Xoloitzcuintli

They are cute, they are sacred and the Xoloitzcuintli is so scrumptious that it is said people would eat them. As chilling as that may sound, it wasn’t all bad for the Xolo.

As some call them, the Mexican Hairless, many consider them to be oldest dogs among us. Some even say the breed may be one of the first dogs to paw around the Americas.

Moreover, aside from their cuteness, the Xolo even has medicinal advantages. Not only will they make you happy, but experts believe they can help with certain illnesses.

So what exactly are these hairless dogs and do they make good house pets?

Here is what you need to know about the Xoloitzcuintli.

History

Perhaps what’s more comical than this bald dog’s personality is the attempt of people pronouncing their name. To be sure: show-low-etz-queent-lee or Xolo for short. The Xoloitzcuinti is an ancient breed with origins from Mexico. However, some believe that the breed comes from Central Asia. 

The assumption is that the breed is all pure and derives from its own spontaneous gene mutation. Be that as it may, the Xoloitzcuintli is thought to be at the least 3,000 years old or better. There are many effigies and tombs with painting featuring a hairless dog of this caliber. Moreover, it is the belief that the Mayans, Colimas and Aztec Indians to be among the first to own this breed. Furthermore, it is thought that the Xolo was held in high regard and as a sacred symbol.

The American Kennel Club suggests that the breed can be found in Christopher Columbus and other European settlers’ journals. One legend has it that the Xoloitzcuintli was a spiritual symbol. That is, they would sacrifice the breed and burry them alongside their owners. Aside from their love, these people at the time, thought the breed could help them get and stay in the afterlife.

The breed began to find its way outside Mexico and inside American during the latter end of the 1800’s. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, under the name Mexican Hairless, was one of the first breeds to enter their studbooks. 

That wouldn’t last for long, as concerns began to mount about this breed’s existence. So much, that the American Kennel Club took them out of the studbooks in 1959. But that decision wouldn’t last long either, and the formation of the Xoloitzcuintli Club of America  in 1986 would make it their priority among others to keep them from extinction.

Prior to that, a slight popularity surge in the 30’s and 40’s would lead to the dog appearing at dog shows. But a lack of interest following those decades led to the “Xolo Expedition of 1954.” Behind the effort was a man by the name of Pelham Wright. Wright would seek the best of the breed and go on a quest to find them in hopes of reviving them from extinction.

It would prove to be a good move. Wright and other enthusiasts would help create the breed’s first standard in 1956. From that, three types: toy, miniature and standard and two coat varieties: Coated and hairless.

Today, the breed is still considerably rare. However, the breed has recognition from all major kennel clubs. In America, the United Kennel Club was the first to grant recognition to the Xoloitzcuintli in 1993. It would take some convincing and time for the breed to gain AKC recognition but in 2011, the breed finally did. As a member of the Non Sporting Group, the AKC claims the breed to be the 143rd most popular in the U.S. 

With their types and varieties, the Xolo gives people many options. The Xolo is an excellent but friendly watchdog and companion. They even compete at dog shows. Although rare, there does appear to be tick of interest in the dog as recent.

Size

As said above, there are three types of sizes for this breed. Due to that, it is suffice to list them as a small and medium breed. For instance, both male and female toy Xolos should stand between 10 to 14 inches. A miniature Xolo should between 14 to 18 inches. A standard Xoloitzcuintli should range between 18 to 23 inches.

With regards to weight, a toy should weigh between 10 to 15 pounds. A mini Xolo will weigh between 15 to 30 pounds. A standard Xoloitzcuintli should range between 30 to 55 pounds.

Personality and Temperament

Here is a breed that is one of those trademark “big dog in a small package.” Although the American Kennel Club claims the breed to be ‘unusually quiet.’ Inside the home, the Xoloitzcuintli is calm but also curious. Experts say they like to observe from above. With that in mind, it shouldn’t surprise you to find a Xolo climbing above in an effort to discover around their world.

This is a breed that is very friendly but aloof or suspicious with strangers. Yet, they shouldn’t ever be aggressive nor shy. The breed will do fine around small children and other dogs. They can take it or leave it, when it comes to sharing your affection. A Xoloitzcuintli can be your only dog or share the load with other breeds.

Intelligent and alert, they do make a good watchdog, which was a role they had centuries ago. 

You’ll notice plenty of cat like behavior with the Xolo. This is a breed that’ll clean themselves, thank you! When they aren’t cleaning, they are cozying up to their master forming a close bond. The attachment element is important for this breed. They aren’t much for being left alone, but with sufficient exercise and attention, they’ll thrive in the city or in the country. However, the Xoloitzcuintli doesn’t appreciate muggy and hot climates. 

This breed responds well to training and is said  to be simple to train. A Xolo prefers to stay busy but won’t soak up a ton of your time energy wise. A short walk or two will make them happy and a backyard romp.

All in all, this is a complete family dog. This is a dog that is loyal and faithful to their family. They get along with nearly everyone and prefers to be part of family excursions. Happy go lucky and upbeat, your Xolo will shower you with the affection you come to expect from a dog. 

Health

When it comes to this breed’s health, there is either a blessing in disguise or what you would expect from a rare breed. That is, there isn’t a lot out there regarding their health. However, you can expect some of the usual disorders that pop up with other breeds.

If you buy a Xoloitzcuintli from a breeder, always make sure they are reputable. This breeder should have no problems providing you with the proper health clearances. In addition, it’s always wise to ask the questions and read the reviews. This will ensure you are making the best purchasing decision possible.

