One of the most notable traits about dogs is their fur or hair. Whether they have curly, straight, dense, or thin fur, it helps them stand out. But there also are several hairless dog breeds that stand out in their own way. These relatively rare dog breeds carry genes that cause them to be completely hairless or have very little hair on their bodies. Some of these breeds are closely related, while others have a more distinct origin. They vary in appearance and personality, but most hairless dog breeds tend to be fairly cuddly and like curling up with their humans for warmth.
Here are 10 of the best hairless dog breeds.
01 of 10
The American hairless terrier descended from the rat terrier. Starting in the 1970s, rat terriers were selectively bred for their hairless coats. And, while some American hairless terriers are still born with a light coat, they mostly feature the hairless trait. These dogs tend to be quite smart, active, and playful. They make good family dogs and have a high prey drive for small rodents.
Height: 12 to 16 inches
Weight: 12 to 16 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Small and muscular body; coat colors include black, chocolate, red, apricot, and various combinations; can be hairless or have a very short coat
02 of 10
Chinese crested dogs come in two varieties: hairless and powderpuff. The hairless variety actually has fluffy tufts of hair on the head, ears, paws, and tail. The amount of hair can vary among dogs. And the powderpuff variety has a long, soft double coat over its whole body. Both the hairless and powderpuff varieties can come from the same litter. These dogs tend to be very loving and cuddly, though they have an energetic and playful side as well.
Height: 11 to 13 inches
Weight: 8 to 12 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Can be hairless except for the head, tail, and feet or fully coated; small and slender body; spotted pink skin with feathery white hair
03 of 10
The Xoloitzcuintli, also known as the Mexican hairless dog, comes in both hairless and short-coated varieties. Both varieties are exceptionally low-maintenance when it comes to grooming, though skin protection is a must. Xolos are an ancient Aztec breed dating back thousands of years. The dogs tend to be loyal and alert, making excellent watch dogs. While they can be protective when necessary, Xolos also are known for their calm nature.
Height: 10 to 14 inches (toy); 14 to 18 inches (miniature); 18 to 23 inches (standard)
Weight: 10 to 15 pounds (toy); 15 to 30 pounds (miniature); 30 to 55 pounds (standard)
Physical Characteristics: Can be completely hairless or have a short, flat coat; muscular, rectangular body; wrinkled forehead
04 of 10
Also known as the Peruvian hairless, the Peruvian Inca Orchid originated in ancient Peru, where it was mostly kept as a companion dog. These dogs tend to be very affectionate with and protective of their families, and they can develop separation anxiety when left alone. They also are athletic little dogs that need quite a bit of exercise to wear them out. Most Peruvian Inca Orchids are completely hairless, though some can have short patches of fur on their head, paws, and tip of the tail.
Height: 9.75 to 15.75 inches (small); 15.75 to 19.75 inches (medium); 19.75 to 25.75 inches (large)
Weight: 8.5 to 17.5 pounds (small); 17.5 to 26.5 pounds (medium); 26.5 to 55 pounds (large)
Physical Characteristics: Long, lean body; skin color varies but can include black, brown, gray, pink, tan, and white; low tail; smooth skinContinue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Argentine Pila Dog
A close relative to the Peruvian Inca Orchid, the Argentine pila dog is a hairless breed prized for its soft skin. This rare breed comes in three size categories and is primarily found in its native Argentina. Argentine pila dogs tend to be affectionate, playful, and adaptable to new environments. While they are mostly hairless, some pila dogs do have small tufts of fur on the top of their heads and on their tails.
Height: 10 to 14 inches (small); 14 to 18 inches (medium); 18 to 25 inches (large)
Weight: 9 to 18 pounds (small); 18 to 25 pounds (medium); 25 to 55 pounds (large)
Physical Characteristics: Tail curled forward; relatively short body; pointed ears; narrow muzzle; almond eyes; skin color varies and can include spotted or piebald markings
06 of 10
Abyssinian Sand Terrier
If you’re looking for a canine exercise buddy with a quiet and calm temperament, the Abyssinian sand terrier is the dog for you. This extremely rare breed also goes by the name African hairless dog. It's a fairly small- to medium-sized dog with a long, sleek body. Some dogs within the breed are completely hairless, while others have small tufts of hair on the top of the head and tip of the tail.
Height: 15.5 to 20.5 inches
Weight: 21 to 39 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Colors include black, gray, bronze, sand; skin can have mottled markings; hairless except for tufts of hair on head and tail; bat-like ears; long muzzle; sleek body
07 of 10
Hairless Khalas, also known as Bolivian hairless dogs, are a rare hairless dog breed originating in Bolivia. They look quite similar to the Xoloitzcuintli and likely share ancestors. These dogs love their owners and will fearlessly protect them, so training is a must to keep them friendly with those outside of your household. Like other hairless breeds, some of these dogs do have small tufts of hair, especially on their heads.
Height: 14 to 17 inches (medium); 17 to 20 inches (large)
Weight: 14 to 30 pounds (medium); 18 to 20 pounds (large)
Physical Characteristics: Some are short-legged while others have longer legs; dark gray skin; tufts of white hair on head
08 of 10
Jonangi dogs are native to India, where they were bred as herding and hunting dogs. The breed is quite rare today. Jonangis tend to be wary around strangers, but they are exceptionally friendly toward those they know, including kids and other pets in the home. Moreover, Jonangis have a similar disposition and muscularity to bull terriers, and they have a distinctive yodel instead of a bark. Many of these dogs are not hairless but instead have a very short, smooth coat that’s nearly invisible.
Height: 17 to 21 inches
Weight: 28 to 48 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Colors vary but can include fawn, black, white, and chocolate; can have piebald markings; pricked ears; curled tail; short muzzle; fox-like features; wrinkled foreheadContinue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Ecuadorian Hairless Dog
The Ecuadorian hairless dog is an ancient dog breed from Ecuador and a likely relative of the Peruvian Inca Orchid. It is incredibly rare today. These dogs sport very little hair, which is usually on the top of their heads. They tend to be fairly energetic little dogs and have a strong prey drive, especially to hunt small rodents. But they also love to curl up next to their favorite people.
Height: 15 to 18 inches
Weight: 17 to 25 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Almost no hair on body and head except for a small amount on top of the head; long legs; no premolar teeth
10 of 10
Hairless chihuahuas are the same breed as coated chihuahuas — they just have a rare genetic defect that causes them to be hairless. Thus, their temperament is just like any other chihuahua. They generally have big personalities, bond very closely with their favorite humans, and are protective of their territory. But the hairless variety is prone to skin issues, so care and monitoring are essential. Hairless chihuahuas also can get chilled quite easily.
Height: 6 to 9 inches
Weight: 2 to 6 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Petite frame; big eyes; large upright ears; short muzzle; slender legs