For those severely allergic to pet dander, but want the companionship of a dog, a hairless dog breed is the perfect solution. Not only are they hypoallergenic, but they are odor and shed free, so they're also a popular choice for those who simply don't wish to clean up fur around the house and on their clothes. Read on to learn about four popular hairless dog breeds.
The Chinese crested breed comes in two varieties: one with hair, called the powderpuff, featuring a double coat of fur; and another somewhat inaccurately named hairless -- this dog does have soft silky hair on its head, tail and feet while the rest of its body is hairless with smooth skin. Although named for an Asian country, this breed originated in Africa and was brought to China by mariners on trading missions. This small dog was valued aboard ship and on shore for its ability to kill rats. Today it is valued by human companions for its affectionate and playful personality.
This medium-sized dog made its first appearance by accident in the 1970s when a hairless female was born within a litter of rat terriers. Not knowing what to do with the unique but unexpected pup, the owners gave the dog to Willie and Edwin Scott, the owners of Trout Creek Kennel in Trout, Louisiana. They named her Josephine, and she quickly captured their hearts with her silky pink skin covered in black spots and intelligent and loyal manner. Her lack of hair meant no fleas and no indoor vacuuming to clean up her hair. Her first litter at one year of age produced four pups -- only one was hairless. It was enough for the Scotts to begin a program establishing the new breed that quickly gained in popularity with folks seeking hairless dogs whose exposed skin can tolerate hot and humid conditions. While the American Hairless Terrier is well-behaved with children, Petside warns this is a territorial and strong-minded dog first requiring firm socialization before becoming a loyal guardian of the family.
His name is a mouthful, but fanciers of this breed shorten it to Xolos for simplicity's sake. It is phonetically pronounced "show-low-eats-QUEEN-tlee" according to Pet Wave. This breed, native to areas of Mexico where ancient Aztec civilization flourished, is also known as the Bald Dog or the Mexican Hairless. His official recognition with the American Kennel Club was not granted until 2011 when the three sizes -- standard, miniature and toy -- were documented and approved. Despite this only very recent recognition, this dog breed has a history dating back 3,000 years, when Aztecs revered the breed as a sacred being that would help guide their souls in the underworld.
This is another breed that worked its way into the hearts of ancient peoples. In Peru, the nobility of the Inca valued the dog as a bed warmer, according to Petside. Unlike the American Hairless Terrier, this dog's skin is vulnerable to extreme weather conditions. While this dog is an excellent family guardian, he also has a mind and will of his own and is recommended for experienced owners only.
By Amy M. Armstrong
The Canine Information Library: Hairless Dogs
Petside: 5 Unique Hairless Dog Breeds (reference unavailable online)
American Kennel Club: Get to know the Chinese Crested
Pet Wave: Xoloitzcuintli
Dog Breeds of the World: American Hairless Terrier
Trout Creek Kennel: History of the American Hairless Terrier (reference unavailable online)
Huffington Post: Mutant Pig-Dog Scare: Pink, Hairless Dog Found in Xinxiang City
About the Author
Amy M. Armstrong is a former community news journalist with more than 15 years of experience writing features and covering school districts. She has received more than 40 awards for excellence in journalism and photography. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Washington State University. Armstrong grew up on a dairy farm in western Washington and wrote agricultural news while in college.