In the autumn of 1972, a small female puppy was born into a litter of midsize Rat Terriers. She had silky, pink skin with large black spots. Not knowing exactly what to do with this different puppy, the owners decided to give her to their friends, Willie and Edwin Scott. Little did they know at the time that this unusual little pup would be the beginning of a new and unique breed. The Scotts named their new pup Josephine, and she quickly caught the hearts of the entire family. She proved to be the perfect pet with her intelligent, lively and loyal manner. Being hairless also meant there were no fleas and no dog hair to vacuum up or brush off. This was a definite plus for the new family addition. They did find out that Josephine's smooth and silky skin would need protection from the hot Louisiana sun. She turned out to be a very bright little dog that loved to travel and make new friends wherever she went.The Scotts treasured Josephine and became interested in breeding her and producing more hairless puppies. They had owned dogs in the past, but were not familiar with breeding.
That wasn't going to stop them, though. With her clean nature, alert and loving personality, Josephine was the perfect house dog and they couldn't imagine owning any other kind of dog. They began to talk about their plans to anyone who would listen, including university scientists. They received the same answer each and every time: "You'll just be wasting your time, it can't be done..." They were told that Josephine was simply a freak of nature and that there was no way that she would reproduce the hairless trait. But Willie and Edwin couldn't take no for an answer and went ahead with their plans to breed her.
At the age of one year, Josephine was bred to her sire and she produced a litter of four puppies. Three of the pups were coated, and one was a hairless female named Gypsy.
In the years that followed, Josephine had several litters, but none with any hairless puppies.
On December 30, 1981, when Josephine was nine years old and still in good health, she had her final litter after being bred to her son. She whelped a hairless male, a hairless female, and two coated female puppies. This successful litter produced Snoopy, Jemima, Petunia, and Queenie. The Scotts' dreams were becoming a reality, and on that day they witnessed the birth of the American Hairless Terrier breed.
The Scotts were now ready to embark on a full scale breeding program with help from veterinarians. Snoopy was bred to all of his littermates once they reached one year of age. Jemima produced a litter of all hairless pups and the Scotts were overjoyed when Petunia's and Queenie's litters produced both hairless and coated.
They kept all of the pups and the house was quickly becoming crowded. They had no choice but to build the kennel that adjoins their house. The Scotts were now on their way and named their kennel "Trout Creek Kennel". Interestingly, the American Hairless Terriers are actually born with hair.
The puppies' sparse hair is short, fuzzy, and noticeably different from the hair on a coated Rat Terrier. Shortly after birth they begin to lose this hair, starting at the head and working its way toward the back. By the time the puppies are 6 to 8 weeks old, they are totally hairless with soft, smooth, and silky skin. Their pink skin is warm and usually covered with freckles or small spots. These spots will enlarge with age and darken in the sun. The delicate pink skin does need to be protected from long periods of sun exposure. The American Hairless Terrier is a small, well-balanced, muscular dog with a sleek and elegant look. They are alert, intelligent, and loving dogs. Their high energy makes them good playmates for children, and their intelligent and loving nature makes them loyal family members.
The American Hairless Terrier is different from the other hairless dog breeds native to other countries. The breeds most often seen are the Chinese Crested, the Xoloitzcuintli, and the Peruvian Inca Orchid. These breeds all have a few things in common: most evident is the hair on the head, feet, and tail on the hairless variety; missing, poor, or weak teeth; and skin problems. The American Hairless Terrier has a strong , full set of teeth, a totally hairless body (except for whiskers and eyebrows), and does not have the skin problems associated with the other hairless breeds. Another difference found between the breeds is that in the American Hairless Terrier the hairless gene is recessive, while the gene for hairlessness found in the ancient breeds is a lethal dominant.
New American Hairless Terrier bloodlines are created by carefully planned "out-crossings" to the Rat Terrier. The breeding of two American Hairless Terriers will always produce hairless puppies, while the breeding of an American Hairless Terrier to a coated hairless gene carrier will produce a mixture of coated and hairless offspring. Two coated dogs carrying the recessive hairless gene can produce a mixture of hairless and coated, as well. Today there are about 400 American Hairless Terriers in the world. The Scotts are still actively involved with breed, and the breed has also attracted many new breeders around the country.
In the history and "lore" of most breeds were events that became a recognized part of a breeds history. There may also have been some things that happened so rarely they were overlooked and forgotten. In the history of the rat terrier breed, there have been, and continue to be, sporadic reports of hairless puppies born to normal coated rat terrier parents.
Almost every breeder of these hairless dogs has come to know their true value through an association with the families who need them. It is very difficult for non-allergic family members to be denied a much wanted pet because another family member cannot tolerate living with it. The situation for the allergic individual can be even more painful! Not only are they unable to have the pet they want, but they might also feel responsible for the loss the rest of the family must endure. Happily for them all, it appears that a higher percentage of sensitive persons can tolerate this hairless breed, than any other breed in the world!
These hairless dogs produce a normal amount of lubricating skin oil, the same as do coated dogs. With no coat to disperse onto, the oil serves another purpose, most important to sensitive people. Between baths, the oil stays on the surface of the skin, and traps the normal dander that all skin produces, thus keeping the dander out of the environment, and making it less of a threat to an allergic person. When the dog is bathed, the dander goes down the drain. This breed appears to be well able to tolerate being bathed two or even three times weekly. Their skin is surprisingly durable, even though it lacks the protection of a haircoat. That same lack of a haircoat, however, does make the skin very susceptible to sunburn. They must be protected by clothing or sunblock.
