American Hairless Terriers

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American Hairless Terriers look like any one of a number of the exotic breeds without hair, but really it's as native as apple pie and just as much a citizen as Uncle Sam.

Developed from a mutation of the Rat Terrier (another native), he shares the independent and can-do attitude of his original pioneer owners. He has medium energy (for a terrier) and loves nothing better than hang with his people.

The breed is hairless, with no hair on his body at all, or coated, with short, shiny fur. He has full dentition and very few skin problems. Any color other than merle is allowed; his ear is preferably pricked but acceptable also as rose or button (for comparison the Bulldog has a rose ear, the Norfolk has a button one.) The tail is held upward in a slight curve when the dog is in motion. The hairless variety benefits from regular sunscreen.


In 1972, one hairless puppy named Josephine appeared in a Rat Terrier litter. The breeders liked the look of the little girl, and decided to try for more just like her. 

The breed was recognised in Canada in 1999, and is in the Miscellaneous Class as part of the Foundation Stock Service with the American Kennel Club.

They share their progenitor Rat Terrier's heritage of being an independent and friendly farm terrier, bred to keep down vermin around the barn and paddocks.


American Hairless Terriers:
By the Numbers

The dog above is coated, with a rose ear.

Size: 12 to 16 inches, 12 to 16 pounds

Coat Care: 1: very low. The hairless variety only needs skin care – regular sunscreen and an occasional rub down with skin cream. The coated version really only needs a bath if he has had an unfortunate encounter with a skunk. 


Trainability: 8: Medium to High They enjoy training and are one of the best terrier breeds in the various performance events. They do well with a lot of variety in their work and a firm but friendly handler.

Energy level: 6:  Medium. They do well with a moderate amount of exercise, and are okay as an apartment dog as long as they get a vigorous walk every day.


Good with Children: 7: Medium: -- They easy-going around children, though they can have difficulty with the rough handling of toddlers.

Noise level: medium – 6: This is not a super noisy breed and  another reason why they make a good apartment or townhouse dog.

Low Shedding/hypoallergenic: The Hairless variety is a 10. No hair at all. The coated variety is a 4.


Do you think that an American Hairless Terrier might be right for you?

To get more information or to find a puppy, first read up on What is a Responsible Breeder. Then tick your own boxes with What Makes a Responsible Pet Owner. With all that sorted, you can contact the American Hairless Club of America or the American Kennel Club. And good luck in your search!


Tell Us About YOUR Dog!

People come to About Small Dogs to find a good dog, one that matches their lifestyle, their family and what they yearn for.

The best people to explain the finer points of what a breed is like are the people who own and are owned by them.

If you own this breed, this means YOU. What is your dog like? What stories can you tell? What would you like to say to someone who is considering your breed? What is your dog's sterling qualities? How about some of his or her not so great characteristics? Tell us a bit about the ideal owner for your breed as well.

People become good dog owners because they are educated. You know your breed better than any others. Share what you know!

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