For the past 7 years the common denominator in all of the winners of the Worldâ€™s Ugliest Dog Contest has been their breed. All of the past 7 winners have been hairless Chinese Cresteds, either purebred or mixed with Chihuahua. So what is a Chinese Crested?
The Chinese Crested, despite its name, gets its origins from Africa. They are small dogs that come in both â€˜powderpuffâ€ and â€œhairlessâ€ varieties. The hairless variety gets most of the notoriety due to its bizarre appearance and all of the ugly dog contests they tend to win.
The amount of body hair on the hairless variety varies quite extensively, from the true hairless which has very little or no body hair and furnishings, to what is called a hairy hairless, which if left ungroomed can grow a nearly full coat of hair. These hairy hairless are not a mix between powderpuffs and hairless Chinese Cresteds though, but is merely a result of the varying expression of the hairless gene, which the powderpuff does not have at all.
Maintenance of the Hairless variety's skin is similar to maintaining human skin - and as such it can be susceptible to acne, dryness, and sunburn. Hypoallergenic or oil-free moisturizing cream can keep the skin from becoming too dry when applied every other day or after bathing. Burning can occur in regions that lend themselves to strong UV-rays, especially in lighter-skinned dogs. Many owners apply baby sunscreen to their pets before spending time in strong sun. Some Cresteds have skin allergies to Lanolin, so be cautious when using any products that contain it.
Hairless Chinese Cresteds are also susceptible to a couple of health issues which can also contribute to their â€œuglyâ€ appearance. They are prone to what is called â€œprimitive mouthâ€, which is a dental condition where all of their teeth are pointy like the canine teeth. Their teeth are also likely to be missing or crowded further adding to its unique appearance. Aside from dental abnormalities, progressive retinal atrophy is also a concern in the breed, which often times can lead to blindness. Three time Worlds Ugliest Dog Winner Sam was blind in both eyes.
Despite these few health concerns, Chinese Cresteds can have a long life expectancy of upwards of 15 years.