As far as how the weather affects them, these dogs are very similar to their coated counterparts. They are able to tolerate limited exposure to cold better than prolonged exposure to heat and humidity. Overall, they are every bit as tough and active as their coated brethren.
The personality of this hairless terrier is that of any terrier. Given the opportunity to hunt squirrel, dig for moles, catch vermin or chase a ball, these dogs will be right in the middle of the hunt or the chase! They are now also being proven in the agility ring.
There are numerous accounts of our hairless friends working a tree, killing vermin, and digging for underground treasures. For most owners, nothing is more pleasurable than watching them do what comes naturally.
In more recent history, they might be explained as being related to the very first reported hairless rat terriers, reputed to be the result of a rare spontaneous mutation. Or, they could be a result of hairlessness being a seldom seen, but nonetheless inherent, trait in the rat terrier or one of its parent breeds. However they got here, the history of the American Hairless Terrier as we know it, began in 1972, when Edwin Scotts neighbor gave him a little hairless female.This hairless puppy was born in a litter of normal looking coated puppies, and was produced by coated mid-sized rat terrier parents. In a previous litter, the same two parent dogs had produced a hairless puppy, which was lost, probably from exposure. This second puppy, however, was very vigorous, and grew just as well as her siblings. Mr. Scott named her Josephine.
As he and his family lived with her, and her progeny, they came to realize what a gift this hairlessness would become. Because these hairless dogs are so easy to keep clean and pest free, people who don't want to be bothered with fleas and hair can experience "dog joy" free of those annoyances. But even more important than "convenience" is the true joy experienced by a family that could never before have a dog. Allergies keep millions of people from being able to live with coated dogs. Those of us who have not been denied this pleasure have no idea what a loss that can be.
But when it is time to settle in their owners lap or sit by their side, they are right there, ready to enjoy the companionship of their humans. There are numerous accounts of our hairless friends working a tree, killing vermin, and digging for underground treasures. For most owners, nothing is more pleasurable than watching them do what comes naturally. But when it is time to settle in their owners lap or sit by their side, they are right there, ready to enjoy the companionship of their humans.
They do tend to bond closely with their families, so early socialization is important. This hairless terrier is different from all other hairless breeds in several ways. Most evident is the quality of its "hairlessness". The skin is so much softer and smoother than that seen in any other hairless breed. With the exception of some whiskers and eyelashes, it is totally hairless. Some individuals when viewed at an angle, in good light, may exhibit a very fine, downy "peach fuzz".
Another notable difference from all other hairless breeds, is their normal dentition. There are no missing premolars, and the canine teeth are of normal size and set in a correct angle within the jaw. Very important to breeders is the fact that this hairlessness is a recessive trait, with no lethal gene, as is found in the other hairless breeds. Breeders may breed hairless to hairless without danger to the developing puppies. This most useful trait is what most of today's breeders are using to add new genetic material to the breed.
As was reported by Mr. Scott, ( and is presently being confirmed by other breeders), it appears to work this way:
A.) When a hairless is bred to a hairless, all the puppies will always be hairless.
B.) When a hairless is bred to a normal coated (that does not carry the hairless gene), all the puppies will always have normal coats and all will carry the hairless gene. (coated carrier)
C.) When a hairless is bred to a coated carrier, both hairless and coated carriers can be produced.
D.) When a coated carrier is bred to a coated carrier, the resulting puppies could be hairless, or coated carriers, or coated non-carriers.
On average, when a litter is produced that contains hairless and coateds, the numbers range around 50/50. (Half hairless and half coated carriers)
The breed owes Edwin Scott a great deal of gratitude for having the foresight and tenacity to foster this hairless trait for so many years. He was the one who started exploring and learning some of the genetic information we still use today. He named his new breed the American Hairless Terrier, and most of what we know of them came from his observations.
In January 1999 the Rat Terrier was fully recognized by UKC. At the same time, these hairless "cousins" became recognized as the hairless version of the more familiar coated rat terrier. Since the foundation hairless lines had been inbred for so many years, it was very important to introduce new, unrelated rat terrier lines to the foundation hairless dogs.
UKC has implemented extremely useful pedigrees to help all rat terrier breeders keep track of certain traits within a dogs pedigree. For example, by reading a pedigree, a breeder can decide whether or not they wanted to include the trait for a natural bob tail. So too, by reading a pedigree, may a breeder decide whether or not they want to include the trait for hairlessness. Both traits are part of rat terrier heritage, and both traits can be selected for, or against. They are clearly recorded in all the generations listed on a dogs UKC pedigree.
Most breeders of the hairless are keenly aware of the responsibility they have to this variety and are strongly in favor of health testing, DNA profiling and placing all pets on a spay/neuter contract. In their quest for even further improvement of this most delightful member of dogdom, most breeders are working together, sharing knowledge and a firm commitment to future members of this breed, and the families who will love them.
Our most sincere and heartfelt Thank You to UKC for allowing us the opportunity to preserve our pedigrees in a safe environment and within the ranks of this highly respected registry. Without your help and guidance, the progress we have made would not have been possible. Thanks also, to the Rat Terrier community for being instrumental in the preservation of this unique trait. Not many new breeds have been fortunate enough to have so much help during their development. Many future owners will come to know and benefit from this breed because of your help.
Information credit ~ http://www.ahtdogs.com