We have probably all seen the interesting dog breeds that are labeled as the hairless breeds. Some would call them disgusting; some would call them strange, but more often than not the reactions are due to a lack of knowledge. What do we really know about the naked dog breeds? For years, scientists have believed that the hairless dog breeds originate from Africa and Asia. However there is not much evidence to back up this theory. One theory states that the Chinese Crested – one of the better known of the hairless breeds- originated in Africa and then moved onto Asia. So how did most of the hairless breeds end up in Latin America? Well scientists believe that all the hairless breeds in Latin America are descendents of the Chinese Crested that were brought to the continent in pre-Columbian times. Their popularity rose, as the Inca’s found that the naked, furless bodies were good for rheumatoid complaints. Much like a hot-water bottle!The hairlessness is due to a dominant gene. It is enough to have even one such gene to be totally naked!! Thus this trait is hard to outwit with human intervention, since it is enough for a dog to pass on only one gene, for the offspring to be hairless. It becomes easier to understand how these breeds can develop in distant areas of Africa, Asia and Latin America under these circumstances. There is only one hairless breed that needs two genes for hairlessness to occur. That is the American Hairless Terrier.
So which are the other 8 dogs that fall under the hairless category?
On 23 June 2007,Elwood, a two-year-old Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix, was crowned the world’s ugliest dog. Elwood, dark coloured and hairless – save for a mohawk-like puff of white fur on his head – is often referred to as Yoda or ET, for his resemblance to those famous science fiction characters. He was placed second last year. Most of the competing canines were also Chinese Crested, a breed that features a mohawk, bug eyes and a long, wagging tongue. Beyond the regal title of ugliest dog, Elwood also earned a $US1000 reward for his owner.
Click here to see a Youtube video of Elwood!