Main Content

American Hairless Terrier

  • Save search for breed
American Hairless Terrier

Form and Function

The American Hairless Terrier is a small, well-muscled and active terrier that can either be of the hairless or coated variety. Although the breed’s ancestors hunted rodents, the American Hairless Terrier is unsuited for hunting due to his lack of coat on the hairless variety. His keen hunting instinct, however, remains intact.


Ready to see what dogs fit you best? Take our short quiz to find out!

Breed Traits

Energy Level

2 out of 5

Exercise Requirements

2 out of 5


3 out of 5

Affection Level

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Dogs

4 out of 5

Friendliness To Other Pets

4 out of 5

Friendliness To Strangers

3 out of 5


2 out of 5

Ease of Training

4 out of 5

Grooming Requirements

2 out of 5

Heat Sensitivity

5 out of 5


2 out of 5

Breed Attributes




12 to 16 pounds


12 to 16 inches



Area of Origin

United States

Date of Origin



The only hairless breed indigenous to the United States, the American Hairless Terrier was developed by breeder Edwin Scott in the 1970s in Louisiana as a descendant from the Rat Terrier. Scott bought a hairless puppy named “Josephine” from a litter of otherwise all-coated Rat Terriers. Josephine was bred and produced a hairless female called “Gypsy.” From there, Josephine went on to produce several litters of coated pups before producing hairless siblings “Jemima” and “Snoopy.” After Snoopy sired several litters of hairless offspring, a new breed was established. The American Hairless Terrier was accepted by the United Kennel Club in 2004 and by the American Kennel Club in 2016.


The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Like other terriers, the American Hairless Terrier is clever, energetic and intelligent, and relishes in playing, digging and chasing small game. The breed isn’t suitable for hunting due to his lack of coat, yet still has a strong prey drive. Because such, playtime is recommended on leash or in a fenced yard. Alert, inquisitive and active, the American Hairless Terrier gets along well with children, dogs and other pets. He thrives on companionship and affection with his human family. Intelligent, eager to please and readily trainable, the breed is enthusiastic about activities with his owner and does well in agility and obedience competition.


The American Hairless Terrier can be one of two varieties: hairless with whiskers and eyebrows or coated with short, shiny hair. Either is a fine choice for those who suffer from dander allergies, and grooming needs for both types are minimal. Smoothly muscled and active, the American Hairless Terrier requires moderate exercise. Keep in mind the hairless variety warrants protection from the harsh summer and winter weather when outdoors, whether it be sunscreen or protective clothing. Aside from regular teeth brushing, the American Hairless Terrier’s ears should be cleaned often to remove any foreign debris and wax buildup.


  • Major Concerns: Hip displaysia, cardiac conditions, luxating patella and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (hip joint disease)
  • Minor Concerns: N/A
  • Occasionally Seen: Skin conditions, though quite rare
  • Suggested Tests: Cardiac, hips, knees and eyes
  • Lifespan: 14 to 16 years


Note: While the characteristics mentioned here may frequently represent this breed, dogs are individuals whose personalities and appearances will vary. Please consult the adoption organization for details on a specific pet.

Finding American Hairless Terriers for You...

Do you have a dog?

Similar Breeds

Similar Breeds