While the precise origins of the Chinese Crested are not well documented, there is a consensus that they are one of the oldest dog breeds in existence. The Chinese Crested has a fascinating history that can be traced back to large, hairless dogs in Africa. These dogs were then bred to be smaller by the Chinese, who used them as ratters on ships during long voyages. The breed was not exclusively Chinese, however, as similar dogs were found all over the trading routes in Central and South America, Asia, and Africa.
Chinese Crested Dogs are prone to eye disorders such as primary lens luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, and glaucoma. They can also suffer from patellar luxation, epilepsy, degenerative myelopathy, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis 7 (NCL-7), and multiple system degeneration. Other genetic conditions for which this dog may be affected include chondrodystrophy and intervertebral disc disease (CDDY and IVDD risk) with or without chondrodysplasia (CDPA), and Scott Syndrome.
Chinese Crested dogs are known for their affectionate, lively, and alert nature. They thrive on human companionship and can be very playful. The breed is known to be intelligent and relatively easy to train. Despite their size, they are agile and can be quite athletic. However, they may be somewhat reserved or cautious around strangers or in unfamiliar settings.
Chinese Crested dogs, like many Toy breeds, can be prone to developing 'small dog syndrome' if not properly trained and socialized. This can manifest in behaviors like yappiness, possessiveness, or nervousness. Proper socialization from a young age and consistent, gentle training can help mitigate these issues and ensure a well-adjusted, happy pet. Their hairless patches make them sensitive to extreme temperatures, and require protection from the sun and cold weather.
This breed has two varieties: Hairless and Powderpuff, the latter a genetically recessive trait.
The breed was popular among sailors and was often used as a ship's mascot, where it would hunt vermin and provide companionship to the crew. It was also a popular breed among Chinese royalty, who kept the dogs as pets and believed that they had healing properties.