AMERICAN HAIRLESS TERRIER
Breed Group Group 6: Terrier Breeds
Sub-group 6-A Large Terriers
Origin Country United States
Weight 5-16 pounds. Males and females weight always in proportion to height.
Height 10-18 inches
Other Name(s) Rat Terrier - Hairless Variety
Breed Type PURE
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD
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AMERICAN HAIRLESS TERRIER

Breed Group Group 6: Terrier Breeds
Sub-group 6-A Large Terriers
Origin Country United States
Weight 5-16 pounds. Males and females weight always in proportion to height.
Height 10-18 inches
Other Name(s) Rat Terrier - Hairless Variety
Breed Type PURE
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

The American Hairless Terrier is a variety of Rat Terrier. The Rat Terrier is thought to have descended from several different breeds, beginning in England in the 1820s when a Smooth Fox Terrier was bred to a Manchester Terrier. This produced a remarkable dog that was both strong-willed and relentless in his hunt for rats and other vermin. They were feisty little dogs, which is why the English originally called them “feists.”

These dogs were considered beyond compare as “ratters,” dogs that were used to catch and kill the rats that plagued nineteenth century England and America. To have a dog that could help keep the rat population of the home or business down was certainly appreciated, and these little dogs grew in popularity. In fact, a sport grew from men’s pride at having the best ratter in the area. Bets were placed and rats were poured into a pit with a “ratter” to see how many it would kill. The betting wasn’t limited only to “rat baiting” that went on in a pit; it also followed out to farmers’ homes and barns. The record is held by a Rat Terrier that took seven hours to kill 2,501 rats in an infested barn.

In the 1890s, miners went to the United States to make a living and carve out a better way of life, and these working class people took their dogs with them across the Atlantic to their new homes. It was during this period that the “feist” was bred again to the Smooth Fox Terrier. When canines are bred for change, it’s usually because breeders have decided that a slight shift in personality, body type, or senses will make a certain task easier for the dog to accomplish. In this case, these early frontiersmen hoped to develop a stronger hunting dog. Even though this cross didn’t add anything significant to the hunting abilities of the dog, it did succeed in stabilizing the existing qualities and characteristics.

It was during his presidency (1901–1909) that President Theodore Roosevelt called his Feist a Rat Terrier, and the name stuck. He’s said to have loved the dogs and was fond of taking them with him on big game hunts. He owned at least three, with Skip being the most popular.

The Rat Terrier was eventually bred with the Whippet and the Greyhound in order to improve the dog’s speed. The Beagle was also introduced for its hunting abilities, scenting prowess, and trailing skills, as well as its larger size
and sturdiness. The Greyhound and the Whippet are thought to be the source of the brindle and blue-colored dogs, and the red color was probably a gift from the Beagle. Spitz-type dogs were introduced for their bear-hunting abilities, and to this day some pups will be born with thicker coats as a result. Today, Rat Terriers are still used for hunting rats in some parts of the world, but they are also used by their American owners for hunting raccoons, wild boar, squirrels, and deer.

In 1972, a hairless puppy was born to a litter of Rat Terriers belonging to Willie and Edwin Scott from Louisiana. Josephine, as she was named, became the foundation of the Hairless variety of the Rat Terrier and the American Hairless Terrier breed, established officially as a breed in 2004.

