20 Things You Didn’t Know About Hairless Dogs

Dog lovers who suffer with allergies may want to consider a different kind of canine. Hairless dogs offer a cleaner option for people who have avoided dogs because of the extra cleaning involved in removing the hair that they shed. If you’ve been put off because of the really different appearance of these pooches, we’ve got some information that may make you reconsider your position on the matter. There are a few different breeds of hairless dogs that come with a few drawbacks, and many benefits that make them popular as household pets and companions. Some of the hairless breeds include: Chinese Crested; Xolo; Peruvian Hairless; Ecuadorian Hairless and the American Hairless Terrier. Each of these dog breeds is unique in its own way. While some are relatively new breeds, others of this type have been around for thousands of years. They are iconic in some cultures, but obscure in others. There is a rich history and many interesting facts about hairless dogs that are worth knowing about, and here are twenty things about hairless dogs that you probably didn’t know.

Hairless dogs really are beautiful

Anyone who is put off by the thought of a hairless dog should give the various breeds a second consideration. When you remove the thick coats of fur, you see the most spectacular parts of the dog in all their glory. Take for example, the Chinese Crested. They do have some long beautiful hair around the head legs and feet. This gives them an exotic appearance and they are considered to be one of the most popular hairless breeds because of their glamorous looks and eye appeal. When you stop to think about it, poodles and other dog breeds are routinely shaved down to the skin in spots for the sake of fashion. Once you get past the idea that the coat makes the dog, you see the true beauty of these amazing creatures.

They make wonderful companions

While there are 5 different hairless varieties, each having their own traits and characteristics, some of them make the perfect companion dogs. Chinese Crested are loving dogs that are good with children and other dogs, but they should be supervised with both. They are on the active side, and love to play games. They are easy to train and can learn to do tricks. Chinese Crested will follow their owners from room to room, and make companions that will stay by your side and keep you company. Peruvian Inca Orchids are known for being playful, loyal and affectionate. Xolos are another breed that is loving and affectionate. In addition, they are very smart and learn quickly. Whatever temperament or size you are looking for in a companion dog, you can find in one of the hairless varieties that are currently in existence in the world today.

Some hairless breeds do have hair

Chinese Crested dogs have long flowing hair, and while the shedding is minimal, they do have lovely tresses in addition to being hairless over the majority of the body. A few of the other hairless breeds do have some hair, but others do not. The small amounts of hair that are present, don’t cause the cleanup that is needed with their furrier counterparts who shed more prolifically. It’s nice to have a choice about just how much hair your dog comes with. Now you have multiple options that range from furry and fluffy, to naked and hairless. Hairless dogs are a good solution for people who do not like dog hair or the mess that thick coated dogs often make when they shed.

Hairless dogs do require maintenance

Although you might not think that there’s much to groom with a dog that is hairless, these dogs do require regular maintenance. They must be bathed once a week with special attention given to their skin and ears. Although there is little to no hair to clean, they secrete natural oils from glands under the skin. If not properly bathed on a regular basis, your pooch can become oily and smelly. Just think about what would happen if a human went for weeks without a bath? The results wouldn’t be pleasant. When an unwashed hairless lies on fabrics or clothing, they may leave a greasy mark that doesn’t smell very good. They aren’t difficult to wash, but care must be taken to use mild dog soaps, and to rinse them completely.

Hairless dogs are known for their sensitive skin

The reason that it’s so important to keep a hairless dog washed, rinsed and dried is because their skin is so sensitive. Any soap residue that is left on the skin can cause irritation, itching, breakouts, or infection. While they don’t have much of a coat to sustain flea colonies, it is possible for them to become infected with fleas. This can also lead to scratching, breaking of the skin and infection. Because they do not have a protective fur coat, the skin is also sensitive to sunburn. They should not be exposed to direct or hot sunlight for long periods of time.

They are entertaining

Most hairless dog breeds have playful and interesting personalities. This makes them born entertainers. It’s a lot of fun to watch them play, but because of their high intelligence, they learn quickly and can be taught to do tricks. Your hairless dog will amaze onlookers who may initially be distracted by the lack of fur. They will soon come around and discover that the absence of hair is the only thing that really separates them from any other breed of dog. They play, jump, whine, beg and act like any other dog does. Like any other dog breed, hairless each have their own personalities as individuals. While we can generalize about breed temperament, each dog will be unique and much of their personality of character will depend upon the type of training and treatment they receive from their owners.

