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Dog Breeds /American Hairless Terrier
American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terrier

As the name implies, American Hairless Terriers are, in fact, usually hairless—though there is a second variety that does have a short coat. This breed makes a great addition to most families, especially since they usually get along with kids and other dogs, as well.


3–8 kg


18–41 cm


14–16 yr

Breed Group


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American Hairless Terrier Traits

General Appearance

This small dog comes in both a hairless and coated version, although the hairless version may have whiskers and eyebrows. The hairless American Hairless Terrier has smooth skin, while the coated version — sometimes referred to as ‘Coated Carriers’ — have short coats. Either version has a broad head, with V-shaped ears and expressive eyes.

Coat and Colouring

The American Hairless Terrier can be either hairless or coated. The hairless version may have eyebrows or whiskers, but their skin is smooth and hairless all over. This version is born with a soft “birth coat,” which should fall off over time. By eight to ten weeks of age, they are usually completely hairless.

The coated version of this breed has a short, smooth, shiny and dense coat that comes in any color combination except for albino or merle.

Distinctive Physical Traits

The American Hairless Terrier’s most distinctive trait is its hairlessness, although there is a version of the breed that has hair. In the hairless form, the American Hairless Terrier is born with a soft down that falls off completely around eight to 10 weeks of age.

American Hairless Terrier Temperament

The American Hairless Terrier is a lively, intelligent dog that loves hanging out with its people and gets along well with other dogs. This small dog is adaptable and easy to care for, plus they tend to be easy to train. The breed is alert and may bark at strangers.

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American Hairless Terrier History

The American Hairless Terrier is the only hairless dog breed native to the United States. The breed started its journey in Trout, Louisiana, in 1972, when a normal-coated litter of Rat Terriers included a hairless puppy.

A couple received the hairless puppy as a gift, and that puppy—whom they named Josephine—created the American Hairless Terrier line. Josephine eventually produced a new set of hairless siblings who, when bred together, gave birth to several hairless puppies to create the breed.The first American Hairless Terrier club formed in 2009 and the breed gained American Kennel Club recognition in 2016.

American Hairless Terrier Care


The American Hairless Terrier is an active breed that does best with high-quality dog food that’s suited to their particular age, as well as any additional health concerns.

As with any dog, it’s important to monitor the amount of food and treats that you give your American Hairless Terrier, especially since some dogs may be prone to gaining weight as they age. Your veterinarian is always a good source to help provide you with appropriate nutrition and feeding guidelines.


The American Hairless Terrier can come in one of two varieties: hairless or coated. Grooming for the hairless variety is minimal, since they don’t have a coat to brush, but you will want to pay special attention to sun protection to avoid having the dog burn.

Meanwhile, coated variety comes with a short coat that barely sheds, so a once-weekly brush should do the trick.

All dogs require regular dental care, including at-home teeth brushing and professional dental cleanings, and the American Hairless Terrier is no exception. Maintaining good dental hygiene is important for their overall long-term health.


The American Hairless Terrier is lively and energetic, so moderate exercise will keep them healthy and happy. The breed enjoys playing with their people, but they are also highly trainable, which makes them excellent candidates for dog sports like rally and agility competition. After getting their daily exercise, the American Hairless will be happy to snuggle.


Early and proper training is important for most dog breeds, and luckily the American Hairless Terrier is well-mannered, smart, and loves to please, and training tends to be easy.

American Hairless Terrier Genetic Health Conditions

  • Primary Lens Luxation

    Primary Lens Luxation (PLL) is a condition that can cause the lens of the eye to become loose and eventually displace. The disorder is caused by degeneration of the fibers that hold the lens in place.

Knowing if your American Hairless Terrier is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup's lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.