American Hairless Terrier

  • By: Mick Whitefield
  • Time to read: 5 min.

The American Hairless Terrier is a lively intelligent breed. Its American ancestors were the mixed breed terriers called Feists brought to North America from Europe in the early 18th century. Shortly after, the Rat Terrier breed was raised from the Feist by combining the breed of Beagle and Miniature Pinscher bloodlines. The distinct American Hairless Terrier breed began in the early nineteen seventies when one hairless puppy appeared in a Rat Terrier litter in the US state of Louisiana. The first full litter produced in 1981 provided the original stock of the breed. In early 2016 the American Hairless Terrier was  fully recognized in the terrier group. Because of their hairless coats, they are not suitable for hunting or ratting. However there is also a coated version of the dog.

Lifespan of the American Hairless Terrier

14 to 16 years

Height of the American Hairless Terrier

At the withers
Females 10 inches to 14 inches or 18cms to 36cms
Males 10 inches to 18 inches or 25cm to 46cms
The height range of this dog has increased in recent years and generally they are about 10 to 14 inches in height.

Weight of an American Hairless Terrier

12 to 18 Pounds, 5 to 8 Kilos

Temperament of the American Hairless Terrier

Intelligent, Alert, Inquisitive, Lively, Loving, Playful

Scientific Name

Canis Lupus Familiaris

Pedigree Breed

Yes. Recognised in all the major registers in the Terrier Group, generally accepted as a Rat Terrier.

What Does The American Hairless Terrier Look Like?

American Hairless Terriers are a small sized dog that due to no hair tend to look very muscular, they are a fairly active breed. American Hairless Terriers have wedge-shaped heads with round, medium-sized eyes. The eye color can vary with the skin color. It is commonly a dark brown, amber or hazel, but can also be blue or gray.

American Hairlessterrier Orig

The feet are oval and compact with slightly longer toes in the middle. The dogs long ears may stand tall or be buttoned over. The tail is wide at the base and tapers to the end.

These Terriers stand at a height of between 10 and18 inches and weight about 12 -18 pounds. Life expectancy: 14–16 years. They come in a variety of colors from black or speckled to spotted and white. The price of a puppy an be 900 – 1200 dollars.

Exercise Needs

You’ll have to take your American Terrier for a long walk daily and play so they can burn off some of that energy. They really enjoy digging, so a designated area in your garden to allow them to let them do this is ideal. Because of their small size and activity indoors, they are suitable for apartment living.

American Hairless Terriers are rather athletic and require a good amount of exercise. Owners should make sure they have time to take them on a long walk each day. If these dogs don’t have an outlet for their bundles of energy, they may get destructive and pick up other behavioral problems. These dogs enjoy challenging games and outdoor play.

Grooming Needs

American Hairless Terriers won’t shed fur and have minimal dander from occasionally skin cell shedding, meaning they’re ideal for allergy sufferers. However, according to owners the  coated variety still sheds and requires coat care similar to any other coated breed.

Bathe your terrier once per week or as needed. Keep up with regular maintenance, such as cutting the nails and cleaning the ears and teeth. .

Because they are missing a coat, owners should take care to protect their dogs skin by using a sun cream. They also may need a light sweater to keep warm during winter months. Since they have sweat glands they don’t drool at the mouth or pant in order to maintain their body heat

Health of The American Hairless Terrier

The gene in American Hairless Terrier which gives it a lack of hair, is recessive. This breed don’t suffer from absent premolars or other breeding complications associated with other hairless dog breeds. They can be prone to occasional cuts and bruises resulting from rigorous play.

Sometimes they will get a rash on their skin. Due to their lack of hair, they do need protection from the sun. This breed is venerable to sunburn and allergies. Additionally they may possibly suffer from these health issues.

  • Malocclusions
  • Demodect mange — juvenile
  • Demodect mange — generalized
  • Legg-Calvé-Perthes
  • Patellar luxation
  • Liver shunt
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Diabetes
  • Cleft palate
  • Immune mediated hemolytic anemia
  • Seizures — no known source
  • Blue dog disease
  • Club foot
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Heart murmur
  • Cushing’s disease

Terrier Traits

Like a lot of terriers, American Hairless Terriers are quite intelligent, alert and playful. They also are a very affectionate breed of dog and get along well with children. They also have the determination and fearlessness of terriers and make perfect small guard dogs.

American Hairless Terriers are also inquisitive and feisty, as are most terriers. They are loving and enjoy spending time with their family members, although they can be territorial. They are good-natured with strangers and not too wary, or other pets such as cats.

Like all terriers, they love playing, digging and chasing small animals and enjoy competing in fitness games. It is important that owners keep these behaviors in mind before purchasing a pet because catering to a terrier’s needs may be an underestimated task for a mild or casual pet owner.

Since they may chase after small animals, so keep your dog in a fenced off area or on a lead when outdoors. These dogs are best suited for families with children, active singles and seniors with big yards. They also make excellent pets for animal lovers that suffer from various allergies.

It is important that American Hairless Terrier puppies be socialized with humans and other animals at an early age. In rare cases they can sometimes be reserved with strangers and early socialization is important to ensure that they lead to consistent behavior later on.

Feeding / Diet

These dogs are largely energetic and should be fed on high-quality dry food. Like Rat Terriers, they’re are very intelligent and are also eager to please for a treat. These should be packed in protein and minerals which are beneficial for this breed.

Dog Training

The American Hairless Terrier is intelligent, curious and relatively easy to train. Like many small breeds, they can cause damage in the home if a proper command is not established. The American Hairless Terrier requires a consistent and firm alpha owner. Despite looking more like a toy breed, it is actually a highly intelligent working breed.

Like Rat Terriers, AHTs are highly intelligent and are also eager to please. They are highly trainable and respond well to positive reinforcement method training methods. They can, however, turn willful and stubborn if an owner doesn’t show calm and assertive leadership.

The ancestors of this breed were bred to hunt. The lack of coat makes the hairless terriers poor choices for hunting, but both varieties still have a strong hunting instinct and the coated dogs are bold, tenacious hunters with boundless energy. American Hairless Terriers enjoy human companionship immensely and will enthusiastically share any activity with their owners. 


Highly Intelligent 
Apartment Friendly   
Easy Grooming and care
Good Watchdogs
Easy to Train
Child Friendly     
Cat Friendly 
Other Dog Friendly   


High Exercise Needs
Occasional Barking Tendencies  
Prone to some Health Issues   

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