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Hairless Dogs – Breeds, Genetics, Grooming & FAQs

A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Published on
Friday 15 May 2020
Last updated on
Friday 30 December 2022
Hairless Dogs
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Do you want to know more about hairless dogs? Well don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In our guide you will discover the most complete list of hairless dog breeds, their genetics, benefits, grooming, and exclusive tips.

Once you have finished reading our guide, you will know which breed is the best hairless dog breed is for you. We will explain to you everything about each breed, so you can know more about their temperament and best uses, in case you want a dog for very specific tasks such as herding or hunting.

List of Hairless Dog Breeds

Below, you will find the most complete and updated list of hairless dog breeds on the internet. We talk about their origin, health profile, temperament, and pricing. Therefore, you will soon know which dog breed without hair is ideal for you.


The Xoloitzcuintli, also known as Xolo, is the Mexican Hairless Dog. As the name suggests, this breed originates from Mexico. This dog breed is over 3,000 years old and has helped contribute to many other dog breeds genetically.

They come in three different sizes: Toy, Miniature, and Standard. This breed has generally great health, just a few health issues, and they can live between 13-18 years. With proper diet and care, they will stay by your side for many years to come. The Xolo exhibits an excellent temperament that is playful, active, gentle, affectionate, smart, and collected. Therefore, they are excellent for families with children, especially those that suffer from allergies due to their lack of hair. Furthermore, they are also protective and can be used as a guard dog.

Even though they are an exotic breed, their price is usually between $600 and $800. Therefore, they are not expensive to purchase, and they are economical when it comes to maintenance and grooming.

Are hairless dogs really hair-free?
Are hairless dogs really hair-free?

Hairless Chinese Crested

The Hairless Chinese Crested, as its own name suggests, comes from China. However, its exact origin remains unknown. Research suggests that their ancestors were African hairless dogs, which the Chinese reduced in size via selective breeding. This breed is small with a height of 11 to 13 inches and a weight of approximately 12 pounds. Their life expectancy ranges from 13 to 15 years. They are generally healthy, however, you should keep an eye on the following health issues as they are prone to developing them:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Glaucoma
  • Legg-Perthes
  • Patellar luxation
  • Deafness (request a BAER test from the parents and the puppy before purchasing)

They are popular for being exceptionally affectionate, lively, sweet, and playful. They are also alert, and therefore, they easily bark at anything they consider strange. An authentic Chinese Crested will cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000, depending on the bloodline, physical features, and show quality (if any).

American Hairless Terrier

The American Hairless Terrier is original from the USA and it is a breed derived from a Rat Terrier bitch born from Louisiana in 1972. The descendants of this dog were bred for hairlessness to cope better with the weather and to be ideal for owners with allergy problems. They are small but not majorly, with a height that ranges from 12 to 16 inches and weight that ranges from 12 to 16 pounds. Their life expectancy ranges from 14 to 16 years, and they are generally healthy. Nonetheless, they still have a tendency to develop the following health problems:

  • Legg-Perthes
  • Patellar luxation
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Cardiac problems

As you can see, they have just a handful of potential health issues, which you can avoid with a healthy diet, plenty of activity, supervision from your veterinary, and proper care. The American Hairless Terrier is exceptionally smart, as well as playful, and active. They are excellent with children, and due to their protective, alert and fearless nature, they make great guard dogs. The price for a puppy ranges from $900 to $1,200. The main factors that drive up the price are the pedigree, show quality, and reputation of the breeder.

Peruvian Inca Orchid (Hairless Peruvian Dog)

The Peruvian Inca Orchid is original from Peru, and according to researchers, we can track it back to pre-Hispanic times (300 B.C.). Evidence suggests that Incas held them in high regard, and therefore, they were very valuable in the empire. They come in three size varieties:

  • Small (9 to 18 pounds)
  • Medium (18 to 26 pounds)
  • Large (26 to 55 pounds)

They can live between 11 to 12 years, and they are prone to just a few health issues, which you still have to consider:

  • Skin Lesions
  • Strokes
  • Epilepsy
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Their personality is loyal, affectionate, loving, and playful. They love to be active, and therefore, they need plenty of space to play. They make excellent family pets. The price for an authentic Peruvian Inca Orchid puppy ranges from $600 to $800 and it mainly depends on the reputation of the breeder and bloodline.

