The American Hairless Terrier had its origin in a mixed breed of terriers called Feists. They were brought to North America from Europe during the early 1800s.
Later on, the Rat Terrier breed was developed from the Feists through crossbreeding using Beagle, Italian Greyhound and Miniature Pinscher bloodlines.
In 1972, one hairless puppy named Josephine appeared in a mid-size Rat Terrier litter. The dog-owners Willie and Edwin Scott of Louisiana, USA were both amazed and liked the puppy’s look.
When Josephine reached full maturity, the Scotts attempted to breed her. In her first litter, she was able to produce one female puppy that had the same hairless quality.
But through the next several litters, Josephine failed to do it. Finally, at the age of 9 years, she gave birth to a litter with two hairless pups.
What’s more amazing was that the 2 puppies have different genders. This fortunate event in 1981 pushed the foundation of the breeding program on the mission to stabilize this unique breed.
Before, the AHT was considered as a variety of Rat Terriers. As of January 1, 2004, the United Kennel Club officially announced that these dogs are separate breeds.
Traits and Behavior
The American Hairless Terriers are loved because of their wonderful nature. They are affectionate, lively, playful and highly intelligent making them an excellent family companion.
Generally, they are compatible with children, especially if they were raised with them since they were puppies. This unique dog is easy to please and will warm up to strangers.
They can be trained as watchdogs considering that they are curious and highly territorial. They will bark when alarmed.
The AHT is full energy which means it requires plenty of time from its owner. It enjoys participating in agility games just like its other terrier cousins. This breed likes to play, dig, run and chew anything.
Owners should be cautious regarding the strong hunting instincts these dogs inherited from their ancestors. Vigorous activities may pose danger to their nude skin.
Pet Care and Diseases
The American Hairless Terrier does not exhibit any of the major health problems that are being linked with other hairless varieties of dog such as absent premolars. Despite this, they occasionally exhibit rashes due to their skin’s hypersensitivity towards the grass.
The body of an American Hairless Terrier is unprotected and highly sensitive due to the lack of any coating. The skin is vulnerable to extreme heat or prolonged exposure to the sun. As an intervention, sunscreen should be applied to the skin whenever these dogs try to roam outside. They perspire quite easily and do get pimples on their skin.
If their skin becomes dry, lotion (without lanolin) can be applied. This breed does not shed and they do not get fleas, but they do shed skin cells about every 20 days.
Close supervision should also be done during cold weather. A thick covering should be wrapped around their body so they won’t suffer in cold temperatures. The AHT is not a strong swimmer and should be monitored when submerged in water. Rough underbrush may hurt the AHT’s unprotected skin. Scratches and cuts do happen and they need to be attended to with hydrogen peroxide or any other antiseptic agent.
Studies show that they are the best breed of dogs for people with dog allergies. Unlike other breeds, the AHT doesn’t cause any adverse reaction to many people whose body is very sensitive when exposed to dogs.
In physical structure, these medium-sized dogs are very identical to the breed from which they came – the Rat Terrier. At full-grown, the American Hairless Terrier will stand around 7-16 inches in height and will generally weigh about 5-16 pounds.
The skin may appear as pink with gray, red, black or golden markings. Two hairless dog parents will always have hairless puppies. However, if there is only one hairless parent, the appearance of the puppies will vary. It will greatly depend on whether the coated dog carries the hairless gene.
At birth, they will have a light fuzzy coating on their bodies. This will soon begin to shed starting from the head towards the whole body. By the age of six weeks, their coating should be gone. Their whiskers, as well as eyebrows, do, however, remain.
The American Hairless Terrier can live up to 16 years. It has an average litter size of 6 puppies. This breed is also referred to as AHT, Hairless Rat Terrier, Naked Dog, or Rubber Dog.
Visit this dog club website dedicated to American Hairless Terriers. Click this link: http://ahtca.com/