Dogs come in all different shapes and sizes. Big (German Shepherd), really big (Great Dane), medium (Australian shepherd), small (West Highland Terrier) and really small, or toy (Chihuahua). Granted, whatever size they come in, all of these dogs have fluffy coats. However, there do happen to be some dogs that don’t have this typically ordinary characteristic and come in a variety of shapes and sizes as well! So, let me introduce you to the hairless dog breeds that might make the perfect pet for your family.

Hairless dog #1: American Hairless Terrier

american hairless terriror, hairless dog

Photo: “Rally” via

American Hairless Terrier, hairless dog

Photo: Scooby McGurk aka ‘The Jekyl’, Valley American Hairless Terriers

American Hairless Terrier, hairless dog

Photo: “Neo”

American hairless terriers are a rare breed of dog that were derived from a variant of the Rat Terrier. Just recently, as of January 1 2014, was deemed a separate terrier breed by the United Kennel Club. It will gain full AKC recognition in January 2016.

According to Wikipedia, The American Hairless Terrier’s American ancestry begins with the mixed breed terriers called Feists brought from Europe to the North America as early as the 18th century. In the late 1800s the Rat Terrier breed was developed from the Feist by the addition of Beagle, Italian Greyhound and Miniature Pinscher bloodlines. It was in 1972 when the hairless breed began, as one hairless puppy named Josephine appeared in a litter and was consequently bred to produce a foundation stock of the breed in 1981.

The American Hairless terrier is an intelligent, social and energetic working breed, and because of its lack of hair is are frequently listed as a potential good breed for allergy sufferers. HOWEVER, there is no scientific evidence supporting the existence of a completely hypoallergenic dog breed so all prospective owners who might be susceptible to allergies should be tested prior to purchasing one of these dogs.

Unlike the “old world” hairless dogs, the gene for hairlessness is not dominant but recessive. These hairless dogs do not have dental issues (absent premolars) or other characteristics associated with the dominant hairless gene.

Here are some wrinkle pups of AHT to behold:

…and here’s a crazy pup going nuts over a bottle cap:

#2: Peruvian Inca Orchid

peruvian inca orchid, hairless dog

Photo: Flickr user Enrique

peruvian inca orchid, hairless dog

Photo: TravelPod member Theblakes

peruvian inca orchid, hairless dog

Photo: Flickr user Tore

Ah, the Peruvian Inca Orchid, the most beautiful “flower” of the K9 clan… right?

Alright so maybe it’s not exactly the most attractive dog breed in the world but you have to admit it is pretty unique-looking! Although it is first and foremost perceived to be an Incan dog as it was kept during the Incan Empire, pre-Incan pottery depicts the hairless dog in all its glory, suggesting it was around long before its Incan relatives. Interestingly enough, the Spanish conquest of Peru nearly caused the extinction of the breed. The dogs only survived people in rural areas believed that they held a mystical value. All hail the nakedness!

The ancient hairless dog is recognized as both completely hairless and having small amounts of hair on the top of its head and bottom of its feet. Breeders in Peru prefer the completely hairless dogs, though. I think both types are exceptionally cute:

#3 – Argentine Pila Dog

If you happen to be trekking about the north-western provinces of Argentina, you might run into this native hairless breed: the Argentine Pila Dog. There is evidence of their existance in the area as far back as 3,000 years ago and are thought to have descended from the Peruvian Inca Orchid.

Wikipedia states that during Spanish colonial times and well into the 20th Century, Pilas were held in high esteem by aboriginal, middle class and peasant families in the Argentine Northwest, who gave them this name using the colloquial Spanish term for ‘hairless’ or ‘naked’. They were highly valued for their warm skin and served as bed warmers and therapeutic heating pads, especially for older people suffering from rheumatism. Yes, you read that right. They were also valued as watchdogs, since they are very alert to any unusual movement or noise in their surroundings.

Unfortunately, in the second half of the 20th century it became fashionable to possess fancy foreign breeds instead of the local hairless dogs. Pure pilas are now a rare sight, though there are some active breeders who are working to reestablish the breed.

#4 Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is a very odd, yet charismatic dog known for its two variants – with and without fur – the Powderpuff and the completely Hairless. These dogs only reach a weight of 10-13 lbs and are a family friendly breed, not aggressive toward children or other animals. Though, they can be timid with strangers if not socialized at an early age. They have been described as having “a supermodel look, with a saint personality.”

While the Powderpuff variety is considered the more hairy of the two, the amount of hair the Hairless variety can have also varies. The difference between a very hairy Hairless and a Powderpuff is that the Hairless has a single coat with hairless parts on the body, while the Powderpuff has a thick double coat. In the same litter there can be both Powderpuff and Hairless varieties.

Owners often take advantage of their pets unusual looks by dolling them up in cute sweaters, booties, and other accessories.

chinese crested, hairless dog

Photo: Eric Isselee

#5 Xoloitzcuintle or Mexican Hairless

Xoloitzcuintli, mexican hairless, hairless dog

Photo: Flickr user Cathy

The Xoloitzcuintle, or Xolo for short, is a hairless dog breed native to Mexico. There is archaeological evidence that the Xolo existed in Mexico for more than 3,000 years and descended from several breeds of Old World dog breeds.

Xolos were considered sacred dogs by the Aztecs because they believed the dogs were needed by their masters’ souls to help them safely through the underworld.According to Aztec mythology, the god Xolotl made the Xoloitzcuintli from a sliver of the Bone of Life from which all mankind was made. Xolotl gave this gift to Man with the instruction to guard it with his life and in exchange it would guide Man through the dangers of Mictlan, the world of Death, toward the Evening Star in the Heavens.

Some people in Mexico continue to believe this breed has healing qualities. With a legend like that, I think you’re better safe than sorry!

Plus, who couldn’t bow down to this incredibly ugly-cute bow wow?!