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Xoloitzcuintli Profile

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The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced something like ‘show-low-eats-queen-tuh-lee’, also known as ‘Xoloitzcuintle’ or ‘Mexican Hairless Dog’, or just ‘Xolo’ for those who prefer less than 14 syllables) is a very rare, hairless dog which hails from Mexico from millennia past. Xolos are named after the god of Aztec mythology Xolotl (‘itzcuintli’ just means ‘dog’), who, according to legend, created them from a sliver of the bone from which all human life was made. He instructed mankind to care for and protect the dog as it would lead departed human souls from the underworld to Heaven. The Aztec apparently didn’t take this to prohibit eating the Xoloitzcuintli’s meat, as many did so for religious or (supposed) medicinal purposes; in fact, this practice continues today in some areas of Mexico. The Xoloitzcuintli was recognized by the American Kennel club in the 19th century, but recognition was stripped as the breed had nearly gone extinct by the 1950’s. Aggressive breeding programs rescued the Xoloitzcuintli, and foundation stock has now been accepted by the AKC with recognition expected to be forthcoming.


The Xoloitzcuintli comes in a wide variety of sizes. Generally, Xoloitzcuintli with a height of 23-38 cm (9-15 in) and weight of 2-7 kg (5-15 lbs) are considered Toy Xolos. The Miniature Xoloitzcuintli is 38-51 cm (15-20 in) high and weighs 7-14 kg (15-30 lbs). The Standard Xoloitzcuintli is 51-76 cm (20-30 in) tall and weighs 14-18 kg (30-40 lbs). The Xoloitzcuintli has a similar appearance to the Pharaoh Hound, with a sleek body, long neck, and distinctive hairless coat. Xolos have almond-shaped eyes and large pointed ears; some do not have a full set of teeth.


The Xoloitzcuintli is known for its hairless body, but there is a short-haired variety, which has sleek, straight hair. It can be any color and sheds little.


The Xoloitzcuintli is intelligent, quiet, alert, athletic, loving, and very loyal to its family. Xolos are not generally noisy but will make a ruckus when they see something suspicious, which makes them excellent guard dogs (especially larger Xolos). The Xoloitzcuintli has a body temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it perfect for cuddling up with in cold climates.


The Xoloitzcuintli is protective of its turf and aloof to strangers. It is great with children, even energetic ones, provided proper socialization has taken place at a young age. Xolos usually get along well with other pets but may be aggressive to dogs of the same gender.


The hairless Xolo must be bathed and treated with lotion every few weeks. Hairless Xolos are sensitive to sun and cold weather, and should be given sunscreen prior to prolonged periods of exposure. The coated Xolo should be brushed weekly to keep shedding to a minimum. Bathe only as needed. The Xoloitzcuintli needs to be a part of the family--it doesn't do well as a kenneled dog or permanent outside dog. The Xoloitzcuintli has a life span of 15 years or more and litters of 3-5 puppies.


The Xolo learns quickly and is easy to house train. Xolos are strong willed and may attempt to take the Alpha dog position if they feel you are not filling the role.


Young Xolos require a lot of exercise and attention. As they mature they will begin to calm down and be content to hang out at home after a daily walk. They like to accompany their master as often as possible. Apartment life is suitable for the Xolo.