Chinese Crested Dog

Written by: Jamie
Updated: September 5, 2020

You may recognize this dog from 101 Dalmatians. Cruella Deville was a proud owner of Fluffy, her Chinese Crested Dog. Find more information relating to this breed below.

chinese crested dog on grass

Height: 11-13 inches
Weight: 3-5 kilos
Lifespan: 13-18 years
Pedigree (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club

Positives and Negatives

Check out the pros and cons related to the Chinese Crested Dog:


  • Minimal Grooming Requirements
  • Great choice for first-time owners
  • Loyal lap dogs
  • Doesn’t need much exercise


  • Doesn’t tolerate too hot or too cold weather
  • Their toy size makes them fragile
  • Prone to separation anxiety
  • Known to have a stubborn side

Two Chinese Crested dogs sitting in front of a white background


The Chinese Crested Dog has become famous for its quirky looks. The breed is famously known to be hairless, yet other dogs from the same litter can be furry, earning them the name Powderpuff dog! They’re loving, affectionate, and have a long lifespan, sticking by your side for years to come.

Listed as a toy breed, the Chinese Crested Dog may shiver when nervous or excited. They require an owner that is home most of the day. If they are left alone for long periods of time, they will become destructive and could develop separation anxiety.

The breed can also be stubborn, but that doesn’t mean they’re difficult to train. They are intelligent and pick up on commands quickly, making them great for first-time owners. The Chinese Crested dog is a people pleaser and loves to show off to their owner!

This pooch is easy to maintain, although they do require lots of attention! Small living spaces aren’t a problem for this dog thanks to their size! They also have minimal exercise and grooming requirements. The breed can be rather timid so it is important to socialize your Chinese Crested dog.


Despite the name, the Chinese Crested dog didn’t actually originate from China! Genetic tests show this pooch is related to the Xoloitzcuintli, a Mexican Hairless Dog.

The Powderpuff dog’s full name derived from their time working on Chinese ships hunting vermin. Unfortunately, when food became low, the dogs could become dinner for the crew! It’s believed the Chinese developed this breed into its small size and introduced them to countries such as Africa and the Americas.

In China, this dog is thought to hold magical healing powers, yet nowadays they are rare to come across in the country.

This ancient breed can be traced back to the early 1500s and began popping up in European paintings in the 19th century. Gerrard David’s “Christ Nailed to the Cross” was painted in the 15th century. It portrays a similar-looking hairless pooch solidifying this ancient breed’s popularity across history.

Thanks to the work of four women, Gypsy Rose Lee, Debra Woods, Ida Garrett, and June Havoc. The Chinese Crested dog became recognized by Kennel Clubs worldwide. They contributed to the growth, development, and popularity of the breed in the 1900s.

Up next: Do Pumis make good pets? We explain in our guide!


Chinese Crested Powder Puff Temperament:

Not only does this dog look unique, but they also have a quirky personality! They have a mind of their own and can be rather stubborn, yet they are easily trainable and generally well behaved. If you can meet the needs of a Chinese Crested Powderpuff, then you will have a fiercely loyal companion.

Like most toy breeds an eccentric personality is imminent! They love to please people and will always be close to your side. You mustn’t leave this dog alone as they will pick up destructive habits. For a toy breed, this dog doesn’t bark often and you can teach them to sing/howl!

Group of three Chinese Crested Dog - Hairless (3 years old)

Are Chinese Crested Dogs Good With Strangers?

This dog tends to be naturally timid. How they act with strangers depends on your dog’s socialization. Generally, they act rather wary of people they don’t know, but they aren’t known to bite. Unless of course, they have had very little training.

Are Chinese Crested Dogs Good With Children?

Chinese Crested Dogs can make a great family pet. They will interact and play nicely with children, showing them heaps of affection! As this is a toy breed you should keep them away from smaller children. They may cause an injury due to the fragile size of this dog so avoid rough play!

You must be careful of jealousy. This dog becomes deeply attached to its owner, so you should always make them feel involved. They could end up snapping at children if they feel they aren’t receiving the attention they desire.

