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11 Quirky Facts About the Chinese Crested

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The Chinese crested is one of the most unusual breeds in the dog world; their furry feet and flowy manes make them look like they were bred for an ‘80s hair commercial. Although they may not enjoy running around outside as much as other dogs do, they give just as much affection—if not more.

1. They're descendants of African hairless dogs.

Many people depended on the now-extinct African hairless dogs for their warm bodies. Thanks to their lack of fur, they emitted warmth and were often used as bed warmers and hot compresses for aches. This likely led to the rumor that the dogs had magical healing powers. When they were brought to China, they were bred to be smaller.

2. Chinese sailors loved them.

Rebecca O'Connell

Chinese crested dogs accompanied Chinese sailors on their many voyages during the 14th century. The dogs would catch rats on the ships and thus help prevent the spread of the Black Death. The dogs themselves weren't likely to contribute to the spread of the disease, because their lack of fur meant they were less likely to get fleas.

3. There are two different kinds.

The Chinese crested comes in two varieties: hairless and powderpuff. Powderpuff dogs have a thick coat of silky fur all over their bodies. This is a recessive gene, which means you can find hairless and powderpuff puppies in the same litter. 

4. Their feet are a little different from other dogs'.

Compared to other breeds, Chinese crested dogs' feet are elongated. Some call this longer paw print “hare-like.”

5. They come in a variety of colors.

The Chinese crested comes in a ton of different colors, from slate to pink and chocolate; some even have splotchy spots all over their bodies. The most popular colors have shifted through the years—or example, palomino colored crested dogs were all the rage in the ‘80s, but have since fallen from favor. Some owners notice that their cresteds change color with the seasons; as it gets warmer, their skin gets darker.

6. Watch out for skin problems.

Hairless Chinese crested dogs have a lot of exposed skin, which means they're prone to many of the same issues humans are. They can get acne, rashes, and yes, sunburns.

7. A Burlesque dancer helped make them famous.

Stage performer Gypsy Rose Lee fell in love with the breed after her sister June Havoc gave her one named Fu Man Chu. She went on to become an active breeder and advocate for the dogs. Many Chinese crested dogs today can trace their lineage back to Lee lines.

8. Keep them away from wool. 

Because they're so bare, Chinese cresteds need to layer up in colder temperatures. Just be careful about what fabrics you use to clothe your pooch—many cresteds are allergic to wool and lanolin. In general, itchy fabrics can lead to irritation or rashes.

9. Hollywood loves their unusual looks.

You can find a Chinese crested riding in Kate Hudson's purse in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, or hanging with the Olsens in New York Minute. They have also made appearances in 102 Dalmations and Cats and Dogs.

10. They get sweaty.

Unlike most other dogs, Chinese cresteds have sweat glands and can cool down without panting.

11. They're Ugly Dog Competition champs.

Hairless Chinese cresteds can be beautiful and elegant, but others suffer from permanent ugly duckling syndrome. Sometimes this works to their advantage: They have won the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest more than any other breed. The most famous winning crested is a blind dog named Sam, who won the contest three years in a row. 

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
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Cats often exhibit some very peculiar behavior, from getting into deadly combat situations with their own tail to pouncing on unsuspecting humans. Among their most curious habits: running from their litter box like a greyhound after moving their bowels. Are they running from their own fecal matter? Has waste elimination prompted a sense of euphoria?

Experts—if anyone is said to qualify as an expert in post-poop moods—aren’t exactly sure, but they’ve presented a number of entertaining theories. From a biological standpoint, some animal behaviorists suspect that a cat bolting after a deposit might stem from fears that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. But researchers are quick to note that they haven’t observed cats run from their BMs in the wild.

Biology also has a little bit to do with another theory, which postulates that cats used to getting their rear ends licked by their mother after defecating as kittens are showing off their independence by sprinting away, their butts having taken on self-cleaning properties in adulthood.

Not convinced? You might find another idea more plausible: Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, the nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to a pleasurable sensation and what some have labeled “poo-phoria,” or post-poop elation. In running, the cat may simply be working off excess energy brought on by stimulation of the nerve.

Less interesting is the notion that notoriously hygienic cats may simply want to shake off excess litter or fecal matter by running a 100-meter dash, or that a digestive problem has led to some discomfort they’re attempting to flee from. The fact is, so little research has been done in the field of pooping cat mania that there’s no universally accepted answer. Like so much of what makes cats tick, a definitive motivation will have to remain a mystery.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Animals
Listen to the Impossibly Adorable Sounds of a Baby Sloth
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Sometimes baby sloths seem almost too adorable to be real. But the little muppet-faced treasures don't just look cute—turns out they sound cute, too. We know what you're thinking: How could you have gone your whole life without knowing what these precious creatures sound like? Well, fear not: Just in time for International Sloth Day (today), we have some footage of how the tiny mammals express themselves—and it's a lot of squeaking. (Or maybe that's you squealing?)

The sloths featured in the heart-obliterating video below come from the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. The institution rescues orphaned sloths, rehabilitates them, and gets them ready to be released back into the wild.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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