AMERICAN HAIRLESS TERRIERS
Optimally bred for human companionship and household compatibility.
WE DIFFER, AND THAT BENEFITS YOU!
As the American Hairless Terrier evolved from the highly energized
hunting and vermin ridding breeds of old, most directly from the
American Rat Terrier; (itself a composite of many other hunting and ratting breeds),
the American Hairless Terrier came to us with more prey drive, and, usually,
more frenetic energy than is ideal for a hairless breed or the typical home.
American Hairless Terriers cannot spend as much time outdoors as hair-coated Rat Terriers can without risking skin cancer, even with sunscreen to protect their skin. This necessarily increases the amount of time which they must spend indoors,
and, therefore, increases the need to breed them so that they can
spend more time indoors, contentedly and nondestructively.
While Rat Terriers are commonly bred to compete in various athletic, field, and
racing competitions; in which some do compete American Hairless Terriers as well,
we, at Excelsior, believe that the animation and energy levels required to compete in such events do not generally contribute to the most easily lived with house dog.
Dogs bred with the need and urge for great levels of activity and prey drive, without sufficient opportunity to release those energies and relieve those urges are more inclined to develop nervous conditions and become destructive of household property as they're compelled to release the pent up energy bred into them.
Therefore, when making breeding decisions, We, at Excelsior, select calmer
and less agitated dogs with lower prey drive to parent our puppies.
Breeding for the show ring, primarily, does not necessarily produce the optimal home companion either. Every selection of an optimal trait for the show ring, or other competitive activity, is at the disfavor and loss of another, optional trait, that, while it may be less desirable for competition and the show ring, it might be preferable for producing dogs more suitable for human companionship and the happy home.
A group of genes generally govern each trait and characteristic,
not just one single gene governing each trait, and, each group of genes generally affect multiple traits. Therefore, genes are passed along in groups so that when consciously selecting breeders to pass on one trait, other traits and characteristics that one may not be seeking, or that may be undesirable, are simultaneously passed on by default. The underinformed or overzealous breeder of show ring or competitive
sport dogs may adequately select breeders to produce a dog that will succeed in the competition ring, but, that might make a very unhappy house dog or pet owner.
Likewise, breeding American Hairless Terriers to precise recent breed standards while producing them with preferred temperaments and optimal household suitability, requires a constant balancing back and forth of desirable traits, sometimes accepting one less than ideal trait in order to gain one, or more, other desired traits.
As hairless home companions, We, at Excelsior American Hairless Terriers,
place breeding emphasis on, and select for, health first, disposition second, and only then on conformation and other characteristics desired in the show ring, but,
always against the high activity and energy level necessary for sports competition.
At Excelsior American Hairless Terriers, after screening for health, we select for human-centric dispositions to produce the most companionate offspring while striving not to produce excessively emotionally needy dogs; which can be as annoying as dogs indifferent to human companionship. We also select for dogs that are friendly enough to give a stranger the cautious benefit of any doubt, when in the company of their owners, but, not so friendly that they'll eagerly jump into any passing car for the thrill of a car ride, or, haste to run off and join in on any fun or commotion of other people in the distance. Only then do we select for show ring qualities and other aesthetic considerations. Admittedly, careful selection of breeders does not guarantee perfect home companions, any more than breeding show ring champions to show ring champions guarantee that all offspring will be show ring champions. But, it does increase the likelihood of a positive result over not carefully selecting for these traits.
The stabilizing and standardizing of desirable traits is commonly achieved by breeding those dogs together which share those traits, usually involving dogs that
are related to each other to some degree, resulting in a 'line' of very similar dogs.
However, due to the relatively small gene pool of the relatively new
American Hairless Terrier breed, it currently remains necessary to outcross the American Hairless Terrier to its parent breed, the Rat Terrier, to preserve or enhance genetic vigor, health, or other desirable qualities.
When the genetic set of a line is unlocked by outcrossing, a pandora's box of
characteristics and traits from the genetic ancestry of the outcrossed animal may emerge from the previous suppression of some genes by selective breeding,
resulting in a variety of possible appearances. While the 'official standard' for appearance and size of American Hairless Terriers; dictated to the registration and show clubs by the early breeders of AHTs, is rather narrow, their actual size
can range from eight to forty pounds, and they can appear more like breed types from their ancestral makeup than the American Hairless Terrier 'Club' standard type.
For example, from an outcrossed breeding, the puppy below looks and moves like a scent hound which likely contributed to the ancestry of the Rat Terrier,
and is now in a growth pattern to likely reach into the thirty pound range.
While the young boy below couldn't be sweeter, or more obedient,
he appears to be expressing the body and head type of an English Bull Terrier,
which also likely contributed to the genetic ancestry of the American Rat Terrier,
and hence, to the American Hairless Terrier.
