American Hairless Terrier Breed

The American Hairless Terrier (AHT) is a small to medium-sized breed of terrier that is known for being completely hairless or having a very short, fine coat. This breed is recognized for its playful and affectionate nature, making it a popular choice as a companion dog. Here are some key characteristics and information about the American Hairless Terrier:

Origin: The American Hairless Terrier’s history can be traced back to the 1970s when a hairless puppy named Josephine was born in a litter of Rat Terriers in Louisiana, USA. Josephine was the foundation of the breed.

Appearance: American Hairless Terriers are typically small to medium-sized dogs, with well-muscled bodies and sleek, hairless skin. They come in various colors, but the hairless variety is the most common. There are also coated versions, known as “coated carriers,” which have a short, fine coat.

Coat Varieties: American Hairless Terriers are available in two coat types: hairless and coated carriers. Hairless AHTs have smooth, soft skin and are often prone to sunburn, so they require protection from excessive sun exposure. Coated carriers have short, fine coats that require minimal grooming.

Temperament: These terriers are known for their energetic, playful, and affectionate nature. They tend to form strong bonds with their owners and enjoy being part of the family. They are also intelligent and trainable, making them well-suited for obedience and agility activities.

Size: American Hairless Terriers typically weigh between 12 to 16 pounds and stand around 12 to 16 inches at the shoulder.

Exercise Needs:

AHTs are active dogs that require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Daily walks and playtime are important to meet their exercise needs.

Health: American Hairless Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to specific health issues. Skin care is important for hairless AHTs to prevent skin conditions and sunburn. Responsible breeding and regular veterinary care can help maintain their health.

Allergies: Because they are hairless or have very short coats, American Hairless Terriers are sometimes considered a good choice for people with allergies. However, it’s important to note that dog allergies are often caused by proteins in a dog’s saliva and dander, rather than just their fur.

Lifespan: The average lifespan of American Hairless Terriers is around 12 to 16 years, which is relatively long for a small breed.

Popularity: The American Hairless Terrier is a relatively rare breed, and not all kennel clubs or organizations recognize it. However, it has a dedicated following among enthusiasts and pet owners who appreciate their unique appearance and friendly personality.

Before considering an American Hairless Terrier as a pet, it’s important to research the breed thoroughly and ensure it fits your lifestyle and preferences. Like all dogs, they require proper care, socialization, and training to thrive as a part of your family.

American Hairless Terrier History

The history of the American Hairless Terrier (AHT) is relatively recent and can be traced back to the 1970s in the United States. The breed’s origin story revolves around a hairless puppy named Josephine.

Josephine’s Birth: In 1972, in a litter of Rat Terriers in a small town in Louisiana, a hairless puppy named Josephine was born. Josephine’s hairlessness was due to a spontaneous genetic mutation that resulted in a lack of a full coat of fur.

Hairless Gene Mutation: Josephine’s unique trait caught the attention of Edwin and Willie Scott, a local couple. They recognized that Josephine might carry a valuable genetic mutation. Edwin and Willie adopted Josephine and began breeding her to other Rat Terriers in the hope of producing more hairless puppies and preserving this unique trait.

Founding the Breed: The Scotts’ breeding efforts were successful, and over time, they established a small breeding program specifically for hairless dogs. They were joined in their efforts by other breeders who shared their interest in developing the hairless terrier as a distinct breed.


The American Hairless Terrier, as it was eventually named, was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 2004 and the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2016. These recognitions marked the breed’s official status and provided a platform for its promotion and preservation.

Development: The breed was developed by selectively breeding hairless dogs and “coated carriers” (dogs with short, fine coats but carrying the hairless gene). This allowed for a balance of hairless and coated AHTs to be produced, which expanded the gene pool and increased the breed’s genetic diversity.

Breeding Standards: Both the UKC and AKC have established breed standards for the American Hairless Terrier, defining its appearance, size, temperament, and other characteristics. These standards help maintain the breed’s integrity and promote responsible breeding.

Popularity: The American Hairless Terrier remains a relatively rare breed, but it has gained a following among dog enthusiasts and pet owners who appreciate its unique appearance and friendly temperament. Its rarity has helped maintain its status as a niche breed.

The American Hairless Terrier’s history is a testament to the dedicated efforts of breeders who recognized the value of Josephine’s unique genetic mutation and worked to establish and preserve a breed with a distinct hairless or coated carrier trait. Today, the AHT is known for being a playful and affectionate companion dog with a distinctive look, making it a sought-after breed among those who are interested in a unique and lively canine companion.

