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American Hairless Terrier
Characteristics, History, and Health

American Hairless Terrier

The American Hairless Terrier is a small to medium-sized breed of dog that originated in the United States. This breed's history is fairly recent, dating back to the 1970s when a hairless puppy named ""Josephine"" was born into a litter of Rat Terriers. The breeders, Edwin and Willie Scott, were intrigued by this anomaly and began a selective breeding program to establish a new breed that became known as the American Hairless Terrier.

Main Info
United States (Louisiana)
Alternate Names
Feists (previous name)
Life Expectancy
14-16 years
Average Male Height
12-16 inches
Average Female Height
12-16 inches
Average Male Weight
12-16 pounds
Average Female Weight
12-16 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Many colors including Apricot, Black, Black Sable Red, Blue Fawn, Lemon, Lilac Dilute, and more (see AKC for full list)
Coat Pattern
Many patterns, including Brindle & Brindle Points, Tan Points & Markings, Piebald, and more (see AKC for full list)

Genetic Predispositions and Health

American Hairless Terriers can suffer from eye conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy, primary lens luxation and progressive retinal atrophy. They can also be affected by hypothyroidism (congenital, and with goiter), muscular dystrophy, patellar luxation, degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, cardiac conditions, and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.

Personality and Behavior

American Hairless Terriers are known for their intelligence, energy, and friendly disposition. They are often described as alert, curious, and adaptable. These dogs are good with children and can be a great addition to a family. However, they are also very active and require a good amount of exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

Despite their terrier roots, they are often more sociable with other dogs and strangers than many other terrier breeds. Their hairlessness also means they are a good choice for allergy sufferers, but it does mean they need protection from the sun and cold.

It's worth noting that like all dogs, the temperament of American Hairless Terriers can vary based on their individual personality and upbringing, so it's important to spend time with a dog to get to know them.

Fun Facts

This breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2016.

American Hairless Terriers are sometimes bred with their cousins, the Rat Terriers, to keep the gene pool more varied.

These dogs were originally called "Feists" to reflect their feisty temperaments.


DOI: 10.1002/9781119540687