Q. I have a Hairless Chinese Crested that grows very little if any hair on his body and his crest is not as full as other dogs of his breed. My question is: Should I shave his ears and will this matter if the ears already stand up well? His ears are very crisp and standing very well at 18 weeks but I have heard that if I let the hair grow, the ears would become heavy and won’t stand up as straight. Also, is it OK to shave his face and whiskers with an electric clipper?
A. Two of the groomers who work at our salon have Hairless Chinese Cresteds and we have all grown to love their playful, engaging personalities. As you know, this delicate fine-boned canine oddity from ancient China comes in two varieties, the Hairless and the Powderpuff. The Hairless has long silky hair on its head, the “crest” for which it is named, its tail or “plume,” and the hair covering its hocks and feet, referred to as its “socks.” The Powderpuff version sports a fluffy double coat, soft and straight. The two types often come from the same litter. Accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1991as part of the Toy Group, the official breed standard allows any color or combination of colors.
As to grooming, the body on the Hairless sometimes needs shaving to live up to its name. To create the natural pattern lines, we simply follow the natural growth pattern, leaving its crest and cape of fur over the back of the neck, the socks on its legs and plume on the outer third of the tail. It really does not need its whiskers; we clip the muzzle with electric clippers as we would the clean face of a Poodle, to look the way it would be presented in the show ring. The ears may be left long or clipped close, according to your preference. They are supposed to stand erect so if the hair is profuse, clipping them clean may help them stand up straight but it’s not a guarantee. Like other breeds with so-called “prick ears” – the Scottie, Yorkie, West Highland Terrier and German Shepherd, ears that flop over are sometimes glued, taped or fastened in place with moleskin to train them to stand up but in the case of your pet, you would not need to consider that as his ears are already standing nicely on their own. As to the fullness of his crest, that should fill out as he matures.