American Hairless Terrier Health and Feeding

Health and proper nutrition are essential aspects of caring for an American Hairless Terrier (AHT), just as they are for any dog breed. Here’s some information about their health considerations and feeding requirements:

Health Considerations:

  1. Skin Care: The hairless variety of the American Hairless Terrier is particularly susceptible to skin issues. Their lack of fur makes their skin more vulnerable to sunburn, irritations, and injuries. It’s essential to protect their skin from excessive sun exposure by using sunscreen specifically designed for dogs or by dressing them in protective clothing.
  2. Temperature Sensitivity: AHTs can be sensitive to extreme temperatures due to their lack of fur. In cold weather, they might need to wear sweaters or coats to stay warm. In hot weather, they should be kept cool and hydrated.
  3. Allergies: Just like any other breed, AHTs can suffer from allergies. Common allergens include food, pollen, and dust. If you notice signs of allergies (itching, skin issues, ear infections), consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause and find appropriate treatments.
  4. Dental Care: Dental health is crucial for all dogs. Regular brushing and dental chews can help maintain good oral hygiene. Dental issues can lead to more severe health problems if left untreated.
  5. Genetic Conditions: Responsible breeding is essential to minimize the risk of inherited genetic conditions. Reputable breeders screen their breeding dogs for known hereditary health issues, and prospective owners should inquire about the health history of the AHT’s lineage.
  6. Vaccinations and Preventive Care: American Hairless Terriers require a standard schedule of vaccinations, preventive medications for parasites, and routine check-ups with a veterinarian to ensure their overall health and well-being.

Feeding Requirements:

  1. High-Quality Dog Food: Choose a high-quality commercial dog food that is appropriate for your AHT’s age, size, and activity level. Look for foods that list meat as the first ingredient and avoid foods with excessive fillers or additives.
  2. Portion Control: AHTs are a small to medium-sized breed, so it’s essential to monitor their food intake to prevent obesity. Follow the feeding guidelines provided on the dog food packaging, but adjust the portions as needed based on your dog’s specific needs.
  3. Feeding Schedule: Establish a regular feeding schedule, usually two meals a day for adult AHTs. Puppies may require more frequent feedings.
  4. Avoid Human Food: While it can be tempting to share human food with your dog, be cautious about feeding them table scraps. Some human foods can be toxic to dogs, and feeding too many can lead to obesity and digestive issues.
  5. Fresh Water: Always provide your AHT with access to fresh, clean water. Proper hydration is essential for their overall health.
  6. Special Dietary Considerations: If your AHT has specific health issues or dietary restrictions, consult with your veterinarian to determine an appropriate diet.

American Hairless Terrier Care and Grooming

American Hairless Terriers (AHTs) require specific care and grooming due to their unique lack of fur or very short, fine coats. Proper care is essential to keep them healthy and comfortable. Here are some tips for caring for and grooming an American Hairless Terrier:

Sun Protection: AHTs have sensitive skin, and their hairlessness makes them prone to sunburn. When outdoors in sunny conditions, it’s crucial to protect them from the sun. You can use pet-safe sunscreen on exposed areas of their skin or dress them in protective clothing. Shade and limited sun exposure during peak hours are also advisable.

Bathing: AHTs require regular baths to keep their skin clean. Use a gentle, hypoallergenic dog shampoo to avoid skin irritation. The frequency of baths depends on your dog’s activity level and how dirty they get, but it’s typically recommended every few weeks.

Moisturizing: After bathing, consider using a pet-safe, hypoallergenic moisturizer to keep their skin from drying out. Consult with your veterinarian for product recommendations.

Temperature Control: AHTs are sensitive to both cold and hot weather. During colder months, they may need to wear sweaters or coats to stay warm, especially if you live in a colder climate. In hot weather, keep them cool and well-hydrated to prevent overheating.

Skin Inspection: Regularly check your AHT’s skin for any signs of irritation, injury, or rashes. Pay close attention to their ears and paws, which can be sensitive areas.

Nail Trimming: Trim your AHT’s nails as needed to prevent them from becoming too long, which can cause discomfort and affect their gait.

Ear Care:

Due to their lack of fur, AHTs may be more prone to ear infections. Clean their ears regularly and keep them dry to reduce the risk of infections.

Dental Care: Dental health is essential for all dogs. Brush your AHT’s teeth regularly and provide dental chews or toys to help maintain good oral hygiene.

Regular Vet Check-ups: Schedule routine veterinary check-ups to monitor your AHT’s overall health and address any specific concerns, especially skin-related issues.

Socialization and Exercise: AHTs are active and playful dogs. Regular exercise and mental stimulation are crucial for their well-being. Socialize your AHT with other dogs and people to ensure they are well-adjusted and friendly.

Training: AHTs are intelligent and can be easily trained. Positive reinforcement training methods work well with this breed. Consistent training helps prevent behavior problems and strengthens the bond between you and your dog.

Diet: Feed your AHT a balanced, high-quality dog food appropriate for their age, size, and activity level. Follow recommended portion sizes and avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity.

