The xoloitzcuintle or Mexican hairless dog is an alert, friendly, calm and intelligent breed. It is known by many names such as Mexican naked dog, Aztec dog and xolo. Its appearance is not liked by everyone but it is a great companion dog and has a legend in its history.
- Weight: Xoloitzcuintle dogs typically weigh between 30.8-39.6 lbs.
- Height: The Xoloitzcuintle stands at a shoulder height of 18.1-23.5 inches. The length of females may be slightly longer due to their reproductive function.
- Skin: The coated variety has short, smooth hair without an undercoat. The hairless variety is considered hypoallergenic and has sensitive skin, which is susceptible to both cold and sunlight due to the lack of fur. Some rough and sparse hair can be found on the crown, paws, and the tip of the tail.
- Colors: Hairless Xoloitzcuintle can come in brown, reddish, blonde, gray, or with spots. The coated variety can have solid colors such as black, gray, brown, reddish, and bronze in various shades. They can also display spots of any color, including white.
- Overall Build: The breed has a slim and proportioned body with long legs and neck. It is robust and muscular, with erect, triangular ears resembling those of a bat.
- Their eyes are almond-shaped and generally dark in shades like brown and black, but they can have amber eyes depending on their skin color. They have a narrow and elongated tail, and their gait is elegant and agile.
The Xoloitzcuintle is a friendly and loyal dog to its owner. It is tough and athletic, intelligent, and a good watchdog.
The size is very playful and often exhibits cat-like agility when climbing. They may be somewhat wary of strangers but are not typically aggressive.
These dogs are affectionate and love sleeping alongside their owners. Their skin is sensitive to both sun and cold, so they require stable climates. Requires the same attentions as the Peruvian hairless dog.
Guard Dog: The Xoloitzcuintle is a territorial dog and is always alert, making them great watchdogs.
Training and Obedience: These dogs are usually easy to train due to their desire to please and their willingness to learn and obey. They respond well to positive reinforcement training. Proper socialization from a young age, exposing them to different environments, people, other animals, and situations, can prevent shyness and wariness towards strangers.
Life Expectancy: The Xoloitzcuintle breed has an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
Xoloitzcuintle with Children: They are playful, calm, and friendly with children, making them a good choice for families. Early socialization of the puppy will help them interact well with others, whether children, other people, or animals.
Xoloitzcuintle with Other Pets: As mentioned earlier, early socialization is necessary to ensure a good relationship with other pets.Adaptation to Solitude: They do not tolerate solitude well, so it’s not advisable to leave them alone for extended periods. They can become destructive if left alone for too long. If your family spends most of the day away from home, a more independent breed might be a better choice.
Daily Walks and Exercise: The Xoloitzcuintle needs between 30 minutes to an hour of exercise per day.
Skin Care: Since they lack fur, skin care is essential. Protect them from cold and sunlight, as they are accustomed to tropical climates. Special creams and sunscreen are recommended to keep their sensitive skin healthy. Remember that their skin can sunburn, so dermatological care is crucial.
Baths: Despite their lack of fur, they should be bathed once a month with a specific shampoo for their sensitive skin. Regular baths are essential to prevent dirt from clogging their pores.
Pros and Cons
Advantages of Xoloitzcuintle:
- The hairless variety is free from fleas and requires no brushing.
- They are intelligent and affectionate, making them excellent companions.
Disadvantages of Xoloitzcuintle:
- They can be wary of strangers.
- They cannot tolerate being alone for long periods and require a family that can spend time with them.
- The hairless variety needs special skin care to protect them from sun and cold.
The congenital gene responsible for hairlessness in the Xoloitzcuintle also leads to the absence of some teeth, a condition known as ectodermal dysplasia.
Maintain their dental health by keeping their teeth clean. There are specific dental treats available that clean their teeth while providing a tasty treat.
Thanks to their lack of fur, you don’t have to worry about fleas and ticks with the hairless Xolo. Generally, the Xoloitzcuintle does not have congenital health issues.
Regular vaccinations, deworming, and routine vet check-ups are essential. For hairless Xolos, pay extra attention to protecting their skin from sunburn, injuries, and insect bites, and monitor their dental health.
This unique breed is not very common, and it is challenging to find specimens outside of Mexico.
History and Origin
The Xoloitzcuintle, along with its other sizes, is also known as the Mexican hairless dog or Aztec dog. Its distinct feature is the genetic rarity of hairlessness.
It is native to and endemic in Mexico. The exact time of their arrival in Mexico is uncertain, but it is known that they have been there since the 16th century.
They were highly valued canines believed to possess healing properties and the ability to ward off evil spirits. The smallest size was created in the 1950s, resulting in the miniature or toy Xoloitzcuintle. There are standard or large, medium, and miniature or toy sizes.
The Xolo (a colloquial abbreviation for Xoloitzcuintle), with over 3,000 years of history, was not officially recognized by the FCI until 1961.
The first Xolo registered with the AKC (American Kennel Club) was in 1887. The official breed standard was published by the FCI in 2012, classifying it in Group 5: Spitz and primitive type dogs, Section 6: Primitive type.
No intervention or breeder selection has occurred in their appearance. The lack of hair and some missing teeth in the Xoloitzcuintle is due to a specific genotype.
There are Xoloitzcuintle specimens with hair, which the indigenous people called “itzcuintle”. The standard for coated Xolos is exactly the same as for the hairless Xoloitzcuintle, except that they have a full set of teeth and short, smooth fur due to differences in their genotype.
The Legend of the Xoloitzcuintle: The name “Xoloitzcuintle” has Aztec origins, and legend has it that in that civilization, the Xoloitzcuintle was a large, hairless animal sent by the god of death, Xólotl, to escort souls to the afterlife.
It is believed that this story inspired the name of the Xoloitzcuintle. In 2016, the Xoloitzcuintle was declared the symbol of Mexico City and cultural heritage.
As a curious fact, in Disney Pixar’s movie “Coco,” an animated Xoloitzcuintle named Dante appears as the protagonist’s pet. Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera also expressed their fondness for this breed, as depicted in their artwork.