During the Han Dynasty, it's said that the Chinese Crested dogs served one of two purposes. First, they could be guard dogs in palaces and mansions, alerting their human counterparts to the presence of intruders and seeking out these trespassers. Second, the heavier ones might serve as hunting dogs. The former probably did not envy the latter, as a Chinese Crested hunting dog who fails to bring home any meat was still expected to feed the hungry family, whatever that might entail! In fact, when the communists came into power in China, there was a ban placed on pets of any sort and dogs of all breeds have since become incredibly rare in that country. Luckily, the Chinese Cresteds accompanied their masters on trade vessels and fathered litters of puppies in Africa and other continents and the breed survived.
While the breed's use as a hunting dog is no longer one of their primary purposes, their potential to be trained for the speedy, efficient retrieval of bird carcasses is still there and, while perhaps not as popular as some breeds, there are still a handful of sports hunters who will swear by the Chinese Crested dog's retrieval abilities over many other, more popular breeds of sports hunting dog.
However, even with their share of devout enthusiasts in the world of sports hunting, the Chinese Crested dog's most common realm of competition has become that of trick performance and games of obedience. Being attentive, alert and intelligent, they are amongst the most manageable dogs when it comes to teaching them tricks and having the dog perform these tricks on command, without hesitation. The breed's agility is also a contributing factor to their innate ability at these games. Heavier, less agile dogs may be willing, but find obstacle courses and such to be rather cumbersome and difficult to maneuver through, while a properly trained Chinese Crested dog will easily trot along at a quick, comfortable pace, being less likely to require any tugging for the purpose of controlling the dog's rhythm.
Another competition that the breed seems to be, perhaps unfairly, featured in, would be the annual World's Ugliest Dog competition. Without the benefit of a coat of thick fur to hide behind, birth defects on Hairless Chinese Cresteds stick out like sore thumbs (or regular thumbs, depending on just how unfortunate the dog's appearance might be). For three years straight, the winner of the contest had been Sam, a purebred Hairless with pale eyes, sparse white hair and several missing teeth. While far from traditionally handsome, Sam's unique charm was undeniable and stands at a testament to the versatility of the breed, proving that the Chinese Crested can win just about any game a dog can play.