Put Some Clothes On Those Dogs! 5 Hairless Breeds!

May 17th, 2008 by Dan

When you think of a dog you usually think of fluffy or at least furry! Hairless dogs are some of the strangest looking pups we have ever seen, but fans of these breeds love them! (Many of them are fans of their warming qualities! Having a little hairless sleep on your feet is said to be better than the warmest slippers in the winter!) We’re here to fill you in on the scoop about these bald critters and provide you a little insight into the world of the 5 hairless breeds.

Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested resembles a tiny Clydesdale – with its flowing mane – or maybe a Glam Rocker! This unique dog is a member of the Toy Group and usually weighs in between 10 – 13 lbs. Chinese Cresteds come in 2 different types – Hairless and Powder Puff. The Hairless are well, hairless – with the exception of a single coat of hair on the head (crest), legs (socks), tail (plume) and sometimes a little beard! The dogs skin can range in color – from pale pink to black to freckled! The Powder Puff has a double coat that fills in all over its body. Interestingly enough, the Hairless trait is a dominant gene and litters can contain both Hairless and Powder Puff Cresteds! Some Hairless are a bit hairier than others, but this really just depends on the expression of the gene – there is no such thing as a Hairless/Powder Puff cross.

Caring for the skin of a Hairless Chinese Crested requires some careful maintenance. Their skin is similar to a humans and can be prone to the same kinds of issues – dryness, acne and even sunburn! Owners of these dogs must be sure to apply sunscreen to the dogs skin before exposure to the harmful rays. Regular bathing (some recommend twice weekly) keeps the Crested from oily skin issues. A gentle moisturizer can also be used. Missing teeth are common in this breed and they often loose what teeth they have once they are mature adults.

Though one would assume the Chinese Crested originated in China, the breed actually came from Africa and was picked up by Chinese ships because of it’s affinity as a ratter. Recent DNA studies have proven that the Crested is actually a cousin to the Basenji, and not to the Chihuahua or the Xoloitzcuintle, as previously believed.

Agility Chinese Crested

Photo by SheltieBoy

Peruvian Inca Orchid

The Peruvian Inca Orchid looks almost so similar to the Xoloitzcuintle, that it is quite easy to confuse the 2 breeds! The Inca Orchid can have hair on the top of it’s head, on it’s feet and on the tip of the tail, but it is preferred as hairless as possible! The skin can be chocolate-brown, elephant grey, copper, or spotted. The Peruvian Inca Orchid comes in 3 different sizes:
* Miniature (or pequeño), (10 to 16 inches)
* Medium (or medio), (16 to 20 inches)
* Large (or grande), (20 to 26 inches)
The smallest of the sizes weighs about 9 lbs while the largest can weigh in at 55 lbs!

The Peruvian Inca Orchid is not a beginners dog (nor is any other primitive breed!). They are affectionate with their owners, but have a vast independent streak. They can be wary of strangers but in general coexist well with other animals.

Like the other hairless breeds, skin care is needed to keep the Inca Orchid from developing acne. They need protection from the sun and also need to be kept warm in the colder weather. The tips of the ears are prone to chapping in this breed and must be monitored for this issue. Oral issues are also found in the Inca Orchid. It is believed these problems could be linked to the dominant hairless gene.

The Inca Orchid is an ancient breed that appears on artifacts predating 750 A.D. They were kept as pets in Peruvian coastal regions. During the Spanish conquest of Peru, this breed sat on the edge of extinction. Pet owners in rural areas kept the dogs alive, thinking they held mythical value.

Peruvian Inca Orchid In Sweater

Photo by mookiebones


The Xoloitzcuintle (show-low-eats-quint-lee), Xolo or Mexican Hairless Dog has as many sizes within the breed as it does names! The breed ranges from about 10 lbs to 50 lbs or so! Like the other hairless breeds, there are furred Xolo’s and hairless Xolo’s. Litters can contain both fur types.

Xolo’s have the same skin needs as the other hairless breeds- regular bathing to prevent clogged pores, sunscreen and moisturizer to prevent dry, itchy patches! Once again, what teeth the Xolo has may not stay with them for the entirety of their lives.

Xolo’s are an assertive breed and require a strong leader or else you are going to have a bald dog running your home! The breed is intelligent and makes a good family dog if socialized with children and other animals from an early age. Some individuals are even using Xolos as agility dogs!

The Xoloitzcuintle is the sacred dog of the ancient Aztecs. This breed may have originated over 3500 years ago! There is an Aztec myth that says that the god Xolotl made the Xoloitzcuintle from a piece of the “Bone of Life” from which all of mankind was made. Xolotl gave the dog to mankind and told him to guard it with his life. In exchange, the Xolo would be mans guide through the world of the dead, to the heavens. On a less poetic note the Aztecs also raised the Xolo for consumption. The breeds meat was a staple at many meals.

