Though these pups are relatively rare, they do exist. Here’s a snapshot of five hairless dog breeds you may not have known about.
1. Chinese Crested (Hairless)
The Chinese Crested is one of the most popular breeds of hairless dogs, but nevertheless is still a rarity.
Despite the name, the Chinese Crested actually owes its roots to Africa. His association with China most likely comes from Chinese sailors who brought the breed’s ancestors back from trading expeditions. Back in China, the dogs were bred for their smallness, and became skilled in the art of killing rats, making them valuable assets on sailing boats.
The Chinese Crested comes in two varieties: Powderpuff and Hairless. Despite being deemed “hairless”, the dog is not completely without hair; he has a large tuft at the top of his head (the “crest”), a tuft on his tail (the “plume”) and hair on his feet (called “socks”). The combination of minimal hair in few places makes for an interesting and unusual look, to say the least.
The dogs are small but active, and are affectionate and playful. Overall, the Chinese Crested makes for a tremendous pet.
The Xoloitzcuintli is a dog breed that has roots in Mexico extending past 3,000 years ago. The ancient breed is considered “primitive” since it developed without much human interference.
The Xolo owes its long and somewhat difficult-to-pronounce name to the Aztecs, who considered the dog to be sacred; they believed that the souls of the Xoloitzcuintlis would guide their own souls as they traveled through the underworld.
The breed comes in three different sizes, toy, miniature and standard (ranging from 10 to 50 pounds and 10 to 24 inches in height). Though hairless Xolos are notable, not every Xolo is hairless; the other variety is coated.
A natural companion animal, the Xolo is a loyal dog to owner and family. He is strong-minded, though, and as such requires a strong leadership presence during training.
3. Hairless Khala
The Hairless Khala originated in Latin America. The dog breed comes in two varieties, Medio (short legged) and Grande (long legged or sighthound). The Medio, as its name implies, is a medium-sized dog and the Grande is larger. Both variations of the breed are between 14 and 20 inches in height and weigh between 15 and 30 pounds.
As a pet, the Hairless Khala is docile and loving, though they can run into potential problems with strangers unless they are socialized properly. Their strong personalities mirror the pack mentality, but with firm but gentle leadership and authority displayed in their training, the Khala will accept other animals.
Their strong-willed personality makes the Khala a dog fit for experienced owners and trainers as opposed to first-time pet parents.
4. Peruvian Inca Orchid
The Peruvian Inca Orchid, aka the Peruvian Hairless, has ancient roots extending into the heart of Peru and dating around A.D. 750. The dog breed was valued by the Inca Indians, and was kept in the homes of the nobility as both pets and bed warmers. The breed comes in small, medium and large varieties, with no general size.
The breed is loyal and affectionate to family, and is renowned for its abilities as a guard dog. This wariness manifests itself in the dog’s disposition towards strangers. As such, the Peruvian Inca Orchid requires socialization and training from the outset.
As a hairless dog, the Peruvian Hairless requires washing periodically, and needs to be protected in the extreme weather. The physical needs of the pup, as well as the leadership required to train the dog, make the Peruvian Inca Orchid a dog that should be reserved for experienced owners.
5. American Hairless Terrier
The American Hairless Terrier is a dog breed that is still being established in the breeding world. The breed was born in the 1970s after a hairless female emerged from a litter of Rat Terriers. The breeders, Willie and Edwin Scott, then continued to attempt to breed their Rat Terriers for the hairless trait. They renamed the newly formed breed the American Hairless.
Similar to Rat Terriers (members of the AKC’s Miscellaneous Class, designated to join the Terrier Group), American Hairless Terriers are medium-sized pups, ranging anywhere from 7-16 inches in height and 5-16 pounds. As a pet, these hairless dogs are intelligent and loving animals, curious and lively. Truly, they are excellent companions, and are good with children within their own family.
With that said, these dogs are territorial; as such, they need a strong-minded owner that understands leadership. They require socialization and leadership from an owner in order to curb any potential negative behaviors.