Argentine Pila

Argentine Pila Dog is original from the Northwestern provinces of Argentina like Salta, Tucumán, and La Rioja. According to evidence, this breed is a direct descendant from the Peruvian Inca Orchid because of the Incan colonization of Argentina during the 15th century. They come in three varieties: small, medium and large. However, the small version is the most frequent, with a size of 10 inches.

They have a life expectancy of 18 to 20 years. This breed is exceptionally healthy and hardy, so much that they are surprisingly resistant against common canine health issues such as distemper, parvovirus, and hepatitis. They are active, friendly, affectionate, and smart. Therefore, they are excellent for families. As they are alert, they make excellent watchdogs as well. If you want to buy one, then you will have to contact an Argentine breeder in the majority of cases. According to the major marketplaces, the average price is $100 – $200.

Ecuadorian Hairless Dog

The Ecuadorian Hairless Dog is original from the Santa Elena peninsula in Ecuador, and it is the rarest hairless dog breed in the world. In Spanish, it is known as the Perro Calvo Dorado Ecuatoriano, and it is similar to other South American hairless dogs like the Peruvian Incan Orchid and the Argentine Pila. Evidence has recognized it as a variant of the Peruvian Hairless Dog, but it is different in two key aspects:

  • The shortest tail from all hairless dog breeds
  • No premolar teeth

Their height ranges from 15 to 18 inches and their weight ranges from 20 to 50 pounds. They can live between 10 and 14 years, and they are generally very healthy and similar to the Argentine Pila, which have a high level of resistance against most canine diseases. It is rare to find breeders of Ecuadorian Hairless Dogs outside of Ecuador, and according to our research, the price for an authentic puppy ranges from $400 to $1,200.

Abyssinian Sand Terrier (African Hairless Dog)

The Abyssinian Sand Terrier originates from Africa and it is considered to be the ancestor of other hairless dog breeds like the Chinese Crested. Their height varies from 15 to 21 inches and their weight ranges from 21 to 39 pounds. The Abyssinian Sand Terrier has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years and they enjoy great health and resistance to most dog health issues. The only serious concern would be skin lesions.

They are affectionate, loving, and collected. Due to being Terriers, they are also very protective and alert, which makes them excellent watch and guard dogs. Due to their extreme rarity, it is hard to find puppies for sale, and therefore it is not possible at the moment to have an estimation of the price.

hairless dogs are unique
Hairless dog breeds are very unique. Some people love them, some don’t. Where do you fall?

American Crested Sand Terrier

Even though their name suggested that it originated in America, it is not the case. It is another name for the Abyssinian Sand Terrier, but it is most widely used in the USA. Unfortunately, this breed does not enjoy AKC recognition.

Bolivian Hairless Dog

The Bolivian Hairless Dog is native from Bolivia and it is one of the rarest hairless dog breeds in existence. They have been mainly located in South America since pre-Hispanic times and they descend from the Peruvian Hairless Dog. They come in two sizes:

  • Medium: 15 to 30 pounds/14 – 17 inches – Shorter legs and not very muscular
  • Large: 18 to 30 pounds/ 17 – 20 inches – Long legs and similar to a greyhound

Their life expectancy ranges from 12 to 20 years, similar to the Argentine Pile Dog. They enjoy excellent health with just some health issues such as skin lesions and dental problems. However, they are highly resistant to many canine diseases.

Like other hairless dog breeds, they are docile, gentle and affectionate. They are also alert and protective, and they are always ready to protect their family against possible threats. Due to their rarity, it is very hard to find puppies for sale, and therefore, it is not possible to give you an average price. However, their price is usually like that of the Argentine Pila, which ranges from $100 to $200.

