The American Hairless Terrier has a temperament that is essentially identical to that of the Rat Terrier, although perhaps slightly less driven and energetic. This breed was developed first and foremost as a lively family companion, and this dog possesses the temperament one would expect of such an animal. American Hairless Terriers are known to be extremely devoted and loyal to their families, with whom they form close bonds. These dogs want nothing more than to be in the company of those that they love most, which can develop into severe separation anxiety. This breed is known for being exceptionally affectionate as well, often fawningly so. Unlike most Terriers, American Hairless Terriers have a very good reputation with children. When properly socialized with them from a young age, most breed members are friendly and very tolerant of kids, and many are very fond of them. Most breed members, especially larger ones, are sturdy enough to tolerate the rough play that would injure more fragile dogs.polite and accepting of strangers. Some breed members are very friendly and outgoing, actively seeking new sources of affection. Others are more reserved and cautious. This breed is highly alert and inquisitive, making it an excellent watch dog even though its alerts are more announcements than warnings. An American Hairless Terrier would make a very poor guard dog as it is neither aggressive nor powerful enough.
Once trained and socialized, American Hairless Terriers generally get along quite well with other dogs. This breed is not known to suffer from high levels of dog aggression, and most would prefer to share their lives with at least one other dog. This breed is still a Terrier, however, and it is not unheard of for a breed member to develop dog aggression issues, especially unneutered males. Owners also need to be aware that although breed members rarely go looking for a scrap, they will not back down if one finds them even if it comes from a much larger dog. American Hairless Terriers also usually get along well with animals their size or larger such as cats, although some breed members may relentlessly harass them in an attempt to play. Small creatures such as hamsters or guinea pigs are a different matter altogether. The American Hairless Terrier is descended from a long line of vermin eradicating Terriers and most breed members will ruthlessly pursue and kill small animals. If left outside alone for any length of time, an American Hairless Terrier will probably bring its owner home presents of dead animals.
This dog is both highly intelligent and generally motivated to please. One of the easiest to train of all Terriers, American Hairless Terriers learn quickly and are generally obedient. Although only recently developed, American Hairless Terriers have competed with great success in a number of events such as competitive obedience and agility. However, this is not always the easiest breed to train. Some breed members can be quite stubborn and resistant. Although not a dog that constantly challenges authority, an American Hairless Terrier will gladly assume control if it is allowed to meaning that owners should constantly maintain a position of dominance. Owners must also be aware that even the best trained breed members have a tendency to be mischievous.
American Hairless Terriers are very energetic and lively dogs. This breed is not a couch potato and needs a substantial amount of daily activity, 30 minutes at a bare minimum but preferably at least 45. Without the proper exercise, these dogs will almost certainly develop behavioral problems such as destructiveness, excessive barking, hyper activity, and over excitability. That being said, the American Hairless Terrier does not have extreme exercise requirements, and the average dedicated family will probably be able to meet them without being run ragged. Although this dog makes a good house or apartment pet provided it receives enough exercise, it will be quite active indoors and would rarely be described as calm. This breed absolutely loves taking part in mentally challenging games and activities, and does best when provided an opportunity to participate in them. Owners do need to be extremely careful when this breed is outside as it should be protected from the elements, especially the sun and the cold.
American Hairless Terriers have a tendency to bark a great deal. Although it would be unfair to describe this dog as yappy, they do have a high pitched bark that is usually made rapidly in succession. Training and exercise will greatly reduce barking, but most breed members will be considerably more vocal than the average dog. Without proper training or care, this breed can develop severe barking issues, sometimes going non-stop for hours.
Potential owners must be advised that although unusual looking, this dog is not like many similar looking breeds such as a Chihuahua or Chinese Crested. This is a very doggy dog that demands to be treated as such. American Hairless Terriers love to run around, drop toys in the owners’ laps, and jump up and lick faces. While this dog makes an excellent house pet, it is certainly not a mild-mannered and refined aristocrat. Those who are looking for such an animal would be better suited with a different breed.