The Chinese Crested dog is a unique dog breed, but it probably did not come from China. Originally it was called the African Hairless but genetics have traced the dog to being closely related to the Mexican hairless.
Although most people think of the Chinese crested as being a mostly hairless dog, this is not true, about 50 % of them have hair and look just like a regular furry dog. The hairy dogs are called Powerpuff Chinese crested dogs, the ones that lack hair on their bodies are called Hairless Chinese crested dogs.
They are considered to be toy dogs.
The hairless variety can have some dogs more haired that others, but usually they are kept groomed so that their hair is only on the top of their heads, lower legs, and tail. This hair is called the dog's “furnishings”.
photo source - photo of a Hairless Chinese crested dog - note some have more hair, some will have less.
While there is no such thing as a truly non-shedding dogs, these dogs do not shed in the conventional way, and as such require regular grooming or the hair they do have will clump and form painful mats. Most people keep the facial hair on the powderpuff dogs trimmed short.
When a hairless dog is bred to a powderpuff the litter can be mixed, with both hairless and powderpuff puppies born. When powderpuff and powderpuff are bred together, all the pups will be powderpuff. When a hairless Chinese crested is bred to another hairless Chinese crested, one in four pups will get a double dose of the hairless gene, which is lethal in this form, and will be absorbed early in the pregnancy; in in four will be powderpuff, and two in four will be hairless.
The gestation period for Chinese crested dogs is 57 to 65 days, with 63 being common, the average litter size is 2 to 5 pups. The lifespan of a Chinese crested dog is roughly 14 years.
In 2010 they were ranked 57th in popularity by the American Kennel Club.
photo source - photo of Powderpuff Chinese crested dogs note their faces have been trimmed
Hairless Chinese crested often have dental problems and many require their puppy teeth to be removed by a veterinarian. When neglected sometimes their puppy teeth do not fall out and the result is that their adult teeth grow in crocked, this is one of the reasons (combined with the lack of hair) that Chinese crested dogs often compete, and win, ugly dog contests.
Other problems that are known in this breed mostly center around being hairless and the extra needs of these dogs. They require to be kept warm, sun protection, and regular baths to remove the oils that build up on their skin. Some are sensitive to lanolin.
Other problems in the breed include eye problems and patellar luxation (bad knees), as well as suffering from allergies to ingredients in some dog foods. Some have immune disorders. Many problems of this breed are genetic, if you are looking to buy one it is important to buy one from a reputable breeder only.
The nails of the Chinese crested dog have longer quicks so the nails are usually kept longer than that of a regular dog, and trimmed with care.
Chinese crested dogs are bred primarily to be pets, they are playful and active. They like to be held because it keeps them warm. They are generally good with kids and other pets, and should never be kept as outside dogs.