If you hate cleaning up pet hair or have allergies, a hairless dog may be the perfect fit for you. While rare, hairless dog breeds are growing in popularity thanks to their eye-catching appearances and unique personalities.
They’re also a great option for dog lovers who need a hypoallergenic breed.
While you’ll spend less time vacuuming and grooming, these dogs aren’t completely maintenance-free. Hairless dogs have to use sunscreen to prevent burns, wear jackets to stay warm and take baths to keep their skin healthy.
If a hairless dog is your ideal companion, here are eight breeds to consider.
1. Chinese Crested Dog
The Chinese Crested dog is the most popular hairless breed. There are two varieties of the breed: Powderpuff (with fur) and the Hairless (without fur).
But even in the hairless variety isn’t completely without fur. The Chinese Crested dog still has fur on its paws, head and tail. They may also have some body hair.
If you want a completely hairless breed, look elsewhere. But if you want a dog that’s lower-maintenance in the hair department, the Chinese Crested dog may be a good fit for you.
The Chinese Crested is a small breed that’s affectionate, lively and alert. Their height can range from 11”-13” with weights ranging from 8-12 pounds.
Fun fact: These dogs actually have sweat glands, and they don’t pant to regulate temperature.
2. Xoloitzcuintli – Mexican Hairless Dog
The Xoloitzcuintli, the Aztec dog of the gods, is a 3,000-year-old dog breed that comes in three sizes: toy, miniature and standard.
- Toy: 10″-14″ height; 10-15 pounds weight
- Miniature: 14″-18″ height; 15-30 pounds weight
- Standard: 18″-23″ height; 30-55 pounds weight
Like with other hairless breeds, you can also find coated Xolos.
The hairless variety has a smooth, thick and close-fitting skin. Their skin wrinkles when they’re deep in thought. Xolos come in a variety of colors ranging from black to red, bronze, slate and gray-black.
Xolos are rugged and tough, but they’re also calm, loyal and alert. Young dogs need a substantial amount of exercise. Adult Xolos enjoy upbeat play, but they’re surprisingly calm in the house.
The Aztecs believed that Xolos were sacred creatures that guided their masters’ souls safely through the underworld.
3. American Hairless Terrier
Native to Louisiana, the American Hairless terrier is energetic, alert and curious. They are a medium-sized breed with a height of 12″-16″ and weight of 12-16 pounds.
The American Hairless Terrier comes in both hairless and coated varieties. The hairless variety has smooth, warm skin. The coated variety has a short, smooth coat that’s easy to maintain.
Curious by nature, these dogs have erect, V-shaped ears and round, expressive eyes. True to their terrier nature, the American Hairless will chase after small animals and dig holes in the yard. It’s best to keep your American Hairless on a leash or in a secure area when outdoors.
4. Peruvian Inca Orchid
Affectionate and loyal, the Peruvian Inca Orchid (PIO) is a sighthound that was developed in Peru. The breed comes in three sizes, and there are both hairless and coated varieties.
- Small: 9.75”-15.75” height; 8.5-17.5 pounds
- Medium: 15.75”-19.75” height; 17.5-26.5 pounds
- Large: 19.75”-25.75” height; 26.5-55 pounds
PIOs are agile, quick and intelligent. Their delicate skin is their most striking feature, and it can be either spotted or solid in color. PIOs can be wary of strangers and make excellent watch dogs.
PIOs need lots of exercise, and they can sometimes be challenging to train.
5. Ecuadorian Hairless Dog
The Ecuadorian hairless dog is considered the rarest breed of hairless dogs. Descendants of the Peruvian Hairless dog, the breed’s origins can be traced to Santa Elena Peninsula in Ecuador.
Unlike other hairless breeds, the Ecuadorian Hairless Dog is almost entirely hairless from head to toe.
Fun fact: The Ecuadorian Hairless Dog has no premolar teeth.
6. Argentine Pila Dog
The hairless Argentine Pila Dog can be found in northwestern Argentina. The breed is very similar to Xoloitzcuintli, the Chinese Crested Dog and the Peruvian Inca Orchid (PIO). In fact, the Pila is believed to be descended from the PIO.
While the breed’s origins are still up for debate, there is some evidence that Pilas have been around for at least 3,000 years.
The Pila comes in three sizes:
- Small: 10”-14” height
- Medium: 14”-18” height
- Large: Over 18” tall
Because of their smaller size and hairless bodies, Pilas are excellent apartment dogs. They don’t have fleas, they’re easy to keep clean, and they have virtually no hair.
Pilas are also easy to train and have a loving nature. While they make excellent watchdogs, Pilas are non-aggressive, happy, playful and active.
7. Abyssinian Sand Terrier
The Abyssinian Sand Terrier, also known as the African Hairless Dog, is almost entirely hairless with the exception of its head and the tip of its tail.
Abyssinians are affectionate and fearless, but they rarely bark. They love exercise, and are happy to play with the kids in the yard.
8. Jonangi Dog
Loyal, alert and lively, the Jonangi dog is the only hairless dog breed in India today. The Jonangi is a multi-purpose dog originating from Andhra Pradesh.
The Jonangi make excellent hunting dogs, but they’re also skilled at herding ducks. They’re quick, agile, active and energetic.
Jonangis are one-person dogs, although they can still thrive in families if they are raised in one since puppyhood. Still, they tend to form a strong bond with one person in the family.
Like many other breeds, Jonangis need a lot of socialization from an early age. Otherwise, they will struggle to get along with strangers and strangers.
Caring for Hairless Dogs
It’s easy to assume that hairless dogs are maintenance-free, but in many ways, they require more care and attention than coated dogs. Why? Because their skin is exposed.
Hairless dogs have no way to naturally protect their skin.
Grooming and Skin Conditions
Hairless breeds are vulnerable to all kinds of skin conditions, including acne, rashes and sunburns. It’s important to take good care of their skin and to apply sunscreen daily to prevent painful burns.
Regular bathing is essential for hairless dogs, but you’ll need to use special shampoo. Look for mild shampoos that will maintain your pup’s skin pH level.
Regular bathing can lead to dry skin, which is another problem with hairless breeds. Many owners use special dog-safe moisturizers to keep their skin from cracking and flaking. Look for products that are non-comedogenic. Otherwise, your dog may develop acne or blackheads.
Cold Weather Concerns
A lack of fur also means that hairless dogs have a harder time regulating their body temperatures. They need jackets in cold climates, but they also can’t stay in the harsh sun for too long.
Even when indoors, hairless dogs should wear coats or shirts in the winter.
Some breeds are allergic to wool, so you’ll want to avoid this material when choosing a doggie coat.
Most hairless breeds originate in South or Central America, where cold weather isn’t a problem. They’re not bred to live in cool climates, but if you take the right precautions, you can protect your pup while enjoying all of the benefits of a hairless breed.
If you don’t want to deal with shedding or have allergies, a hairless breed may be a good option for you. But be mindful that these dogs still need quite a bit of care and grooming.