American Hairless Terrier

Canis lupus

Last updated: April 18, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© art nick/

The American hairless terrier comes in two varieties with one having a very short coat.


American Hairless Terrier Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

American Hairless Terrier Locations

American Hairless Terrier Locations

American Hairless Terrier Facts

Fun Fact
The American hairless terrier comes in two varieties with one having a very short coat.

American Hairless Terrier Physical Characteristics

American Hairless Terrier as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Warm climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
Dog group
Male weight
12-16 lbs
Female weight
12-16 lbs

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All American hairless terriers descend from a pup named Josephine born into a litter of midsized rat terriers.

The first American hairless terrier was born into a litter of rat terriers pups. The hairless puppy was given to Willie and Edwin Scott. The couple loved the canine because it could not get fleas, and they did not have to clean up dog hair constantly. They also loved her laid-back personality. The couple bred the pup back to her father, and the breed was born as three of four puppies were born without hair. The breed became fully recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2016.

If you are looking for a shedless dog who is happy lying on the couch by you, then the American hairless terrier may be a perfect choice. This dog loves to be around people and other pets constantly.

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3 Pros and Cons of Ownership

Intelligent: They are a very intelligent dog, which makes training them easier.Sunburns: They can get sunburned, so you need to protect their skin and limit outdoor activities.
Kid-friendly: They are happy to play with children.Yappy: This dog is highly alert to its environment and barks frequently to tell you about changes in it.
Good with other animals: They make a great second animal in many circumstances.Inquisitive: They think the world was made for them to explore, which can cause them to get into predicaments.
two American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terriers are very intelligent, curious, alert, and playful.

©Martyna Nysk/

Size and Weight

These are compact terriers that should stand between 12 and 16 inches tall at the shoulders. Healthy dogs of this breed will weigh between 12 and 16 pounds. Females usually give birth to a litter of about four pups. The puppies will usually mature mentally about 9 months, but they may continue to grow until they are about two.

Height (Male):12 to 16 inches tall
Height (Female):12 to 16 inches tall
Weight (Male):Typically 12 to 18 lbs.
Weight (Female):Typically 12 to 18 lbs

Common Health Issues

American hairless terriers are robust, healthy dogs, but the breed can suffer from some common health issues. As with many small breed dogs, hip dysplasia can be a concern in this breed. Additionally, luxating patella where the kneecap comes out of position can occur. Dilated cardiomyopathy can leave dogs with arrhythmias.

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Luxating patella
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy

Temperament and Behavior

American hairless terriers make great companion dogs because they love to be around people and other animals. This personality trait is apparent in most of this breed; they are happy to snuggle on the sofa with you or go on a quick outside romp. This temperament makes them ideal for families and those living in apartments.

American hairless terriers are naturally curious. This personality trait makes them get into some trouble. If you are doing an activity, you can expect your American hairless terrier to want to help you. This behavior also means that you need to be cautious about things lying around if you cannot constantly supervise your dog.

If you want to know when the slightest little thing changes in your environment, get an American hairless terrier. It will be glad to bark and tell you, even if a leaf blows across your yard. You can stop some of this behavior with proper training. Therefore, it is a good thing that the American hairless terrier is a brilliant dog as this personality trait will help it learn to stop barking as much.


Just like you need the proper diet and exercise to stay healthy, so does the American hairless terrier. It is your responsibility to see that the dog receives the proper food, exercise and grooming, if you decide to add this breed to your family.

Best Dog Food

Since this is a small dog, feeding the right type of dog food becomes even more vital. The breed can become obese easily, which compounds health issues. Be conscious of this dog’s risk of heart disease, namely dilated cardiomyopathy, and aim for legume-free dog food. Legumes like peas and lentils in dog food have been linked to heart failure.

American hairless terrier puppy food: You should feed puppies about five meals each day. Aim to give your pup about 900 calories per day, and do not forget the calories in treats. The best puppy food usually contains about 22% protein and 8% fat. The price may be higher, but you may discover that your dog is healthier and eats less.

American hairless terrier adult food: Since this breed tends to become obese, you should feed it two to three meals a day instead of letting it eat whenever it wants. Find a dog food with about 18% protein and 5% fat to feed to your adult American hairless terrier.

The best dog food for American Hairless Terriers is Stella & Chewy’s Wild Red Classic Kibble Dry Dog Food, in our opinion at A-Z Animals.

Since this breed can develop heart disease, the added taurine in this food is a huge benefit for heart health. The wholesome mix of chicken, duck, and turkey is also a natural source of glucosamine which protects joints from conditions like bad hips and knees. The high protein content, omegas, and probiotics are the perfect combination for healthy immune system starting from digestion.