Guard dogs come in hairless form

The Xolo is a hairless breed of dog that is highly prized for their intelligence and protective qualities. They make wonderful guard dogs and are extremely loyal to their owners. This dog bonds quickly with his special person and would give his life for you if you are the one that is lucky enough to be his master. Don’t let the lack of hair fool you. Xolos are as capable of protecting their humans and their property as any other dog. They are known for their alertness and vigilance. If there is someone in your home, or even on the premises who shouldn’t be, they are quick to let you know about it. You won’t need to worry about being taken by surprise when your Xolo is on duty. It doesn’t really matter if you have one of the larger varieties of this breed, or the smaller ones. It is in their nature to be watchful and to deliver a full report of any suspicious activities.

They are the subjects of folk lore

There still indigenous people in the country of Mexico that believe that the Xolo dog breed are very special and mysterious dogs who are capable of warding off evil spirits. They believe that Xolos have healing powers and that they can cure many illnesses and ailments including asthma, insomnia, rheumatism and other aches and pains. This dog breed is legendary and although most predominantly revered in Mexico among the indigenous, they are gaining in popularity in other countries of the world.

Hairless dogs are warmer than other dog breeds

Hairless dogs have a body temperature that tends to run a few degrees above that of dogs with full fur coats. It is believed that this is because of their need to eat larger meals. The food is broken down and metabolized into energy for generating the additional body heat needed to keep them warm because they are hairless. These dogs are warm to the touch and offer a natural heat source on chilly nights. It’s wonderful to have them lie at your feet and keep you warm on chilly evenings. It is believed that because of the excess heat that they produce, they can truly help to soothe aches and pains in much the same way as a hot water bottle or heating pad would do.

Some hairless dogs develop acne

It is in part because of the sensitivity of their skin, an also because of the fact that these dogs secrete natural oils to keep their skin lubricated. Don’t be surprised if your hairless dog develops a case of acne. It’s a common skin infection in teenage humans and it can affect your hairless dog as well. This is one of the reasons why it is important to keep them well-bathed and clean. If your hairless dog does show signs of acne infection, it is best to have him examined by a veterinary, who will then make recommendations for the best treatment plan and follow-up care. It’s not wise to treat it on your own because any skin infections should at a minimum be looked at by a trained animal doctor.

Many hairless dogs are hypoallergenic

The absence of hair does not mean that a dog is necessarily hypoallergenic. While some hairless are, others may not be. It isn’t the hair that people are allergic to, it is the dander that comes from the skin. Dogs that have less incidences of flaking skin are considered to be more hypoallergenic, not necessarily those who have less hair. There are dog breeds that are hypoallergenic in both furry and hairless varieties. It’s important not to assume that any hairless dog will be hypoallergenic, instead, look for one that is low dander.

They have a history as hunters

The Chinese Crested breed of hairless dogs were actually used aboard Chinese ships to hunt rats. The pests are known to carry diseases and represented a serious health hazard. These hairless dogs were the perfect size to hunt down the vermin and kill them, sparing the crew and any passengers exposure to the germs that they carried. During the time of the great plague these dogs were no doubt responsible for saving the lives of hundreds of people, if not thousands. Not bad for a naked dog!

Hairless dogs are more famous than many people know

These wonderful naked pooches have been the subjects of some of the most famous artists in the world. They recognized the uniqueness and beauty of hairless dogs many years ago and preserved their images forever in art. Famed Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo both included Xolos in their paintings. They were proud owners of the breeds and saw fit to place them in several examples of their work. The self-portraits featured their beloved pets sitting with them.

There are multiple varieties of the popular Mexican Xolos Hairless dog

The Xolos hairless dog has a lot in common with the poodle breed. There are three different sizes of them. They come in the largest standard size, achieving a shoulder height of up to 23 inches, the toy version which measures an average of between 10 and 14 inches at the shoulder, and a miniature example that is between 15 and 22 inches at the shoulder. Xolos are also born in both hairless and coated varieties. The hairless version is also known by its second name, “Mexican Hairless Dog.” There are up to six variations of the breed when you consider the coat and size combinations.

Hairless dogs are featured in popular movies

If you’re either a Matthew McConaughey or Kate Hudson fan, then you’ve probably seen the movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” The dog that Kate bought is a Chinese Crested hairless pooch. His screen name was Krull. This exotic breed was also featured in the movie “New York Minute,” featuring the Olsen twins. There are many people in the US who are just becoming familiar with hairless breeds. Most originate in Mexico, but they are beginning to get the media attention that the exotic darlings deserve. Since we’re seeing hairless dogs appearing in popular movies, and they are stealing the scenes that they appear in, we’re beginning to see an interest in their value, and it’s likely that once rare dogs to the US, will make a larger appearance, gaining greater popularity as exotic house pets.