American Hairless Terrier Appearance and Color Coating

The American Hairless Terrier (AHT) is a small to medium-sized breed known for its unique appearance, which is characterized by being either hairless or having a very short, fine coat. Here are some details about the appearance and color coating variations of the American Hairless Terrier:

  1. Size: AHTs are small to medium-sized dogs. They typically weigh between 12 to 16 pounds and stand around 12 to 16 inches at the shoulder.
  2. Body: They have a well-muscled, athletic body with a graceful and agile build.
  3. Coat Types: There are two primary coat types within the American Hairless Terrier breed:
    • Hairless: Hairless AHTs are completely devoid of fur. They have smooth, soft skin, which is often prone to sunburn and requires special care, including sunscreen or protective clothing in sunny conditions.
    • Coated Carriers: Coated carriers have a short, fine coat that is often smooth and close to the skin. This coat is not dense, and it does not provide the same insulation or protection as fur, but it requires less care than the hairless variety.
  4. Head: AHTs have a distinct head with a moderately broad skull. Their eyes are dark and almond-shaped, and their ears are medium-sized and stand erect. Their muzzle is slightly tapered.
  5. Tail: Their tail is typically straight and tapers to a fine point. It is carried high and may be docked in some cases.
Color Coating:

American Hairless Terriers come in various colors and patterns, regardless of whether they are hairless or coated carriers. Some of the common colors and patterns you might find in AHTs include:

  1. Solid Colors: AHTs can be solid-colored, and common solid colors include white, black, blue, chocolate, and red.
  2. Bi-Colors: This breed may have two distinct colors, often with white as one of the colors.
  3. Tricolors: Tricolor AHTs have three distinct colors, often including white, black, and tan or a similar combination.
  4. Sable: Some AHTs have a sable pattern, which features a mixture of colors throughout their coat.
  5. Piebald: Piebald AHTs have large patches of white on their coat, with the rest of the body being another color.

It’s important to note that the specific coloring and pattern of an American Hairless Terrier can vary from one individual to another. The breed standard for AHTs may vary slightly depending on the kennel club or breed organization, so if you plan to show your AHT, it’s important to adhere to the standards of the relevant organization.

Whether hairless or coated, the American Hairless Terrier is known for its distinctive appearance, charming personality, and playful nature, making it a unique and attractive choice for dog enthusiasts.


Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the American Hairless Terrier (AHT) along with their answers:

What is the American Hairless Terrier?

  • The American Hairless Terrier is a small to medium-sized breed known for being either hairless or having a very short, fine coat. It’s a unique and playful terrier breed.

Is the American Hairless Terrier hypoallergenic?

  • While AHTs are often considered hypoallergenic due to their lack of fur, it’s important to note that dog allergies are typically triggered by proteins in a dog’s saliva and dander rather than just their fur.

What is the origin of the American Hairless Terrier?

  • The breed’s origin can be traced back to the 1970s in Louisiana, USA when a hairless puppy named Josephine was born in a litter of Rat Terriers. Josephine became the foundation for the breed.

Are American Hairless Terriers good family pets?

  • Yes, they are known for their affectionate and playful nature, making them great family pets. They are often good with children and can be loyal and protective.

How do you care for the skin of a hairless AHT?

  • Hairless AHTs require special skin care. This includes protection from sunburn, regular baths with dog-friendly moisturizers, and inspection for any skin issues or irritations.
Do American Hairless Terriers get along with other dogs and pets?
  • AHTs can get along well with other dogs and pets if properly socialized. Early socialization is important to ensure they develop good relationships with other animals.

How much exercise do AHTs need?

  • AHTs are active dogs and require daily exercise. Regular walks, playtime, and mental stimulation are important to keep them happy and healthy.

What is the lifespan of an American Hairless Terrier?

  • The average lifespan of an AHT is typically around 12 to 16 years, which is relatively long for a small breed.

Do American Hairless Terriers shed?

  • Hairless AHTs do not shed like traditional dogs with fur. Coated carriers may have a short, fine coat and can shed minimally.

Are there specific health concerns associated with AHTs?

  • AHTs are generally healthy dogs, but they can be prone to skin issues due to their hairlessness. It’s important to protect their skin from sunburn and to practice good skin care. Additionally, like all breeds, they can be susceptible to certain genetic health issues, so responsible breeding and regular veterinary care are important.

Is the American Hairless Terrier a recognized breed by major kennel clubs?

  • Yes, the American Hairless Terrier is recognized by major kennel clubs, including the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Kennel Club (AKC).

How can I find a reputable breeder for an AHT?

  • To find a reputable breeder, start by contacting the American Hairless Terrier Club of America or your local kennel club. They can provide information about breeders who adhere to responsible breeding practices.

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