The Rat Terrier and the American Hairless Terrier are the only known breeds that carry a form of recessive hairlessness. Unlike dominant hairlessness found in Chinese Cresteds and Peruvian Inca Orchids, this form of hairlessness is not a lethal gene, and it is not associated with any known deleterious health or structural defects. Because it is inherited in a recessive form, the puppy must have two copies of the gene (one from each parent), which is not a problem since it is safe to breed two hairless parents—also unlike genetically dominant hairlessness. Hairless puppies are actually born coated, but due to a faulty code for the coat gene, the hair eventually falls out within a few months.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Mesaticephalic skull type, moderate in size, wedge-shaped, and in proportion with the rest of the body. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle. The skull may have flat planes or be just slightly arched. In profile and from above, the head forms a distinct wedge shape, tapering from the broad skull to the narrower muzzle. The skull is broad, being as wide (measured across the top in front of the ears) as it is long (from stop to occiput). The occiput is not prominent. Temporal muscles may be well-developed. Apple and domed skulls are incorrect.
Eyes: The eyes are medium in size, almond to oval in shape, and may be obliquely set. Eye color may range from gray to amber, or hazel to dark brown. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Ears: The ears are small to medium in size, V-shaped, and set high at the outside corner of the skull. The outermost base of the ear is aligned with the outer corner of the eye. Ears may be firmly erect, tipped, rose, or button when the dog is brought to alert. Matching ears are preferred, but unmatched ears are not a disqualification.
Muzzle: The muzzle is medium in length and strong, with well-formed, powerful jaws. The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. The muzzle tapers only slightly from the base to the tip of the nose. The muzzle never appears snipy or weak. Upper and lower jaws are strong, well-developed, and possess good bone substance.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened. Seasonal fading, or winter-nose, is permissible.
Neck: Length is moderate to allow for proud head carriage, strongly muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut and without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows, or just below. The forechest is just slightly prominent in profile.
Body: Compact, sturdy, solid, and with good substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: The tail is a natural continuation of the gently sloped croup, therefore it is not carried as high as seen in other terrier breeds. It may be carried straight or in a curve level with the topline or higher, or in a lowered (never tucked) neutral position. Tails are thick at the base and taper elegantly toward the tip. The tail may be left natural or docked. Natural tails are medium to long in length and may be straight or slightly curved, being sabre-, hook-, or sickle-shaped. When held down, the length should extend to the hock joints. Docked tails should be cut between the 2nd and 3rd vertebrae or longer; the tail should never be removed completely. However, the length of the dog’s tail is irrelevant, and a dog should not be penalized for tail length.
Movement: The American Hairless Terrier’s movement is quick, energetic, efficient, and effortless. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: The American Hairless Terrier is quickly gaining popularity as a hairless breed due to the lack of defects associated with the recessive hairless gene. He is energetic, alert, and can make a good watchdog. American Hairless Terriers can also be quite useful to have around the property, since their rat-hunting instincts are quite strong, and they require little to no training to do what they were originally bred to do. However, due to a lack of coat, hunting in brush or harsh environments is not advisable. Like their Rat Terrier kin, they may require training to curb that natural instinct if one plans to keep other small animals around. However, unusual to terriers, they are well-known for being exceptionally tolerable and even friendly toward other dogs and cats if introduced and socialized at an early age. In fact, they should not be sparred when being judged for conformation. These dogs bond strongly to their families and are devoted and loyal. However, reservation toward strangers in adult dogs is not to be faulted. Submissiveness should not be mistaken for fearfulness, nor faulted. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP: Group 6: Terrier Breeds

Proportions: The American Hairless Terrier is slightly off-square in proportion with height at the withers (measured from the withers to the ground) just less than the length of the body (from the prosternum to the point of the rump). Females may be slightly longer. The body is well put together. Substance is sturdy and medium boned. The standard and miniature Rat Terriers are well-muscled, but their muscles are smooth and not overly prominent. The American Hairless Terrier is a well-balanced, sturdy, compact, and small to medium-sized dog. He is moderate in bone and never appears racy, like a Whippet, or cobby, like a Pug.

