In 1972, a remarkable thing happened: in a litter of mid-sized Rat Terriers, a completely hairless female was born. It became the prized pet of Willie and Edwin Scott of Louisiana, USA.
They named their hairless dog Josephine.
The Scotts bred Josephine and produced one hairless female in her first litter, but through the next several litters, the little terrier failed to whelp any more exhibiting the hairless trait. Finally, at the age of nine years, she crowned her attempts by having a litter with two hairless pups, one of each sex. These hairless pups were the foundation of a breeding program to produce and stabilize the breed.
The Scotts worked under the guidance of their geneticist and veterinarian. They named their new breed the American Hairless Terrier. These are not just freak dogs.
They differ substantially from the hairless types of Asia and Africa in that no Powderpuff variety is needed to obtain hairless pups, as the hairlessness gene is not semi-lethal dominant but autosomal recessive.
Furthermore, these dogs do not have absent premolars or any of the breeding complications associated with the hairless breeds. For these traits, the Scott's nude puppy and its progeny are truly remarkable and unique in the canine world. The Scotts are still working on establishing this breed.
They are working toward keeping the temperament of the Rat Terrier while still maintaining the hairless trait.
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