Kennel Sarantais, Finland American Hairless Terrier

History and present day, briefly

American Hairless Terrier, AHT, is a purely American breed. This breed was at first a hairless Rat Terrier variation, apparently reputed to be the result of a rare spontaneous mutation. Rat Terriers are nice companions but also very active hunters, ratters.

The history of the American Hairless Terrier began in 1972, when Edwin Scott's neighbour gave him a little hairless female. The Scotts named their new pup Josephine, and she quickly stole the hearts of the entire family. The Scotts treasured Josephine and became interested in breeding her and producing more hairless puppies. They had owned dogs in the past, but were not familiar with breeding. That wasn't going to stop them, though. With her clean nature, alert and loving personality, Josephine was the perfect housedog and they couldn't imagine owning any other kind of dog. The Scotts with their Josephine started the history of AHTs.

Rat Terriers and their hairless variations were accepted by UKC in 1999. American Hairless Terriers were accepted as an own breed in the beginning of 2004. The AHTs which are born in Finland are registered with UKC.

There were some 800 - 900 hairless AHTs and probably 150 - 200 coated AHTs living in the USA in 2004. The more recent figures from 2008 tell that there are apparently more than 2000 AHTs in the USA. UKC does not give the registration numbers. In Finland the number of AHTs exceeded 200 in the end of 2009.

The very first AHTs in Europe came from Shelley Schuler's Kennel Horizon to Denmark in 1999. Two AHTs moved there with a person who had lived some time in the USA.

The first three AHTs arrived in Finland in April 2003: Lar-Mons Valentina 'n Finland aka Sunny owned by Kaarina Naaralainen, Bay's Bushyfur Kennel, Flinthill's American Dream aka Jimmy owned by Hanna Sjöblom and CH WMK's Have Mercy aka Salli owned by us, Sari Uusitalo and Ari Kähkönen. I had been in contact with Karyn Pingel, Woodland Manor Kennel in FL, since the autumn 2002 – Karyn was the best to give a lot of info about AHTs. Thank you Karyn. Later the two other persons, too, were interested to have AHTs.

Some FCI kennel clubs in Europe have given American Hairless Terrier a national recognition; these counties are Chez Republic, Slovakia, Russia and Ukraine.

Appearance and character

When AHTs are born they are coated. The hair on the pups starts to fall out right away, but many pups still have a small amount of hair on their legs at the age 8 weeks. Most are hairless by 10-12 weeks. An adult AHT may have "peach fuzz" on its skin and it makes the skin feel silky and very comfortable to touch. Other hairless breeds feel harder and dryer when touched.

American Hairless Terrier's bloodlines are created by carefully planned "out-crossings" to the Rat Terrier. The breeding of two hairless American Hairless Terriers will always produce hairless puppies, while the breeding of an American Hairless Terrier to a coated hairless gene carrier will produce a mixture of coated and hairless offspring. Two coated dogs carrying the recessive hairless gene can produce a mixture of hairless and coated offspring, as well. The probability distributions to get hairless/coated puppies are different, though.

The American Hairless Terrier is different from the other hairless dog breeds, Chinese Crested, the Xoloitzcuintli and the Peruvian Hairless Dog, Inca Orchid. These breeds all have a few things in common: most evident is the hair on the head, feet, and tail on the hairless variety; missing or weak teeth; and sometimes skin problems. The American Hairless Terrier has a strong, full set of teeth - teeth are strong and big compared to the size of the dog, especially the canines are enormous! AHT has a totally hairless body (except for whiskers and eyebrows), and does not have the skin problems associated with the other hairless breeds. Another difference found between the breeds is that in the American Hairless Terrier the hairless gene is recessive, while the gene for hairlessness found in the ancient breeds is a lethal dominant.

AHTs are very alert and intelligent dogs who need a lot of stimuli. They need to be properly socialized to be easy to handle. These dogs are also working dogs and this nature should be taken into account when making breeding programs.

And what is the most important: AHTs are most loving companions! "They show so much emotion and expression and they're capacity to give love is AMAZING!" (Reffered from Kathy Stem, AHT Yahoo Group.)

Additional information

The breed standard can be read on the web site of American Hairless Terrier Association. There you can also find other useful information about these wonderful dogs.

Suomen Amerikankarvatonterrerit SAKaTe ry – Finnish American Hairless Terrier Club was founded in Finland in 2005.

Other AHT web sites