The true origin of hairless breeds, including the Chinese Crested, of the world is steeped in myths and legends. Because of its genus Canis Africanus name, it is felt the numerous hairless breeds originated in Africa. The hairless breeds have survived through centuries and are found in many sub-tropical locations throughout the world. They have been found in Mexico, China, Turkey, Peru, Ethiopia, Paraguay, Argentina, the Caribbean and the Philippines.

Tombs in ancient burial sites revealed skeletons and clay figures of hairless dogs suggesting evidence that a small hairless dog lived in Mexico for thousands of years.

The hairless breeds were held in great reverence during the Toltec period of 900 – 1200 AD and was classed as one of the ten symbols of good, belonging to the Kingdom of the god Quetzalcoatl, the all-good. It represented love.

The ancient Toltecs thought a dog’s love for its master was the most perfect manifestation of unselfish love. The master’s dog was buried in the same grave when the master died, and according to legend, the spirit of the dog followed its master. When the master had to account for all his good and evil deeds, the dog testified in his favour. The dog was the only possession taken to the other world. Later, the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs and the spiritual image of the dog was destroyed. The dog was eaten at sacred festivals as food.

The hairless dog breeds were also thought to have medicinal properties. Relief from asthma and other aches and pains were attributed to the hairless breeds. The hairless dogs were also used as body warmers.

It seems that no one knows when the first hairless dogs arrived in China. It is known that they were bred in the 16th century and that Chinese merchants took them to the number of different countries.

There is often confusion between the Chinese Crested and the Mexican hairless and vice versa.

Other hairless breeds include:

• The larger Xoloitzcuintli
• Inca Orchid
• Abyssinian Sand Dog
• Turkish Greyhound
• African Elephant Dog
• Indian Rampur Dog

Hairless dogs have also been found in Central and South America, West Indies, China, the Philippines and parts of Africa.

If all the historical descriptions of hairless breeds are correct, the Mexican hairless is probably one of the oldest unchanged breeds in America.

Source: Book of the Breed, the Complete Chinese Crested by Brenda Jones

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Written by: Connie Limon. For more information about the Chinese Crested breed visit for a variety of FREE reprint articles visit