two Mexican hairless dogs Xoloitzcuintli

10 Hairless Dog Breeds And How To Care For Bald Or Hairless Dogs

Showing skin is in fashion, which is great news for hairless dogs. Hairless dogs are exactly what their name suggests - dogs that lack hair. Some are completely hairless, while others exhibit partial hairlessness with fur growing on their head, tails, or paws. Diving deeper, here are 10 hairless dog breeds and how to care for bald or hairless dogs.

What Causes Hairlessness In Dogs?

Hairlessness in dogs is typically caused by genetics, often stemming from a genetic mutation at some point in a dog's lineage. In the case of hairless breeds, breeders deliberately chose dogs who were naturally born hairless and bred them together.

Pro Tip: It's worth noting that the gene responsible for hairlessness also affects the development of other body parts, which explains why many hairless dogs may have abnormal or missing teeth.

Hairlessness can also be attributed to various medical conditions such as alopecia, as well as burns, trauma, and injuries that damage the hair follicles and impede hair growth.

Are Hairless Dogs Hypoallergenic?

Hairless dogs are often regarded as hypoallergenic and generally more suitable for individuals with allergies compared to other dogs, thanks to their lack of fur and consequent reduction in shedding. Nevertheless, it's important to note that many people are allergic not only to dog fur but also to dog dander and saliva. In such cases, hairless dogs may not provide significant relief from allergies.

Hairless And Bald Dog Grooming And Skincare

Because hairless dogs lack fur, their grooming needs differ from those of other dogs (such as brushing or deshedding). However, this doesn't mean they require less maintenance. In fact, hairless dogs need more care for their skin, much like humans do.

For instance, they require more frequent bathing - typically twice a week - to eliminate debris, skin cells, and oils. It is advisable to use a mild dog-friendly shampoo specifically formulated to remove excess skin cells and oils, followed by a dog-friendly moisturizer. This regimen helps reduce and prevent skin conditions that hairless dogs are prone to and prevents the skin from drying out. Due to their abnormal hair follicles and lack of hair to expel dirt and debris, hairless dogs are susceptible to persistent bacterial skin infections. This leads to a buildup of oil and skin cells, which can result in clogged follicles and the development of blackheads, acne, or cysts. It is crucial to use only products designed specifically for dogs to avoid potential skin irritation or toxicity caused by chemicals.

Pro Tip: Dog shampoos containing benzoyl peroxide, when used in conjunction with a dog-friendly conditioning product, can help prevent dry and irritated skin. However, be aware that benzoyl peroxide has the potential to bleach fabric. Additionally, since a hairless dog's skin is exposed, it is important to safeguard it from irritants such as perfumes, cleaners, laundry detergents and more.

Hairless And Bald Dog Care When Outside

Because hairless dogs have exposed skin, they require additional protection when outdoors, regardless of the season or weather conditions. One significant concern is their susceptibility to sunburn, as they lack the protective layer of fur. Therefore, it is crucial for hairless dogs to wear dog sunscreen or UV-protective clothing - preferably with a minimum SPF of 30 that provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Sunburns can result in redness, tenderness, sensitive skin, blisters, skin ulcers, dryness, cracked skin, and pain. Moreover, they can lead to more serious issues such as scaly skin, skin infections, and even skin cancer. Hairless dogs are particularly prone to developing skin cancer due to their lack of fur. Hence, if feasible, it is advisable for hairless dogs to avoid the sunniest hours of the day.

Pro Tip: Regularly monitor your hairless dog's skin for any changes. If you notice anything new or concerning, contact your veterinarian.

Additionally, hairless dogs are more sensitive to cold and wet weather, making them more susceptible to hypothermia. This is because dog coats assist in thermoregulation, helping dogs keep cool in warm weather and insulating them during cold weather. Therefore, it is essential to provide them with raincoats and warm clothing during rainy potty breaks and winter walks. Moreover, it is important to avoid prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures or heavy rain.