Moreover, you should schedule regular visits with the veterinarian to ensure your Xolo’s health. Keeping the Xolo healthy is a return on your investment. This breed has an average life expectancy of 13 to 18 years.

Patella Luxation can be found in this breed. Patella Luxation is when the kneecap slips out of place from its original anatomical position, the Trochlear Groove. Most toy and small breeds have a genetic disposition for this disorder. This will cause some discomfort and pain for your Xolo. If it persists, it can lead to ligament injuries and arthritic issues. Surgery can correct this issue and anti-inflammatory can help keep your dog  comfortable and without pain.

Hip Dysplasia, like Patella Luxation, is another common problem found in dogs. Your Xoloitzcuintli is no exception. This disorder is the result of a malformation of the hip joint causing pain, discomfort and other arthritic issues down the road. If your dog is limping, lacking mobility or appears to be in pain–consult your veterinarian about your options.

In addition, your Xoloitzcuintli suffers from certain skin issues. You will want to consult a veterinarian or expert in how to care for your Xolo regarding heat. Some people insist that sunscreen lotion or clothes are fine deterrents of the sun. Others insist that it is unnecessary to do so.

Xolo’s have been found to be a good natural muscle relaxer for those suffering Fibromyalgia. This is according to the Fibromyalgia Treating website, which professes the breed’s ability to help with other issues. Those health complication include: physical and emotional stress, enhancing a person’s mood, decreasing heart attacks, etc.

Care

To screen the sun or not to sunscreen, that is the question. The Xoloitzcuintli suggests not doing so, as the breed can naturally mature out of their delicate skin issues. That said, a lot of owners do apply certain types of sunscreen, so always consult a professional first before doing so.

One thing you can certainly do is manage their time in the sun. It is no mystery that this breed does have fits being out in the sun for long durations. This is a breed better off in moderate climates. They should be fine in apartments, and in the country, just as long as you provide them with enough exercise.

This is a breed that should receive consistent training and socialization. Introducing the Xolo to new people and new things, will help them in the long run socially. They can be stubborn but will typically adhere to positive reinforcement, thus being agreeable.

The breed may exude some hints of prey drive, so it is always best to keep a leash, a fence or avoid other small animals around them. The American Kennel Club suggests supervision around children and dogs.

They have a medium energy capacity, which only means they’ll need a short walk or two per day. You can also get away with opening the backdoor and letting them engage in a playful romp. Fetch and other K-9 activities will help keep them from destructive habits.

Additionally, you should check their ears for bacterial backup, trim their nails routinely as to avoid splits, crack and overgrowth. And, bathe them as you deem necessary.

Feeding

Since the breed’s weight varies greatly, so won’t the amount of portion they get during feeding. Naturally, how much your dog eats differs from others. Elements like age, metabolism, activity range can all play a part in how much the Xoloitzcuintli eats. Spaying and neutering can also play a contributing role in their portions.

That said, most enthusiasts suggest feeding the Xoloitzcuintli a meat first ingredient and high quality formula. Quality crude fat and protein is a must. Some suggest 22% protein and 9% crude fat as part of the equation.

The Xoloitzcuintli can be fed between 0.5 cups to 1 3/4 cups per day. This can be broken up into two or three smaller meals. Breaking up meals helps with deadly disorders like Gastric Torsion but it also helps with keeping the dog from scourging.

As always, you should provide your Xoloitzcuintli with fresh drinking water.

Coat

Easy to maintain, the Xoloitzcuintli is a simple coat to tend. A Xolo will require very little grooming energy. In fact, a once per week comb over should suffice this breed’s needs. Since they are infrequent shedders, being hairless, most people find them helpful if they suffer pet dander allergies. Of course, the breed does shed but very little.

The coat comes in two varieties: Hairless and coated. Little to no hair on the hairless type and  the coat should feel coarse. Little hair can be found on the breed but only on the feet and head. For coated types, short and smooth, and the coat should be close to the body. 

According to the AKC, there are 10 acceptable coat color options: Black, brindle, bronze, dark brown, gray, fawn, red, white, liver, palomino.

There are four acceptable markings for the Xoloitzcuintli coat: Black markings, white marking, tan markings and spotted.

Fun Xoloitzcuintli Facts

  • Other names of the breed: Mexican Hairless Dog and Tepezcuintli.
  • The 170th breed to gain recognition by the American Kennel Club.
  • The Mexican Kennel Club or FCM gave recognition to the breed back in 1956.
  • According to EasyPetMD, there are only 4,000 Xolo’s worldwide.
  • A Xoloitzcuintli made history in 2017 being the first to appear at the Westminster Dog Kennel Club Show, according to the LA Times.
  • Chinito Jr. became the first and only Xolo to win an AKC major championship back in 1940.
  • One legend has it that a California woman vacationing accidentally brought what she thought was a Xolo. Instead, according to this popular legend, the animal she brought back wasn’t a Xolo, rather a giant rat. However, fact checking website claims this legend is nothing but a myth.
  • Earlier in 2018, a teenage boy from the Philippines found himself in hot water with animal activists and Facebook. His issue? Posting a picture of his Xolo puppy, that people thought was a private part. Facebook would go on to ban the post.
  • The breed appears in the Disney movie “Coco” as Dante.

Closing Words

Dogs trend for many reasons. Whether it be because of a movie, or the way they work or for their athletic talents or mental abilities.

It is unlikely that the Xoloitzcuintli will ever reach the levels that the Chihuahua has. Yet, for their enthusiasts, that’s quite fine. There’s always room for a happy, upbeat, exotic hairless dog  for certain people.