Meanwhile, his full sister from the same litter, below,
conforms to American Hairless Terrier standard and to her parents in body type.
We came to have and raise American Hairless Terriers because our own severe allergies prevented us from having hair-coated dogs in our home. As a middle-aged adult,
I took immunotherapy allergy shots twice a week for two years, and once a week for an additional three years, and still rely upon antihistamines during much of the year. So, we never homed or bred other dogs prior to American Hairless Terriers, unlike occupational puppy breeders to whom the American Hairless Terrier is merely the dog 'du jour' to breed and sell, from a long list of dogs which they have bred and sold for income. Putting profit before breed quality has rarely produced the best specimens of any species or breed.
EMBARK, the industry leader in D.N.A. testing of dogs, claims there are only a few genetic linked diseases that are particularly associated with American Hairless Terriers, even though they test our dogs for all 170 diseases genetically linked to all dogs that can now be tested for. EMBARK tested our American Hairless Terrier breeders as clear from having any genetically linked disease. Our breeders further tested clear from the nongenetically linked physical ailments that some dogs, including
American Hairless Terriers, develop.
All other hairless dog breeds are ancient breeds and are generally more prone to genetic-based physical ailments than American Hairless Terriers are, due to inbreeding the diminished populations of those ancient breeds over time. Evolving from the
American Rat Terrier, with a large population of dogs to breed from, most debilitating disorders were bred out of the Rat Terrier before the American Hairless Terrier mutated from it. Since then, dedicated breeders continue to ferret out and eliminate the few problematic latent and recessive genetic-linked ailments that might have lingered in relatively few American Hairless Terrier gene pools, so that American Hairless Terriers are comparatively ailment free. Of the few genetic linked disorders associated with American Hairless Terriers today, only about 1% of them might potentially be affected and it is believed that both parents would need to pass on a copy of the problematic gene for a disease to manifest in the offspring, and, then, not every puppy with double genes will develop an associated disorder, resulting in American Hairless Terriers being about as genetic-linked ailment free as dogs can be.
With this said, hairlessness does make American Hairless Terriers' skin more esposed and sensitive to environmental allergens than hair-coated dogs. EMBARK suggests that excessive inbreeding of dogs negatively impact their immune systems making them more susceptible to allergies, and they test for the degree of inbreeding in any dog. Our breeders tested with high genetic diversity and very little overlap in the genetic codes between breeders, which theoretically should eliminate inbreeding contributing to allergies in offspring. However, as evidenced when a new litter of puppies was inadvertently bedded on towels washed in regular detergent with fragrance and dried with fabric softener sheets; which causes violent allergic reactions in myself, every puppy broke out in small red dots all over, they can be just as reactive to allergens as people are. Research indicated, and experience proved, that baths in warm water with baking soda and borax can alleviate the swelling, itching, and deter bacterial infections from scratching the spots. After baths rub down, without rinsing the baking soda/borax film off, with hemp oil, laced with soothing essential oils like lavender, possibly diluted with a noncomedogenic carrier oil like safflower oil, if one chooses, will often heal the breakout and deter further environmental allergic reactions. Rough grass and weeds can abrade the delicate skin permitting entry of allergens like plant pollen. The chemical off-gassing of petroleum-derived and other synthetic chemical laden home interior finishings and furnishings, such as olefin fibers, which readily degrade into irritating oils, and scotch guarded fabrics or carpet; all substances that provoke allergic reactions in people, can cause allergic skin reactions in AHTs. Frequent rinsings of such allergens from the skin in baking soda and borax water prevent them from accumulating into allergic reaction thresholds. After bath rub downs with noncomedogenic oil shields the American Hairless Terriers skin from many allergens while keeping their pores clean. Coconut oil clogs American Hairless Terrier's skin pores, but hemp and safflower oil don't. Lavender and tea tree oil further inhibit histamine-induced skin irritations while strengthening their immune system.
Hey, do you think she's still watching us?
What are you boys up to? I have my eyes on you!
DISORDERS ? VERY FEW!
The Beautiful Head
And Its Finer Details
At Excelsior American Hairless Terriers, we select for a broadly domed skull with soft cleaving down the center of the dome, a soft squareness to the jaw line, and a fairly full muzzle. Not a sharply tapered or V-shaped head like a fox, and, not a long and straight head like a moose, or roll of soft sausage. While this breeder had almond-shaped eyes, typical of other terriers like Jack Russels, we strive for a fuller and rounder eye as all the boys and girls below have; another example of trait selection compromise and trade-off in the long process of breeding toward one's interpretation of breed standard and one's preferences.