American Hairless Terrier Breed: A Comprehensive Guide

Last Updated on: 23rd June 2023, 06:59 am

Welcome to our complete dog breed guide on the American Hairless Terrier!

You’ve come to the right place if you’re curious about this unique and adorable hybrid. 

This comprehensive article will explore the characteristics, temperament, grooming needs, health considerations, and training requirements of the American Hairless Terrier, providing you with all the essential information you need to know about this delightful crossbreed. 

Whether you’re considering bringing one into your family or are intrigued by this breed, prepare to embark on a journey of discovery and appreciation for the American Hairless Terrier.

The History of the American Hairless Terrier

 American Hairless Terrier, often referred to as AHT has a rather unique history. This breed originated from a single puppy born to a litter of Rat Terriers, a well-established and popular breed in the U.S.

It was the year 1972 when a Rat Terrier mother gave birth to a hairless female puppy in a litter of normally coated pups. The breeders, Willie and Edwin Scott were intrigued by the hairless puppy and decided to keep her. This puppy, named Josephine, is widely recognized as the progenitor of the modern American Hairless Terrier. 

As Josephine grew, she showed all the desirable traits of Rat Terriers without the coat. The Scotts were fascinated by her and decided to try breeding her. After several attempts, they finally succeeded in producing a hairless litter. 

  • Josephine’s first two litters were all coated, just like their father.
  • The third litter, however, brought the breakthrough. Born in 1981, this litter included a hairless female puppy like Josephine.
  • This puppy, named Gypsy, was later bred and produced the first hairless male, Snoopy.

From these dogs, the Scotts carefully developed the American Hairless Terrier breed we know today. The breed is now recognized by several Kennel Clubs and dog registries worldwide.

The Origins of the American Hairless Terrier

veiling the origins of the American Hairless Terrier (AHT) takes us on a fascinating journey back to the mid-20th century. It all began with a little pup named Josephine, born to a pair of Rat Terriers in Louisiana. Unlike her fuzzy siblings, Josephine was born entirely hairless, marking the birth of a truly unique breed.

Josephine’s owners, Edwin and Willie Scott recognized her uniqueness and decided to breed her. The result? A litter of half-hairless and half-coated pups showcasing the recessive gene at play. This was the start of a careful breeding program that led to the birth of the American Hairless Terrier as we know it today. 

Officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2016, the American Hairless Terrier is now adored by dog lovers everywhere for its unique appearance and charming personality.

Parent Breeds of American Hairless Terrier

Before we delve into the fascinating world of the American Hairless Terrier, let’s take a moment to appreciate its parentage. This breed has a fascinating history that reveals much about its unique characteristics.

The American Hairless Terrier is a direct descendant of the Rat Terrier, a breed renowned for its tenacity and intelligence. Rat Terriers were brought to the United States by British miners and mill workers in the 19th century and quickly became popular as farm dogs because of their unparalleled rodent-catching abilities. 

So, how did the hairless variety come into play? Well, it’s all thanks to a happy genetic accident. In 1972, a hairless puppy named Josephine was born into a litter of Rat Terriers. Intrigued by her unique appearance and sweet disposition, breeders pursued this new variation, and the American Hairless Terrier breed was born.

Though it shares many traits with the Rat Terrier, the American Hairless Terrier is now recognized as a distinct breed. Let’s explore this breed in more detail.

Physical Characteristics of American Hairless Terrier

Uniquely charming, the American Hairless Terrier is a sight to behold—their distinct appearance results from their unusual hairless condition, making them stand out in the canine world. 

Size and Weight: 

These dynamic little dogs are compact and muscular. They generally stand between 12 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 12 to 16 pounds. Their body is slightly longer than tall, giving them a well-balanced and athletic look.

Skin and Coat: 

  • The most striking feature of the American Hairless Terrier is, of course, its lack of hair. Despite the name, this breed can be born with a short coat that they shed to become almost entirely hairless when they are adults.
  • Their skin is smooth and warm and can come in various colors and patterns, including white, black, tan, sable, and brindle.
  • While they may not have a coat to protect them, their skin is quite resilient. However, they can be susceptible to sunburn and cold weather so they may need extra care regarding protection from the elements.

Facial Features and Tail: 

With their round, expressive eyes and wide ears that stand erect, American Hairless Terriers have a face that’s hard to resist. They have a strong, square jaw and a scissor bite. Their tail is typically long and tapers to a point, held high, adding to their vivacious and lively expression.


Body PartDescription
NeckMedium in length, slightly arched, and blending smoothly into the shoulders
ForequartersWell-angulated with straight, parallel legs, providing the breed with its agile movement.
HindquartersStrong and muscular, with a moderate bend to the stifle and a low-set hock

Every bit of the American Hairless Terrier’s physical characteristics showcases their lively and energetic temperament, making them strikingly distinctive and truly delightful companions.

Personality & Temperament of American Hairless Terrier

Ever met a dog with a larger-than-life personality? That’s your American Hairless Terrier in a nutshell. This breed is brimming with energy, curiosity, and mischief. Despite their small size, they pack a punch when it comes to character, promising endless entertainment and laughter. 

