hair which can trap dirt. Additionally, they require much less grooming.

The five most common hairless varieties today are the American Hairless Terrier, Chinese Crested, Hairless Khala or Pita, Peruvian Inca Orchid and the Mexican hairless.

The origin of hairless dogs is not known but, it is theorized most, if not all, are descended from the African Hairless, sometimes referred to as the Abyssinian Sand Terrier.

There isn't much known about the African Hairless Dog. But, while researching this breed two conflicting points came to light. One being the last of the breed was supposedly found in the 1800s and is extinct. The other, they are still being bred today. One African Hairless has been preserved for posterity in the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum in Tring, England. But in either case their blood line can clearly be seen in many breeds of hairless dogs of today. For example, the Chinese Crested dog.

Some breeds such as the African Elephant dog, African Sand, Ceylon hairless, Egyptian Hairless and the Thai Hairless Dog have become extinct.

A hairless dog has a gentic disposition for hairlessness. There are two known classifications of genetic hairlessness, dominant and recessive.

Hairless dogs with dominant genes can pass them on to their litters under natural conditions, that is, without human intervention.

Today there are three recognized breeds worldwide. They are the Chinese Crested, Mexican Hairless and the Peruvian Hairless. One other category, the American Hairless Terrier, is recognized only in some parts of North America and is the only breed having a recessive genetic trait.

American Hairless Terrier


A Singing Hairless

It should be noted since hairless breeds do not have protective fur like other dogs they can be easily injured. As with all hairless dogs, care must be given to their unprotected skin. They can sunburn easily if left out in the sun too long. Therefore, a good sunscreen is advisable. These animals need special care. Over bathing should be avoided to keep their skin from drying out. Some owners use skin lotion as needed. And in cold weather they should wear a sweater.

It seems the most popular hairless breed is the Chinese Crested which is very rare.There are two varieties, the "hairless" and "powder puff.” Both can be born in the same litter. They are alert, charming, agile, and lovable. Generally they get along well with other pets and are not barkers. They like to climb, dig holes and can become very attached to their owners. They should not be over fed since they have a tendency to gain weight easily.

The Chinese Crested is thought to have originated in Africa and was called an "African Hairless Terrier." Chinese traders brought them aboard their ships to eliminate rodents.

The Mexican Hairless, also rare, is thought to be the oldest and most common hairless breed. It is also known as Xoloitzcuintle or Xolo for short.The Xolo is native to Mexico and there is evidence to show they have existed in the New World for over 3,000 years. They also can have hairless as well as coated born in the same litter. There come in three sizes: Toy, Miniature and Standard. Some believe the African Hairless and Chihuahua were cross bred to produce the Mexican Hairless.

Xolo's were considered sacred by the Aztecs, Toltecs, Mayans and a few other civilizations because it was believed they were needed to help their master's souls cross over to the underworld. But sacred or not, the Aztecs also ate them. Sixteenth-century Spanish stories tell about large numbers of dogs being served at banquets and other social events.

The American Hairless Terrier (AHT) is not a primitive breed but a rather new one. The first hairless terrier was born in 1972 to a Rat Terrier. The AHT is a natural variation of the Rat Terrier, but unlike other hairless breeds, the gene is recessive not dominant. AHT's are born with a full set of teeth and soft downy fuzz. As the dog matures, this downy covering will disappear.Their skin is soft, warm and pink, usually covered with freckles or small spots. These spots will enlarge with age and darken in the sun. And they are not as prone to acne or allergies as other hairless breeds.

The AHT is a small to medium sized, sleek, muscular dog. It comes in two sizes, miniature and standard. The miniature stands less than 13 inches tall. The standard is 13 inches to 18 inches tall. They are alert, intelligent and loving. AHT's make good playmates for children.

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The breeding of two American Hairless Terriers always produce hairless puppies. The breeding of an American Hairless Terrier to a coated hairless gene carrier will produce a mixture of coated and hairless offspring. Two coated dogs carrying the recessive hairless gene can produce a mixture of hairless and coated.

The United Kennel Club first listed the AHT in 1999 as a Rat Terrier of the hairless variety. However, in 2004 It became officially recognized as a distinct breed.

American Hairless Terriers are intelligent, alert, playful and loving dogs. They are very inquisitive and lively.


Jasmine on August 03, 2015:

I dont entirely believe that mexican hairless dogs don't have a doggie odor. My in laws dogs, three mexican hairless dogs, have the annoying doggie odor and its strong. Either my smell sensitively is high or they stink. I am not even close to them but 2 to 3 feet away and they have the odor.

John Young (author) from Florence, South Carolina on June 12, 2011:

Thank you Theresa. I do work hard on these things.

Theresa Kennedy from Minnesota on June 12, 2011:

I've never heard of some of these breeds, and I love learning about new things. Thanks JY for the information and your research, layout and easy reading flow. I'm sharing it with my friends on facebook, as I know a few who suffer from dander allergies. Thanks again!

John Young (author) from Florence, South Carolina on June 10, 2011:

Well Alastar, I thought it was time to switch gears for a bit. I can write on anything, but sometimes I get on a roll and stay with a theme a while. I didn't check on prices for these things, but there are internet sites that advertise selling them. Yeh, I can just see ya now walking down the street with one... and then cleaning up the poop. LOL

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on June 10, 2011:

Talk about feeling naked! Bit of a different direction for you JY. Good write and the hub looks great. Wonder how much a Chinese Crested would run ya? :)

John Young (author) from Florence, South Carolina on June 10, 2011:

I thank you both for your kind remarks. This one took a bit of research and work. Your comments make the effort worth it.

Sun Pen 50 from Srilanka on June 10, 2011:

Interesting JY, Thanks a lot for a hub packed with info. I am not a dog lover or a dog fan though I had many over last couple of decades. But I had never heard about Ceylon hairless Though I am from Ceylon ( the name given to my country by Europeans).


MyMastiffPuppies on June 10, 2011:


I have never seen the Mexican hairless dogs, great option for those allergy sufferers. Excellent information, voted up, useful and awesome...

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