Hairless Terrier Temperament
The American Hairless Terrier
or "AHT" is an intelligent, inquisitive, spirited, and
very loving and loyal dog. They make excellent companions for active
AHTs and Children
It has been our experience
that they are good with children, if the children are quite used
to dogs and have grown up learning how to interact with dogs appropriately.
If the family is new to having a dog, we usually we suggest the
children are at least 8 years or older. This way the child can be
taught how to handle a small dog properly. The toy variety in particular
may not be bested suited for younger children, as they can easily
be hurt. AHTs are not particular tolerant of being mishandled and
will let someone know if they are unhappy. They tend to be mouthy
as terriers are, and can be rambunctious:)
AHTS and Socialization
AHTs can be very territorial
and stubborn, but for the most part friendly with strangers and
other dogs; as long as they are introduced properly, and the puppy
was appropriately socialized from a very young age. They can be
very protective of their family and need to feel confident and secure
that a stranger or a new dog is not threatening. This is easily
achieved by making sure your AHT always has positive experiences
with new people and dogs, starting right from puppyhood. AHTs are
particularly protective of their personal space with new people,
and it is very important to allow them to approach people first.
Never let anyone grab for your terrier or reach to touch the top
of a terrier's head or back uninvited!
AHTS and their Environment
Both the hairless and coated
varieties are sensitive to climate. In Canada, there are several
considerations. The first and very important one, is the potty issue!
They are not really going to go out in the snow, freezing rain,
or even rain in general. Firstly it's not healthy or safe for them,
and secondly, they simply don't like it. For your AHT to potty in
winter, you will need to set up a lean-to or small shelter, or use
a sheltered area such as a carport or porch. This area should be
attached to your home, outside a door, since they won't cross an
unsheltered area to get to it. Most of the time in colder weather
your AHT would need to be dressed at all times in a 4 legged suit.
To spend any period of time outdoors (moreso than just running out
to potty), he or she will need a snowsuit and boots. Their exposed
skin is similar to a baby's skin, and can get frostbite easily.
The general rule is to dress them the same as you may dress a toddler
for the same weather. In summer there are other issues! One is sunburn.
Again, follow the rule of their skin is similar to a toddler, so
make sure they have suitable sunblock on, and watch them for spending
too much time in the sun, they won't know themselves if they have
been in the sun too long. A light cotton t-shirt works well to keep
them from sunburn. The ear tips, back of neck and tail are particularly
susceptible. One other summertime issue is that they are not proficient
swimmers, and therefore they need to be closely monitored or blocked
off from pools, lakes, rivers, etc. The photo of Scooby playing
in the water is actually very unusual for the breed...as most AHTs
normally dislike the water!
AHTS and other Animals
This breed originated from
the Rat Terrier, a small farm dog used for hunting and vermin control.
In Canada, Rat Terriers are very rare; so most families in Canada
may not be familiar with the characteristics. The most similar breed
we have here that most are familiar with is the Jack (Parson) Russell
Terrier. Since the Rat Terrier was the originating breed, the AHT
possesses in some cases the same prey drive and desire to hunt.
Not all AHTs are like this; some have no prey drive at all. But
the originating breed was bred for many generations to kill small
animals. Almost all of our own AHTs, if given the opportunity, would
follow their terrier instincts and kill a small animal outside.
In the home, many are fine with cats, and we even know of a couple
who have made friends with a bunny! But there is no guarantee, even
from the most placid young puppy that they will show no prey drive
later in life, in particular when it comes to squirrels, groundhogs,
chipmunks, and of course mice, voles or any other small animal.
One of our girls is an excellent birder, and one of our boys even
goes after and corners does or fawns.
To Sum it Up
AHTs can be extremely quick
and very playful and make great watchdogs, as they will alert you
to any sort of problem. They can be yappy at times, but with positive
reinforcement training, this can be easily rectified. The toy variety
in some cases may be suitable for an apartment, but in general this
breed needs a home with a yard, and would love to live in the country!
They are high energy and very active. AHTs are great snugglers and
like to be with their family as much as possible. They are very
dependent and loving, and really would like to be a lap warmer as
often as possible! They love to sleep under the covers with you
at night. The best way to sum up these unique little guys is to
say that they are 100% terrier. They are active, go-getting, bold
little creatures. The breed are easily trained and very are eager
to please their family.