About This Breed
Popularly known as the “Mexican hairless dog,” the Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced shoh-loyts-kweent-lee) is one of the oldest dog breeds. The breed is believed to have been brought to the Americas during the migration of humans across the Bering Strait an estimated 12,000 years ago.
The Xoloitzcuintli (or Xolo) may be one of three sizes: toy, miniature and standard, ranging from 10-23 inches at the withers. Xoloitzcuintlis have a rectangular body shape, with a slightly longer body length than height and a tucked-up waist.
The preferred colors for the Xolo are darker shades of gray, red, bronze, brown, and varying shades of black.
Despite being called the “Mexican hairless dog,” many Xolos are born with a light coating of hair. For coated Xolos, the hair covers all of the body, but does not grow long. Hairless Xolos may have a small amount of hair on the top of their heads, feet and at the end of their tails. The Xoloitzcuintli is a hypoallergenic dog breed.
Personality and Temperament
The Xoloitzcuintli is prized as both a companion and guard dog. Xolos are intelligent and generally take to training easily, as long as the training is gentle and consistent. The breed has a calm demeanor and remains attentive to its surroundings.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Xolos do not respond well to harsh training methods. Although the Xoloitzcuintli is a relaxed breed, puppies are more high energy and require daily exercise and attention. The Xolo does retain some of its more primitive characteristics, chiefly as a hunter of small game, so its environment should be one in which it will not be able to easily escape.
IDEAL LIVING CONDITIONS
The Xoloitzcuintli fares best in a loving home equipped with secure fences and closed gates. Daily walks or jogs and outdoor play during warm weather will benefit the Xolo’s health.
Skin care should be undertaken carefully, with regular checks to make sure the skin has not become too dry. Skin care products, lotions, shampoos or anything that has the potential to irritate the skin should be avoided. Xolos are also sensitive to harsh sunlight and cold temperatures and should never be left outdoors for long periods of time.
The Xoloitzcuintli is considered to be a generally healthy dog breed.
History and Background
This Xoloitzcuintli dog breed dates back some 3,500 years ago, to the time of the Aztecs. Thought to have gone extinct at one point because of its rarity, the Xoloitzcuintli made a come-back in the dog breed world in the 1950s after a campaign was waged to save the breed from obscurity.
It is believed by some archeologists that the Xolo was brought to the Americas by people who migrated from the Asian continents to [what is now] the North American and South American continents, hypothetically settling as the first residents of the continents and holding their spot as the “natives” until later Europeans arrived.
The name Xoloitzcuintli is a portmanteau of Xolotl, the name of an Aztec Indian god, and Itzcuintli, the Aztec word for dog.