The Chinese Crested Dog, also known as the Chinese Crested Dog, is the exotic bird of paradise among all dog breeds with its extraordinary appearance. As extravagant as he looks with his flowing mane and naked body, his character is extremely uncomplicated and lovable.
Images of hairless dogs can be seen on archaeological finds found in the southern hemisphere, in countries far apart. The oldest representations such as wall paintings, ceramics, figures or engravings are 4000 years old. Africa, Portugal, India, Turkey, South and Central America, the Philippines and China are named as sites. It is not certain where the first Chinese Crested dogs appeared.
One theory speaks of African origin, where a mutation is said to have caused the hairlessness of the Canis Africanis. The Chinese crested dogs were highly worshiped in ancient Egypt. Numerous statues and images from the time of the pharaohs show hairless dogs. The whole people loved this graceful race, but ownership was reserved only for the upper classes. The so-called African hairless terriers are said to have reached China by merchant ships at the time of the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD). In the Far East, the larger hunting and guard dog was bred into a 2 – 3 kilo small dog for living in an elegant home. The Chinese crested dog is said to have reached America from Asia on board tea ships, as the hairless breed is reported in both countries from the 13th century. In Central and Central America, a pre-Azthek Indian culture revered the Chinese Crested Dog for being so loyal and people-loving. And it was said to have mystical powers that could cure asthma, rheumatism, arthritis (which in the case of the latter two diseases is probably due to its use as a hot water bottle). If an owner died, his dog was buried with him so that he could be at his master’s side even after death. The use as a grave object and as a companion of the soul is also passed down from the Chihuahua, who is also said to come from Mexico. Hence another theory of ancestry, according to which Chinese Crested Dogs emerged from crossing with Chihuahuas. Both breeds enjoyed the same dubious honor of being a delicacy on the menu on special occasions.
In the travel reports of Christopher Columbus, who discovered America in 1492, hairless dogs are mentioned. According to this, there is a possibility that the Chinese Crested Dogs came to Europe from Central America and Mexico, again by sea. During the months of voyages by ship, the dogs were used as pied pies and perhaps also as a living food supply. Back in Spain, the rare animals were sold to rich aristocrats. Hairless dogs can also be seen in paintings owned by the Vatican depicting street scenes during the Roman Empire. Despite the abundance of records, there are no reliable records of the Chinese Crested Dog. European sailors in the 17th century unanimously report the hairless race in Asia. The British show judge and dog lover WK Taunton brought back rare dog breeds from his world trips between 1850 and 1860, including the Chinese Crested Dog. He started breeding and presented his male “Chinese Emperor” at an exhibition. However, the committee reacted strange and declined an assessment. A seat in the London Zoo seemed more appropriate to the judges.
Chinese crested dogs were seen as a real curiosity at American exhibitions at the turn of the century, after which they disappeared from the scene for almost 50 years. The recognition as a breed in Great Britain would last until 1965, in 1991 the American Kennel Club joined. Since the official breed standards existed, the number of breeders has also increased slowly. In Germany, Mr. Joachim Weinberg established the Chinese Crested Dog. He saw the first copy in 1943 at an exhibition in Vienna and was extremely fascinated by its unique appearance. With the import of the first animals from the USA in 1967, the first German breeding began and the entry in the VDH. In 1978 the first German exhibitor founded the CER in the VDH. Due to growing awareness and popularity, the Chinese Crested Club was later founded in Lübeck, to which Mr. Weinberg belongs as an honorary member and judge. Despite the breed name “Chinese”, an Asian origin is controversial because there are very similar breeds recognized by the FCI with the Mexican and Peruvian hairless dogs. The question of how the dogs got to America tries to explain another theory: The first immigrants are said to have brought the hairless dogs with them from Asia via the Behring Strait via Alaska to Central America.