Key traits of the American Hairless Terrier include: 

  • Intelligence: This breed is quick to learn and eager to please, making training a breeze and a joy. Their keen intelligence, however, means they need mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
  • Energy: American Hairless Terriers are very active and will need daily exercise. They love to play and run, making them a great companion for individuals with an active lifestyle.
  • Sociability: American Hairless Terriers are friendly, outgoing, and love to be the center of attention. They get along well with humans and other pets, but early socialization is key.

But let’s not forget their playful side. These pups are known for their love of games and tricks. From fetch to hide-and-seek, an American Hairless Terrier is always a fun game. 

“The American Hairless Terrier is a bundle of energy and fun, wrapped in a hairless package. With their infectious zest for life, they’re sure to bring sunshine into any home.”

One thing to remember is that their lack of fur makes them sensitive to the cold. Always ensure they are well-protected during chillier months or when in air-conditioned rooms.

Grooming Needs of American Hairless Terriers

Here’s a refreshing surprise for dog lovers: the American Hairless Terrier requires minimal grooming! This breed is hairless, so you won’t find doggie fur all over your house or must schedule regular trips to the groomer for hair trims. But don’t mistake “hairless” for “careless” – there are still some specific grooming needs to consider. 

  • Bathing: Regular bathing is essential to keep their skin clean and healthy. Use a mild dog shampoo and ensure their skin is fully dry afterward to prevent skin irritations.
  • Skin care: Just like human skin, their skin needs protection from the sun and cold. A good dog-safe sunscreen for sunny days and a cozy sweater for cold ones are must-haves.
  • Nail trimming: Regular nail trimming is necessary as their nails can proliferate. If you hear their nails clicking on the floor, it’s time for a trim.
  • Teeth cleaning: Dental hygiene is essential to prevent gum disease and bad breath. Brushing their teeth a few times a week is recommended.

So, while this breed may save you time on grooming, they still need a bit of TLC to stay healthy and happy. The American Hairless Terrier, it’s all about skincare and basic hygiene, making them an excellent choice for those who prefer low-maintenance pooches.

Health Considerations for American Hairless Terrier

 their unique hairless trait, American Hairless Terriers are generally considered a relatively healthy breed.

However, like any dog breed, they are not exempt from potential health issues. Here’s an overview of the health considerations potential owners should be aware of.

  • Skin Sensitivity: Without a fur coat to protect them, these dogs may be more prone to skin irritations, sunburns, and allergies. It’s essential to provide them with appropriate skin care and protection from the sun.
  • Patellar Luxation: This is a common condition in smaller dogs, where the kneecap can slip out of place. Regular veterinary check-ups can help monitor this condition.
  • Cardiac Conditions: Some American Hairless Terriers may be predisposed to heart conditions such as mitral valve disease and patent ductus arteriosus. Regular heart screenings are integral to catching these conditions early.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Though not as common as in larger breeds, some AHTs may develop hip dysplasia. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help manage this condition.

Potential owners must remember that most of these conditions can be managed or even prevented with responsible breeding and good care. Always get your American Hairless Terrier from a reputable breeder who tests their breeding dogs for genetic diseases. 

Note: Regular check-ups with a trusted vet are paramount in detecting and treating these potential health issues early.

Training Requirements for American Hairless Terrier

 an American Hairless Terrier can be as much fun as it is challenging. This breed is known for its intelligence and enthusiasm, which can be a double-edged sword if mishandled. Let’s look at how to train these unique terriers effectively.

Begin Early and Be Consistent:

Begin training your American Hairless Terrier from a young age, as this is when they are most receptive to learning new commands and behaviors. Consistency is critical, with a routine helping your dog understand what’s expected of them.

Positive Reinforcement is Essential: 

These terriers respond best to positive reinforcement techniques. This means rewarding your dog with treats, praise, or playtime whenever they perform the desired behavior. Avoid harsh training methods, as they can lead to fear and anxiety.

Socialization is a Must: 

Expose your American Hairless Terrier to various environments, people, and other animals from a young age to ensure they become well-rounded and friendly dogs.

Address Potential Behavioral Issues: 

While generally good-natured, some American Hairless Terriers may exhibit stubbornness or possessiveness. Address these behaviors early on with firm but gentle training.

Remember, every dog is an individual, so be patient and adapt your training methods to suit your American Hairless Terrier’s unique personality and needs. With the right approach, you’ll find training this breed to be a rewarding experience.

Nutrition and Feeding of American Hairless Terrier

The American Hairless Terrier has a metabolism similar to other small breeds, requiring a diet rich in high-quality proteins and fats. A balanced diet plays a critical role in your pet’s overall health and longevity; as an owner, you must be mindful of their nutritional needs. 

What should you feed them? 

  • Protein: A diet rich in high-quality protein will help in muscle development and promote overall growth.
  • Fats: Fats are an essential source of energy for this breed.
  • Fiber: A reasonable amount of fiber can promote digestive health.
  • Vitamins and minerals are necessary for a healthy immune system and overall well-being.

