Xoloitzcuintle, (pronounced “Show-low-its-queen-tli”) is also called the Mexican Hairless Dog, or The Xolo and is one of the world’s rarest and oldest breeds. Archaeological evidence dates this breed back to more than 3000 years ago as companions to the Mayans, Aztecs, and Colimas. The Aztecs found these dogs particularly useful as bed warmers. The Xolos of today are basically the same as their ancestors from long ago. They are native to Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Once named Xoloti, this unique breed comes in three sizes: standard, miniature and toy and also come in two varieties: coated and the hairless.
The Xolo is a very robust and hardy breed, with a broad skull and a black or skin-colored nose. Their eyes are almond-shaped and usually dark in color, but can vary with a dog’s coat color. A Xolo’s most noticeable physical trait is its large, pointed, bat-like ears.
This breed’s body proportions are rectangular, slightly longer in body length than its height, which is measured at the highest point of the shoulders (withers). Xolos range in height from 9 to 30 inches and in weight from about 5 to over 60 lb. The three sizes of Xolos, according to U.S. breed standards, are:
- The Toy Xolo is 9 to 14 inches at its shoulders and weighs between 5 and 15 pounds. The U.S. Toy size is a Mexican Miniature.
- The Miniature Xolo is 15 to 20 inches at its shoulders and weighs between 15 and 30 pounds. The U.S. miniature is a Mexican Intermediate.
- The Standard Xolo is 20 to 30 inches at its shoulders and weighs between 25 pounds to 40 pounds, however Standards can weigh up to 60 pounds or more
- The AKC does not recognize Xolos less than 10 inches or over 24 inches, however.
Litters of Xolos will contain puppies with both kinds of coats – about one out of every four Xolo puppies are born with hair. Of the two types of coats, the hairless variety is dominant genetically and the most desirable. A hairless Xolo can have a short tuft of fur on the head, on the toes, and at the tip of the tail, but it should never possess hair anywhere else. The skin of a hairless Xolo will be very smooth and soft, yet hardy and protective. The coated Xolo will have a short-haired, flat, dense coat which is clean and sleek, similar to that of Doberman Pinscher or Pointer. A coated Xolo, however, should not have long, wiry, or wavy hair.
Most hairless dogs are black or bluish-gray in color, but they can come in a variety of other colors, such as gray, brindle, fawn, bronze, slate, red, and can be solid or spotted. The dark colored or solid colored hairless Xolos have the hardiest skin while the spotted or light colored dogs tend to need more care. Both types of Xolos change color as they mature.
Xolos are highly intelligent, inquisitive, loyal, alert, and have strong hunting and social instincts. Mature Xolos are known for their calm disposition, but puppies can be extremely spirited, boisterous, and often love to chew on almost anything until they reach about two years of age. Like other lively breeds, Xolos need persistent, yet loving socialization and obedience training during their puppy years. With proper training, this breed is excellent with children and strangers. They are also easy to house train and learn very quickly. However, you must be the leader, or your Xolo will lead you and everyone else in your house!. Behavioral problems usually arise when a dog does not receive adequate physical and mental exercise or training, which is not the fault of the dog. It is best to have other dogs when raising a Xolo since they are very social animals.
American Kennel Club (AKC) first recognized the hairless variety of this breed in 1887. The first AKC registered Xolo dog was named Mee Too, and in 1940 another Xolo named Chinito Jr became the first Xolo to become an AKC champion. The standard and miniature sizes were recognized by the AKC until 1959, when Xolo numbers dropped and registrations dwindled. Fortunately, fans of Xolos brought the breed back from the brink of extinction. The Xoloitzcuintli Club of America (XCA) was founded in October 1986 and recognized all three sizes and both varieties at their first official meeting.
The XCA worked tirelessly on regaining AKC acceptance, and in May 2008, the AKC readmitted the breed to its Miscellaneous Class, beginning in January 2009. The breed was finally eligible to be shown in the AKC Non-Sporting group as of January 2011. In February 2012, the Xolo made its first appearance at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Xolos tend to live long lives of 15 to 20 years of age. Since the Xolo is an ancient breed which has changed little over thousands of years, they are normally not prone to breed specific health problems as other breeds that have been modified by human breeding efforts. Since these dogs originated in tropical climates, they are not suited for the outdoors in colder climates.
They also need sunscreen when in the sun for long periods of time Xolos require diligent skin care, or skin problems, like acne, may result.