Check Chewy or Amazon for this product.

Stella & Chewy's Wild Red Raw Blend Kibble Wholesome Grains Red Meat Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • Packed full of protein with beef, pork, lamb, bison, venison, and goat.
  • Crafted without potatoes or legumes.
  • Freeze-dried raw meat coats every delectable bite with added raw chunks.
  • 80% of its yummy protein is from actual animal sources!
  • Recipe uses “whole prey” ingredients, including muscle meat, organ meat, and cartilage.

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Maintenance And Grooming

American hairless terriers either have a minimal coat or no hair at all, so you will spend very little time grooming this dog. If you are going to take your dog outside, then apply sunscreen. You should also clean its ears and trim its toenails regularly.


The American hairless terrier is anxious to please, which makes training it easier. Socialize it as a puppy between seven weeks and four months to get it used to other animals and people. After conquering basic skills, consider training your dog for advanced obedience contests. Earth day trials and barn hunts are other fun activities that you may want to train your dog to do because it has a strong prey instinct.


The American hairless terrier needs about 30 minutes of exercise daily. Consider going on morning or evening walks when the sun is not as likely to burn its skin. Additionally, this dog loves to play quick games, even inside your home.


The bitch normally gives birth to four pups. If you are looking to get one of these pups from a breeder, ask to see the parents’ genetic papers. A reputable breeder will be glad to show you a cardiac and an Orthopedic Foundation for Animals report so that you know the genetic defaults are not being passed down to your puppy.

American Hairless Terrier puppy

This American Hairless Terrier puppy would make a great second animal in many circumstances.



Unlike many terrier breeds, such as the rat terrier, American hairless terriers make great dogs for families with children. If you consider getting an older dog from a breeder or a rescue, take your children with you and watch the interaction. You are likely to find that the dog warms up to your children instantly. Of course, you should always teach your children how to interact with the dog appropriately, and breeders and rescues often have great ideas on how to do this task.

Similar Dogs

If the American hairless terrier does not seem like an ideal dog for you, consider these other breeds:

  • Rat terriers: The rat terrier tends to stand about the same height, but they are typically a little huskier than the American hairless terrier. Rat terriers tend to do well with children.
  • Brazilian terriers: This breed is about the same size as the American hairless terrier. They also tend to do well in homes with children because of their playful nature.
  • Pomeranian: If you want a lively companion who loves to lie on the couch with you, then the Pomeranian may be a great choice. Like the American hairless terrier, it tends
  • to be very alert and can bark a lot.

There are many popular names for American hairless terriers, including:

  • Hairy
  • Louie
  • Cajun
  • Daisy
  • Maxwell
  • Bud
  • Redneck

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

Ashley Haugen is a lifelong animal lover and professional writer and editor. When she's not immersed in, she can be found hanging out with her dogs and birds.

American Hairless Terrier FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How Much Does an American Hairless Terrier Cost to Own?

You can expect to pay a median price of $1,100 for a purebred American hairless terrier. Expect to pay about $30 a month to feed the dog high-quality dog food. While you will not need to take your dog to the vet often, budgeting $100 a month for vet bills and supplies ensures you have the money when needed. Dog treats, toys, and bedding can add about $20 per month to the price.

Is an American Hairless Terrier Good With Kids?

Yes, American Hairless terriers can be a great addition to a family with children. They may not make an excellent choice for those families who love to spend a lot of time outdoors because they sunburn easily.

How Long Do American Hairless Terriers Live?

The average lifespan of an American hairless terrier is 14 to 16 years. Many different factors can shorten or lengthen that lifespan. Ask the breeder for information on the parents, so you are getting a healthy pup as a great start increases the likelihood of a long lifespan. If you choose to get a dog from a rescue, be sure that they have taken care of any medical issues. Feed high-quality dog food and give your dog exercise daily.

What is an American Hairless Terrier?

An American hairless terrier is a compact dog standing between 12-and-16-inches tall and weighing between 12-and-16 pounds. They are a very loving dog that resembles a rat terrier, but either has no coat or a very short one.

Are American Hairless Terriers Good Pets?

American hairless terriers can make wonderful pets. They want to be in the middle of everything your family is doing. They are very alert, and they will bark to alert you to changes in your surroundings.

Is the American Hairless Terrier Hypoallergenic?

Yes, the American hairless terrier is hypoallergenic.

Do American Hairless Terriers Smell?

If you give the dog a bath regularly, they will not smell. These dogs produce natural oils that rise to the top of their skins. The oil can smell if it is not bathed regularly.

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