Head

General Appearance: Mesaticephalic skull type, moderate in size, wedge-shaped, and in proportion with the rest of the body. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle. The skull may have flat planes or be just slightly arched. In profile and from above, the head forms a distinct wedge shape, tapering from the broad skull to the narrower muzzle. The skull is broad, being as wide (measured across the top in front of the ears) as it is long (from stop to occiput). The occiput is not prominent. Temporal muscles may be well-developed. Apple and domed skulls are incorrect.
Expression: Keen, lively, watchful, and interested.
Stop: The stop is moderate and distinct, but not definite, nor abrupt, being less than a right angle.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio may range from equal at 1:1 up to 2:3, with the topskull being just longer than the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis may run parallel or be slightly convergent.
Muzzle: The muzzle is medium in length and strong, with well-formed, powerful jaws. The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. The muzzle tapers only slightly from the base to the tip of the nose. The muzzle never appears snipy or weak. Upper and lower jaws are strong, well-developed, and possess good bone substance.
Lips or Flews: Lips are clean and fit tightly over the teeth and jaws. There is no evidence of flews.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened. Seasonal fading, or winter-nose, is permissible.
Cheeks: The cheeks may be flat to well-muscled, but should never appear prominent or protrusive.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level or scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: The eyes are medium in size, almond to oval in shape, and may be obliquely set. Eye color may range from gray to amber, or hazel to dark brown. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Ears: The ears are small to medium in size, V-shaped, and set high at the outside corner of the skull. The outermost base of the ear is aligned with the outer corner of the eye. Ears may be firmly erect, tipped, rose, or button when the dog is brought to alert. Matching ears are preferred, but unmatched ears are not a disqualification.

Body and Tail

General Description: Compact, sturdy, solid, and with good substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Length is moderate to allow for proud head carriage, strongly muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut and without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Topline: Level from slightly prominent withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is short, taut, and may be either flat and level with the back, or just slightly arched, yet supportive. The topline is never swayed or roached.
Croup: Gently sloped.
Underline: A slight tuck-up is present. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Tail: The tail is a natural continuation of the gently sloped croup, therefore it is not carried as high as seen in other terrier breeds. It may be carried straight or in a curve level with the topline or higher, or in a lowered (never tucked) neutral position. Tails are thick at the base and taper elegantly toward the tip. The tail may be left natural or docked. Natural tails are medium to long in length and may be straight or slightly curved, being sabre-, hook-, or sickle-shaped. When held down, the length should extend to the hock joints. Docked tails should be cut between the 2nd and 3rd vertebrae or longer; the tail should never be removed completely. However, the length of the dog’s tail is irrelevant, and a dog should not be penalized for tail length.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle and bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of good bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump, or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The American Hairless Terrier comes in two coat varieties; hairless and coated.
Coated variety: The coat is short, smooth, and close to the body throughout. The texture is soft, glossy, with or without undercoat, and with or without a slight wave along the back. If undercoat is present, coat will be slightly longer on neck, forming a light ruff, and on the tail. No fringe or feather permissible.
Hairless variety: Adult hairless dogs may be completely hairless, or may have a few short, fine-guard hairs on the muzzle, brows, or other parts of the body.
Coat Color or Pattern: Hairless dogs may have any skin color, usually with a white or light pink skin color, and a darker gray or brown skin color indicating a parti-color, or bicolor pattern. Coated dogs may be any bicolor, tricolor, sable, brindle, apricot, black, blue, blue fawn, chocolate, lemon, or tan color—all of these should always be accompanied by white, ticking, or roaning. Solid white or solid ticked is permissible as well.

Movement

The American Hairless Terrier’s movement is quick, energetic, efficient, and effortless. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

The American Hairless Terrier is quickly gaining popularity as a hairless breed due to the lack of defects associated with the recessive hairless gene. He is energetic, alert, and can make a good watchdog. American Hairless Terriers can also be quite useful to have around the property, since their rat-hunting instincts are quite strong, and they require little to no training to do what they were originally bred to do. However, due to a lack of coat, hunting in brush or harsh environments is not advisable. Like their Rat Terrier kin, they may require training to curb that natural instinct if one plans to keep other small animals around. However, unusual to terriers, they are well-known for being exceptionally tolerable and even friendly toward other dogs and cats if introduced and socialized at an early age. In fact, they should not be sparred when being judged for conformation. These dogs bond strongly to their families and are devoted and loyal. However, reservation toward strangers in adult dogs is not to be faulted. Submissiveness should not be mistaken for fearfulness, nor faulted. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.