Chinese Crested Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Hairless and Powderpuff Chinese Crested Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
The Chinese Crested is fine-boned, elegant, and graceful -- and certainly unique-looking.
High-spirited and happy, animated and agile, he is an adept climber and jumper who often grips his toys (or his owner's neck) tightly with his paws.
This people-oriented "Velcro" dog depends emotionally on his owner and demands a lot of personal interaction, stroking, and rubbing. He doesn't like being left for long without companionship.
Reserved with strangers, some lines or individuals are high-strung and/or timid with new people and new situations. Early and frequent socialization will help build a confident, stable temperament.
Chinese Cresteds are playful with (though sometimes jealous of) other pets.
Though independent and somewhat willful, he is also bright and responds well to the obedience training he needs to control his inquisitive activities. Use reward-based methods.
Some will bark (or howl), and some are clever escape artists who can scale high fences or dig under them.
Housebreaking is very difficult, especially when a male is not neutered, as this somewhat primitive breed is inclined to excessive marking of his territory (i.e. lifting his leg in your house).
If you want a dog who...
- Is small, elegant, and exotic-looking
- Comes in hairless and coated varieties, and many colors
- Doesn't shed much
- Is high-spirited, animated, and agile
- Makes a keen watchdog, but is not aggressive with strangers
- Is usually good with other pets
A Chinese Crested may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- The fragility of toy breeds (see below)
- High activity level
- "Separation anxiety" (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much
- Timidity or fearfulness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
- Stubborness (a mind of his own)
- Notorious housebreaking difficulties
- Tendencies to climb or dig to escape from confinement
- With the hairless variety, a commitment to skin care
- With the powderpuff variety, a commitment to brushing and combing
A Chinese Crested may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Chinese Crested
If I was considering a Chinese Crested, I would be most concerned about...
- Fragility. Too many people acquire a toy breed puppy without understanding how fragile a toy breed is. You can seriously injure or kill a Chinese Crested puppy by stepping on him or by sitting on him when he's curled under a blanket or pillow, where he frequently likes to sleep. And Chinese Crested puppies can seriously injure or kill THEMSELVES by leaping from your arms or off the back of your sofa. A larger dog can grab a Crested puppy and break his neck with one quick shake. Owning a toy breed means constant supervision and surveillance of what's going on around your small dog. Chinese Cresteds must always be kept indoors, in a safely fenced yard, or on-leash -- they are just too easy to injure when not under your complete control.
Chinese Crested puppies are NOT suited to young children, no matter how well-meaning the child. Children cannot help being clumsy, and that a child meant well is little solace to a Chinese Crested puppy who has been accidentally stepped on, sat on, rolled on, squeezed, or dropped onto the patio. Even Chinese Crested adults may feel overwhelmed by the loud voices and quick movements that children can't help making -- and stress and shyness (even defensive biting) may be the result.
- Separation anxiety. More than most other breeds, Chinese Cresteds need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They become anxious, which they express by destructive chewing and barking. If you work all day, this is not the breed for you.
- Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, Chinese Cresteds need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness or suspiciousness, which are difficult to live with.
- Mind of his own. Chinese Cresteds can be stubborn and manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Crested to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Chinese Crested Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Housebreaking problems. As a behavioral consultant, I would put the Chinese Crested on my Top 10 List of "Hard to Housebreak." Consistent crate training is mandatory. Sometimes a doggy door is necessary. And some owners never do get their Chinese Cresteds fully housebroken. Territorial marking (unneutered males lifting their leg to pee in your house) is a common problem.
- Fence security. Many Chinese Cresteds climb like monkeys and dig like gophers. You may need higher fences than you might imagine for their small size. You may also need to sink wire into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging.
- Barking. Chinese Cresteds are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them so they don't turn into yapping nuisances.
- Skin care. Hairless Chinese Cresteds have delicate skin that must be frequently washed and moisturized.
- Grooming. Powderpuff Chinese Cresteds become a matted mess without frequent brushing and combing. If you can't commit to the brushing, you have to commit to frequent trimming to keep the coat short, neat, and healthy.
To learn more about training Chinese Cresteds to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Chinese Crested the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Chinese Crested. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Chinese Crested might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Chinese Crested home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Chinese Crested...
When you're acquiring a Chinese Crested PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Chinese Cresteds who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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