The Chinese Crested dog is a smaller dog breed that comes in two varieties, the hairless, and the powder puff. When most people think of the breed they think of the hairless variety, in which dogs actually sport hair on their head (looking much like a Mohawk), tail, ears, and lower limbs.
These are toy dogs with both the powder puff and the hairless varieties occurring in the same litter. The gene responsible was only recently discovered in 2008.
The gene in controlling hairlessness has a problem. It is considered an incomplete dominant gene. Breeding powder puffs together only gets powerpuffs (the gene for powderpuff being recessive). Breeding powerpuffs with hairless produces a litter of both types. Breeding two hairless together results in 1 in 4 , receiving a double dose of the hairless gene which will not grow into a puppy. At fertilization the egg that has genes for hairlessness if encountering a sperm with genes for hairlessness will develop into a zygote that will never develop further into a puppy. As such most breeders breed powderpuffs to hairless dogs.
CED is the correct term for the hairless condition which also tends to cause dental problems. In full it is Canine Ectodermal Dysplasia. The dental problem do not occur in the powerpuff dogs, but can be severe in the hairless variety. Additionally dogs known as hairless can have patchy areas of hair, which are usually shaved off. Many times the baby teeth do not fall out and may require veterinarian removal or can result in extremely crocked adult teeth. Their teeth are more pointy than most dogs, and can be more prone to teeth decay. It is neglect of the teeth that often result in the hideous appearance that leads these dogs to do so well in ugly dog contests.
These dogs also grow very long quicks, the sensitive blood filled part inside their nails, so care must be taken not to cut their nails too short.
Chinese Crested dogs, even the powderpuff variety, do not shed as much as might be expected. They should receive regular grooming to prevent painful knots. The powerpuff dogs frequently have their faces shaved.
The hairless dogs need special skin care. They are prone to acne, and sunburn. Some have allergies to Lanolin.
The personality of these dogs is strong. They are playful and active and often do well at Obedience and in Agility classes where they are sure to delight the crowd with their unusual appearance.
If you are considering getting a Chinese Crested dog it is important to get one only from a reputable breeder. Have a look at the teeth of both parents. If their jaw is poor you should not buy one of their puppies. Any good breeder is well aware of this breeds dental problems and will avoid breeding any dog with poor teeth. Make sure both parents have show records to confirm that they were taken to shows and have earned titles to prove they were worthy of being bred. Make sure both parents were tested for PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) an eye problem common in the breed that can lead to blindness. They should have also had their legs (knees) tested for problems, as patellar luxation is also a problem in this breed. Reputable breeders can show you the veterinarian certificates for these tests done on the parents.
It is very common for lower quality Chinese Crested dogs to be sold through pet stores or by back yard breeders. Neither will discuss the problems associated with the breed to potential buyers who soon find themselves with a dog with huge medical bills.
The hairless Chinese Crested dogs are more in demand and as such command higher prices.
Below is a picture of Sam, now deceased, he was a famous Chinese Crested dog, known for winning many ugly dog contests.
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