Hairless Dog Breeds In The American Kennel Club

American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terrier dog

The American Hairless Terrier is the only hairless breed originating from the U.S. It descended from the Rat Terrier, so was unsurprisingly bred for rodent hunting. In the late 1800s, Rat Terriers were brought to rural America from their native England by British miners seeking a new life. They were crossed with Smooth Fox Terriers, which stabilized the Rat Terrier breed. However, in 1972, a hairless Rat Terrier was born. She was then bred and, over eight years, gave birth to three hairless dogs (two females and one male). The final two were bred, producing several hairless offspring, and thus the American Hairless Terrier arose.

Chinese Crested Dog

Chinese Crested Dog

The Chinese Crested Dog dates back so far in time that its exact origins are unknown. It is believed to have origins in Africa, Mexico, and China as large ancient hairless dogs were imported to China and miniaturized over generations. As such, the modern Chinese Crested Dog is believed to be one of the world's few Chinese dog breeds. According to research, the breed is an ancestor of Mexico's most ancient breed - the Xoloitzcuintli or Mexican Hairless Dog. Researchers believe there is a possibility that early ancestors were imported to China, where further breeding resulted in the Chinese Crested we see today. Either way, the Chinese Crested Dog eventually traveled the world on Chinese trading vessels as pest control and exterminators. It became so widespread that European explorers recorded sightings in Central America, South America, Asia, and Africa. The breed can be hairless or "powderpuff," which means they have a soft and silky coat. Interestingly, both varieties are considered hypoallergenic. 

(Hairless) Chihuahua

Hairless Chihuahua Dog

The Chihuahua is the most famous and popular of the Mexican dog breeds. Chihuahua-like dogs can be found in artifacts of ancient cultures around the world, but how they came to Mexico is unknown. What is known is that the preferred breed of the Toltecs of Mexico was the Techichi - a larger, heavier ancestor of the Chihuahua. The Aztecs conquered the Toltecs in the 12th century and are credited with refining the Techichi into a smaller dog. In the mid-1800s, Americans found these dogs in the state of Chihuahua, which is where the modern breed gets its name.

The breed is known as one of the smallest dog breeds globally, typically measuring a mere 6 to 10 inches in height and weighing a mere 3 to 7 pounds. They exhibit a wide array of colors and coat types, including hairlessness in rare instances. Hairless Chihuahuas, as their name suggests, are Chihuahuas that are born without hair. They are not classified as a distinct breed but instead are considered a variation of the Chihuahua breed. Hairless Chihuahuas possess a rare genetic anomaly that results in complete or partial absence of hair on their bodies and/or heads.

Peruvian Inca Orchid (Peruvian Hairless Dog)

Peruvian Inca Orchid Dog Peruvian Hairless Dog

The Peruvian Inca Orchid, also known as the Peruvian Hairless Dog, boasts an ancient history that can be traced back to 750 AD through Peruvian pottery artifacts from the Moche, Chimu, Chancay, and Incan civilizations. These dogs were considered loyal companions, as evidenced by their depiction in Chancay pottery wearing sweaters. They were also believed to bring good luck and possess healing properties, with the Chimu people utilizing them for warmth and treating conditions such as arthritis and respiratory ailments. It is even speculated that their urine and feces might have been employed in traditional medicine.

When Peru was conquered, these small hairless companion dogs interbred with the dogs brought by the Conquistadors. As a result, three distinct size variations emerged, accounting for the considerable size diversity observed in the breed today. While dogs in the mountain regions - like those belonging to the Andean communities - were safeguarded, those residing in coastal cities were often considered diseased and exterminated. In 1966, an American named Jack Walklin (who is credited with naming the breed the Peruvian Inca Orchid) visited Peru and brought back eight dogs to the United States. The breed was officially registered with the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1981 and the Kennel Club of Peru in 1985, who then requested the FCI to change the breed's name to "Perro sin Pelo de Peru" or Peruvian Hairless Dog. Recognizing its significance, Peru designated the breed as a National Patrimony in 2001, providing it with legal protection.

Xoloitzcuintli (Or Mexican Hairless Dog)

Xoloitzcuintli Dog Mexican Hairless Dog Xolo Dog

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