American Hairless Terrier

The American Hairless Terrier is an American dog breed that has originated in the United States of America and it is their only native, hairless breed. These dogs are lively and active family companions that are a great choice for families that love dogs but have allergy sufferers at home. These dogs are also sometimes called hairless Rat Terriers or people refer to them as AHT.

This active, small dog breed is a typical terrier - alert, curious, and fairly intelligent. It is not the oldest breed in the world, in fact, the first American Hairless Terrier was born in 1972 when a Rat Terrier birthed a dog whose birth hair fell off in a couple of weeks. Their owners decided to further breed that hairless dog (which they called Josephine) and 11 years later, the breed got stable breeding bloodlines.

American Hairless Terrier


12-16 in (30-40 cm)

American Hairless Terrier


12-16 lb (5-7 kg)

American Hairless Terrier



American Hairless Terrier

Life Expectancy:

14-16 years

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health

The American Hairless Terrier is considered to be a terrier of medium to small size with an active temperament. These dogs are well-muscled and relatively strong compared to their size. As their name suggests, they have no hair and that makes them unfit for most of the hunting tasks their ancestors did.

The American Hairless Terrier has a rectangular built with a 10:9 ratio in favor of its length. Their noses should always be solid-colored and their eyes should be round and medium-sized. Their ears are V-shaped and set on the outer part of their head- on the very edge of their skull. They can have both erect, buttoned, or tipped ears, however, the erect ears are favored in the show ring.


American Hairless Terrier is an excellent dog for allergy sufferers because they don’t shed much. These dogs come in two variants: coated and hairless. Grooming needs for these dogs are minimal. You will have to protect your dog from the sun and also from cold weather.

American Hairless Terrier coat colors:

  • any color or combination of colors is allowed

They will also need other basic care; brush their teeth at least three times a week. Check their ears for signs of infection and redness, and trim their nails if they don’t wear them down naturally.

American Hairless Terrier temperament

The American Hairless Terrier is your typical terrier with an alert, active, and curious temperament. They are descendants of the Rat Terriers but since they are hairless, they are unfit for most hunting jobs. They have inherited their high prey drive and natural hunting instinct nonetheless. They will most likely view smaller animals like gerbils, rabbits, or guinea pigs as prey and should never be fully trusted around them.

These dogs thrive on attention and affection. They are a great fit for active, large families where there is at least one person that the American Hairless Terrier can be with. They hate being left alone for long periods of time and will not hesitate to tell you how they feel about that. They are vocal and express their feelings through barking so it is a good idea to teach your American Hairless Terrier to stop barking on demand.

American Hairless Terrier training and socialization

The training and socialization of an American Hairless Terrier should be high on your priority list as well as a big part of their lives. All dog breeds require that you invest time in their development and learning and this breed is no different.

You should start training your American Hairless Terrier as soon as it arrives at your home and make sure that they know the rules you have set for them. They are fairly intelligent and will try to test your boundaries and see if you are willing to bend the rules for them. Be consistent and gentle, involve loads of food and treats in their training, and pretty soon you will notice great results.

The American Hairless Terrier is a terrier, and as a member of the terrier family of dog breeds, should be properly socialized. Terriers, in general, can be feisty and will not back down from any fight. Make sure your dog knows how to properly behave in all social situations and help them by exposing them early to different sights, sounds, situations, people, and other dogs. That way your dog can learn social rules and you can teach them proper behavior.

Health problems

Like any other dog breed, the American Hairless Terrier can potentially develop health problems. If you are buying a dog, make sure the breeder can provide you with the necessary health tests and guarantees. Always ask to see the results of tests from the puppy’s parents. The health problems these dogs are associated with are: 

  • Hypothyroidism - A health problem caused by the hyperproduction of hormones from the thyroid gland.
  • Patellar luxation
  • Deafness
  • Cushing's disease

The American Hairless Terrier is generally considered a very healthy breed that can live 14-16 years


When getting a dog, the most important thing is to get it from a responsible and reputable American Hairless Terrier breeder. Responsible breeders will breed dogs that don’t only look good but have great characters as well. You must find a good American Hairless Terrier breeder that can help you learn about this breed and make an informed choice about getting a dog with these characteristics. 

If you are unsure whether this is the breed for you, check out this FREE GUIDE that will help you decide which dog breed is right for you.


Photo by: Nikol Kopp

World Dog Finder team


Updated at13.05.2021.