Hairless dog breeds are well worth considering if you’d love nothing more than to welcome a canine companion into your family but want to avoid having to spend hours each week vacuuming up all that fur!
These exotic dogs are also super low maintenance, requiring little in the way of grooming, and while their dander and saliva can still trigger allergies, you may find the symptoms to be less severe than if you choose a breed with fur.
If you’re looking for a dog that will really get people talking, a hairless breed will certainly achieve that. These dogs carry genes that cause them to be born either without any fur or with very little fur on their bodies. And while their temperaments vary (as you’d expect with different breeds), these fur-less babies tend to be quite cuddly and love cozying up with their owners.
Just a word of caution though - because hairless dog breeds have no fur to protect them, they require sunscreen to stop them from burning in the summer months and a good quality dog coat to keep them warm in the winter. These breeds are rare too, so you may need to be patient while you wait to welcome one into your home.
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1. American Hairless Terrier
We have no idea how a dog with no hair manages to be so darn cute, but the American Hairless Terrier pulls it off with ease. A Louisiana native, this little guy stands between 12-16 inches tall and has smooth skin that’s warm to the touch. They were originally bred to hunt rats and these days they excel in agility and obedience events.
The American Hairless Terrier moves with a real pep in its step and has all the grit and courage you’d expect from a terrier breed. They’re also alert, smart, inquisitive, and playful, not to mention highly energetic, so they’ll make for a great exercise companion. Bald and beautiful, these pups love being lap dogs and as long as they’re socialized from a young age, they’ll get on well with children and other pets.
2. Chinese Crested
If there’s a breed out there more unique than the Chinese Crested dog, we’ve yet to stumble across it! Sporting spotted pink skin, a spiky hairdo, furry socks and a feathery tail, this is one pup that stands out from the crowd. Fine-boned and with graceful movements, the Chinese Crested is an elegant toy breed that stands between 11-13 inches tall.
Affectionate, happy, lively and sweet natured, the Chinese Crested is incredibly playful and loving, making them an absolute joy to be around. They’re also very devoted to their owners and highly attuned to their emotions, which makes them wonderful companion animals.
3. Peruvian Inca Orchid
You’d be forgiven for thinking the Peruvian Inca Orchid (PIO) is a flower, but in actual fact, it’s the name of an ancient breed of dog that first appeared on ceramic vessels as far back as 750 A.D. and is thought to have been kept as a pet in both pre-Inca times and as part of the Incan empire.
Coming in a range of sizes, the smallest of the PIOs stands at just under 10 inches tall, while the largest can reach 26 inches. They are lively and alert dogs when out and about and can be very protective of their family, but at home they are incredibly loving and affectionate dogs who are very sweet natured.
4. Mexican Hairless Dog
Over 3,000 years old, the Mexican Hairless Dog, also known as the Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced "show-low-eats-QUEENT-lee") is an ancient breed that was part of the Aztec empire. They were often offered up as a sacrifice to the gods and then buried alongside their owners to help guide the soul as it journeyed to the underworld.
Thankfully, no such practices exist today and the Mexican Hairless Dog is now a beloved family pet that comes in three sizes and has tough, smooth and close-fitting skin. Thoughtful and intelligent, they are incredibly loyal dogs and while they adapt to any lifestyle, they can be stubborn and headstrong, so early training and socialization is key.
5. Argentine Pila Dog
Closely related to other South American hairless dog breeds, the Argentine Pila Dog is a very rare breed that is mostly found in its native homeland of Argentina. Prized for its smooth skin, it’s highly adaptable and will settle easily into most environments.
Available in three sizes ranging from 10 inches to 25 inches talls, the Argentine Pila Dog has a tail that curls forward and a short body with pointed ears. Affectionate and playful, they also make excellent watchdogs as they’re hyper alert to movements and noise in their surroundings.
6. Hairless Khala
Also known as Bolivian hairless dogs, the Hairless Khala comes in two types - the Medio (which has short legs and is between 14-17 inches tall) and the Grande (which has long legs and is between 17-20 inches tall).
The Hairless Khala tends to be very loving, affectionate and docile with family but it can be very aloof and standoffish around strangers. They're fiercely protective of their people, so early training and socialization is a must. The Hairless Khala tends to identify closely with other hairless dogs and does best in a household where they have canine company.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.