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.
5 Hairless Dog Breeds That’ll Stand Out at The Dog Park
Pro tip: Use oatmeal shampoo and sunscreen
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How Many Hairless Dog Breeds Are There?
There are at least 8 or 9 hairless dog breeds, but many are not officially classified as a distinct breeds 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 last hairless dog, the Hairless Chihuahua, is the result of a genetic mutation, and is in fact the same dog 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 five hairless dog breeds below.
1. American Hairless Terrier
- Height: 12-16 inches
- Weight: 5.5-26 pounds
- 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, some do have a very short, fine coat that may not agree with allergy sufferers.
- 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)
- 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.
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)
- 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.
4. Chinese Crested
- Height: 11-13 inches
- Weight: 5-12 pounds
- 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.
5. Hairless Chihuahua
- Height: 6-9 inches
- Weight: 4-6 pounds
- 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.
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; $13)—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; $7)—to prevent skin infections.
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; $7)—to prevent skin infections.
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