American Hairless Terriers like Scooby McGurk have their own wardrobes. Scooby hates snow and he lives in Canada. No wonder he has a snowsuit (like sweatpants and a hoodie), a headband to keep his ears warm, a tail warmer and boots to keep his feet toasty. No fur means no way to reserve body heat, leaving a naked dog out in the cold. Frostbite is a real threat.
Summer is no better. Hairless dogs tan and can be sunburned easily. A nice outing means sun protection like Scooby’s Magnum PI Hawaiian shirts, waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF, not more than twice a day and lots of shade.
“These dogs need stimulating activity, mental and physical. Our pack walks at least 5km a day in addition to four or five play sessions,” says Greg Melien, Scooby’s person. “They move at warp speed or are asleep. There’s no in-between.”
American Hairless Terriers are the size of a Rat Terrier. Some are born with fuzz but when that fades away, it’s not replaced. Their skin is easily torn so keep it supple with lotion—look for the bottle that says for delicate skin and oil-free (dogs can get acne too). Grass allergies and rashes are common so be prepared for bath time to roll around as often as three times a week during hot weather. Watch for bug bites too.
“Hydrocortisone creams or beta carotene can be used to treat cuts or rashes,” says Dr. Mark Newkirk. “Sunburn and chronic sun exposure can lead to dry, wrinkled skin, sunspots and even cancer so protection’s important.”
Another hairless breed is the Chinese Crested. They do have poufs of hair around the ankles, on their tail and the top of their heads which gives them a look similar to a Clydesdale horse—on a much much smaller scale, of course.
Chinese Cresteds weigh about ten pounds and look frail. Don’t be fooled—they climb like sherpas. And like mountaineers, they love to yodel. Carole Deans owns two Chinese Cresteds, Elvis and Peaches. “Elvis sings when the phone rings and Peaches joins in,” says Deans.
Heights are not their only passion—they love to dig too. Deans uses baby shampoo to clean their muddy dogs after they're done creating new dirt pits.
Don't give this pup a chewy or a bone to keep him occupied, though. Chinese Crested are prone to loss of teeth at an early age.
Harder to pronounce is the Xoloitzcuintle (show-low-its-queen-tli) also called a Mexican Hairless or Xolo. This dog may have a bit of hair, similar to a Mohawk on its head.
Xolo respond well to structure and positive reinforcement. Make training a family activity or he will bond only to the one who feeds and trains him. Without training, he will run the house.
A Xolo is very sensitive and will not take rough treatment or harsh physical correction. They are quick to learn, but not wired to please. Training has to be fun with a reward in sight. Any hint of criticism will hurt his feelings and he won’t forget it. Praise and food will win him over—use lots of each.
These little dogs can cause quite a stir with their big personalities and little bits of hair. High energy and high maintenance, they’re not for everyone. However, if you’ve got the stamina and patience, they’ve got the love.
Sandra Murphy writes magazine articles about all kinds of animals, pets or exotics, marine life too, eco-friendly living and weird topics that catch her fancy. In her spare time, she writes fiction, mostly mysteries with a twist. With all the research, her browser history is intriguing to say the least. She lives in St. Louis with two bossy cats and Ozzie, a very tolerant dog.