The Hairless Breeds

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					          The Hairless Breeds
Amy Fernandez
  It’s hard to look beyond one            was stopped by a cabdriver on Fifth                Turn of the century studbook
inescapable fact about hairless dogs.     Avenue with news that his errant dog            entries reveal that breed designation
Consequently, many observers fail to      had found a new home. Pongo lived               was based on appearance rather
appreciate their most amazing trait.      the rest of his life with the famous            than ancestry. For instance, one of
For thousands of years they have          actress Mary Garden at the Waldorf              the most famous Chinese Cresteds
defied dismissive pronouncements          Astoria Hotel, wearing a $12 thousand           of the period, Hairy King, is cited in
about their genetic fitness, surviving    dollar diamond collar. This story may           countless books as a prime example
and thriving in situations that have      seem far fetched, but accounts of Mary          of the breed. Oddly, Hairy King’s son,
spelled the demise of lesser breeds.      Garden’s hairless pet have appeared in          Paderweski Jr. owned by the noted
                                          numerous books and periodicals.                 British rare breed expert H C Brooke,
   The early twentieth- century author                                                    was registered and exhibited as a
and judge Freeman Lloyd is considered        There is one lingering question about        Mexican Hairless. In 1949 Stackpole’s
a world class authority on hounds and     this story. Was Pongo a Crested or a            New Dog Encyclopedia states “the
sporting breeds. Over the years, he       Xolo? His photo has been reproduced             Mexican Hairless is sometimes
also owned quite a few hairless dogs,     countless times, variously identified           confused with the Chinese Crested
including the resourceful Pongo.          as both breeds. Even Lloyd admitted             because the breeds are so similar
“At an old time Bohemian resort in        “there is a great similarity between            in appearance ... The Crested is the
NYC I once purchased a beautifully        Mexican and Chinese hairless dogs.              larger of the two breeds, sometimes
marked Mexican Hairless Dog from          As a onetime owner of both sorts, I can         weighing 25 pounds.  ”
a Mexican who had recently arrived        testify that there was little difference
from over the Rio Grande. The dog was     in the general setup of the two kinds.    A tremendous size range was just
not only a performer, but a wonderful     The alleged China-bred dog which I      one of the discrepancies undermining
walker on his hind legs. …Because of      purchased from a sailor in Cardiff,     breed type by that time. The journalist,
his frequent voluntary performances       Wales, carried a bigger crest of hair   breeder, and judge Ida Garret
in taverns and restaurants around         than did the harsher-haired dog         implemented one of the first efforts
the village, Pongo became more                                        ”
                                          I bought in New York. (National         to create conformity of type in the
or less an institution. All of the        Geographic)                             Chinese Crested. Garrett, is primarily
villagers knew the dog’s name- knew                                               remembered for her contribution to
it so well, in fact, that they began to      Writing in 1944, this was an honest Chihuahua development but she also
address me as Pongo. That was too         assessment of the situation. Small, bred and owned numerous Cresteds
much. Even children hailed me by          hairless dogs had been documented and Xolos.
the embarrassing nickname. …It was        in kennel club records since the late
before the days of the automobile,        nineteenth century. They were known       In 1935 her account of hairless dog
and I used to drive to town in a          by a variety of exotic names hinting history appeared in the AKC Gazette
buggy. One day, Pongo jumped out          at Oriental, African, or Mexican “The little Mexican Hairless dog
of the buggy to chase a cat in the        ancestry. Unfortunately, no traceable must not be confused with the much
Syrian quarter at the southern end of     records of their origin existed.. smaller, furry coated Chihuahua
lower Washington Street. I just drove     Experts constantly debated whether dog. There is no relation between
off and left him to shift for himself.”   they merited classification as separate the two breeds at all, except that
(National Geographic)                     breeds or were simply crossbreeds breeders in Mexico have occasionally
                                          that didn’t belong in any dog show or crossed the two. The hairless is a dog
   For most dogs, jumping from a          studbook. After judging several classes weighing on average from six to 15
moving vehicle into Manhattan traffic     of hairless dogs at an 1893 show in pounds, and some run as high as 20
would be a death sentence. But not        London Vero Shaw stated that they pounds or so, while there are a few
for Pongo. A few weeks later, Lloyd       all belonged to one breed, and it was which weigh as little as two to four
                                          impossible to separate them.            pounds.
                                                                    National Dog - The RingLEADER Way Breed Feature   49   Volume 13 November

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