Although there is not much information regarding the origin of this breed, it is considered that it descends from the African hairless dogs, created and developed in Central Africa. It is related to the Peruvian Hairless Dog. They came to Asia with merchants and then they were crossbred and selected to become shorter. Chinese sailors used them to hunt rats, especially because they did not have any fur, therefore they had no fleas either. Also, the heat produced by their bodies was supposed to have medicinal properties and they were used to heat the painful parts of the body just like we use hot water bottles today. The existence of this breed in England was certified for the first time in 1686, and cam to the U.S.A. at the middle of the 19th century. The popularity of this breed has increased due to the advertising made by the famous stripper Gipsy Rose, who owned a few dogs herself.
It is a small, slender, graceful dog, long rather than tall. The head is graceful, proportional to the body, smooth and without wrinkles. It has a long and slightly rounded skull, with a not too pronounced stop. The muzzle is conical with a narrow nose that has the same colour as the fur. The eyes are almond-shaped, prominent, apart and dark. The ears are big, soft, erect. The neck is long and soft. The tail is long, thin, tapered, kept low at rest, horizontally or high. There are two varieties of this breed. The first, the most wanted, is the hairless one that has supple, smooth and glossy skin. The hair exists only on the head (crest), tail (plumage) and the lower parts of the legs and sometimes rare fringes on the ears. The second variety, called Powder Puff, has the whole body covered with long, double-layered, silky hair that can come in any colour or combination. The hairless ones have are generally grey or pink.
It is an intelligent, active, lively, curious, proud, alert, playful, sensitive dog. It is affectionate and devoted to its master, it accepts children if they do not tease it, it is cautious with strangers. It accepts other dogs and other household animals especially if it was socialized with them from an early age.
The hairless dog's skin should be cared for in order for it to remain supple, hydrated and to avoid it drying. Different lotions and creams are used for the purpose. Also, the dog should not be exposed too much to the sun because it has a sensitive skin, which can get burnt. Protection creams may be used. The fur of the Powder Puff variety should be regularly brushed and frequently washed. The hair on the face is usually trimmed in a specific way, characteristic for this breed.
This dog feels best in a house or apartment with a loving master. It has a medium level of activity and it will adapt its exercise needs to the master's lifestyle or to the family. It needs socialization and training.
It is an intelligent dog that easily understands what is required of it, therefore it is not hard to train.
It is a pleasant and devoted companion and a good watchdog.