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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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Courtesy of The National Aviary
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Animals
Watch This Live Stream to See Two Rare Penguin Chicks Hatch From Their Eggs
Courtesy of The National Aviary
Courtesy of The National Aviary

Bringing an African penguin chick into the world is an involved process, with both penguin parents taking turns incubating the egg. Now, over a month since they were laid, two penguin eggs at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are ready to hatch. As Gizmodo reports, the baby birds will make their grand debut live for the world to see on the zoo's website.

The live stream follows couple Sidney and Bette in their nest, waiting for their young to emerge. The first egg was laid November 7 and is expected to hatch between December 14 and 18. The second, laid November 11, should hatch between December 18 and 22.

"We are thrilled to give the public this inside view of the arrival of these rare chicks," National Aviary executive director Cheryl Tracy said in a statement. "This is an important opportunity to raise awareness of a critically endangered species that is in rapid decline in the wild, and to learn about the work that the National Aviary is doing to care for and propagate African penguins."

African penguins are endangered, with less than 25,000 pairs left in the wild today. The National Aviary, the only independent indoor nonprofit aviary in the U.S., works to conserve threatened populations and raise awareness of them with bird breeding programs and educational campaigns.

After Sidney and Bette's new chicks are born, they will care for them in the nest for their first three weeks of life. The two penguins are parenting pros at this point: The monogamous couple has already hatched and raised three sets of chicks together.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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