One of the best couch potato companions is the Chinese Crested small dog breed. This cute pup is athletic but does not care to go out and run around like other dogs. Call the Crested for short this exotic looking dog is a Velcro dog that forms an intense bond with close family members. Thoroughly devoted, the Crested is extremely sensitive and reactive. 


Contrary to what the name suggests, the Chinese Crested doesn’t have a Chinese origin. Several genetic tests have indicated a relationship with the Mexican hairless dog, Xoloitzcuintli

Chinese crew ships used these dogs for hunting vermin. Unfortunately, this crew resorted to eating these dogs when food was scarce, and they had no other choice. 

Most people believe the Chinese developed this small dog breed from the big-sized ones, later introducing them to African and American countries. The Chinese believe that this breed holds magical healing powers but can be rarely found in China today.

The Crested developed and became popular very fast. In the 1900s, the breed became recognised by Kennel Clubs worldwide thanks to the work and contribution of these four women: Debra Woods, June Havoc, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Ida Garret.

Physical Characteristics

This small dog breed has a wedge-shaped head with erect ears and a long muzzle.  His fine bones are covered by pink skin.  A long flowing hair on this breed’s head is the crest he gets his name from. 

Unlike most dogs with oval feet, the Chinese Crested’s paws are more extended and often described as hare-like. 

Chinese Crested are Hairless or full coated. The hairless one has smooth, soft skin with soft, flowing hair on the tail, feet, and head. The coated variety, commonly known as Powderpuff, has skin covered by a soft, silky coat.

The only difference between the two varieties is the presence or absence of the skin cover. Otherwise, they share the same graceful movement and fine-boned elegance.  The hairless variety has no doggy odor as shedding is not in their routine.


The Chinese Crested has a unique physical appearance with his slender build and nude-looking body.  The breed stands between 11 and 13 inches (27 and 33cm) and weighs up to 12 pounds (2 to 5kg).

Character & abilities

The Chinese Crested dog has a wonderful temperament. Playful, gentle and extremely sensitive, the Crested is devoted to his family and has a high social drive. 

The Crested makes a wonderful family dog and enjoys being around children, especially those that are old enough to handle the breed’s small size. 

Trainability & Intelligence

The Crested dog is brilliant and loves spending most of his time with his owner. This dog is a perfect candidate for competitive sports such as flyball, obedience, and agility. This breed also makes excellent therapy breeds.

This breed is sensitive, and training should be conducted with the utmost gentle patience. Trainers should refrain from using harsh words and negative actions to avoid damaging the relationship between the Crested and trainers.

For many, it has been challenging to housebreak this breed. The best way to handle this is by crate training. With the Crested dog, owners need to commit to correcting unwanted behavior consistently. Otherwise, the dog ends up running riot.

Some dog trainers have unfairly concluded that the Chinese Crested has a low intelligence because of his stubbornness. However, early socialization plays a huge role in how this breed will behave into adulthood.

Exercise Needs & Nutrition

The Crested needs up to thirty minutes of daily exercise in secure spaces to avoid injury from interactions with larger dogs, as this could be fatal considering the breed’s small size.

Since this breed is affected by weather changes, a coat is recommended during winter to prevent hypothermia. It is best to avoid exerting physical activity in hot weather, especially during the summer, to avoid overheating. 

The adult Crested can quickly gain weight and needs a closely monitored diet to maintain a healthy weight. The breed’s meals need to be rich in nutrients that support healthy joints, bones and vision.


The Chinese Crested dog breed is prone to developing blackheads, especially the hairless variant. Exfoliating the blackheads includes bathing, brushing and trimming the fur around the head, tail, and legs once per week. Slick brushes are best for the outer coat and are recommended for the hairless Chinese Crested.

The grooming routine for the Crested powder puff requires more effort. The long double-coated fur tends to tangle, and the best way to prevent this is to use a pin-brush frequently. Baths can be given at least every two to four weeks.

Caring for the Crested also includes cleaning the teeth and ears at least once a week. Clipping the nails should be done with care to prevent incidents. 

Living Conditions & Adaptability

The Crested adapts quite well to apartment living and tunes in easily with families because of his reasonably calm nature, politeness and quietness. However, the Crested is highly sensitive and cannot tolerate a chaotic, noisy household.

A well socialized Chinese Crested is friendly around children, strangers and other dogs. However, a home with noisy kids who like running around and shouting or one that entertains people frequently might not be a good fit. The Chinese Crested may not adapt well to that kind of environment. 


Generally, this small dog breed is healthy but is associated with a few hereditary health conditions:

  • Retinal Atrophy: the abnormal development of the retinal photoreceptor cells due to their degeneration leading to early blindness.
  • Patella luxation: a genetic disease that causes the knee cap to fall in and out of place
  • Lens Luxation: a genetic disorder that causes the lens zonules to drop out of place and start moving loosely in the eye
  • Glaucoma: a disease that leads to blindness due to fluid and pressure build-up in the eye, damaging the optic nerve and the retina
  • Leg-Calve-Perthesis: though less common, this condition causes deterioration and collapse of the hip joint leading to symptoms such as lameness.

The hairless Chinese Crested dog is highly prone to skin conditions due to the naked skin.

A healthy Chinese Crested has a lifespan of 13-15 years. 


With its quirky looks, the affectionate and loving Chinese Crested dog is famous. Despite being stubborn, this small dog breed is friendly and easy to train.  Highly adaptable to living in small and large homes and requiring minimal care, this breed is a good pick for novices.

Our team at All The Small Dog Breeds is crazy about all our tiny four-legged friends. With their many variations, we enjoy putting together small dog breed descriptions to narrow your search for a dog with the traits that fit you.


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