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Chinese Crested

Published on 9 Jul 2021

Chinese crested dog dressed in sport shoes and tshirt

The Chinese Crested has mysterious origins. It’s unclear exactly where they came from however the prevailing theory is that much larger African hairless dogs were imported to China, where they were selectively bred until they achieved toy size. The breed travelled on Chinese trading vessels where they dispatched marauding rats. Their reputation as expert ratters spread and sailors traded Chinese Crested as far as Egypt, Turkey, Central and South America, and South Africa. In the 1880’s the breed was introduced to the United States and it wasn’t until 1973 that they were brought into Australia.    

The breed comes in two varieties – the famous hairless type and the hairy “Powderpuff”. One litter can produce both varieties. This stark difference in appearance is due to a recessive genetic mutation.

They are a toy breed, measuring around 30cm tall and weighing up to 4kg. They can come in a variety of colours, which can range from a pink skin colour in the hairless types to black. Their life expectancy is 12 to 17 years.

Dog Breed Facts & Characteristics



Also known as 

Chinese Crested, Puff, Crested, Chinese Ship Dog, Dr. Seuss Dog


Toy; 28 to 33cm high

Weight Range

3.5 to 5.5kgs


Wide variety, flesh coloured to black 

Life expectancy

12 to 17years 


Hairless and long coat (Powderpuff) varieties available 


Loving, energetic, clever    

Activity levels

Low, due to small size, still requires daily walks and play time   

Best suited for

Households with time to keep them company, without small children ideally 

Apartment friendly



Despite their small stature, they have a giant heart and can make the perfect lap dog. They are often entertaining and mischievous characters that love being the centre of attention. Although loving and affectionate with their families and people they know, they can be aloof around strangers. Small children might be a bit too “full on” for the delicate Chinese Crested, so they may be better suited to households with older or no children. With a love of people and reactive nature they can be susceptible to developing separation anxiety. So early training and socialisation are just as important in the tiny Chinese Crested as it would be for a larger breed of dog to help them grow into a well-adjusted and well-mannered adult. While they are rather agile and athletic, their small stature means that they do not require extensive exercise and a daily walk and plenty of play time will keep them fit and healthy. They adapt well to apartment life and particularly in cooler climates they’ll appreciate a snuggly jumper and a cosy life indoors.


With tufts of hair on the paws, tail, head, and neck the hairless variety seems like the perfect pal if you don’t want to do much grooming, however hair provides protection to skin, so without hair the skin is vulnerable to irritations, allergies, sunburn and drying out. As such, caring for the skin of the hairless Chinese Crested can involve daily sunscreen and other lotions as well as frequent checks for signs of irritation. The Powderpuff, or hairy variety has a wispy coat that needs daily brushing to prevent knots from forming in the coat. Excessively long hair around the genitals, toes and eyes may need trimming every now and again. For both the Powderpuff and hairless varieties, weekly ear cleaning should be done to help remove excess wax and debris from the ears. Flea control all year around is recommend as is tick control if in a tick area. 


When choosing a food for your Chinese Crested, select a premium dog food appropriate to your dog’s life stage. Help your fur baby avoid becoming overweight by ensuring that you follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet’s size. Make sure your dog always has a supply of fresh, clean water available.

Chinese Crested Dogs standing in garden.

Common Health Concerns

As noted previously, being hairless predisposes Chinese Crested dogs to skin conditions and these were the most claimed problems in 2020 according to PetSure data. Ear infections, and tummy upsets were also in the top five claimed conditions. Heart disease including heart failure and mitral valve disease was also noted in the top five common health concerns for the Chinese Crested dog in 2020. 

The five most common reasons for Chinese Crested dogs to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data in the 2020 calendar year:

RankConditionAverage cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)
Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)
1Skin problems including allergies and infections$186$2, 050
2Gastrointestinal problems including vomiting and diarrhoea $290$1, 863
3Heart conditions, including heart murmurs, cardiomyopathy, and mitral valve disorder$244$842
4Ear infection$191$982
5Cancer and tumours $700$4,781

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider


Chinese crested dog closeup portrait

Most popular Chinese Crested names (PetSure data 2010-2020)

Most popular names

  1. Lulu
  2. Milly
  3. Lily
  4. Ruby
  5. Charlie
  6. Max
  7. Oscar
  8. Scrappy
  9. Buddy
  10. Honey

Most popular female names  

  1. Lulu
  2. Milly
  3. Lily
  4. Ruby
  5. Honey
  6. Pixie
  7. Trixie
  8. Willow
  9. Angel
  10. Belle

Most popular male names

  1. Charlie
  2. Max
  3. Oscar
  4. Scrappy
  5. Buddy
  6. Gizmo
  7. Harry
  8. Leo
  9. Louis
  10. Bandit

Did you know?

The Chinese Crested (and their crosses) have managed to take home the title of “World’s Ugliest Dog” multiple times! Sam, a pure-bred Chinese Crested held the title from 2003 to 2005. 

Where can I get a Chinese Crested?

Although they are a pure breed of dog, a Chinese Crested breed specific rescue may have some available for adoption. It may also be possible to find a wonderful toy or small sized dog for your family at the local shelter or rescue organisation who is looking for a loving home. 


  1. AKC Chinese Crested, Accessed 01/106/2021
  2. Dogtime, Chinese Crested, Accessed 01/06/2021
  3. Robinson R., Chinese Crested Dog, The Journal of Heredity 1985;76(3);217-218. Accessed on 01/06/2021
  4. Wikipedia, Sam (ugly dog), Accessed on 09/06/2021
  5. Wikipedia, World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, Accessed on 09/06/2021 is general insurance issued by the insurer The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (ABN 78 090 584 473; AFSL 241436) (Hollard); is promoted and distributed by Pet Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 38 607 160 930; AR 1234944) (PIPL) and PIPL’s authorised distribution partners (including Pet Culture Group Pty Limited ABN: 69 644 613 098; AR 001284860) (PetCulture) and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (ABN 95 075 949 923; AFSL 420183) (PetSure). PIPL and PetCulture are authorised representatives of PetSure. Any advice provided is general only, has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be right for you. Consequently, before acting on this information, you should consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should obtain and consider the product disclosure statement (PDS) in deciding whether to acquire or continue to hold, Pet Insurance.

Kylie Mitchell

Kylie Mitchell


Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie Mitchell's Pets

  • MeekaMeeka
  • Bei BeiBei Bei
  • NoahNoah

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