American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terrier


Group: Terrier Group

Origin: United States


    – Miniature: Under 13 inches
    – Standard: 13 to 18 inches

Other Names: Known as both the “American Hairless Terrier” (AHT) and the “American Terrier” (AT) in North America and also sometimes referred to as the “Hairless American Rat Terrier” (HART) or “Rat Terrier, Hairless Variety.” In Europe, the breed is known as the “Hairless Terrier” and in Japan and Singapore, the name “American Terrier” is used.

American Hairless Terrier
Spot McGurk
Photo credit: ©Valley Hairless Terriers

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Breed Profile

The American Hairless Terrier is a muscular dog with a sleek and elegant look. He is alert, intelligent, high-energy, loyal and loving to his family members.

The American Terrier is a new breed which came about from a female named Josephine who was born in 1972 from a litter of Rat Terriers. The breed was developed by Josephine’s breeder, Edwin Scott, from her descendents. The only breed used in Scott’s breeding program were Rat Terriers. In 1999, when the United Kennel Club (UKC) first recognized the Rat Terrier, the hairless was included as a variety rather than a separate breed. In January 2004, the UKC officially recognized the American Hairless Terrier as a separate and distinct breed.

Unlike other hairless breeds, such as the Chinese Crested or Xoloitzcuintli who may have hair on the head, feet and tail, the American Hairless Terrier is completely hairless except for whiskers and guard hairs on the muzzle and eyebrows. Hairless puppies are born with a soft down that covers the body but by the time the puppy reaches 6 to 8 weeks, the down should have diminished to the point where the dog is completely hairless.

In the American Terrier the hairless gene is recessive. In order to maintain a healthy gene pool, new bloodlines are created by carefully planned out-crossings to the Rat Terrier. The breeding of two American Terriers, Hairless variety, always produces hairless puppies. The breeding of a American Terrier to a coated Rat Terrier who carries the hairless gene or a breeding of two coated dogs carrying the recessive gene can produce a mix of coated and hairless offspring.

Coated American Hairless Terrier
Elmer McGurk — Coated American Terrier,
Photos credit: Valley Hairless Terriers

Health Issues

If you are considering the adoption of a American Hairless Terrier puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. This should include, among others, hip x-rays to exclude hip dysplasia and eyes should be checked to see that they are normal and PRA clear. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)

Recommended Health Screening:

For the American Hairless Terrier, the CHICNote 1 database includes the following health screenings:

  • Hip Dysplasia;
  • Congenital Cardiac evaluation;
  • Patellar Luxation;
  • Legg-Calve Perthes
  • Optional recommendations include Eye Examination by a board Ophthalmologist with annual exams until at least 8 years of age, Congenital Deafness, and Elbow Dysplasia.

Additional Health Resources:


Breed Standards

Note: The American Hairless Terrier is not currently recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club but may be recognized by other breed registries not indicated here.


Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

The American Hairless Terrier’s natural curiosity and intelligence make him very trainable.

  • Training — For training information, see this section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • AHT Forum— The place to talk about one of the rarest breeds of dogs…a truly American made dog.
  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.


*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing

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