American Hairless Terrier

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
except for albino or merle
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • devoted friend
  • easy to groom
  • friendly
  • gets on well with other dogs      
  • wilful
  • needs regular physical stimulation
  • very sensitive skin


The American Hairless Terrier is an agile and brawny medium-sized dog, which originated in the United States in the late 70s of the XX century. The trademark characteristic of this breed is complete absence of hair so it’s oftentimes described as hypo allergic. Nowadays it serves exclusively as a pleasant, easy-going and friendly companion dog.

The foremother of the American Hairless Terrier was born in 1972 in a litter of a perfectly ordinary average-sized Rat Terrier. The furless puppy was covered with a pink soft skin with big black spots. It was reckoned to be a freak and was presented to Willie and Edwin Scott of Louisiana.

The pup was nicknamed Josephina and soon grew up into a buoyant, light-hearted dog with somewhat unusual but still adorable appearance. The Scotts were so conquered by lovable disposition of their pet that they started considering of creating a brand-new breed. The couple carefully planned the breeding program so at the age of one year old Josephina was crossed with the specially selected Rat Terrier sire. It gave birth to four puppies and one of them was bald. Willie and Edwin proceeded with their attempts to produce more hairless dogs under the supervision of their veterinarian and geneticist. Unfortunately the following 7 whelping didn’t bring any puppies with this desirable trait. At last a 9-years-old Josephina was bred back to her son and in 1981 it produced four puppies two of which, a female and a male, were deprived of hair. These two dogs were used as the foundation for a new distinct breed.

The spouses named their creation the American Hairless Terrier. It was not just its hairless skin, which makes this breed unique: the gene, which causes the appearance of this characteristic, is completely different in comparison with other types of hairless dogs. It was autosomal recessive in nature and therefore the American Hairless Terrier is the singular hairless breed with recessive genetic feature. This means that it’s guaranteed that a litter will have bald puppies only if both parents are notable by total absence of fur.

The American Rare Breeds Association (ARBA) recognised the American Hairless Terrier in 1998. In January 1, 2004, the United Kennel Club (UKC) also granted its official acceptance to the breed. The Scotts keep breeding this canine variety and put in consistent efforts in its promotion. Despite its relative rarity the breed has already earned faithful following throughout the world.

The American Hairless Terrier is a clever, vigilant, frisky and kind dog. It has potential of becoming a wonderful companion for anyone. This breed tends to seek for guidance and leadership of its human masters. It’s crucial to familiarize the dog with the rules of proper behaviour in a human society as early as possible otherwise you may end up with an unruly and wilful little beast. This dog is fine with kids especially if it’s brought up with them from its puppyhood.

On the whole the American Hairless Terrier is polite with strangers until they don’t act aggressively towards its family. It’s quite easy to get in touch with this dog so after some initial shyness it usually makes friends with every person who treats it affably. Thanks to its protective nature the breed member is more than ready to defend its master and his property from any unwelcomed guest. However, it will become neither a perfect watchdog nor a good guardian because of its credulous character and inadequate size.

The American Hairless Terrier likes to socialise with other canines and commonly has very little issues with strange dogs. Nonetheless the absence of hair makes this dog highly vulnerable in any fight so make sure to keep it always leashed while being walked. Its direct forebear was a proficient ratter and this dog shares its hostility to non-canine pets smaller than a cat. However it will perceive a cat as the member of its pack if they have grown up together.
Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

• rashes;
• allergies.

The American Hairless Terrier is an easy-to-groom breed. Of course, lack of hair implies that it won’t need any brushing or combing at all. However, its silky skin is sensitive to the influence of both cold and hot weather.

In winters get prepared to dress your dog in a dense sweater before going for a walk. On the other hand in a sunny and warm day it’s essential to cover its skin with a vet-approved sunscreen. The breed also requires frequent bathing, usually two to three times a week. Other than that its master should trim the dog’s nails every other week and regularly check and clean its ears.

The American Hairless Terrier is a bright and docile dog whose training is usually a breeze. It’s commonly very eager to please its master and can learn very advanced commands and even sequences of commands. That said, this dog is characterised with heightened sensitivity to rude handling and responds to it by becoming outright rebellious.

Furthermore it won’t follow orders of the trainer who failed to assert its leading position in relation to the dog. The optimal training strategy for the American Hairless Terrier should be founded exclusively on positive reinforcement with the emphasis on the dog’s favourite treats.

For such a compact dog the American Hairless Terrier has fairly high exercise requirements. At the very minimum this dog should be taken on a long and brisk walk on a daily basis. However, it will be absolutely happy to have some more appropriate outlet for its driving energy. Release your dog off leash in a securely enclosed area occasionally so it can frisk to its heart content.

It’s worth to mention that this breed accommodates well to all living conditions and will make an excellent four-legged friend for an apartment dweller. However, the American Hairless Terrier is not a lap dog and without necessary physical stimulation it’s prone to become destructive, hyper active and unruly indoors.