American Hairless Terrier, pronounced (uh-MAIR-it-kuhn HAIR-les TAIR-ee-uhr), is so far the only hairless dog breed that originated from the United States. This breed came into existence in the 1970s, and its creation is referred to as a happy accident. Often abbreviated as AHT by its fans, this breed has gained quite a lot of popularity since its creation.
These dogs have a striking resemblance to Rat Terrier, except they have hair. AHTs are short in height and usually have well-built neck muscles and legs that are powerful. You might mistake it for a toy breed, but it is not.
One of the many great things about American Hairless Terriers is that they are loving, affectionate, energetic, and intelligent. They tend to be awesome human companions because of their nature and because they are mostly suitable for people who suffer from different allergies.
About The American Hairless Terrier
Origin and History
In 1972, a hairless female Rat Terrier was born in Louisiana, USA. Edwin Scott, who bred the litter, did not realize that as it did look like other Rat Terriers. Scott named this dog Josephine, and it gave birth to a hairless female dog, but there were no more hair-free puppies in her subsequent 7 litters.
However, during her ninth litter, she finally gave birth to two hairless pups of each gender. These two puppies then started the breed line that is now known as the American Hairless Terrier.
The Scott family then worked under the guidance of their veterinarian and geneticist to perfect the breed. Through their collaboration, this breed was named the American Hairless Terrier. It is not just another freak accidental dog breed as they differ subsequently from the hairless dog breeds of African and American origin. These dogs have an autosomal recessive hairless gene, not a semi- lethal hairless gene that requires a Powderpuff variety to obtain hairless dogs.
What’s more amazing is that these American Hairless Terriers do not lack any premolars or several other complications that are commonly associated with hairless breeds. So, in that regard, Josephine and its progeny are one in a kind breed.
The Scotts founded a club for American Hairless Terrier in 2009. But until 2016, it did not get proper recognition from AKC. The Scotts are still working to improve the hairless breed by not letting the Rat Terrier temperament change. In 2016 however, these dogs were recognized as a distinct and separate dog breed by the AKC.
American Hairless Terrier looks just like a medium-sized descendant of the Rat Terrier. They usually grow up to 7- 16 inches in height and can have a weight anywhere from 5 to 16 pounds. The AHT is a dog breed with strongly built muscle, powerful legs, solid neck, strong chest, and shoulders. Just like the Rat Terrier, their ears get erect when they are alert; hence they get the nickname Bat.
So, all in all, they are sturdy, small-headed, and have a narrow body shape. They usually have hazel, amber, brown but some have blue eyes as well. Their skin is normally a little pink with golden, red, black, and gray tones.
This is a fairly new breed, but when hairless AHT is crossed with another hairless AHT, the result is always American Hairless Terrier puppies. However, the cross of hairless with coated produces variable outcomes that depend on whether the dog with coat carries a recessive hairless trait or not.
The American Hairless Terrier puppies are born with a little fuzz all over their body, but soon, they start shedding it. First, the shedding starts from the head and gradually moves towards the back, and when they reach the age of 6 weeks, they are completely hairless. The only hair they have on their bodies is eyebrows and whiskers.
Playful, loving, alert, and intelligent are the words associated with American Hairless Terrier. They are quite lovely and inquisitive. These pups are one of the favorite human companions because of their ability to learn and their affectionate nature. It is important to start socializing them from the start as they go on pretty well with children if they are around them from puppyhood.
These playful companions will break into sweats if they get scared or hot. AHTs are considered quite territorial, and like any other breed of dogs, they need a human who truly understands them. Usually, they are friendly with strangers as well, but they make for a good watchdog.
You can say they have a typical terrier temperament. They are quick, lively, and playful but fearless and feisty at the same time. They are fairly easy to train and like to please their human. However, you have to act like a leader to them to eliminate any negative behaviors found in your AHT.
They are vulnerable because they do not have any fur coats, so avoid ratting. Moreover, they are not good swimmers, so you should always keep a watch when they are in the water. You should be mindful while buying an American Hairless Terrier as they are quite energetic, love playing around, chasing, and digging. Al these things can be overwhelming for someone who is kind of a laid-back pet owner.
