The history of the Chinese Crested is uncertain. It is believed that for many centuries Chinese mariners sailed the seas with this breed on board to manage the vermin population, which was infested with parasites and carried disease. Puppies probably were traded with local merchants at port cities. As early as the 1500s, dogs resembling today’s Chinese Crested were found in Mexico and other parts of Central and South America. British, French and Portuguese explorers also found the breed in various parts of Africa and Asia during the 1700s and 1800s. By the middle of the 19th century, the Chinese Crested began to appear in many European paintings. During the 1850s and 1860s, several Cresteds were shown at an exhibition in England, and photographs of them were circulated.
The Chinese Crested was entered in American dog shows beginning in the late 1800s. Ida Garrett, a young New York newspaper reporter, became interested in the breed and over the course of sixty years bred, exhibited and wrote extensively about these dogs that she loved. In the 1920s, Ida helped Debra Woods of Homestead, Florida, obtain Chinese Cresteds and other hairless breeds. The two women became fast friends. For almost 40 years, they jointly promoted the Chinese Crested with great focus and success. Mrs. Woods kept a log of all of her dogs starting in the 1930s, and by the 1950s that journal became a registration service for all hairless breeds. She maintained these records and guarded them with great pride until her death in 1969. These studbooks were maintained for nearly twelve years by Jo Ann Orlik, and then they became the property of the American Chinese Crested Club, which was founded in 1979.
The Chinese Crested Dog Club of England was established in the 1960s. The Chinese Crested was admitted to the American Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous class in September of 1985. It became eligible for full AKC registration in February of 1991 and became eligible to show at AKC-licensed events in April of that year, as a member of the Toy Group.
The Chinese Crested dog breed generally is a sturdy and healthy little breed. The average life expectancy of the Chinese Crested dog breed is between 10 and 12 years. This is comparable to the median lifespan of most purebred dogs (10 to 13 years), but lower than most breeds similar in size. Potential hereditary defects and disorders commonly found, but not necessarily found, in the Chinese Crested are as follows:
- Allergies: Overreaction by the immune system to an allergen, which is any substance capable of inducing a reaction in that particular animal
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: Defined as the spontaneous degeneration of the hip (coxofemoral) joint
- Patellar Luxation: Commonly known as a “slipped knee cap,” occurs when the patella is displaced from the joint.
- Dental Problems: Diseases and disorders affecting the dog's mouth
- Skin Problems: Conditions that affect the dog's fur and skin. Causes are often related to allergies, bacteria, fungus or parasites.