10 Hairless Dog Breeds That’ll Stand Out at The Dog Park

And how to care for them

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Hairless-dog-breeds: American Hairless Terrier at dog show with handler
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There’s no doubt that hairless dog breeds are unique. Unlike their furry counterparts, these pups come with way less vacuuming and grooming but just as much love and affection, from the spunky American Hairless Terrier to the uber-affectionate Xoloitzcuintili. And while it’s easy to assume that hairless pups are more suitable for people with allergies, the American Kennel Club (AKC) reminds us that before you go adopting one, it’s important to note that people with dog allergies react to the dog’s dander and saliva, not just their coats, so a hairless canine may not solve all your problems in that department.

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How Many Hairless Dog Breeds Are There?

There are at least eight or nine hairless dog breeds, but many are not officially classified as a distinct breed since they don't have established breeding standards recognized by the AKC or are so rare, like the Argentine Pila Dog or the Jonangi (a herding dog from the East Coast of India), that they are rarely found outside their home country. Currently, the AKC recognizes only the top four dogs on our list—the American Hairless Terrier, Peruvian Inca Orchid, Xoloitzcuitli and Chinese Crested. Our fifth hairless dog, the Hairless Chihuahua, is the result of a genetic mutation, and is in fact the same breed as the Chihuahua. (But we love him so much, we had to include him.) For those who just want a pooch, sans all the shedding, check out the adorable hairless dog breeds below.

Hairless Dog Breeds Officially Recognized by The AKC

hairless dog breeds american hairless terrier
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1. American Hairless Terrier

  • Height: 12-16 inches
  • Weight: 12-16 pounds
  • Personality: affectionate, curious
  • Activity Level: low to moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 14-16 years
  • Physical Attributes: small and brawny with coat colors including pink and grey, white and apricot, black, white and black, just to name a few

Native to Louisiana, American hairless terriers carry themselves with the whimsy of a true terrier. A breed prized for its ability to withstand hot weather, they're also spunky, smart, active and very playful so they make excellent family pets. While a majority of these pups are born hairless and are said to be hypoallergenic, some do have a very short, fine coat that may not agree with allergy sufferers.

hairless dog breeds xoloitzcuintli
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2. Xoloitzcuintli

  • Height: 10-14 inches (toy), 14-18 inches (miniature), 18-23 inches (standard)
  • Weight: 10-15 pounds (toy), 15-30 pounds (miniature), 30-55 pounds (standard)
  • Personality: Calm, loyal
  • Activity Level: Moderate to High
  • Life Expectancy: 12-18 years
  • Physical Attributes: wrinkles on forehead; muscular body; hairless or coated

Pronounced show-low-eats-queent-lee or Xolo (show-low) for short, you can find this dog in toy, miniature or standard sizes. Uber-affectionate and supremely loyal, Xolos are some of the most vigilant watchdogs. This ancient breed has been around for 3,000 years—dating back to the days of the Aztec empire—and comes in dark colors, ranging from black, gray-black, slate, to red, liver, or bronze. Hairless Xolos have tough, smooth, close-fitting skin, while coated Xolos are covered by a short, flat coat. They’re also one of the most expensive dog breeds out there.

hairless dog breeds peruvian inca orchid
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3. Peruvian Inca Orchid

  • Height: 10-16 inches (small); 16-20inches (medium); 20-26 inches (large)
  • Weight: 9-18 pounds (small); 18-27 pounds (medium); 27-55 pounds (large)
  • Personality: Noble, Lively
  • Activity Level: High
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Physical Attributes: long, lean body; low tail; smooth skin

One look at those pointy ears and deep brown eyes and you’ll want to adopt one of these graceful dogs in a heartbeat. Originally from Peru, these pups were kept as companion dogs, so they’re naturally very attached to their humans to this day. Peruvian Inca Orchids are quite agile and energetic, which means they need some frequent exercise to keep them happy and healthy. Some varieties will have hair on their head, paws or tip of their tail, but those are far and few between.

hairless dog breeds chinese crested
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4. Chinese Crested

  • Height: 11-13 inches
  • Weight: 5-12 pounds
  • Personality: Sweet, Alert
  • Activity Level: Moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 13-18 years
  • Physical Attributes: small, slender body; spotted pink skin; tufts of hair

Remember Krull, the dog Andie gifted Ben in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days? Yup, he was a Chinese crested dog. These teeny pups’ X-factor is not only in their adorable size, but the peculiar placement of the little bit of hair they do have. Chinese crested dogs have feathery tufts of hair on their heads, paws and tails. These dogs are super active and love to frolic around, so be sure to give them plenty of time outdoors.

hairless dog breeds hairless chihuahua
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5. Hairless Chihuahua

  • Height: 6-9 inches
  • Weight: 4-6 pounds
  • Personality: charming, independent
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 14-16 years
  • Physical attributes: small, petite body; smooth skin

Fun fact: Hairless chihuahuas are the same breed as regular chihuahuas, one of our all-time small dog breeds. They simply don’t have hair because of a genetic mutation. As such, they are equally as vocal, sassy and upbeat as their fluffier brethren. If you’re in the market for a companion animal who will happily join you on errands everywhere and try their best to protect you at all times, go with a Chihuahua.