The noble, slightly rounded head appears without excessive wrinkling. The large ears, which are set low at eye level, are carried erect, with the Powder Puff variety, lop ears are allowed. The auricles can be fringed or not. A moderate stop and almost black, widely spaced, almond-shaped eyes look attentively into the world. The slightly tapered muzzle ends in a narrow nose and tight and thin lips. The finely chiseled cheeks also blend in with the contours of the face. The strong jaw houses a regular scissor bite with vertical teeth. Strong shoulders and a straight back are added to the long, slender neck without dewlap. The spacious chest reaches down to the elbow, then the lower profile line runs slightly up towards the stomach. The long, straight tail is carried sideways or high when moving. The legs are straight and close to the body. The narrow front and rear paws have the shape of outstretched hare paws and are extremely mobile. The coat of the Powder Puff consists of a soft veil of hair with an undercoat, the Hairless variety has a more or less pronounced tuft of long hair that should start at the stop and reach to the neck. Medium-length paw hair should be used as a “sock” and should extend to the ankle at most. The lower two thirds of the tail are feathered with long and thick hair.
The Chinese Crested Dog will shower its people with kindness and is easy to train thanks to its good-natured nature and high intelligence. The breed, playful and active into old age, is just as suitable for families with children as it is for individuals. An apartment is fine for him, he barks little, but visitors are duly registered. The breed needs a lot of activity and affection, and prolonged solitude should be avoided if possible. Inside he adapts his urge to move around to the spatial conditions, but the Chinese Crested Dog wants to work out his good stamina regularly and in a not too short run. They like to romp outside in the sun and snow, but they don’t like wind and rain. Dog sports such as agility should also be part of the routine.
The weight and coat colors are not specified in the FCI standard, as the Chinese crested dogs, which are still relatively rare, have a natural variety of appearance. In terms of physique, there are two groups: the sturdy Cobby type and the petite, smaller Deer type. In terms of fur, a distinction is made between five strokes depending on the degree of hair. The best known is probably the hairless with lush head hair, socks and long haired tail. The powder pouf has fine, silky, long outer hair with an undercoat, also wire-haired or short-haired. When mating, fully hairy animals must always be crossed, as stillbirths occur more frequently in pure hairless crossbreeds. In addition, those with full hair inherit the spectacular heads of hair. The hairless variant, however, carries both genes for hairlessness and fur growth. Therefore, puppies of both hair types appear in one litter.
The Chinese Crested Dog can have genetic problems with the eyes. This can lead to slow retinal death (PRA) or the lens shifts (lens dislocation). Sometimes the front molars (premolars) are missing. It has been known since 2008 that the gene is responsible for hairlessness and tooth formation. A positive aspect of the lack of hair is the suitability of the breed for allergy sufferers, who can thus keep a dog. The skin of the “CC” feels velvety, warm and soft. The pigmentation goes down in winter, and when exposed to sunlight, its color darkens due to the high melanin content. The skin colors vary in brown, pink, lavender, blue and mahogany, large spotted or like a leopard print. Light-colored types then also need a light sun protection cream; for normal care, a body lotion is used after the bath. This breed can get used to the cold if it just keeps moving. By putting on a dog’s coat early, the organism becomes more sensitive. Chinese crested dogs then need a little more food in order to convert the supplied energy into body heat.
The Chinese Crested Dog at a glance
Origin: China Patronage: Great Britain FCI Standard No. 288, Group 9 Society and Service Dogs Section 4 Hairless Dogs Height at the withers: Males approx. 28 – 33 cm, bitches approx. 23 – 30 cm Weight: not specifiedVarieties of body structure: Deer type, Cobby typeVarities of fur: Powder Puff , HairlessFur colors: All color combinations and colors permittedEyes: almond-shaped, medium-sized, almost black, set far apart Ears: large and carried upright, with Powder Puff lop ears are allowedBody type: medium-long, suppleUse: companion dogCharacter: vigilant, happy, soulfulHealth risks: incomplete retinal dentition, atrophy , Patellar luxation Life expectancy: approx. 13-15 years
Image: © Depositphotos.com / enduro