What Are the Dogs with Hair Only on Their Paws and Head Called?

Hairless Chinese crested dogs have hair only on their paws, head and tail.
Hairless Chinese crested dogs have hair only on their paws, head and tail. (Image: Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

If you're thinking about a breed of dog with hair only on its paws and head, the dog you have in mind is the hairless variety of the Chinese crested. What many people don't know is that Chinese cresteds come in two distinct varieties -- the hairless, which has hair on its paws, head and tail, and the powder puff, which has long, soft hair all over.


Despite the name, Chinese cresteds don't actually originate from China. It's thought this breed evolved from African hairless dogs that were taken aboard by Chinese sailors in the 1500s. They were used to hunt vermin on ships during the time of the plague and beyond. Eventually, they became more popular as pets and started to appear in European art by the middle of the 1800s. By the late 1800s, they began to be entered into American dog shows.

Physical Traits

As members of the toy group, Chinese cresteds are small dogs. They tend to measure between 11 and 13 inches at the shoulder and weigh around 12 pounds. The hairless variety are naked over most of their bodies, with long, silky hair on their heads, paws and tails. They can be any color or any mixture of colors, but darker dogs should have dark eyes whereas light colored dogs may have lighter eyes.


Chinese crested dogs are lively, friendly and alert. These playful dogs make great companion animals and are good with children, so long as they treat them gently. They're extremely sociable and love to get fussed over and be the center of attention. Although they enjoy playtimes, they're equally happy to lie around, cuddled up with their families. They can be wary of strangers, so they need to be well socialized at an early age to avoid any problems.


Hairless Chinese cresteds are more prone to becoming sunburned and getting skin irritations that full coated breeds, so they require some specialized care. If your Chinese crested has pale skin, put sunblock on him to avoid him getting burned. He will also need regular bathing to keep his skin healthy, usually once every one or two weeks. As small dogs, they don't need a large amount of exercise, but they should get a few short walks each day, plus some active playtime in the house or garden.

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