You might have heard of the hairless breed known as the Chinese crested. If the idea of a hairless dog is a bit off-putting, the Chinese Crested also comes in a lightly furred version known as the powder puff. Both types might be siblings, born in the same litter.
The ancestor of the Chinese crested is the African hairless dog, brought by traders to Asia. The Chinese are believed to have bred these hairless canines down to a small size. It wasn't until the 19th century that the Chinese crested became well-known in Europe, with American popularity starting in the early years of the 20th century. The breed was not registered with the American Kennel Club until 1991.
At maturity, the powder puff stands between 11 and 13 inches high at the shoulder, with a weight ranging from 5 to 12 pounds. Males are larger than females. Fine-boned and delicate, the powder puff boasts a fine, straight, silky coat covering her entire body. The breed can be any solid color or color combination. When moving, the powder puff carries her tail over her back. Both versions are touted as hypoallergenic. While no breed is truly hypoallergenic, those with allergies to dogs might not react to a Chinese crested or powder puff.
The sweet, sensitive powder puff loves her person and wants to please and play. She tunes into your emotions, doing what she can to make you feel good. She likes other pets, although she might be too fragile to play with larger dogs. That also holds true for kids -- she likes them, but young kids might play too rough. Because she is so alert, she makes a good little watchdog. Because of her sensitivity, she will do best in a quieter, less active household.
Care and Training
Powder puffs require a good brushing once or twice weekly. These little dogs can be chow hounds, which helps with training but easily leads to weight issues. Don't overfeed your powder puff and resist the urge to sneak her treats. They're smart and active canines who can shine in agility and other doggy sports. One downside of this cute little pooch may be difficulties with housebreaking. Keep to a strict routine and have patience. She will get it eventually, although there might be the occasional accident when the weather's inclement.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.