The hairless nature of this breed can predispose to solar radiation exposure and sunburn. Repeated sunburn can cause skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma which is like nasty ulcerated sores that never heal and slowly get bigger. The squamous cell carcinomas get infected, and can bleed and cause discomfort. Actinic dermatitis can also develop from chronic ultraviolet radiation and changes in the skin that block hair follicles. Large discharging sinuses can develop which exude material that accumulates deep in the skin.
The Chinese Crested dog breed also suffers from atopic dermatitis. many of these dogs are affected. Atopic dermatitis tends to show up on hairless parts of the body. In a normal hair covered breed, atopic dermatitis shows on the feet, the groin, the axilla or arm pit, the abdomen and the concave or inner surface of the ears. Until recently, the understanding of canine atopic dermatitis was that the allergens were inhaled. This key fact remains true but is only a part of the story. A recent breakthrough was the discovery that dogs with canine atopic dermatitis have a faulty skin barrier. The skin barrier is deficient in a protein called sphingosine. The absence of sphingosine makes the skin leaky. Moisture escapes from the skin causing it to dry out. Allergens cross the skin triggering an immune reaction that manifests as an itchy rash.
The hairless Chinese Crested dog therefore has large parts of the body that are not protected with hair. In Chinese Crested dogs with canine atopic dermatitis the maddening itchy rash can envelop almost the entire body.
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