American Hairless Terrier

April 12, 2012

Are you one of the lovers that miss out on the joys of dog ownership because of allergies to dogs? Don’t lose hope you can still have an affectionate and loyal buddy just like anyone else. Furless dogs can still be your best friends. Often times, hairless dogs are the option people with dander allergies take as they are less likely to cause watery eyes, runny nose and itchiness. There are several hairless dog breeds you can choose from one of which is the American Hairless Terrier. This fairly new breed of hairless dog was developed in Louisiana by Willie and Edwin Scott in the late 70s.

The American Hairless Terrier is a medium sized dog with very similar features to the Rat Terrier from which this breed has descended from. The dog has a small well muscled body and long springy limbs. The comparatively large bat-like ears are erect. Aside from the whiskers and eyebrows, this is a completely hairless breed. Interestingly, when an American Hairless Terrier is born, its body is sparsely covered with fuzzy hair. The fuzz is shed starting from the head down to the rest of the body until the puppy is completely hairless at about six weeks of age.

An American Hairless Terrier makes wonderful companions for everybody not only because the dog is doggie odor and dander free but also because this small dog is full of life… very lively, curious and playful. This is a sweet and affectionate pet. They are social dogs as well. They are friendly even to strangers and seem to enjoy all the attention it gets. However, these dogs require special care. Potential owners must be aware of the fact that the dog needs to be protected from the hot sun as well as from the cold.

Information

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Appearance

The American Hairless Terrier is different from any other hairless breeds given that aside for the whiskers and the eyebrows, this breed is completely hairless. The AHT has a softer and smoother skin. This breed has strong normal sized complete set of evenly spaced teeth unlike other hairless breeds that are noted to have no premolars. The American Hairless Terrier is a small to medium sized terrier. This breed has a well muscled compact body that resembles that of a small deer. The dog’s build is also identical to the build of a Rat Terrier from whom this breed has descended. This breed’s head is proportionate to body size. The broad and slightly domed skull tapers to the muzzle. Cheeks are well muscled and powerful jaws are well hinged back to allow the dog to widely open the mouth when catching rodents. This breed has tight dry lips with the same pigmentation as the black or self colored nose. Prominent and round moderately sized eyes are obliquely set. Eye color of the coated variety can range from dark brown to amber. Hazel and blue eyes are acceptable as well. The hairless variety has the same eye colors. This breed has bat-like ears that are carried erect especially when the dog is alert.

The AHT has a slightly longer than tall body, a strong level back and a moderately short but muscular loin. Brisket extends to the level of the elbows. Ribs are well sprung. This breed’s belly is moderately tucked up. The tail is thick and tapers towards the tip. It is carried in an upward curve when the dog is alert otherwise the tail is carried straight out. An AHT has a parti-colored skin. The skin is usually pink with black, gray, gold or red spots.

Personality

A hairless dog would be a novelty to own. The AHT though has endearing qualities too. This is a playful and lively breed. Because it is sweet and affectionate, it makes a good companion for anyone. The curious and playful nature makes this dog a suitable companion and playmate of the children. This is a friendly breed but it is noted to be territorial. The dog must be socialized and obedience trained from day one. These dogs are protective of its people. Socialization will teach the dog that a stranger or a dog is not a threat to the family. These dogs need to be supervised when taken in public places as they can get easily injured. This breed would do well in an apartment provided they are exercised everyday.

Care

Dogs have made the quality of our live better. Although some breeds would need very minimal care others would need extensive maintenance for their owners. An American Hairless Terrier owner will be spared from the regular brushing as well as from the vacuuming necessary when the dog is shedding. However, this does not mean that the owner will go scot free from the maintenance needed for the dog. This breed would need special care given that they will be greatly affected both by hot and cold weather. Remember, their skin that is similar to that of a baby’s is exposed. The dog can get frostbite and get sunburned easily. The dog needs to be protected with jackets when the weather is cold. Sun blocks would be necessary to keep the dog from being sunburned. Lotion has to be regularly applied to prevent dry skin. This dog would need to be bathed two or three times a week. Nails must be trimmed weekly as well.

History

Nothing would really be extraordinary with the litter produced by a midsized Rat Terrier in 1972 except for the fact that one female puppy is completely hairless. The puppy is noted to have a pink silky skin with large black spots. The puppy that was considered to be a freak was given to Willie and Edwin Scott of Louisiana. Never did the owner thought that from this fluke a unique new breed will be created. The hairless puppy that was given the name Josephine became the adorable and affectionate pet of the family. Josephine was treasured by the Scotts. The dog’s endearing ways captured the hearts of the family. The dog has a lively temperament that never failed to gain the interest of other people. Of course being a unique hairless dog counts a lot too. Josephine was an easy dog to care for. No hair means no fleas, no dog fur to brush and no dog shedding to vacuum. However, the dog’s skin needs to be protected from the hot Louisiana sun whenever the dog is outdoors. The dog spends much time outdoors given that the proud owners would always want to have the affectionate dog around.

The Scotts became interested in breeding Josephine. In spite of other people’s beliefs that it would be impossible to produce hairless puppies as Josephine was only a stroke of luck, the Scotts pursued the plan. At the age of one year old, Josephine was mated with its Rat Terrier sire. Out of the four puppies, one was hairless. The breeding program was continued but no hairless puppies were produced in the next 7 whelping. Josephine was mated with her son and in December 30, 1981, at the age of 9 years, Josephine produced a litter of four puppies two of which, a male and a female are hairless. This hairless pair became the foundation of a new unique breed. The American Hairless Terrier was born!

Under the guidance of veterinarians and geneticists, the Scott’s dream of creating a new breed was realized. Other breeds of hairless dogs have dominant hairlessness genes. An American Hairless Terrier’s hairlessness gene is autosomal recessive. The American Hairless Terrier is the only hairless breed with recessive genetic trait. This means that two hairless AHT will produce hairless puppies. A hairless puppy mated with a coated AHT will produce coated and hairless puppies in the same way that two coated AHT will produce coated and hairless puppies.

In 1998, the American Hairless Terrier gained recognition from the American Rare Breeds Association. On the same year the breed was also recognized by the National Rat Terrier Club. In 1999, the breed was recognized by the Canadian Rarities. The breed was also recognized by the UKC as Rat Terrier – hairless variety on the same year. In January 1, 2004, the UKC has finally recognized the American hairless Terrier as a separate breed.

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