The American Hairless Terrier – Energetic, Curious and Alert

American Hairless Terrier

The American Hairless Terrier is curious, alert and energetic.

The American Hairless is a small dog of the Terrier Group weighing just 12 to 16lbs, with a feisty nature. The breed actually has hairless and coated variations. The hairless dog is hypoallergenic, but has a few issues that potential owners should be aware of.

With no normal coat to protect the skin, they may get sunburned if out in bright sun for too long. At the other extreme, they lose body heat quickly if out in the cold, and need a dog jacket to keep them warm and prevent hypothermia.

American Hairless Terrier – Temperament

This is a friendly and playful breed of dog. They get on well with everyone, including strangers and other dogs. The American Hairless is intelligent and smart, and is keen on pleasing its owner.

An American Hairless Terrier looking inquisitive outdoors with woods in the background
American Hairless Terrier

They move with a confident, jaunty motion that lets you know they are Terriers at heart. They enjoy running around after a small ball, but don’t need much exercise. A few short walks each day is usually enough. They prefer short bursts of activity rather than sustained exercise for a longer period.

After their exercise, they are quite happy to curl up on the sofa and sleep, preferably with their special person. Their small size and amiable nature in addition to lack of hair makes them ideal apartment dogs.

American Hairless Terrier – Breed History

This is the only hairless breed developed in the USA, and is descended from the Rat Terrier. In the 1800’s. ratting terriers were taken to America by English miners looking for a new life. After breeding with the local, larger Smooth Fox Terrier, the new breed of Rat Terrier was brought into being.

In 1972, a hairless female puppy was born in a litter of normal midsized Rat Terriers who had normal coats. This is the first recorded occurrence of this happening. The puppy had a fine coat when born, but all her hair fell out after a few weeks, leaving a hairless dog.

According to the American Kennel Club, the puppy was adopted by a couple by the name of Scott, and was given the name Josephine. When adult, she was mated, and produced another hairless puppy. After several generations and 10 years had passed, more and more hairless puppies were produced, and the breed had its foundation.

The Scotts continued their breeding program and founded the national breed club in 2009. The breed gained official recognition by the American Kennel Club in 2016.

Vital Statistics

Height; 12 to 16 inches

Weight; 12lbs to 16lbs

Life Span; 14 to 16 years

An American Hairless Terrier standing alert indoors, against a white background
American Hairless Terrier

Ease of Training

The American Hairless is intelligent, smart, and quick to pick up new commands. They are keen to learn, and seem to enjoy pleasing their owners. They should be socialized as puppies to get used to strange new sights and sounds, but soon become confident.

This breed tends to do well in canine competitions and events such as obedience trials and agility tests. Overall, training is relatively easy compared to some other breeds.


The American Hairless Terrier is alert and bright, wit a perky nature. They make excellent watch dogs as they are very aware of what is going on in their vicinity. They will quickly let you know if something is up by barking at anything unusual.

As you may guess from their size, however, they do not make good guard dogs, as they are simply too small to either deter an intruder nor take action. As confident as they may be, they do not have the muscle nor weight to be effective. If you want some extra protection at home, look for another breed.

A black American Hairless Terrier standing in a grass field
American Hairless Terrier


Grooming requirements are minimal. The ears should be checked regularly, and the body can be gently rubbed down with a damp cloth to keep the dog fresh. Bathing is only needed occasionally, if the dog gets muddy or dirty, or starts to get a ‘doggy’ smell. This is a low-maintenance breed!

Health Considerations

The American Hairless is generally a healthy breed of dog, and does not suffer any genetic skin conditions that you might expect. The issues that may crop up include;

  •  Hip dysplasia
  •  Patellar luxation
  •  Legg-Calve-Perthe disease.

The national breed association recommends the following tests;

  •  Hip evaluation
  •  Cardiac evaluation
  • Patella evaluation
  • Legg-Calve-Perthe evaluation of the hip.

Famous American Hairless Terriers

I couldn’t find any famous dogs of this breed! Please let me know if you are aware of one, using the Contact Me link. Thank you!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *