What’s more misunderstood than people who put out their Christmas decorations at Halloween? Hairless dog breeds. They may be total opposites of the Great Pyrenees of the world, but we’re here to give you the similarities between them and so many other dogs.
We’ll also talk about history, physical characteristics (besides being bald), and personality quirks, so you’ll want to stick around for this. Hairless dogs come from different parts of the world, and over time, they’ve developed “armor” to make up for their lack of locks.
Did you know there’s a hairless Chihuahua? That some dogs can have alopecia? Or that a hairless dog and a dog with hair can come from the same litter?
Have an open mind and heart as we talk about these dogs that are follically challenged. You might even want one for yourself… Just think, no grooming costs.
Causes Behind a Dog’s Hairlessness
There are two basic reasons why a dog is hairless:
- They have a medical condition.
- It’s in their genes. Genetics is everything for hairless dogs.
#1 – The following medical conditions can be reasons for bald patches in dogs, according to WebMD:
- An infestation of mange mites
- A ringworm fungus
- Bacterial skin infections
- A rash or hives
- Reaction to a foreign body in the skin
- Cushing’s disease
#2 – A gene called FOXI3 is present in all hairless dog breeds and is the leading cause of complete hairlessness. This gene also affects teeth adversely in three dog breeds: Mexican hairless, Peruvian hairless, and Chinese crested dog. Numerous other studies have been done to prove these points.
Hairless Dog Breeds
Who needs fur when you’ve got flair? There are several hairless dog breeds that are turning heads and warming hearts, all while staying effortlessly smooth.
1. Hairless Chihuahua
|Weight||No bigger than 6 lbs|
|Fur & color||Single- or double-coated (long-haired or short-haired Chihuahua) – 30 possible colors|
Affectionate, loyal, and vigilant dogs, the hairless Chihuahua is just like the regular Chihuahua in temperament, energy, size, etc, except it has no hair. And yes, this breed is chatty, but it’s generally only to alert you or out of fear.
If you’re looking for a constant lap dog, hairless Chihuahuas aren’t for you. That doesn’t mean they don’t adore affection. It does mean they’re highly energetic and need mental and physical stimulation daily to help them live their best life. Hairless Chihuahuas enjoy interactive games and plenty of run-around time outside.
The smallest dog in the world, the Chihuahua, often acts as if he’s a Doberman by barking at much bigger dogs. It’s just in their nature. Their coats can be smooth (short) or long, and they can be double- or single-coated.
Chihuahuas, named for the Mexican state of Chihuahua, is an excellent choice for a companion animal. These Mexican dogs will definitely keep you laughing.
2. Chinese Crested
|Fur & color||Double-coated (The powderpuff) – 20 possible colors or color mixtures|
There are two types of Chinese Crested dogs:
- Hairless except for hair around their heads (crest) and around their paws (socks) and tails (plume)
- Powderpuff (just a fancy word to say this dog has hair)
According to the Columbus Dispatch, geneticists have found DNA in the hairless crested that isn’t in other dogs, suggesting that this breed comes from America, not China.
However, during my research, there were floods of “could be,” and “might have,” and “some think” when talking about where these little critters come from. Africa, Mexico, USA, China…These places in the world were educated guesses.
The thing is, we just don’t know exactly where they’re from. But wherever they’re from, almost everyone agrees they did not originate in China.
Chinese crested dogs are sensitive to sunshine and cold weather (like most hairless breeds), so keeping them warm in the winter and out of the sun in the summer is necessary.
These precious creatures get called “ugly” a lot, but they’re just different, like me and you. Plus, their spotted pink skin and those silky tufts of hair on their head, tail, and paws stand out.
This breed is playful and devoted and enjoys being with his human family. They’re happy dogs that may be shy with newcomers, so give them the time they need to acclimate. Nicknames: Puffs, Cresteds, and Dr. Seuss Dogs (since the famous children’s author leaned towards unique-looking characters).
|Height||10”-14” (Toy) ,14”-18” (Miniature), 18”-23” (Standard)|
|Weight||10-15 lbs (Toy),15-30 lbs. (Miniature), 30-55 lbs.(Standard)|
|Fur & color||Hairless, Coated – 17 possible colors or color mixtures|
You’ve gotta admire this hairless dog. He stands tall and proud as he shows off his hairless finery. The ancient breed has no premolars (Remember the hairless/dental connection we talked about above?), which makes it fairly easy for scientists to identify their remains for the sake of history.
This hairless breed hails from Mexico and is over 3,000 years old. (Imagine the candles on that cake.) Aztecs believed these dogs had supernatural powers and could heal the sick or ward off evil spirits.
Sometimes, Xolos have a small tuft of hair on their heads in between their ears and one on the tip of the tail, but other than that, there’s no hair whatsoever. They’re called the Mexican hairless dog because, c’mon, who can pronounce their given name? Although, if you’d like to try, it’s pronounced “show-low-eats-queent-lee.”
Xolos are highly tuned in to your feelings like those dogs that can tell when you don’t feel good or are having a rough day. They’re also quite intelligent, and their eyes convey that.
There are two varieties – hairless and coated – but the star of the show is the hairless type. Social and affectionate, these dogs love to be around family. They can be wary of strangers and are also territorial, so you’ll have a good watchdog on your hands.
If you want a piece of history, a devoted best friend, and have ample time to give this energetic dog, this ancient breed is calling your name.
4. Argentine Pila Dog
|Height||10” to 14” (small) ,14” to 18” (medium) , 18” to 25” (large)|
|Weight||9-18 lbs. (small) ,18-25 lbs. (medium) ,25-55 lbs. (large)|
|Fur & color||Hairless – White, blue, slate, black, bronze, tan, apricot, blonde|
Argentine Pila dogs are so rare I could barely find information on them. But there are some things we do know. They’ve been around for thousands of years and are a close relative to the Peruvian Inca Orchid.
