American Crested Sand Terrier Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Information

American Crested Sand Terrier Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Information

The American Crested Sand Terrier is a little-known breed that is not American at all. Their origin is in Africa, where they were companion dogs, also called the African Hairless Dog and the Abyssinian Sand Terrier. American Crested Sand Terriers fall in the medium-sized breed category. The male stands between 15 and 20 inches in the withers, and they are typically slightly taller than the females of this breed. Both males and females weigh between 20 and 40 pounds, and their life expectancy is 12 to 15 years. American Crested Sand Terriers’ characters are brave, loyal, willing, affectionate, protective, peaceful, and quiet.

The appearance of the American Crested Sand Terrier is not terrier-like at all. Instead, their body shape looks like that of a German Shepherd, with a face that reminds of a pit bull’s face. American Crested Sand Terriers are sturdy and muscular, with wide chests and broad shoulders, and they have floppy bat-like ears and elongated, tapered muzzles.

American Crested Sand Terriers are hairless, and they have no hair on their bodies, except for a comical tuft of hair standing up from their heads. Some are entirely hairless. The lack of hair makes American Crested Sand Terriers easy to groom because they need no brushing but more frequent bathing than dogs with coats to prevent their bare skins from drying out. However, their hairless bodies also need skin protection against sunburn and drying out. The American Crested Sand Terriers’ skin colors are various bronze shades, black, grayish-black, elephant gray, and sandy shades. Some are mottled, with white or chocolate-colored spots. American Crested Sand Terriers are born as albinos and completely white in rare cases.

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What is the Origin of the American Crested Sand Terrier?

The origin of the American Crested Sand Terrier is Africa, more specifically Ethiopia, formerly called Abyssinia. For that reason, they are also known as Abyssinian Sand Terriers and African Hairless Dogs. American Crested Sand Terriers were initially bred to be companions for the men of African tribes, who also trained their canine companions to herd and protect their livestock. Because of the rarity of this breed, few details about its history are available. Debates are ongoing because some claim the American Crested Sand Terriers are true descendants of the African Hairless Dogs. In contrast, others insist the Abyssinian Sand Terrier became extinct as far back as the 19th century. This group maintains the current hairless terriers were bred to recreate the original African Hairless Dogs.

What are the Physical Traits of the American Crested Sand Terrier?

The American Crested Sand Terrier is a medium-sized, hairless companion dog with a small tuft of hair standing upright from most heads. Some physical traits of the dog are listed below.

Physical Trait




Weight Range

Males and Females between 20 and 40 pounds

Height at the withers

Males – 15 to 20 inches

Females – Slightly smaller than Males


Broad, muscular




Elongated, tapered muzzle


Large, bat-like, thin


Almond-shaped, medium-sized


Pink but black is also acceptable


Long slender


Thin and twisted

Exercise Need

They need a lot of exercise and are ideal companions for joggers, cyclists, rollerbladers, etc.

Life Expectancy

12 to 15 years

Compared to the American Hairless Terrier, the American Crested Sand Terrier shows some similarities. However, the two breeds are not connected. The American Hairless Terrier was bred from Rat Terriers, and they are significantly smaller than the American Crested Sand Terrier.

What are the Characteristics of the American Crested Sand Terrier?

American Crested Sand Terrier


Relationship with Family

Friendly, affectionate

Relationship with Children 

Friendly, affectionate

Relationship with Other Dogs

Friendly with dogs and other pets

Shedding Level

None – No Hair and almost no dander

Drooling Level


Coat Type


Skin Color

Black, grayish-black, bronze, elephant gray, pale sandy, mottled

Grooming Frequency

Occasional bathing to prevent skin drying out


No, because hair typically traps odors.

Relationship with Strangers


Playfulness Level

Love playing with adults, children, and pets

Adaptability Level

High, although they prefer having yard space

Trainability Level


Energy Levels


Mental stimulation needs


Protective of territory and family

Highly protective and very alert. 

Guard dog ability

They make excellent guard- and watchdogs


What are the Breed-related Health Concerns of American English Coonhounds?

The American Crested Sand Terrier breed enjoys overall health with the only breed-related issues linked to its hairlessness. Although no coat means no brushing, their bald skins are without protection from the sun, wind, and rain. Owners of  American Crested Sand Terriers must diligently apply sunscreen to their canine companions’ entire bodies to prevent sunburn. It is crucial to understand that the sun can damage the dog’s skin even in mild climates. Some vets advise owners to use sunscreen suitable for children. They are also advised to apply moisturizing lotion after bathing the American Crested Sand Terrier. Furthermore, the lack of a coat leaves the hairless dog without protection against scrapes, lacerations, and bruises as it goes about doing things that dogs do.

What are the nutritional needs of the American Crested Sand Terrier?

When it comes to the diet of American Crested Sand Terriers, you want to focus on overall health and growth. American Crested Sand Terriers need special nutrition to flourish, and puppies need more nutrients than adult dogs. Their diets must include balanced amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. It’s still essential to avoid overfeeding American Crested Sand Terrier puppies and adults. Ensure to portion food and limit treats not to exceed 10% of their caloric intake. Balanced nutrition is crucial for American Crested Sand Terriers of all life stages. Buying food labeled for puppies, adults, or seniors is essential, but be sure to choose reputable brands.

Recommended Food Brands are listed below.

  • American Crested Sand Terrier Puppies
    • Fresh Option: Nom Nom veterinary nutritionists offer four recipes, including beef, pork, chicken, and duck, combined with real, fresh foods, good enough for people to eat.
    • Dried kibble option: CANIDAE Petite Salmon Formula for Puppies Limited Ingredient Diet Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Dog Food
  • American Crested Sand Terrier Adults
      • Fresh Option: Ollie’s 100% human-grade recipes step up to the plate with real, high-quality ingredients for happier, healthier mealtimes for pups of all ages, breeds, and sizes.
      • Dried kibble option: NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Small Bites Adult Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • American Crested Sand Terrier Senior
    • Fresh Option: Farmer’s Dog Choose from a variety of fresh, personally portioned recipes, including chicken, beef, turkey, and more.
    • Dried Kibble: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe 

What are the similar dog breeds to American Crested Sand Terrier?

  • Xoloitzcuintli, also known as Xolo, is the Mexican Hairless Dog over 3,000 years old and has helped contribute to many other dog breeds genetically.
  • Hairless Chinese Crested, as its name suggests, comes from China. They are popular for being exceptionally affectionate, lively, sweet, and playful. They are also alert, and therefore, they easily bark at anything they consider strange. 
  • Peruvian Inca Orchid is original from Peru, and according to researchers, they can track it back to pre-Hispanic times (300 B.C.). Evidence suggests that the Incas held them in high regard, and therefore, they were treasured in the empire.
  • Argentine Pila Dog is original from the Northwestern provinces of Argentina. According to evidence, this breed is a direct descendant of the Peruvian Inca Orchid because of the Incan colonization of Argentina during the 15th century.
  • The Bolivian Hairless Dog is native to Bolivia, and it is one of the rarest hairless dog breeds in existence. They have been mainly located in South America since pre-Hispanic times, and they descend from the Peruvian Hairless Dog. 

American Crested Sand Terrier is a Rarity indeed.

Those who like the idea of a hairless, smooth-skinned puppy might have to pay a hefty price. However, the price is not as big a challenge as finding a local breeder or someone willing to export the dog to your country.

Michael Brady

Michael is an animal-lover who specializes in marketing. He started running Dog Food Care with his mother, Sarah, after leaving his office job. Michael gained enough flexibility in his schedule to be able to adopt a dog of his own and welcomed Emmie the dachshund into his home in 2020.