The Xoloitzcuintli (show-low-eetz-queen-tlee), also called the Xolo or Mexican Hairless Dog, is an ancient Mesoamerican dog breed with roots going back to the centuries before Columbus came to the Americas. The name Xoloitzcuintli comes from the Nahuatl language, where it means “dog of the god Xolotl.” Although Xoloitzcuintli dogs used to be incredibly rare, they have become more common in recent years and are now often used as a symbol of Mexico and the Mexican people.
Black, brindle, brown, bronze, brindle, copper & white
Families with older children, experienced owners
Affectionate, alert, sensitive, companionate, loyal
Xoloitzcuintli dogs are famous for being naturally hairless, although there are also variants with “powder puff” coats. The Xoloitzcuintli is an affectionate and sensitive dog who will become incredibly loving and attached to her owner. This means that Xoloitzcuintli dogs can have incredibly strong family bonds, but it also can lead to them becoming anxious and poorly adjusted. Because of this, we don’t recommend a Xoloitzcuintli to a new dog owner. They do best with experienced owners with lifestyles that let them keep dogs nearby.
Xoloitzcuintli dogs are usually medium-sized, but there are also teacup and toy variations on the breed that are much smaller.
Before you buy a Xoloitzcuintli puppy, it’s important to know what to expect. The happiest and best-adjusted dogs come from homes where owners know what their dogs’ needs are and adjust as necessary.
These compassionate dogs will do well in a home with an experienced dog owner.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Xoloitzcuintli
The Xoloitzcuintli is an intelligent dog with a knack for understanding things quickly. It is known as a breed with a sweet and loving temperament. Xoloitzcuintli dogs become highly attached to their owners, so stability is important to them. They like to accompany owners everywhere and can often develop attachment anxiety. Because of this, Xoloitzcuintli dogs aren’t the best match for many owners who work outside the home or are gone for long periods of time. Xoloitzcuintli dogs are sweet and friendly with those they know well, but they can be shy and reserved around strangers. They don’t usually tend towards aggression unless they feel that someone is a danger to them or to their family.
Are These Dogs Good for Families?👪
Xoloitzcuintli dogs are good around families, especially families with older children. It can become anxious and stressed by small children, especially children who are too young to know how to play safely, so families with toddlers and small children need to supervise playtime closely. With older children, Xoloitzcuintli dogs often become loyal companions who love to walk and play with children.
Because Xolos don’t love to be left alone, they often do well in families with a parent who stays at home or works from home. They love to have company from the family members they are close to and may bond with one member of a family more than the others.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
Xoloitzcuintli dogs usually get along well with other animals that are members of their household, regardless of species. They can become jealous of other pets if they feel they aren’t getting enough attention, but they rarely become aggressive towards animals that they know well, even smaller animals like cats. However, some Xolos are anxious or aggressive towards strange dogs and other strange animals. They require practice and socialization to help teach that most dogs will be friendly towards them.
Things to Know When Owning a Xoloitzcuintli
Food & Diet Requirements🦴
Xoloitzcuintli dogs are average eaters, with standard Xolos needing about 1.5-2.5 cups of food a day, split up into two or three meals. Because Xoloitzcuintli dogs tend toward overeating, measuring your dog’s food is important. The amount of food needed should be adjusted to help keep your dog at a healthy weight.
Xolos have moderate exercise requirements. They usually require exercise every day and love to walk, run, and play. Xolos usually prefer shade while exercising, especially if they have lighter skin. The length of the walk depends on the individual dog, with younger dogs needing more exercise. They love playing games with their owners and make great companions. Giving your dog sufficient exercise will help her to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted.
The Xoloitzcuintli is an intelligent dog breed that can take well to training with the correct approach. They are sensitive and a little stubborn, so training works best when it is accompanied by lots of praise, persuasion, and positive reinforcement. Punishments don’t work well on Xolo dogs. They usually become withdrawn, stubborn, or anxious in response to punishment without actually changing their behavior.
The Xoloitzcuintli is naturally a fairly well-mannered dog, but they bark frequently and might require additional training to control barking. This is especially important in apartment buildings or other areas where barking can become a nuisance. Xolos can also be anxious around strangers, so lots of socialization with other dogs and humans is important.
Hairless Xoloitzcuintli dogs don’t shed or need brushing, making grooming seemingly simple, but their lack of a coat can cause other problems. If your Xoloitzcuintli is outside frequently, especially if he has lighter skin, sunburns can be a major irritant. Some owners put sunscreen on their dogs, while others try to stay out of full sunlight and exercise mostly in shady areas. Xolos with fur will need brushing once to twice a week. Some owners swear by lotioning their dogs regularly, but if you choose to do this be cautious as dogs are more sensitive to many chemicals that are often used in lotions.
Along with skincare, Xoloitzcuintli dogs need regular nail clipping. Use a dog-safe nail clipper and be careful not to cut nails too short. Brush your Xoloitzcuintli’s teeth a few times a week with a dog-safe tooth cleaner.
Health and Conditions🏥
Xoloitzcuintli dogs are a naturally healthy breed because of their long genetic history. They don’t have many serious health conditions, although no breed is a guarantee of perfect genetic health. Xolos do tend to overeat, so they should be carefully monitored to avoid obesity.
Many hairless Xoloitzcuintli dogs are missing teeth. This is a natural health condition that is linked to the hair loss gene, but it can cause eating problems in rare cases. They also have occasional skin problems such as acne.
Male vs Female
Some people say that male or female Xoloitzcuintli s have a better temperament, but there are few real differences. Male Xolos tend to have higher energy levels, while females are a little quieter. These differences are even smaller in spayed or neutered dogs. Spaying or neutering can help dogs live longer, be healthier, and avoid behavior problems such as spaying.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Xoloitzcuintli
1. Xoloitzcuintli Are Guides for the Dead in Mythology
The Xoloitzcuintli is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, and it has a long history. The first Xolos are even older than the Aztecs, but it was the Aztecs who introduced them to the Spanish. The dog breed was believed to guard against evil spirits and have a special relationship with Xolotl, the Aztec god of death. The Aztecs believed that if you owned a Xoloitzcuintli, it would help guide your soul to safety after you died.
2. Dante Is a Xoloitzcuintli Who Appears in Pixar’s Coco
The Mesoamerican heritage of the Xoloitzcuintli makes it especially beloved in its homeland, modern-day Mexico. Its story of guiding the dead has persisted into the present day and today, it is a symbol of Mexico. A Xolo named Dante even appeared in Pixar’s movie Coco. Dante becomes a loyal friend and guardian angel to the main character, Miguel, and helps him on a journey through the land of the dead.
3. Xoloitzcuintli Dogs Make Warm Snuggle Buddies
Some people like Xolos for more than just their looks. One unique trait of Xoloitzcuintli s is their warmth. Dogs naturally have a higher body temperature than humans, and because the Xoloitzcuintli doesn’t have any hair to dissipate the warmth, petting or cuddling with one is a pleasant sensation. Sleeping with a warm Xoloitzcuintli has even been used as a treatment for arthritis!
From their ancient American ancestors to the present day, Xoloitzcuintli dogs have wowed their owners with their sweet personalities, loyalty, and stunning hairless body. The Xolo isn’t a dog for everyone—with a high attachment level and a slightly anxious personality, Xolo dogs need a calm, steady, experienced owner. But for those who fit that bill, the Xoloitzcuintli is an utterly unique and incredibly loyal dog.
Featured Image Credit: Vladimirkarp, Shutterstock