There are several breeds of dogs that come in a hairless variety, the best known are the Mexican Hairless, also known as the Xoloitzcuintle, the Hairless American terrier, and the Chinese Crested. Hair loss can also be a problem in senior dogs. These dogs require special care, and if you own such a dog, or are considering getting a hairless type of dog, you need to know about their special care needs.
Some of the main concerns of hairless dogs are their insensitivity to cold weather, their risk of sunburn, their requirement of special skin care, their vulnerability to insects, and problems related to genetics and breeding.
Hairless dogs most certainly require special care and warm sweaters in the winter, but what many people fail to realize is that they may also need a warm sweater when indoors in the summer. A house with air conditioning on may be too cold for a hairless dog. As such it might be a good idea to have a light summer sweater for these dogs, in addition to warmer winter sweaters.
photo source of Peruvian Hairless dogs in Peru
Risk of Sunburn
Hairless dogs, even those with dark skin, are prone to sunburns. There are sunscreens available for pets however one should be careful not to apply these too much as they can clog the dog's pores. Special attention should be given to the nose and stomach, as these are areas often missed. Preventing sunburn on a dog not only helps protect it from the pain of the burn, but skin cancer too. Sometimes a light shirt can help keep the sun off the dog's body, and there are hats for this purpose too!
Special Skin Care for Hairless Dogs
Because hairless dogs do not have hair to pull their body oils away from the skin these oils and waxes tend to build up on the skin. As such hairless dogs require regular bathing, in some cases even once a week, in other cases once every two weeks. Some, like the Mexican hairless dog, do have hair on part of their bodies, and ears, but the dogs that have no hair in their ears are very prone to ear wax build up which should be removed carefully, or it could be pushed deeper.
Keeping Insects Off Hairless Dogs
Mosquito bites not only cause dogs to itch but can spread heartworm. There are some pet friendly mosquito repellents, but additionally owners need to be aware mosquitoes are most active in the evening, so they should either avoid walking their dog at this time, or give it protection, even a shirt.
Breeding Hairless Dogs
Hairlessness in dogs tends to be an incomplete dominant gene. When two hairless dogs are bred together 1 in 4 pups will not survive, as such hairless dogs should only be bred to the haired variety of the same breed.
Hairless dogs are not ideal for every owner, they certainly require a lot more care and attention in regards to these certain areas of concern than other dogs do. Speak to your veterinarian or breeder if you need further help.