Recommended: Learn all about the amazing Korean Jindo dog next.

woman in medical mask walking with chinese crested dog in park

Are Chinese Crested Dogs Ok With Other Dogs?

Yes, overall this pooch makes a great playmate with other dogs. Of course, it depends on how you socialize Chinese Crested Powderpuff puppies. Be careful when they play around bigger dogs as they injure easily. They could spend hours playing but it is important they aren’t over-exercised.

This pooch can live happily with a cat but should be introduced from an early age. Best to avoid small pets like hamsters and rats as this dog used to hunt smaller animals.


A Chinese Powder Puff should receive up to 30 minutes of exercise each day. Puppies will require slightly longer. Due to their small size, they should be exercised in enclosed spaces. Anything can happen and if a larger dog off the leash decides to play rough with this pooch, worst-case scenario, it could be fatal.

Chinese Crested Dog Breed

When walking your dog in the Winter you must ensure they wear a coat. Chinese Crested dogs, especially the hairless ones, are very susceptible to the cold. In summer you must avoid the hot weather, they are prone to heatstroke.


Although this breed is generally healthy, there are a few health conditions related to this breed:

  • Retinal Atrophy- A degenerative disease where the photoreceptor cells of the retina develop abnormally. This will lead to early blindness.
  • Patella Luxation- This is when the knee cap falls in and out of place. It is a genetic disease passed on from the parents.
  • Lens Luxation- The lens is held in place by fibers called Lens Zonules. If these fibers break the lens will fall out of place moving loose within the eye. It is an inherited condition.
  • Glaucoma- A build-up of fluid and pressure in the eye can damage the retina and optic nerve. This will eventually lead to blindness.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes This condition hasn’t been seen as commonly as above but it is something potential owners should be aware of. This painful health issue can cause the hip joint to deteriorate and collapse. Symptoms include lameness, an affected dog may put no weight on the affected leg.

Intelligence & Training

The best method of training you should use for the Chinese Crested dog is respect. You must be consistent ensuring any bad behaviours have been nipped in the bud. With smaller dogs, a lot can go wrong for them if they develop bad traits.

Housebreaking this breed has been difficult for many. Crate training is highly recommended for this task. If you aren’t consistent with correcting bad behaviors then your dog will end up running riot!

Side view of a Chinese Crested Dog sitting, 3 years old

The Chinese Crested Powder Puff is believed to be intelligent. Yet some dog trainers don’t believe this is the case. Their stubborn side is responsible for that! This toy breed needs patience, they can be sensitive too so you can’t be too firm.

Naturally, the Chinese Crested dog can be rather timid. Socialization plays a big part in how this dog behaves in adulthood. You don’t want a yappy, scared pooch that is fearful of strangers and other dogs as this can lead to biting. Do remember this pooches size. They are susceptible to injuries so rough play is a no go.

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The Chinese Crested dog can come with or without fur. Yet just because a dog is hairless doesn’t mean they don’t need to be groomed. You may need to exfoliate your pooches skin to prevent any blackheads from appearing, something the Chinese Crested dog is prone to.

Although the dog is generally hairless, you will still have to tidy up the fur around the legs, tail and head. A quick trim and weekly brush will help keep this neat. When bathing be sure to exfoliate the skin. Some people use oils such as coconut and vegetable with sugar to make a solution. Be sure to moisturize after.

A Chinese Crested Powder Puff has a much longer coat. The double-coated fur hardly sheds so you will need to brush it multiple times a week to avoid any tangles. Pin brushes are the best tool for this pooch. You should aim to wash them every 2-4 weeks depending on how dirty they get.

Slick brushes help shine the outer coat and are also best to use on hairless Chinese Crested dogs. Remember to cleanse the ears and teeth as part of your weekly routine. Clippers can be used on this dog. Use blade sizes #30 or #40 to trim the paws, blade size #10 on the face, and size #10 or #15 for the body.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Jamie! I've always been around dogs and now writing about them is an absolute joy.
Read more about my story here.
Reach me at or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

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