Jonangi Dog

The Jonangi Dog originates from India, with a major presence in the state of Andhra Pradesh. However, it is also possible to find it in the following locations:

  • West Bengal
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Karnataka

They were bred for hunting and herding and are exceptional duck herders, and therefore, people dedicated to such hunting mainly buy them. Find their size details below:

  • Height: 18 to 23 inches (male) and 17 to 22 inches (female)
  • Weight: 55 to 77 pounds (male) and 44 to 66 pounds (female)

They are classified as sighthounds, and therefore, they are alert and smart. In addition, they are affectionate and loving towards their family. They are also protective, so they make excellent watchdogs in addition to being exceptional hunting companions. They enjoy a moderate life expectancy from 10 to 14 years, and they are robust and resistant to most dog diseases. The only concern would be skin lesions because according to breeders, they do not register a high incidence rate of specific canine diseases.

After exploring Indian marketplaces, we found that the price for an authentic Jonangi puppy can vary from $75 to $100. Do keep in mind that prices for dogs are a lot lower in India than in the USA. This breed is rare outside of India, and therefore, it is hard to find breeders.

Genetics of Hairless Dogs

A question that many people ask regarding hairless dogs is why are they hairless? It all comes down to genetics, and we explain everything in detail below.

Hairless dogs are different from other dogs due to their heterozygous gene structure, which allows the hairless gene to remain dominant while allowing the homozygous recessive type to persist in the gene structure, which is responsible for making a dog coat. However, we need to dig deeper to understand what happened to hairless dogs to adopt this distinctive characteristic.

According to evidence, it is due to a mutation in the FOXI3 autosomal gene, which causes ectodermal dysplasia, the disorder responsible for hairlessness and loss of hair. In addition, another gene that causes hairlessness is the SGK3 gene, which is especially present in the American Hairless Terrier.

As you probably know, some hairless dogs still have some fur on their head, tail, and paws, and it is due to the presence of other genes. Below, we have explained three hairless breeds and their genetic makeup:

Breed Phenotype SGK3 FOX13 KRT71 FGF5 RSPO2
American Hairless Terrier Totally Hairless +
Peruvian Inca Orchid Hairless body, but it has short fur on tail, feet, and head +/-
Chinese Crested Hairless body, but it has long fur on tail, feet, and head +/-+/-++

Therefore, the presence of certain genes affects the fur distribution of these breeds, and in the case of the American Hairless Terrier, it eliminates its presence.

Benefits of Hairless Dogs

Hairless dogs are popular because they offer unique benefits that you will not get with other breeds. Below, find our full list with all the details, because we are sure that they will encourage you even more to get a hairless puppy.

No Allergies

Because hairless dogs lack hair, they will not trap dirt or dander, and therefore, they will not trigger allergies like the majority of dogs. In consequence, they are hypoallergenic and excellent for people who suffer from allergies and asthma. There is no shedding, and therefore, your home will be free from allergens.

The truth is that most people are allergic to dog hair, not dogs themselves. Therefore, by taking hair out of the equation, you have solved the problem in the majority of cases. However, you should remember that some allergies are triggered by a protein present in the saliva of the dog, as well as in their urine (in this case, the protein is known as Can f 5).

Nonetheless, a hairless dog will solve the problem in most scenarios. Therefore, explore our list and choose the breed that better suits your needs and likes.

Lesser Grooming

Evidently, as there is no hair, you will not have to groom it. Many breeds, such as the Poodle and the Bichon Frise have high grooming requirements, which make them high maintenance, and in consequence, very expensive.

However, it does not mean that hairless dogs do not need any kind of grooming. They need it, and it comes in the form of regular baths to eliminate dead skin cells, grease, and dirt. Especially if your pet spends a lot of time outside. You can do so in three different ways:

  • Bath
  • Shower
  • Sponge bathing

We recommend you to use a shampoo with neutral PH to protect the skin of your dog. You should do it every week to ensure that your dog is clean and healthy, but even then, it will not take you any more than 30 minutes a week.

Temperature Control

If you live in a city with a warm climate, then your dog will feel a lot more comfortable because as with no hair, there is less insulation for them. However, when you take them outside and you know they will be exposed to the sun, you should apply sunscreen to its skin. Since these dogs come from areas with warm temperatures such as Africa and South America, they have evolved to endure and even thrive under such conditions.