Xoloitzcuintle Sitting

Photo by Micyaotl

American Hairless Terrier

The American Hairless Terrier is a bit different from the other hairless breeds mentioned here – they are not a primitive breed and the hairless gene they express is recessive and not dominant. What this means is that they do not have the dental issues that are believed to be linked to the expression of the hairless gene.

The first AHT was born in 1972 in a litter of fully furred Rat Terriers – so in actuality, this breed seems to be a Hairless Rat Terrier! (since all it is is Rat Terriers that are expressing a recessive gene bred to other Rat Terriers expressing a recessive gene!) Scientists and Veterinarians told the owners of the dog that it was just a “freak” and that they wouldn’t be able to reproduce the trait, but after a few litters, more hairless pups were born. Thus it was proven that the gene was recessive and reproducible ( American Hairless Terrier bloodlines are created by breeding to furred Rat Terriers. The breeding of two American Hairless Terriers will always produce hairless puppies, while the breeding of an American Hairless Terrier to a coated hairless gene carrier will produce a mixture of coated and hairless pups.).

American Hairless pups are born fuzzy and loose their fuzz between 6-8 weeks of age. They are usually spotted and their skin does need to be protected from the sun. However, breeders claim that they don’t suffer from the same skin issues (oily or dry skin) as the primitive hairless breeds.

The American Hairless Terrier has the same personality traits of the Rat Terrier – they are high energy, intelligent and can be a bit sensitive. Early socialization with other animals is recommended with this breed. They are generally good with children.

American Hairless Terrier

Photo by exboyz04

Hairless Khala

The Hairless Khala (COW-la) comes in 2 different sizes – Medio and Grande. The Medio has short legs while the Grande has long skinny legs, resembling those of a sight hound. The Kahla is usually completely bald with the exception of a bit of a fluffy mohawk on the head area. The breed ranges in size from 15-30 lbs.

Once again we see all of the same issues with the other primitive hairless breeds – acne, teeth, etc. The dark grey coloring of the Khala makes it less sensitive to the sun than it’s spotted naked counterparts.

The Khala is aloof to strangers but friendly with its family. It enjoys the company of other dogs, especially its own kind! (it is said that hairless dogs like the company of other hairless dogs!).

Khala is the Bolivian Quechua Indian word meaning ‘without clothing”. This breed is found all over Latin America, South America, Central America and Mexico. There are few pedigrees kept on these dogs and they are known by varied names, even within the same countries! The Medio and Grande types can be born within the same litters. Export of these dogs to the US is rare.

Hairless Khala

Photo by Bryan Muir

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9 Responses to “Put Some Clothes On Those Dogs! 5 Hairless Breeds!”

  1. SpilltoJill Says:

    good info! Love Ch. Cresteds!

  2. Rachel Says:

    the dog exboyz04 is very cute

  3. Bonnie Says:

    I love this article. I have an American Hairless Terrier that is my world. Best dog I have ever had and he is so cute but maybe I am looking at him with love goggles.

  4. Rodhe Says:

    I own 2 chinese crested and adore my babies,they are great dogs and so affectate, I love the feel of them it like having a baby next to you. They are the greatest dogs ever.

  5. KD Says:

    I have a khala and two chinese cresteds and they are all awesome!!!

  6. maricar lincuna Says:

    i have a new pet…. veterinarian says its a Khala or its a Chinese crested. Whatever is the breed, she is really amazing, rare & friendly. Most people don’t find her pretty but all attentions & eyes are on her whenever I take her out in the house. Some even asked for a pic w/ her. She seems to be a celebrity…. heheh.. to all lovers of pets mostly dogs….. God bless

  7. whirly dog supplies Says:

    Always protect your dog from the weather! Especially hairless dogs, like the ones listed in this article – they get cold and shiver in cold weather and during summer they can be easily sunburned. I make and sell fun stylish unique dog clothes at http://www.whirlydogsupplies.com – Whirly Dog Supplies and a lot of people tell me that you shouldn’t dress dogs in clothing. I think if your dog is happy with it, go for it! Isn’t their health and happiness worth it?

  8. Michele Says:

    I’m looking for clothes for my American Hairless Terrier. Can you refer me to a website or provide a name of a person who sells/makes clothes – he’s around 16-17 pounds.


  9. Jackie Birnhak Says:

    Hi Michele,

    I also have an AHT and have always gotten my dog’s clothing and bedding from Randi Ross. Here is her website http://www.imageevent.com/rjross
    Click on the Fur Buddy Products link on the top left. She owns these dogs too and makes quality, custom made joggers which are less expensive than most. My AHT is 7 1/2 years old and we live in the Northeast, so I’ve had a lot of clothes made for him.

    Good luck!

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