Powderpuff Chinese Crested Coat Care

Powderpuff Coat Care

Bentley 2The Powderpuff Chinese Crested!  The hidden gem of the small breeds.  People hear “Chinese Crested” and they think “hairless dog.”  But let’s not forget the amazing and wonderful Powderpuff Chinese Crested!  Powderpuffs are born in the same litter as hairless, except with a full double-coat of hair.  Grooming and caring for a Powderpuff is not so different from other coated dog breeds.  Here is a guide to help you keep your Powderpuff looking fabulous!


Ariel puppyPuffs need to be brushed every day to avoid matting.  I use a pin brush and comb for brushing.  Dampening the hair slightly with a misting spray before brushing will prevent any broken ends.  This is not required, but it does make the coat look better over time.    Between the ages of 6-10 months, a Puff will change from a puppy coat into his/her adult coat.  Matting will happen especially quickly during this time if brushing is not done daily. Make sure brushing is part of your puppy’s routine from the day you bring them home.  Getting into the habit early will make thing easier on both puppy and owner.



Ariel creekI recommend bathing every 1-4 weeks, depending on how dirty your Puff likes to get.  I have had Puffs who love to play in mud puddles, roll in freshly mowed grass, and swim in the lake … they needed to be bathed often!  I try to avoid bathing more than once a week to avoid a dried-out coat.  Always brush and remove any tangles or mats before getting your Puff wet.  To bathe, I use an all-natural shampoo/conditioner, such as Rocco & Roxie Dog Shampoo.  Make sure to rinse the shampoo out well, then follow up with a blow dry on a cool to slightly warm setting.



Bentley 1There are several options for grooming your Powderpuff Chinese Crested.  They can be totally natural, with long hair, a furry face, and long ear hair.  They can be shaved down into the same pattern as a hairless, with long hair only on their head, feet, and tail (usually referred to as a “pony cut”).  Or they can be groomed to a style anywhere in-between.  You also have the option of grooming at home, or using a professional groomer.

If you choose to groom at home, these are the products I recommend:

For grooming the entire body, I use a Andis UltraEdge Professional Clipper.  This is a bigger up-front cost, but if you are willing to groom at home, this will save a lot of money over your pets’ lifetime. You can double, triple, (or more!) the amount of savings if you have multiple Puffs (which most people do – if you don’t yet, you likely will soon, lol).  Keeping a Puff shavedpony cut and hairless will make the coat care much easier.  If brushing your Puff every day sounds like a lot of work, shaving is a great option.  Personally, in the spring I give my Puffs a pony cut, allow their hair to grow throughout the summer and fall, so by winter they have a longer coat for the cold winter.  This keeps coat maintenance minimal.

BellatrixIf you are just wanting to keep your Puff’s face and/or ears groomed, the Wahl Peanut Clipper a perfect small option.  I always use the Peanut on ears and faces, even though I also own the Andis, because it is small and so easy to maneuver.

You will also want to cut nails about once a month.  If you are new to cutting nails, it is better to go too long than too short a first.  You may also want to purchase septic powder just in case you cut too short.

Hairless Chinese Crested Skin Care

Chinese Cresteds are unique dogs.  How to care for hairless skin can seem confusing to a new crested owner, so here is a guide to help you care for your Chinese Cresteds skin, along with the products I use and recommend.


Hairless Skin Care

Willow 2I care for hairless skin in a similar way in which I care for the skin on my face.  Simple, gentle, and natural products are best.  Crested skin can be sensitive, susceptible to sunburn (the lighter the skin color, the more susceptible), oily or dry depending on the weather, and acne prone.  Most cresteds will go through a “teenage acne phase” between 5-10 months, at which time their skin may need a little extra care.  While Chinese Crested skin may be different from other dogs, it is really no different from our own skin care!



I generally recommend bathing 1-2 times per week.  Any more can cause dry skin (natural oils are good for the skin!), but any less may cause a oily, smelly dog and lead to acne.  In the summer, especially if you are applying sunscreen, bathing may be more frequent, and in the winter, when the air is dry and playing outside is no fun, bathing may be less frequent.  As you become accustomed to your crested’s skin, you will know when s/he does and does not need a bath.

23905764_1949446108609328_6867360358272314794_n.jpgWhen choosing products, I look for products as natural and chemical-free as possible.  I bathe with Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap.  I dilute this soap 1:10 and use it on both skin and hair.  You may also use Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Bar Soap, but the bar is more difficult to use on cresteds with long furnishings.  After bathing, as long as there are no dry skin issues (more common in winter), I apply witch hazel to all the hairless areas, paying special attention to any acne.  If there is acne present, I apply witch hazel directly on the acne daily.  If the skin is dry, I will apply organic coconut oil, but only use a very tiny amount … a little goes a very long way.

Sun Protection

It is important to keep your Chinese Crested protected from sun burns.  Not only is it dangerous, but it is also painful.  Skin color plays a big role in the amount of precaution you will need to take.  Most crested skin colors will tan, and as the summer progresses, your crested’s skin will be less susceptible to sun burn.  The exception to this rule is cresteds with pink skin.  The color pink does not tan, it only burns, so extra care will need to be taken.  Spots on pink skin, however, do tan.  So as the summer progresses, the spots will become much more vibrant!  I love watching all my crested’s go from their dull winter colors to tan and vibrant during the summer!

1520756_1390788507808427_1845184655_nThe best way to prevent sun burn is to avoid sun exposure when the sun is the strongest (generally between 10am-4pm).  My cresteds spend most of their time outside in the early morning and late evening.  Even in the middle of the day, as long as they are not in direct sunlight for more than 15 mins at a time, their skin should be safe from burns (you can extend this time for darker dogs).

I try to avoid sunscreen and clothing in the heat because it can cause acne.  However, if sun exposure is necessary (no need to avoid a fun day at the lake/beach/park/etc!), then sunscreen and light clothing can be worn.  I recommend using an oil-free sunscreen  and washing it off at the end of the day.  Don’t forget to reapply throughout the day as needed – water and towels can rub the sunscreen off.  You may also use lightweight sun-protection clothing.

Grooming the Hairy Hairless

This is probably the most confusing part about the hairless Chinese Crested … the HAIRY 10349880_1398292233724721_6739440300836079638_nHairless.  All cresteds have varying amounts of body hair – from completely naked to completely covered with hair.  Genetically, hairless dogs are different from powderpuffs, even if they have a whole lot of hair.  If you have a Chinese Crested with hair on their body (maybe just a little, maybe a lot), or if you want to keep face and ears hair-free, you may want to learn to groom your crested at home. I usually groom every 4-6 weeks, right before a bath.  Even the hairiest hairless will have a thin enough coat that grooming at home will be easy to do with an inexpensive pair of clippers.  I use a Wahl Peanut, and have for over 15 years.  I love this clipper!  When brushing, I use a small pin brush and comb.  You will also want to cut nails.  If you are new to cutting nails, it is better to go too long than too short a first.  You may also want to purchase septic powder just in case you cut too short.  After your crested’s hair and nails are cut, they are ready for their bath to finish up their beauty make over.