Hairless dogs are an odd set of breeds. When most people think of dogs, after all, they think of furry creatures. They might have long, flowing coats or wild tufts of hair, but there’s almost always something there. Even hairless breeds start out with hair – after all, they have a lovely, downy coat when they are firstborn. To truly qualify as a hairless dog, it must be totally without hair by adulthood.
There are only a few breeds of truly hairless dogs out there. The American Hairless Terrier (obviously), Peruvian Inca Orchid, and Xoloitzcuintli make up this class of dog, with even other so-called ‘hairless’ dogs like the Chinese Crested not quite making it into the group. Regardless of which breed you adore, though, there’s quite a bit to learn about the hairless dog breeds – and you may even find that they are the best dog breed for you!
Are Hairless Dog Breeds Hypoallergenic?
As a quick note, it’s important to discuss whether or not hairless dogs are truly hypoallergenic. The truth is that no dog is going to be completely free from putting out dander. Allergies are something that varies from person to person, after all, and what makes one person comfortable won’t work for another. As such, it’s vital to remember that these dogs may not be quite as allergy-free as one might hope.
The Hairless Dog Breeds
Mexican Hairless Dog or Xoloitzcuintli
This breed, obviously more popularly known as the Mexican Hairless Dog or Xolo, is native to North America and played a huge role in traditional Mexican religions. A truly ancient breed, images of the dog have actually been seen in tombs that are more than three thousand years old.
Interestingly, the Xolo has had its rises and falls in popularity. Popular until around 1940, it actually almost died out until a concerted effort to revive the breed was made in the 1950s. Today’s Xolo is the official dog of Mexico and a fairly popular dog throughout Central and North America.
So, what is a Mexican Hairless Dog or Xolo like?
These dogs can be a little aloof at first, but at times most tend to be very eager to please their owners. They bond quickly and closely with families, becoming loyal pets who make fantastic guard dogs with the right training.
The modern Xolo is a fairly distinctive-looking dog that comes in three sizes, ranging from the 10-15 pound Toy to the 15-30 Miniature and the 30-55 pound Standard. All of the dogs tend to be lean and muscly, with somewhat odd teeth and fairly minor skin issues. Most of the dogs live between thirteen and eighteen years, with the Toys living the longest of all. Regardless of size, though, the dogs tend to be fairly healthy and hardy creatures.
Peruvian Inca Orchid
Though the dog might have a lovely name on its official paperwork, this breed is more commonly known as the Peruvian Inca Orchid Hairless Dog. Well-known for being a warm dog with an even warmer temperament, these busy pups have roots that can be traced back farther than even the ancient Inca. Another dog with a lineage that can easily be traced back thousands of years, the Peruvian Hairless Dog was a common sight in Peru until they were nearly wiped out by the Spanish in the 15th century.
Though rare outside of Peru, these dogs are seeing a resurgence thanks to modern breeders. Recognized as the official dog of Peru now, they are also recognized by the AKC as a unique breed and have slowly but steadily been growing in popularity as hairless dogs have taken more and more of the public spotlight.
So, what does a Peruvian Inca Orchid Hairless look like?
Like the Xolo, these dogs come in three sizes. The Small ranges between 8.5 and 17.5 pounds, while the Medium can grow as large as 26.5 pounds and the Large can grow up to 55 pounds. This sighthound is typically slim and stylish, with no hair and a great disposition. Most of these dogs only live to about fourteen years, though the smaller members of the breed can sometimes live a bit longer.
American Hairless Terrier
While the Xolo and Peruvian Inca Orchid Hairless might be ancient dog breeds, the American Hairless Terrier is very much the new kid on the block. These inquisitive and intelligent dogs are great family pets who typically don’t have an aggressive bone in their body, though they tend to be alert enough to send a warning signal if they believe their families to be in danger. In their hearts, though, these dogs are homebodies who would rather spend time with their families than anyone else.
