A dog with a hereditary propensity for hairlessness and hair loss is a hairless dog. Genetic hairlessness is in two well-known forms. They include dominant and recessive types.
The dominant form is caused by ectodermal dysplasia due to a mutation in the FOXI3 autosomal gene.
Table of Contents
- Dominant Genes
- Recessive genes
- Caring for hairless dogs
- Top 5 breeds of hairless dogs
In natural settings, dogs with dominant hairlessness genes will transfer their traits to their offspring; that is, not under the influence of humans. Groups of hairless dogs may have come into existence without human intervention in some parts of the world.
But people formulated these groups into recognized breeds later in history:
- The Chinese Crested Dog, the Peruvian Inca Orchid, the Xoloitzcuintle (Mexican Hairless Dog), and the American Hairless Terrier are globally recognized breeds at this time.
- The Bolivian Hairless Dog, the Argentine Pila Dog, and the Ecuadorian Hairless Dog have not been registered as hairless dogs’ breeds.
- The African hairless dog (also recognized as the Egyptian hairless dog, Abyssinian sand terrier, and African elephant dog, the latter being a reference to its grey skin) and the Siamese Hairless Dog were other races that were said to have existed in the past.
It is said that this form of genetic arrangement for the dominant gene is homozygous prenatal lethal. This means that it is not possible for zygotes with two dominant genes to survive. Therefore, all dominant-hairless dogs have a gene arrangement that is heterozygous. This enables the persistence of a homozygous recessive type, which is the coated variety.
Hairless to hairless mating would, on average, yield 66.6 percent hairless and 33.3 percent coated puppies for dogs (hairlessness being a dominant gene). There’ll be an average of 50/50 “coated to hairless” ratio for “hairless to coated” mating, while all puppies will be coated for “coated to coated” mating.
The coated variety of the Chinese Crested Dog is called “Powderpuff” and is a known form. The coated Xoloitzcuintle variety is recognized by some registries, including the AKC, as a correct conformation type. Coated varieties of other breeds may or may not be recognized as valid conformation showing types, depending on the species and show or registry entity.
The American Hairless Terrier (AHT) is the only dog breed with a recessive hairless gene. Unlike the hairlessness arising from dominant genes, the AHT has no dental, skin, or other health conditions associated with the dominant hairless gene breeds.
Hairlessness is the only AHT distinguishing attribute from its coated Rat Terrier base stock. Other distinguishing features were breeder-induced that include colour and height.
If you’re looking for a special pup that’ll turn heads everywhere, you go a hairless dog breed might be just what you’re after. These canines are usually portrayed with the absence of fuzz compared to the commonly known dogs. They are slightly as sweet or playful as their fluffy counterparts!
In fact, hairless dogs are super silky, sometimes very warm to the touch, and are known to radiate warmth, so they are said to be one of the best to use as a companion.
Caring for hairless dogs
Some owners who think about having a hairless dog tend to assume that they need much less care on the grooming front, but this is not always true. They have far less fur to brush (if any), but there is still a lot of care needed for their skin.
Interestingly, hairless dogs’ skin requires similar human treatment and may need daily baths to keep the skin clean and dirt-free. Moisturizing creams are applied to prevent dryness and sun creams from avoiding sunburn.
Hairless dog breeds can also develop acne. Nonetheless, please don’t put on your dog any creams prescribed for human use, as these may contain chemicals that irritate or may be harmful to their skin. Talk to your veterinarian for instructions on the right creams to use on your hairless dog.
It is also important to remember that hairless dogs are very susceptible to the cold and moist, so you will need to make sure you get them a good wardrobe full of raincoats and dog coats to keep them warm dry during a walk.
Top 5 breeds of hairless dogs
1. American hairless terrier
American Hairless Terriers hail from Louisiana and are by name and individuality called terrier. They are available in two varieties: hairless and coated. The hairless ones, except for some eyebrows and whiskers, usually have no fur whatsoever.
These hairless dogs are brilliant and playful, making excellent family pets. They are common in the US than in the UK at the moment.
2. Peruvian Inca orchid
The Peruvian Inca Orchid is a sighthound that originated from the Andes and a hairless dog breed that looks extremely special.
They come in a wide range of beautiful skin colours with a very sleek look and typically have donned a mohawk on top of their elegant heads.
They’re known at first for being a little anxious when it comes to their personalities, but when they unite, they bond for life and are deeply loyal to their owner.
Peruvian Inca Orchids excel in obedience and agility as they are super active, brilliant, and quick to train.
Xoloitzcuintli is a hairless dog breed that originated from Mexico. They are available in three sizes: toy, miniature and regular, and can be both coated and hairless.
In addition, the origins of the breed are steeped in legend as they are believed to be the gods’ ancient Aztec dog and can be traced back at least 3000 years. They are unbelievably rare today, and there are fewer than 1,000 left in the US.
4. Chinese crested
If you believe the Chinese Crested looks like a movie star with a sleek body and delicious hair on her head along with her legs, you’d be right! In some movies over the years, such as 102 Dalmatians, How to lose a guy in 10 days, and Cats & Dogs, this hairless dog, just to name a few, these species were featured.
They are most often hairless as this gene is most dominant, but due to a recessive gene, any litter will feature fluffy puppies (known as powderpuff).
5. Argentina pila
There have been several discussions about the Argentine Pila and whether the Xoloitzcuintli or the Peruvian Inca Orchid is a distinct breed or just a combination.
Like the latter, it is assumed that this hairless dog breed dates back to the Inca, gifted to Argentina to improve their political relationship.
The Argentine Pila come in different sizes, from tiny to big. They are good and playful, making great pets!