August 14, 2020 // 7 minute read

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Xoloitzcuintli, or Xolo in short, are small to medium dog breeds of Mexican origin. They come in three sizes – toy, miniature, and standard – and their coats come in two varieties – coated and hairless. These dogs also feature a compact head, upright bat ears, and a thoughtful, intelligent face.

Xolos may not be a lovely dog for everyone. However, they are great dog companions for first-time dog owners. Their coats are hypoallergenic, which is perfect for those with allergies. They are also not too hyperactive that will tire you out.

Protective, devoted, and loving, Xoloitzcuintli are excellent family companions who can truly brighten up your day.

Xoloitzcuintli Dog Breed

Xoloitzcuintli Breed Statistics

Dog Breed GroupNon-Sporting Group
Breed SizeSmall to Medium
Height10-14 inches (toy); 14-18 inches (miniature); 18-23 inches (standard)
Weight10-15 pounds (toy); 15-30 pounds (miniature); 30-55 pounds (standard)
Lifespan13-18 years

Xoloitzcuintli Breed Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Xoloitzcuintli History

Xoloitzcuintles are ancient dogs that originated from Mexico as far as 3,000 years ago. They are often confused with the Chinese Crested, but these are very distinct dogs.

Unlike many other dog breeds, Xolos are believed to be natural breeds and not a result of any crossbreeding. Based on archaeological evidence, Xolo’s ancestors accompanied migratory people from Asia to the New World. They took their name from an Aztec deity named Xolotl, and “itzcuintli” which is an Aztec word for dog.

Ancient people believed that these dogs have healing powers. They are said to cure asthma, rheumatism, insomnia, and can even drive evil spirits away. They served as guides for the dead, and sadly, were often used as a sacrifice.

For centuries, Xoloitzcuintles thrived and were molded by natural selection. And in 1887, the breed was first recognized by the American Kennel Club. They were originally referred to as Mexican Hairless.

The dogs peaked into popularity, and they were portrayed in many artworks and were loved by many. However, this popularity soon died out that the American Kennel Club deregistered the dog breed in 1959.

The breed almost went extinct, but thanks to some fans, the breed was brought back and is now considered Mexico’s national treasure. In 2010, the dog was named the “dog of the year.” A year later, they were returned to the AKC studbook.

The dogs now rank 140th as the most popular dog breeds and are even considered one of the rarest. They make excellent companion dogs, and their cuddles are the warmest during hot weather.

Xoloitzcuintli Temperament

Xoloitzcuintli dogs are loyal, alert, and calm dogs. They come in three different sizes, with the small ones being the most common of the three.

This breed is considered slightly active outdoors but calm and even-tempered indoors. They are very attentive to their owners, and they thrive for human companionship and attention. If left too long without any interaction, they tend to get bored and will act out of that boredom.

They are playful dogs, and most of the time, they only choose to spend their time with one person. If you happen to be that person, spend some time with them, whether by taking them out in long walks, playing together in a yard, or snuggling in your bed.

If you have kids, always keep close supervision. Like any other small dogs, Xolos may not be able to take rough handling. However, for well-behaved kids, they will make great playmates. They are also used to come in packs which make them friendly with dogs that grew up with them.

Xolos are known to be wary of strangers, which makes them excellent watchdogs. Their protective and territorial nature also makes them not friendly with strange dogs. They also have a high prey drive, which will let them chase smaller animals.

These dogs are usually timid in new situations, so it’s essential to socialize them at an early age. This will help in making them more well-rounded and accustomed to new situations that come to them.

Obedience training is also very essential. These dogs are smart, so training shouldn’t come as hard as long as you’re firm and consistent. They respond best if you’re gentle, while harsh discipline frightens them.

Xoloitzcuintli Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: Xoloitzcuintli don’t have any special dietary requirement. But it’s essential to give them high-quality and well-balanced meals to meet their everyday needs. It’s also crucial that you only buy high-quality ingredients so as not to endanger your dog’s health. You can get proteins from high-quality animal meat. This should help in your dog’s muscle growth. You can get fats from fish oils and will help keep your dog’s coat healthy. While carbohydrates should help provide them energy. You can add fruits and vegetables on their diet too for great sources of fiber and vitamins. If you’re going to give them dog food, buy the premium quality ones only. This shouldn’t consist of fillers and additives that may cause indigestion. Take note of any food ingredient your dog may be allergic to and make sure to stay away from those.
  • Grooming: Xoloitzcuintli have short hair coats that are very easy to maintain. It only requires very occasional brushing since it doesn’t shed much. Occasional baths should also be given to help keep them looking clean. They have very sensitive skin, so only use gentle shampoo and conditioner. It’s essential to clean up their ears regularly to avoid ear infection. As for your dog’s nails, be sure to trim it regularly, too, so it stays short. Long nails can cause pain and discomfort to your dog, and we don’t want that.
  • Exercise: Xoloitzcuintli are energetic dogs that would need regular exercise, so they remain healthy and happy. This can be in the form of long walks or structured playtime inside or outside the house. They are the happiest if they do things with you, so it’s best to create activities that you can do together.
  • Health: Xoloitzcuintli are generally healthy dogs with a long lifespan. However, like any other dog breeds, there are chances to develop health conditions as they mature. As for these dogs, the main problem they usually have is with their skin. Some dogs develop acne as they mature, so it’s always best to feed them the right food. You should also use gentle shampoo and conditioner when bathing them. Like many hairless dogs, Xolos tend to have missing teeth, the reason behind this is unsure. It’s often best to meet at least one of your dog’s parents. This way, you’ll be aware of any existing health conditions that your dog might get.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Xoloitzcuintlis is 13-18 years.

Famous Xoloitzcuintles

  • Mee Too: The first Xolo registered by the American Kennel Club
  • Chinito Jr.: The first and only Xolo to earn an AKC championship
  • Dante: The Xoloitzcuintli dog from the animated film Coco

Fun Facts about Xoloitzcuintles

  • Xoloitzcuintli originated from Mexico way back 3000 years ago.
  • They are the oldest dogs in the Americas.
  • The name was derived from “Xolotl,” an Aztec god of life and death, and “itzcuintli,” which means dog.
  • These dogs are considered as sacred dogs by ancient Aztecs and Mayans.
  • They are considered to be the national icon and cultural symbol of Mexico until today.
  • They come in three sizes – toy, miniature, and standard.
  • Their coats come in two varieties – coated and hairless.
  • They are believed to be loyal companions of Christopher Columbus.
  • They have extraordinary body heat that measures to 102 °F.
  • They were officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 2011.

Check Out Other Non-Sporting Dog Breeds:
American Eskimo Dog, Bichons Frises, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Chinese Shar-Pei, Chow Chow, Coton de Tulear, Dalmatian, Finnish Spitz, Keeshonden, Lhasa Apsos, Lowchen, Norwegian Lundehund, Schipperkes, Shiba Inu, Tibetan Spaniel, Tibetan Terrier

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