Though we can trace the lineages of the other hairless breeds back thousands of years, the American Hairless Terrier only began to show up in the 1970s. A variant of the Rat Terrier, these dogs initially found a home among those who suffered from allergies but who still loved dogs.
Also unlike the other types of hairless breeds, there’s not a lot of variation in the American Hairless Terrier. They range from twelve to sixteen inches long and only weigh between twelve and sixteen pounds, making for a dog that’s compact and muscular but not all that big. The most notable feature of these hairless dog breeds is their large, pointed ears that make them look always alert, a feature that never really seems to droop during the twelve to fifteen years that these dogs tend to live.
How to Care for Hairless Dogs
Now that you know the breeds, you might need to learn a bit more to care for them. After all, most dog care centers around caring for your dog’s coat – something that’s not really all that important in those hairless dog breeds.
The easiest time to care for these dogs is in their early weeks of life. Most have soft, downy coats that are much like other puppy coats for the first few weeks. This means that you can largely follow the usual puppy care instructions to keep these dogs healthy and happy at first.
As these dogs grow older, though, they do lose their coats. What that means for both them and for you is that you have to think a lot more about the weather. After all, these dogs don’t have coats to protect them from the elements so you’re going to have to step and do some of that work on your own. This means sunscreen in the summer and dog sweaters in the winter, all with the hope that you’ll be able to keep your dog happy even as the weather gets a bit more severe.
It’s also important to remember that these are very much indoor dogs. That means that you’re going to have to go on several walks every day to get their energy out, but that you won’t be able to leave them out in a yard with a wireless dog fence for too long on their own. You’ll also want to get a diet that helps with skin issues and keeps their weight down, especially if you’re looking to keep these dogs alive as long as possible.
You may also be surprised to know that you’re going to have to spend some time grooming these hairless dogs. While you won’t have to brush out any tangles or deal with knots, you are going to have to spend some time washing off the greasy build-up that comes with the natural oils that tend to gather on the dog’s skin.
While there’s quite a bit of work to be done to ensure that these dogs look and feel their best, they’ll reward your efforts with loyalty and affection. Though these dogs may look a little bit unusual to many, they’ll quickly become as much a part of your family as any other breed of dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is there a breed of dog that is hairless?
There are three distinct breeds of hairless dogs. These are the Mexican Hairless (Xolo), the Peruvian Hairless (Inca Orchid), and American Hairless. Though there are a few other breeds of dogs out there who have relatively little hair, all three of these breeds are truly hairless. All of these dogs do have a coat when they are first born, but that coat will disappear when they are older and leave you with a dog that has smooth skin and no other coat.
2. What is the best hairless pet?
The best hairless pets are definitely hairless dogs. These breeds tend to be very friendly, very smart, and very loyal. They’re dogs who love to love humans, are great with kids, and can even spend time working as watchdogs if trained correctly. Though there is no one breed of dog or type of pet that is going to be perfect for everyone, these hairless dogs can quickly become part of your family and can be the type of companions that you may have always wanted. If you’re really in the market for a hairless pet, you’ll definitely want to look at one of these dogs.
3. Are hairless dogs expensive?
Honestly, most of these dogs tend to be far less expensive than you might think. Despite the fact that all three of the hairless breeds are relatively common in the United States, you can get a purebred puppy from most breeders for under eight hundred dollars. The prices are always going to depend on the breeder and on the popularity of the breed at any given moment, of course, but the fact that they tend to be sold for such a low price definitely makes them among some of the least-expensive purebreds out there.
4. How much is Xoloitzcuintli?
Xolos tend to vary in price much more than most dogs. There are parts of the country in which you can get a purebred Xolo for around six hundred dollars, yet you might pay as much as three thousand dollars for a puppy elsewhere. The popularity of the movie Coco, in which a Xolo played a prominent role, definitely drove up the prices of the breed in many places, but it’s still common to find one of these puppies with a fairly good lineage for between eight hundred and one thousand dollars.