However, you should be careful with cold temperatures, because they are especially vulnerable under such circumstances. Some of these dogs can even be intolerant to cold, and in consequence, you need to consider this factor when buying a hairless dog. You may need to consider purchasing a winter coat for them.

Lesser Parasites

Mites, fleas, ticks and other parasites can turn into a huge problem for both you and your dog, but with hairless dogs, the incidence rate of this problem goes way below the general rule. Of course, we are talking about parasites that infest and grow in the fur of dogs, because a hairless dog is equally vulnerable to other types of parasites such as:

  • Tapeworms
  • Heartworms
  • Hookworms

However, a hairless dog will bring you plenty of peace of mind in this regard, and it will also save you a lot of money on treating fleas, mites, or ticks infestation.

Genetics of hairless dogs.
Genetics of hairless dogs.

Hairless Dogs – FAQs

Hairless dogs trigger all sorts of questions. Therefore, we decided to identify the most frequently asked questions, to answer them properly under this section.

How Much Do Hairless Dogs Cost?

It is highly subjective as it depends on the hairless dog you want to buy, and as we have seen, we have 10 different hairless dog breeds. It can be as affordable as an Argentine Pila Dog ($100 – $200) or as expensive as a Chinese Crested (which can cost up to $4,000). Below, find a full list of the average prices of each breed:

  • Xoloitzcuintli: $600 – $800
  • Chinese Crested: $1,000 – $4,000
  • American Hairless Terrier: $900 – $1,200
  • Peruvian Inca Orchid: $600 – $800
  • Argentine Pila Dog: $100 – $200
  • Ecuadorian Hairless Dog: $400 – $1,200
  • Abyssinian Sand Terrier: Unknown
  • Bolivian Hairless Dog: $100 – $200
  • Jonangi Dog: $75 – $100

With the rarest breeds from our list such as the Abyssinian Sand Terrier, the Argentine Pila, and the Bolivian Hairless Dog, the most challenging barrier is not the price, but finding a local breeder or someone willing to export the dog to your country.

Are Hairless Dogs Really Hairless?

Hairless dogs are truly hairless. However, from our list only four breeds have been recognized as officially hairless:

  1. Xoloitzcuintli
  2. Peruvian Inca Orchid
  3. American Hairless Terrier
  4. Chinese Crested (The hairless variety)

Major breeding clubs and kennel clubs recognize them. However, any dog from our list will allow you to enjoy the benefits of a hairless dog. These include no allergies, less grooming, lesser parasites, and optimal temperature control.

However, remember that some of these dogs still have some patches of fur on the paws, tail, and head, but it is minimal. Therefore, the presence of fur will not present any problem. Nonetheless, if it is a major concern for you, you can always choose breeds that have absolutely no fur.

Do Hairless Dogs Smell?

Do hairless dogs smell?
Do hairless dogs smell?

Hairless dogs are free from odors because they lack hair, and therefore they will not trap dirt or dander. They are cleaner than a regular dog, and with minimal grooming such as an occasional bath, you will not have to deal with disgusting smells.

Therefore, they are ideal for apartment living, especially the smaller hairless dog breeds like the Argentine Pila and the Xoloitzcuintli (Toy and Miniature). Your house will smell clean and fresh all the time. In consequence, if you are sensitive to canine odor, then now you know that any dog from our list will meet your requirements.

Are Mexican Hairless Dogs Good Pets?

Mexican Hairless Dogs are excellent pets due to their smart, gentle, playful and affectionate temperament. They do great in families with children, and due to their controlled nature, they do well even under pressure.

They are an excellent choice if you live in a hot climate because due to their absence of hair, they can regulate their temperature better. Furthermore, as they lack hair, they will not trigger allergies, and due to their remarkable intelligence and sweet temper, they are excellent as therapy dogs.

Hairless dogs are interesting and unusual pets. They are great for those that want to own a dog but have severe allergies. Look at some of the breeds on our list to find your perfect dog without hair.

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