Types of American Hairless Terrier
There are usually two varieties of American Hairless Terrier:
- The Hairless AHT: The first one is bald and has no hair except eyebrows and whiskers
- The Short-coat AHT: This variety is often called The Coated Carrier because although they have a coat, they have the hairless gene. These dogs are covered with a smooth, shiny, but short and dense coat.
American Hairless Terrier Colors
American Hairless Terrier colors are usually Pink and Grey, Pink, and Gold, Pink, and Black, or Pink and Red. Their skin is normally a little pink with golden, red, black, and gray tones covering some parts of their body. They usually have hazel, amber, brown, but some have blue eyes as well.
American Hairless Terrier Life Span
They usually have a good and long-life span of 14 to 16 years.
Are American Hairless Terriers Hypoallergenic?
Thanks to their almost little to no coat, the American Hairless Terrier is hypoallergenic. Whether coated or hairless, they are the best pet choice for people who suffer from allergies. However, this dog is still not 100% hypoallergenic (no dog is hypoallergenic) because they do shed some dander.
What Can I Expect When Caring for an American Hairless Terrier?
These dogs are a bundle of joy, energy, happiness, and affection, and owning them is a responsibility rather than a privilege. These dogs would not only require shelter and food; you need to understand the following things when you own an American Hairless Terrier:
Although AHTs do not have the genetic risks that most other hairless breeds carry, they still have some of them. AHTs are genetically more vulnerable to some diseases. This makes it important that you thoroughly research the history of parents and breed as well while considering a pup.
Here are some of the health concerns AHTs usually face:
- hip joint disease
- luxating patella
- hip dysplasia
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
Moreover, because of the lack of fur coats, they need some extra protection. They are prone to rashes and also require shielding against the sun. It is good to cover them with a shirt or apply sunscreen on them. They need to be protected from the cold as well. Some grass allergies and other common dog allergies occur as well, but they go away on their own.
The only thing you have to be quite careful about is preventing them from getting sunburns and keeping them warm when the weather is cold. It is okay to bathe them once or thrice a week. They also need to get their nails trimmed every week.
It is advised to moisturize their skin with a good lotion (without lanolin) if their skin feels dry. There is no risk of fleas, but they often shed skin every twenty days, so the dander is minimal but still present. You can use hydrogen peroxide to treat them if they get any cuts or scratches.
It is very important to take care of the oral health of AHTs. You should brush their teeth daily as they can easily have dental issues. Your vet can guide you all about what needs to be done for them to have great oral and physical health.
So, if you never got a dog because someone in your family has allergies or you are not the person who can keep up with a high-maintenance pet, then AHTs are perfect for you.
These dogs are energetic, and they love doing tasks, so they enjoy outdoor playtime and challenging games. They should be taken on walks daily for at least half an hour. They are also prone to obesity, so make sure to provide them with several activity challenges throughout the day to keep them happy and fit.
The fact that these dogs are very active and energetic might force you to think that they will require a lot of nutrition. However, they are small to medium-sized dogs who can easily get obese, so be careful about their food.
The best way is to keep their food intake in check, so they stay healthy. It is not advised to keep food for them that they can gaze upon; rather, feeding them twice a day is better and healthier for them.
When they grow up and become adults, their dietary needs change and keep changing until senior age. It is always better to ask your vet about how much food your dog can consume because it highly depends on the dog’s energy, health, and weight.
These dogs are intelligent and agreeable, which means they are trainable, but they also have a strong streak of stubbornness. The trainer needs to have good leadership skills as well as patience and a certain level of assertiveness to make the training process effective.
Although they are kid-friendly and safe to keep as pets, they do not lap dogs. They are restless and feisty, so it is better to keep them on a leash to prevent them from running after small animals like squirrels, etc. Moreover, they are barkers which, on the one hand, makes them a good watchdog, but it is advised to work on them to achieve good and quiet behavior. Otherwise, you can end up with a loud and yappy household.
They like to dig a lot too, and you can end up with large garden beds if you do not control this habit. It is better to provide them with a digging pit or any other alternative they would like to stop this habit fester.
American Hairless Terrier- The Perfect Hypoallergenic Companion
The American Hairless Terrier is a friendly, smart, energetic, intelligent, trainable, low- maintenance, and hypoallergenic dog breed. They are a perfect fit for pet owners who want a low-maintenance house pet.
If you want to read about other terrier breeds, then head over to Boston Terrier Dog Breed Information