The American Hairless Terrier breed does not have specific dietary restrictions. However, like all dogs, they should not consume foods such as chocolate, grapes, onions, and certain artificial sweeteners, as these can be toxic. 

How often should you feed them? 

Generally, adult American Hairless Terriers should be fed twice a day. Puppies must be fed more frequently – around three to four times a day. 

Remember, every dog is unique, and so are their dietary requirements. It’s always best to consult with a veterinarian to get an individualized feeding plan for your pet. 

Note: Overfeeding can lead to obesity, a serious health concern for dogs. Constantly monitor your pet’s weight and adjust their diet accordingly.

AgeMeals Per Day
Puppy (up to 6 months)3-4
Adult (over 6 months)2

Exercise Needs of American Hairless Terrier

 of the first things you’ll notice about an American Hairless Terrier is their seemingly boundless energy. These dogs are not just couch potatoes; they love playing fetch, going briskly, or even participating in dog sports. Their active nature calls for regular exercise to satisfy them mentally and physically.

Exercise Recommendations:

  1. Start with daily walks. For an adult American Hairless Terrier, walking at least 30 minutes to an hour will help burn off energy and maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Include playtime. Tossing a ball for a game of fetch, playing with toys, or simply running around the yard can keep the dog entertained and physically active.
  3. Consider dog sports. Given their speed and intelligence, this breed often excels at agility, obedience, and even flyball.

Remember, though this breed is active, they are also susceptible to extreme temperatures because they lack the natural insulation provided by fur. Therefore, watch out for signs of overheating in the summer or hypothermia in the winter.

Finding Your Perfect American Hairless Terrier

Choosing the perfect American Hairless Terrier is no small feat. These dogs stand out from the rest with their unique looks and personality traits. But before you start your search, it’s important to understand what makes this breed so special. 

The American Hairless Terrier is a well-muscled dog, fast and agile on its feet, with a strong prey drive. These energetic and playful dogs make them great companions for active families. 

Remember: American Hairless Terriers have robust personality that matches their athletic physique, so they need a home that can keep up with their energy levels and provide plenty of mental stimulation.

  • The first step in finding your perfect American Hairless Terrier is researching reputable breeders or rescue organizations. These groups prioritize the welfare of the dogs and will provide you with all the necessary information about each dog’s temperament and health status.
  • The second step is to meet the dog in person. This allows you to see if you and the dog are a good fit for each other. Notice how the dog interacts with you and observe its behavior and temperament.
  • The third step is to prepare your home for your new furry friend. This breed is very active and will need space to move around. Make sure also to have plenty of toys to keep them entertained.

American Hairless Terrier: Is it the right breed for you?

 A dog breed that complements your lifestyle is crucial, and the American Hairless Terrier is no exception. This breed is unique in many ways, and making the right decision requires understanding this breed’s distinct characteristics. Let’s know if the American Hairless Terrier could be the right fit for you.


The American Hairless Terrier is known for its friendliness and intelligence. They are playful, energetic, and love being around people. They are also very good with children, making them a great choice for families.


These dogs are small to medium-sized, with males ranging from 12 to 16 inches in height and females from 10 to 14 inches. They usually weigh between 12 and 16 pounds, making them the perfect lap dog!

Exercise Needs 

Though small, the American Hairless Terrier is quite active and enjoys regular exercise. A daily walk or a fun play session in the yard can keep them happy and healthy.


As the name suggests, the American Hairless Terrier has no hair. This makes them an excellent choice for people allergic to dog hair or those who prefer low-maintenance pets. However, their skin needs regular care to prevent dryness and sunburn.


Generally, American Hairless Terriers are healthy dogs. However, like any breed, they can be prone to specific health conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to keep them in good health.

Final Thoughts:

In conclusion, the American Hairless Terrier could be an excellent companion for those who value a friendly, intelligent, and low-maintenance pet. However, they do require regular exercise and skin care. So, if you’re ready to provide this care and pour in lots of love, this breed could be the perfect addition to your family!

Common FAQs about American Hairless Terrier

 The American Hairless Terrier a unique breed that’s gaining popularity due to its distinctive looks and personality. Here, we’ll address some of the most frequently asked questions about this breed, offering in-depth answers to help determine if this pup is the right fit for your household.

1. What’s the origin of the American Hairless Terrier? 

The American Hairless Terrier is a relatively new breed, with roots tracing back to Louisiana in the 1970s. It originated from a mutation in a litter of Rat Terriers, producing an utterly hairless puppy. This puppy later became the progenitor of the American Hairless Terrier breed. 

2. Are American Hairless Terriers Hypoallergenic? 

Yes, they are. The absence of hair makes them an excellent choice for those with allergies, as they do not shed dander the way haired dogs do. 

3. What is the temperament of an American Hairless Terrier? 

These dogs are known for their intelligence, energy, and friendly nature. They are playful and adaptable dogs that do well in various environments. 

4. What are their grooming needs? 

Despite being hairless, they still require care. They need regular baths to prevent skin issues and sunscreen outdoors to protect them from sunburn. 

5. How is their health? 

They are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they may be susceptible to specific health conditions. Regular check-ups with a vet can help ensure they lead a healthy life.

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