Known for their smooth, soft skin, they’re primarily found in Argentina. Early socialization (to help ease them towards strangers more successfully) and positive reinforcement training will ensure this dog becomes all that he can be.
This herding dog is loyal, intelligent, affectionate, and quick. He started out as a ratter and is particularly fond of climbing and jumping.
Their skin is quite sensitive, but we’ll cover how to care for all these bare-skinned beauties below.
5. American Hairless Terrier
|Fur & color||Hairless and coated – 35 possible colors or color mixtures|
American hairless terriers are intelligent, alert, and have a ton of energy, which they show off in multiple dog sports like Obedience and Agility. They’re great with young children and the rest of the family but will need to be introduced correctly to new dogs and other pets. (Early socialization is absolutely necessary.)
Ancestors of the same breed hunted rats, so the American hairless terrier’s prey drive is considerably high.
Developed in the US in the early 70s, American Hairless terrier dogs are easier on folks with allergies than other dogs, but remember, no dog is totally hypoallergenic since they all produce dog’s dander. Friendly and curious, this breed would make a wonderful addition to an active family.
6. Peruvian Hairless (Peruvian Inca Orchid)
|Height||10”-16” (Small), 16”-20” (Medium), 20”-26” (Large)|
|Weight||8.5-17.5 lbs. (Small),17.5-26.5 lbs. (Medium),26.5-55 lbs. (Large)|
|Fur & color||Hairless – 17 possible colors or color mixtures|
This Peruvian hairless dog looks like he’s in a 70s punk band… I say lovingly! He might just be a little weird. He’s completely hairless except for a strip on his head that looks like a mohawk. And they make “ancient” sound young. Its origins predate the Inca.
Peruvian Inca Orchids have been hunted, eaten, and lived on the streets of South America for centuries. When they were at the point of extinction, they were most likely domesticated by the Inca.
Due to having artwork depicting this rare breed, we know they’ve existed since at least 750 A.D. This affectionate, lively, loyal, and speedy dog deserves our respect. It has survived against all odds.
7. Hairless Khala (Bolivian Hairless)
|Fur & color||Hairless – Gray, dark gray|
Bolivian hairless dogs are adaptable, intelligent, docile dogs that would fit right in with seniors. They don’t need heavy exercise and enjoy urban or country living. Kids would get along great with them, too, since they’re keen on playtime and backyard antics.
You’ll need to get them accustomed to new people and other dogs (early socialization), even though they tend to be non-confrontational.
Ideally, adopting other hairless breeds into the family would be perfect for them. These dogs originated in Latin America and have been around for thousands of years.
|Fur & color||Nearly hairless – Fawn, black, white, chocolate, and mixtures|
This hairless dog breed is hard to find, even in their native land of India. Jonangi dogs are mostly quiet, but when they bark, it’s more like a yodel. They originated as herding and hunting dogs and have a super short coat (read: very little hair) that mimics being hairless.
Jonangis are friendly, adaptable, and easy to train. These hairless dogs love kids and other animals but are suspicious of strangers. Early training and socialization will nip that in the bud.
9. Abyssinian Sand Terrier (African Hairless)
|Fur & color||Black, elephant gray, grayish black, bronze, pale sandy, marked with spots|
Armed with deep loyalty and devotion, these hairless terriers are a joy to have around. They’re highly trainable and have lots of energy, so if you’re active and want a dog you can teach, Abyssinian Sand would be perfect.
You can add being cheerful, fearless, and affectionate to its list of character traits, and they make terrific family dogs.
This ancient African hairless dog is extremely rare, and you’d have a tough time finding one in America, but don’t let that stop you from asking a breed-specific (hairless) rescue organization.
Caring for Hairless Dog Breeds
Just imagine having the smooth skin on your head exposed to the sun on a 90-degree day. Not fun. It’s the same with hairless dogs. They need to be protected from the heat. Hot weather and sun exposure can be lethal to these canines. Sunscreen, specifically for dogs, is your first layer of protection.
From there, make sure to have plenty of protective clothing like sweaters and shirts for dogs on standby, especially if you live in colder climates. Shirts are also a good idea for them in the summer for protection.
Although they’re hairless, they still need to be bathed, but every dog is different. Since this one is so unique, it’s best to ask your vet how often to bathe them since you don’t want to dry out their skin. Also, ask him or her what the best moisturizer is to use on them to keep their skin healthy.
The rest is easy… Have their nails clipped once a month, brush their teeth weekly (take them to the vet due to their dental issues), and get wellness checks twice a year. Do all of this, and you’ll have a happy pup.
Do Hairless Dogs Require High Maintenance?
Not at all. As long as you use sunscreen (specifically for dogs) and dress them sufficiently for hot or cold weather, the rest is easy. You just follow what you’d do for any other breeds (nails, teeth, vet visits).
What Is the Cost of a Hairless Dog?
A hairless puppy can cost anywhere from $1,000-$4,000, depending on their rarity. The Xoloitzcuintli (Xolo) is probably the most sought-after, which would put the cost at the higher end of the scale.
Popular hairless dog breeds around the world include the Chinese Crested Dog, Xoloitzcuintle (Mexican Hairless Dog), and the Peruvian Inca Orchid. However, breeds like the Argentine Pila dog, Abyssinian sand terriers, Bolivia’s Hairless Khala, and the Ecuadorian Hairless dog are not officially registered.
Hairless dogs are loving, intelligent, and energetic animals. They give back as much as they give, and they give a lot. So they’re bald! So is your Uncle Leonard, but you don’t ignore him.
Don’t miss out on a truly wonderful opportunity to be the guardian of such a rare breed. They’ll be so grateful. And your allergies will thank you.