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The AMERICAN HAIRLESS TERRIER
by Teri Murphy, AHTCA President
I began showing dogs around 30+ years ago as a lark. I had purchased a show quality male Keeshond from a well known and respected breeder, Linda Moss of Ashbrook Keeshonden. She invited me to go with her to a show in Virginia and talked me into showing him myself. Little did I know, when he won his class and the judge pointed to me for the win, it was to begin my love for the sport of purebred dogs. I have been very fortunate over the years to have shown and bred a num- ber of AKC Champions in Keeshonden and Chinese Cresteds; including sev- eral Hall of Fame title holders and Spe- cialty winners with the kennel name of WudNshu. During this time, I thought I knew all the hairless breeds in existence. Until one day I began doing some research on the Internet and to my amazement came across a hairless breed I had not heard of called the American Hairless Terrier (AHT). My curiosity began to grow. I knew I had to learn more about them. I did not think I would find them as beautiful as my Chinese Cresteds. After all, they had no flashy furnishings. I was surprised when I was able to meet an American Hairless Terrier in person! I couldn’t stop petting it from head to tail. “Wow!” I thought to myself and finally proclaimed out loud how good the skin felt to me. I continued to pet this dog for some time. It was amazing
to me how good the skin felt, even that tail without a bit of hair on it.. actually, no hair anywhere!! I asked the owner “Do you have to shave your dog?”. She answers “No!” WOW!! Coming from a breed where shaving was as common as brushing ones teeth made me even more curious about this unique breed. After this first meeting, I quickly placed a call to Edwin Scott of Trout Creek Kennel who was listed as the breed’s founder. I had to talk to him and get to know this breed first hand. After many conversations with Mr. Scott I decided to purchase my first AHT. I, along with another person, drove to Louisiana to purchase our first American Hairless Terriers. I must have been a pest to Mr. Scott; as I was trying to soak up as much information about the breed from him as I could. He was a true Southern gentleman and indulged me kindly. I went home with my first 3 American Hairless Terriers and memo- rabilia of past AHT history Mr. Scott gave to me. Looking back 17 years, I see myself sitting on the motel floor with several AHT puppies and asking my friend “what am I getting in to?” What I was getting in to was a breed I would get to know well and love. They are intelligent, easy to train, loyal and have comical personalities. They would bring endless joy not only to me; but also to many who had never before been able to enjoy the pleasure of dog
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ownership either due to their own aller- gies or those of loved ones. I became impassioned to see the American Hairless Terrier become known Worldwide for what they would offer their owners and the dog world in general. A true “Made In America” breed. Our journey began in Rare Breed status followed by UKC breed status where we were allowed to flourish and improve on some structural faults we had identified. A continued process even to this day. We had our Champi- ons for the breed whose encourage- ment and support were critical to our growth. Two people I would like to mention are Bonnie Turner, whose Flin- thill AHT kennel was instrumental with the breed’s heritage past, present and future. Her friendship is greatly missed since her passing; and Cindy Cooke, of Anstamn Scottish Terriers, who stood by us as a breed and whose friendship guided us as we grew. A question often asked is “What is the American Hairless Terrier personality like?”.
s 4HE !MERICAN (AIRLESS 4ERRIER personality is all Terrier but with an “off” switch. s 4HEY WILL PLAY HARD WHEN IT IS ASKED of them and just as easily be your best lap buddy and snuggle happily with you. s 4HEY ARE ALERT ACTIVE AND INTELLIGENT s 4HEY TRAIN EASILY GIVEN PROPER socialization as youngsters and proper training. s 4HEY ARE SMART ENOUGH TO OUTSMART their owners if not paid attention to. s 3OME WILL BE AGGRESSIVE DIGGERS AND chewers and others not at all. They love to “destuff” stuffed animals, so I caution families with children to put away their toys when play time is over. s !MERICAN (AIRLESS 4ERRIERS BOND well with their families. s 4HEY RESPOND WELL TO POSITIVE TRAIN - ing and poorly to negative training. s %XCEL IN PERFORMANCE EVENTS OF ALL types: lure coursing, agility, obedi- ence, barn hunts, terrier racing. s 3OME REMAIN WITH A STRONG prey drive.
s 4HEY MAKE GREAT FAMILY DOGS WHEN raised with children. If parents are dog savvy and supervise both child and dog properly. s 3OME WILL ACCEPT STRANGERS RIGHT away and others will be more leery. s 4HEY WILL ALERT BARK s 4HEY TEND TO BE MORE hORALv THAN other breeds as puppies and must be taught that human skin is not the same as the skin of their littermate. They get their razor sharp puppy teeth at 4 weeks of age. Another common question is: Why is there a coated dog in a hairless breed? Simple! Every hairless breed has a coat- ed variety and we have ours too. Health issues checked for in the breed would be the same as many others. Over- all the American Hairless Terrier is a rela- tively healthy breed. We have seen aller- gies become more prevalent due to the lack a protective hair coat and failure to not use a common sense approach when it comes to protecting the skin. Breeders do DNA testing when available for the breed such as PLL and DM and check Eyes, Heart, Patellas,
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LCP if indicated, Liver function and BAER testing. The worst enemies to AHT skin are their owners and the sun. I say this because we tend to not take proper care of “skin” in the presence of sun. Their skin is as vulnerable as our skin is to the ravages of sun exposure. And as they age all the issues seen with regards to unprotected sun exposure will present themselves in various forms such as blackheads, freckles, pimples, moles and skin cancers. White areas on the AHT will NEVER tan up.. and yes, the colored parts do “tan” but that also means they are get- ting all those rays from the sun that will later give the skin issues we deal with. It only takes one bad sunburn to ruin their beautiful skin forever! It may not show up immediately but it will eventually. Many owners tend to put all sorts of creams and lotions on their skin think- ing this will help them, but in actuality it can also create skin issues. I’ve been in hairless dogs for over 20 years and my background has taught me that “less is more”. NEVER use any scented products or products with lano- lin in it. These will create skin issues. I believe all hairless dogs are allergic to lanolin and to wool products. If you are using a cream / lotion pres- ently and no problems are resulting, good.. but use them very sparingly. Remember, hairless dogs do not have a protective hair coat and consequently will be prone to “contact” issues with grasses and other things they must walk on both indoors and outdoors. Be mind- ful of what you use on your lawns and floors... what you wash their bedding/ clothes in... keep to hypoallergenic products to prevent/minimize any contact reactions. Internally, be mindful of what you put into their bodies, not only for reac- tions you can see; but also for those you can not that will affect their hepatic and renal systems over time. Anyone interested in learning more about this wonderful breed please visit our website at American Hairless Terrier Club of America (www.ahtca. info)where you will find our Illustrated Breed Standard and more.
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