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Norwich Bulletin - 3/26/2006

The Chinese Crested

Imagine watching the Grinch who Stole Christmas, and out comes Cindy Lou Who proudly walking her little dog Ė a little dog with no hair except whispy strands on its head, ears, tail and ankles. What breed could it possibly be, a breed that would fit right into the picture? Thatís easy, itís the whimsical almost naked, Hairless Chinese Crested! This perfect little Dr. Seuss-type creature makes me smile and I am drawn to this little dog like a magnet. And so I did some research (because I have never had the pleasure of owning one of these endearing dogs) and decided to make it my breed of the month.

Approximately 11 to 13 inches tall and weighing between five and twelve pounds, the Chinese Crested hails from China, with original roots thought to be in Africa. They are AKC accepted and are in the toy group. However, they are different from any of the other toy dogs.

For one thing, they are described as ďcat-likeĒ (making me like them even more). They have quirky, affectionate and intelligent personalities and, unlike the other small dogs in the group, these hairless wonders can easily scale a chain link fence. They have very long legs and hare like feet designed to grip and climb. Canít get more cat like than that!

The Crested is also extremely social and needs to be sleeping in your bed and going on vacation with you. They are active, pups who tend to always look like they are smiling at you, showering you with affection. They are obviously inside dogs and they get along with kind children and other animals, if they are raised with them. They might chase smaller animals, but since most cats are bigger than they are, I would be more concerned with hamsters and rabbits.

There are actually two kinds of Chinese Cresteds; the hairless variety that I described above, and also the Powderpuff variety that has a long, soft, silky, straight coat. Both types of the breed require grooming. The Powderpuff variety needs to be brushed and combed daily, and bathed two or three times a month with hypoallergenic shampoo. The Hairless variety also needs bathing to keep the skin clean (just like ours) and hypoallergenic lotion or coat oil rubbed into the skin to keep it moisturized weekly is a must. So they really are not low maintenance, requiring quite a bit of monthly grooming in order to maintain healthy coat/skin.

Both types of Chinese Crested need to be fed with restraint, as they have a tendency to become obese. And like most toy breeds, housetraining can be quite a chore. They do have some known health problems: dislocating kneecaps, a degenerative hip disease, dry eye, epilepsy and skin problems are to name a few. This is why it is very important to go to a reputable breeder if you are considering this breed.

The Chinese Crested is a great pet for someone who has the three pís: patience for training and time to primp and pamper. This little dog will be a constant and lively companion for anyone looking for one, and for anyone who will accept a dog with a sense of humour.

If you are interested in this type of dog, you should contact the breed club and learn more about them from people who own, breed and raise these dogs. You can log onto www.crestedclub.org or contact Marian Blackman, 1102 S.W. 30th Street, Palm City, Florida 34990.

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