Breed information

Xoloitzcuintle

Mexican hairless dog


Unique, rare, strange, wonderful, ancient, unusual — all these terms and more can be applied when describing a Xoloitzcuintle to someone who has never seen one. Amazing creatures with a long history, one of the oldest breeds of canines, they appear in legends, myths and stories.

History
Mexican Hairless, or Xoloitzcuintle (Xolo), are an ancient breed of canine that has existed in what is now Mexico for more than 5000 years. Likenesses of xolos have been found as clay figures from the Colima culture, made around 3,000 BC These figures resemble the xolos living today. Skeletons of xolos have been excavated from sites in the ruins of Teotihucan near Mexico City dating back more than 4500 years. The word xoloitzcuintle comes from the Nauhuatl (the language spoken by the Aztec and still spoken today by their descendents). The name is a combination of xolotl — the twin brother-god of Quetzalcoatl and ituintle – dog . The name is pronounced sho-lo-itz-quinta-li. Xolos were the canine guide sent by Xolotl to carry their owners across an endless lake to their next life.

The Aztecs (along with the Colima, Zapotec and Maya) believed the dogs aided healing. Xolos were kept as companions, guardians and young dogs were sometimes eaten. Xolos were buried with their owners along with food, clothes and other treasures required in the afterlife.

As an integral part of MesoAmerican traditional beliefs and culture, the conquistadors attempted to eradicate Xolos. Surviving dogs found refuge in isolated villages and scrubby woodlands. Over the centuries xolos became almost mythical creatures—existing in stories, and art, but rarely seen.

In the late 1940s and early 50’s a group of artists and dog fanciers in Mexico began to work to restore the breed. They traveled to villages and farms, on foot or by dirt roads seeking the foundation stock and beginning a breeding program. In 19.. The Mexican Kennel Club published the first breed standard for the Xolo. One of the early kennels was begun by Countess Lascaselle de Premio Real. The Countess were involved in xolo breeding until her death in 1998 and a mural of the front of the Mexican Kennel Club main building commemorates her work with Xolos. Today, the Xoloitzcuintle is one of two national breeds in Mexico (along with the Chihuahua).

Characteristics
A xolo is a very intelligent, alert dog and devoted to its human companions. It may, however, be suspicious and reserved with strangers and requires early and active socialization. Xolos have very good memories and a bad experience can be difficult to work past. The breed learns quickly, and benefits from clear, firm direction. Xolos do not respond well to aggressive correction and their independent nature responds gladly to those who treat them well.

The most prominent characteristic of xolo is, of course, an absence of hair on most of the body. Some specimens are quite hairless, but it is within the breed standard to have some hair on the head, legs and a maximum of 2 / 3 of the tail. The hair is generally rather harsh in structure.

A small percentage of xolos will be born with hair, usually short and without undercoat. Both the coated and hairless Xolo may be registered with the Swedish Kennel Club (SKK). Only the hairless may be shown in confirmation. Both coated and hairless may be used in breeding programs. Hairless Xolos often lack some teeth, primarily the pre-molars, but other teeth may be missing as well without fault. Ears should be large, upright and well shaped. Eyes should be medium-and almond shaped (so-called Indian eyes). The skin color may vary, but a dark dog is preferred. As the puppy the xolo has quite a lot of wrinkled skin, but in adulthood the skin should be tight against the body. Xolos should be well-angled both front and rear and their movements should be free with both head and tail borne high when in motion.