They are actually not a new breed to the world

Mexican hairless dogs have been around for over three thousand years. They are native to Mexico and are the product of crossing old world dogs. We see proof of their existence in antiquity from clay sculptures and statues that depict them during ancient times. The Xolo is among the first known dog breeds in the Americas. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that suggests when human beings first made their overland treks across thee Bering Strait, they brought the Xolo breed along with them on their journey to the Americas. From the artifacts that were gathered, it appears that this particular dog still resembles its ancient ancestors remarkably. The Argentine Pila Dog is another hairless breed that has been around for over three thousand years. This dog is a native of the country of Argentina. It was a popular breed in the 20th century during the Spanish colonial era. Evidence found from this time period indicates that this breed was most commonly owned by people of the peasant class and among the aboriginal middle class. Although Pilas are a rare breed today, there are a few breeders who are working hard to bring the breed back to larger numbers. It is not currently recognized as a registered breed just yet, but there is hope that this status will change in the years to come. The Peruvian Incan Orchid dog can be traced back to the pre-Incan era. We know this because of ancient pottery depicting them in brilliant detail that has been unearthed in Peru. It is yet another hairless breed that made its appearance in the world in antiquity. Some Peruvian Incan Orchids are totally hairless while others feature a few patches of hair.

They were made famous by a burlesque performer

It was Gypsy Rose Lee, the American burlesque queen who first introduced the hairless breed to Broadway. She was the inspiration for the “Gypsy” musical. She became famous during the depression era in the United States, and the bright and shining star just happened to be a breeder of the Chinese Crests variety of dogs. She had a great deal of influence during her time. She became known as “Mama Rose” and her dogs, which were the ancestral stock for many of the current breeders, bore her name, as “Mama Rose’s dogs.” This is quite a legacy that has been carried on through the pedigrees of many Chinese Crest dogs.

They are incredibly agile

Many hairless breeds exhibit amazing agility, but the Chinese Crest in particular have earned their place as champions in competition. If you take note of their body shape, it becomes obvious that they bear the frame and musculature that is required for limberness and some making some impressive moves. Their bodies are made for jumping and running, and when you combine this with their high level of intelligence, and eagerness to please, you have the perfect blend of elements that is needed to train a well-rounded agility competitor. They do well in competitions in fly ball, obedience, lure coursing and agility. They are easy to train and learn very quickly.

Hairless dogs played a big role in religion

Several of the hairless dog breeds have been implicated as iconic figures in ancient religions. Xolo is actually an abbreviation for Xoloitzcuintli which links the dog with the Aztec god Xolotl, who is responsible for lightning and death in ancient lore. Proof of their importance was discovered in archaeological digs of ancient Aztec, Toltec, Zapoteca, Mayan and Colima Indian tombs. These ancient peoples placed Xolos in a high and exalted position within their respective religions, showing that the reverence for these animals was widespread over a variety of cultures and eras in history. Their name alone is a derivative of the name of an Aztec god. They were considered to be a sacred being by the Aztecs. Ancient peoples believed from lore that they were created from a tiny sliver from the Bone of Life, which was also the origin material for human life. They were the guardians of mankind, saving them from the world of death or Mictlan, in ancient lore. These dogs were usually sacrificed upon the death of their masters and buried with them to become their guides and protectors in the afterlife. The Peruvian Inca Orchid dog was also believed by ancient peoples in Peru to have mystical powers. Nearly extinct, it was this belief that caused breeders to rescue the breed and keep it from disappearing forever.

Both recessive and dominant genes are responsible for hairless breeds

While this may sound a bit confusing at first, there is a reasonable explanation. The fact is that most hairless breeds share this characteristic because of dominant genes. There is only one hairless breed that is so, because of a recessive hairless gene and this is the American Hairless Terrier, also known as the AHT. While there are some dogs who can pass on the hairless feature because of dominant genes, naturally, humans have intervened to increase the numbers through careful and selective breeding practices. In certain parts of the world, there have been hairless dogs who have bred naturally, but in many cases, human help is needed to ensure the birth of hairless puppies.

On average, when dogs with a dominant hairless gene mate hairless to hairless, the percentage of hairless puppy births is about 66.6 percent with coated puppies being born to these parents at a rate of 33.3 percent. When a dog with a dominant hairless gene mates with a coated dog, there is a fifty percent birth rate for hairless and coated puppies. When two coated dogs mate, there is a zero percent birth rate for hairless, with all puppies being born coated. Selective breeding methods are also used to achieve other desired features including the size of the dog and the colors.


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