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American Hairless Terrier Breed Summary

Intelligent, Driven, Energetic, Playful and Curious

The American Hairless came about in 1972 as a relatively new breed. The creation of the breed was the result of a hairless puppy called Josephine. She came from a litter of Rat Terriers, which were originally created in the late 1800's by crossing mixed breed Terriers, called Feists, with other breeds that may have included Beagles. The owners loved Josephine both for her unique looks and temperament, so when she reached maturity, they mated her to try and recreate the hairless quality. After many attempts, they were eventually successful and produced a stock of the breed in 1981. The American Hairless Breed gained recognition in 1998 but are today considered a very rare breed.

Kennel Club Group N/A
Lifespan 14 - 16 years
Height (at the withers) Males and Females 30.5cm - 40.5cm
Weight Males and Females 5kg - 11kg
Coat The coated variety has a smooth, dense coat that is short and has a high sheen. The hairless variety is born with a soft down or birth coat.
Colour Black, Sable, Blue, Red, Brown and Brindle
Eye colour Brown
Common health issues Patellar Luxation, Hemophilia, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, Cushing's Disease, Teeth Issues, Liver Shunts
Other Names AHT

These doggies are known for their high intelligence meaning that training them is relatively easy. Additionally, they are very energetic so would best suit a family that already lead an active lifestyle that they can easily slot into. Their curiosity means that they love to dig, chase and bark, so if you've got highly prized flowers growing, they may not be the best option! There is also much debate over whether or not they are suitable for families living with young children due to their high prey drive as they may show aggression towards them. Though it's thought that they can be trained to act less aggressively. For the right home, they have the potential to make great pets!

Until the 1970s the American Hairless Terrier was identical in stature and purpose to the Rat Terrier. The American Hairless Terrier was created when a rare mutation occurred in a litter or Rat Terrier puppies born in Louisiana in 1972. In this litter of seemingly normal Rat Terriers was a puppy that was completely hairless. The breeders of this litter did not know what to do with this hairless female puppy that had pink skin with black spots. Once the puppy was weaned, they gave her to Willie and Edwin Scott.

The female puppy was named Josephine and was the first completely hairless Rat Terrier that was recorded. Josephine became the foundation female for the American Hairless Terrier. Josephine was bred and produced one hairless puppy in her first litter. This puppy was also a female. Josephine was bred several other times and did not produce another hairless puppy until she was nine years old. She produced two hairless puppies, one male and one female. The Scotts used the hairless offspring from Josephine to create a breeding program that was used to produce hairless Rat Terriers that would eventually become American Hairless Terriers.

These dogs are not typical of other hairless breeds; there is no Powderpuff variety in the American Hairless Terriers. However, because this breed derived from a coated breed, there are American Hairless Terriers who have a short coat similar to that of the Rat Terrier. The American Hairless Terrier is considered to be a hypoallergenic breed, although no breed is completely hypoallergenic.