Hairless Dog Breeds NOT Recognized by The AKC

Fair warning: We can’t be 100 percent sure about the stats for each of the hairless breeds below. The beauty of the AKC is the availability of meticulous records showing how the dogs we know and love today became who they are. Since these breeds aren’t AKC-recognized and don’t have dedicated groups of responsible breeders, it’s hard to know what’s true. What we do know is they are dogs and they are hairless and therefore we adore them.

1. Abyssinian Sand Terrier

  • Height: 15-20 inches
  • Weight: 21-39 pounds
  • Personality: fearless, affectionate
  • Activity Level: High
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

National Purebred Dog Day says Abyssinian Sand Terriers originated in Abyssinia, which today is Ethiopia. These brave and sweet canines often have small tufts of hair on their heads and tails to accompany their brown, black, gray or sand-colored skin. And check out those big bat ears! While it’s unclear if these dogs are extinct today or not, taxidermied evidence of their existence lives in the Natural History Museum at Tring in England. So, at one point in time, we believe these pups roamed Africa.

2. Argentine Pila Dog

  • Height: 9-13 inches (small), 13-18 inches (medium), 18-22 inches (large)
  • Weight: 30-45 pounds
  • Personality: social, active
  • Activity Level: high
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Experts can’t agree on whether the Argentine Pila Dog is a descendent of the Peruvian Inca Orchid or the Xoloitzcuintli, or if these hairless dogs are a breed all their own. What they do agree on is these dogs come in three sizes and make excellent watchdogs and companions. Their warm skin can be black, gray or brown. Puppies might be born totally hairless or with some fur. Petkeen says you’d be hard-pressed to find one outside of Argentina, so if you’re ever in that country, keep your eyes peeled for one of these hairless sweethearts.

3. Ecuadorian Hairless Dog

  • Height: 15-18 inches
  • Weight: 17-25 pounds
  • Personality: social, energetic
  • Activity Level: high
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Rare even in their home country of Ecuador, the Ecuadorian Hairless Dog is a loving, sociable family companion. They enjoy interactive games and playtime and need plenty of outdoor time to stay happy. Ecuadorian Hairless Dogs are said to be excellent hunters, so their prey drive is going to be very high.

4. Hairless Khala

  • Height: 14-17 inches (medio), 17-20 inches (grande)
  • Weight: 15-20 pounds (medio), 18-30 pounds (grande)
  • Personality: loyal, stubborn
  • Activity Level: moderate to high
  • Life Expectancy: 12-20 years

Like the Argentine Pila Dog, the Hairless Khala may be a descendent of the Peruvian Inca Orchid or the Xoloitzcuintli. But these dogs come from Bolivia and can be found in two distinct sizes, medio and grande. Early training will help with any stubborn behavior. These dogs also make good family pets and get along well with other breeds—if you can find one. They are incredibly rare.

5. Jonangi

  • Height: 17-21 inches
  • Weight: 28-48 pounds
  • Personality: active, affectionate
  • Activity Level: high
  • Life Expectancy: 10-14 years

Originally bred as hunters and herders, Jonangi dogs hail from Eastern India. The Smart Canine says that as locals turned away from duck herding and hunting, the need for Jonangi decreased and today the breed is close to extinction. While some do have very short, fine coats, many are hairless and come in a variety of colors—some even have spots. Though these dogs aren’t known for their intelligence, they are devoted animals who enjoy exercise with their humans.

Caring for Hairless Dogs

Now that we've met the breeds, we need to point out that less hair doesn’t mean less maintenance. When you choose to purchase a hairless dog, you must be cognizant of the fact that they may need a little extra TLC because they don’t have the protective barrier that fur provides.

According to Ryland Burnett, a New York City-based groomer who specializes in house calls, extra care is called for, as in the case of one client's Chinese Crested. "They have delicate skin so I generally use an oatmeal shampoo," she says. "When I give him a bath I use a wash cloth or a glove to massage him and buff his skin—their pores can get clogged. And then I blow dry his pretty head of hair and hair on the bottom of his legs and feet."

Hair wards off the elements—extreme cold or extreme heat. So, take care to apply sunscreen on your pup during the summer. We suggest Sit. Stay. Forever Organic Sunscreen ($15) or Epi-Pet’s Sun Protector Spray for Pets ($18), but the pros at the Tufts Your Dog state that a pediatric sunscreen—like Thinkbaby’s Baby Sunscreen Natural Sunblock ($14; $12)—with an SPF above 50 will also do the trick. In the colder months, make sure you outfit your dog in warm clothing to prevent illness. Be sure to frequently bathe your dog and use a moisturizing shampoo—such as Burt's Bees Oatmeal Shampoo with Colloidal Oat Flour and Honey ($12; $8)—to prevent skin infections.

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