Photograph: Carli Davidson Photography
Almost every year for the past decade, a Chinese crested has won the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, California. This year was no exception.
The 2012 winner, crowned on June 22, is eight-year-old Mugly, a bald and beady-eyed crested who sports stringy whiskers weirdly reminiscent of dental floss.
But, if you look beyond their appearance, what are they like as pets?
The Chinese Crested dog breed has a personality and temperament that is loyal, intelligent, and friendly. They make great lapdogs or a small family dog. These dogs form tight bonds with their primary owners and other members of the family as well.
Chinese Cresteds are expressive dogs who can smile and even hug. Always happy and energetic, this breed loves people and can become quite attached to their primary caregiver. Often called “velcro” dogs, they will physically attach themselves to their favorite person, and will use their paws to hug that person around the neck.
This toy breed loves to climb like a cat, and never tires of playing with children, adults, or other animals. Their size, desire to please, and low activity requirements make them a good choice for first time dog owners, and an even better choice for retirees who have lot time to devote to their dog.
The Chinese Crested loves to be the center of attention, soaks up affection and does not like to be left alone for long periods of time.
This tiny breed can live easily in apartments or condominiums, and require one or two walks per day and the opportunity to run once in a while.
Chinese Cresteds have a lot of energy, and even though they are typically not destructive, keeping them calm requires daily exercise. Toy breeds are prone to obesity, as people tend to overfeed and under exercise them. Make no mistake, these dogs are not cats and do require a commitment to daily walking to keep them healthy.
Like all toy breeds, the Chinese Crested has a willful streak, but is generally a breed who loves to please people. Training requires lots of positive reinforcement and treats – harsh treatment will cause them to develop avoidance behaviors. Many Cresteds can be taught tricks and enjoy the attention that comes with being a showman.
This breed is not well-suited for a home with small children. Kids can be clumsy and accidentally injure such a small breed. Cresteds are also very jealous dogs, and won’t appreciate the time and attention given to small kids. They are also not very patient with kids who tease or want to play roughly with them, and have been known to snap and even bite.
Barking is often a problem with the Crested, as with most breeds of small dogs. They bark at everything, all the time. Socialization is important so that they are welcoming to visitors.
Separation Anxiety is also very prevalent in this breed. They crave constant companionship, and prefer that companionship come from people. If left alone too long, even if well-exercised, they can bark and cry excessively and can become destructive.
Photography: Carli Davidson Photography