Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Dog)

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    History & Overview

    The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced sholo-its-quintli) meaning “dog of the god Xolotl”, the Aztec god of twins, of things which are deformed, and of the Aztec ball-court game. It has also been called the Pelon, or Bald Dog. Breeders usually refer to it simply as the Xolo (pronounced sholo). Its primary function in ancient times was as a source of food.

    In every litter of naked puppies, there is usually one with full coat, a so-called “powder-puff” dog which cannot be shown. The breed cannot stand extreme heat or cold, or bright sunlight and has reduced number of teeth, especially in the molar region of the jaws. It is believed that the lack of pre-molars and the canines are linked to the hairless gene.


    The dark, mottled, soft skin of this unusually appealing breed is hot to the touch, and this feature also gave it a secondary role as a healer. Early Mexicans used them as living hot-water bottles, and the absence of canine skin-sweating, combined with a normal temperature that is higher than that of humans (101 – 102°F), would undoubtedly make them ideal for this role. Pressing the warm animal next to a part of the body that was hurting was believed to “draw out” the pain. It was said to be especially useful for curing headaches, asthma, rheumatism, aching muscles, insomnia and even malaria. In addition, the Xolos were ever alert watchdogs.


    The Xoloitzcuintli is now recognized in three sizes:

    • Standard (18 – 22 inches at shoulders)
    • Miniature/ Intermediate (13 – 18 inches)
    • Toy (below 13 inches at shoulders)

    All three sizes of Xoloitzcuintli are rare. The American Kennel Club (AKC) listed the Xoloitzcuintli among other breeds that may better suit people who suffer from allergies. These dogs cannot bark, instead, they let out a sound similar to howl.

    At A Glance

    Country of Origin:





    FCI Classification: Group 5 – Spitz Dogs and primitive types; section 6 – Primitive Type Dogs (without working trial)
    AKC Classification: FSS




    The colors range from black to blackish gray, slate gray, dark gray, reddish, liver, bronze to golden yellow. White patches, pink or coffee color spots are permissible.

    Litter Size:

    3 – 5

    Life Span:

    12 – 15 years

    Grooming Requirements:

    The skin requires considerable care to prevent sunburns. Use a good sunscreen if the dog is to be in the sun. It is very important to keep the skin supple and smooth. Xolor breeders and exhibitors use exfoliating creams to remove dead skin and moisturising creams and lotions. In cold climates, Xolos need to wear coats




    Intelligent, calm, alert, wary of strangers, affectionate, adaptable, good watchful, excellent companion.

    Social skills:

    Xolos live in peace with other dogs and family pets.

    Suitability for Children:

    Xolos are known for their stable temperament and friendly attitude towards children.

    Exercise Needs:

    No special needs. If they are allowed in the yard, make sure it has well-shaded areas.

    Train Ability:

    Intelligent, attentive and always eager to please, Xolos are very easy to train. Adolescent dogs may experience behavioral changes, particularly shyness and nervousness. Owners should be aware of these changes and be patient and understanding.

    Health & Behavioral Issues:

    Some dogs may develop comedones in their skin that are similar to the acne in human beings. Skin problems seen in young male dogs usually clear up by two years of age. Many exhibit adverse reactions to cortisone and flea and heartworm medications. Other defects include a sealed ear canal and dropped ears. Coated young Xolos often develop mange that clears up by two years of age.

    Video Credits: Animal Watch


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