Xoloitzcuintli – Everything You Need To Know

Xoloitzcuintli dog breed, or briefly Xolo, is an ancient, native breed of Mexico and Central America. It is one of the breeds devoid of the effect of evolution or has never been crossbred with any other dogs. Hence, these canines can be regarded as nature’s blessing in their purest form. They are well-known for their hairless body, which gives them an intriguing appearance.

Xoloitzcuintli Pros and Cons 

Appropriate for apartment dwellersHigh prey drive 
Generally a healthy breedAloof towards strangers
Easy to groomUnsuitable for novice owners

Xoloitzcuintli Basic Information 

  • Name: Xoloitzcuintli
  • Origin: Mexico and Central America
  • Group: Companion Dogs
  • Size: Medium
  • Height: Toy: 10 to 14 inches at the shoulder; Miniature: More than 14 to 18 inches; Standard: More than 18 to 23 inches
  • Weight: Toy: 9 to 18 pounds; Miniature: 13 to 22 pounds; Standard: 20 to 31 pounds
  • Coat: Hairless: Smooth and rough skin; Coated: Short, smooth, close-fitting hair
  • Color: Black, gray-black, slate, red, liver, or bronze
  • Energy: Medium
  • Activities: Companions, show, agility, obedience, therapy, and service dogs.
  • Barking Level: High 
  • Shedding Level: Low 
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Litter Size: About 3 to 7 puppies, an average of 5
  • Other Names: Xoloitzcuintle, Xoloitzquintle, Xoloitzcuintli, Mexican Hairless, Tepezcuintle
  • Breed’s Original Pastimes: Hunting, warming, watchdogs
  • Life Span: 14 to 20 years

Xoloitzcuintli History 

Xoloitzcuintli’s existence dates back 3000 years to the Mayan and Aztec civilizations. Some of the artifacts and clay pottery depicting this breed have been recovered from the tombs of 

Colima, Mayan, and Aztec Indians. This breed was brought to Mexico by the Aztec Indians who arrived from Asia. Xoloitzcuintli’s genetic study has revealed that they descended from the Eurasian gene pool. The Aztecs enjoyed their company and used them as a bed warmer for sacrificial offerings and food. Their warmth proved to be beneficial for curing stomach pains and rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, these dogs are prevalent in Mexico and are widespread throughout South America. Named after the ancient dog Xoloti, they evolved into an affectionate companion over the years. They are highly sought after for their loyalty, adaptability, and flexibility.

Types of Xoloitzcuintli  

The Xolo can be spotted in three sizes—toy, miniature, and standard- in two variants: hairless or coated. 

  • Hairless: The hairless Xolos have tough, smooth, and close-fitting skin. 
  • Coated: These canines are endowed with a short and flat coat. Their head, legs, and feet are covered by hair. 

Xoloitzcuintli Highlights

  • The American Kennel Club recognized the Xolo breed in 2011 and included them as a member of the non-sporting group. 
  • The Xoloitzcuintli is known for its great companionship and protective nature.
  • Their tough skin expedites the process of healing in case of a cut or abrasion.
  • Since Xoloitzcuintli come in three different sizes, they are adaptable to any home.
  • They are warm to the touch due to a lack of insulating fur. 
  • A lack of fur has made these dogs pretty hypoallergenic, meaning they are suitable for people with allergies. 
  • Xolo has a characteristic high prey drive that drives them to chase animals.

Xoloitzcuintli Personality 

Strength, agility, and elegance are benchmark characteristics of a Xolo. They are blessed with lean, sturdy, and well-muscled bodies bearing long necks, almond-shaped eyes, and large-erect ears. They are slightly longer than they are taller. The most prominent feature of a Xolo is its hairlessness, which resulted from a spontaneous mutation that occurred thousands of years ago. Hairlessness is associated with dentition. Therefore, you can expect hairless Xolos to have fewer teeth. Hairless varieties are devoid of hairs on their body. They are generally found in black or bluish-gray colors with a few short hairs on the top of their head, toes, and tail tip. Alternatively, Xolos without mutation were said to carry a recessive gene. These are differentiated as the coated variety and are blessed with appropriate dentition. Both varieties can have marked, splashed, or spotted skin and appear in shades such as black, gray, bronze, yellowish-blonde, blue and red. 

Friendliness Overview  

Affection level High 
Family-friendly High 
Kid-friendly Medium
Pet-friendly Low to medium 
Stranger -friendlyLow

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment living High 
Good to new owners Low
Sensitivity level High
Tolerates being alone Low
Cold-tolerance Medium
Heat-tolerance Medium

Xoloitzcuintli Physical Features 

Head: Xolos carry an intelligent and thoughtful expression with wrinkling eyebrows when at attention. Their head accommodates a pair of medium-sized eyes that neither sink nor protrude. Their ears are large, elegant, expressive, and taper to a well-rounded tip. They are blessed with a wedge-shaped skull that gradually tapers to the muzzle. Their muzzle is much longer than their skull, with a dark or light nose. Their lips are thin and tight, with the absence of premolar teeth in the hairless variety. Whereas the coated type is complete with dentition. 

Neck: They have a long, slightly arched neck that bends smoothly into the shoulders. The neck skin appears wrinkled for younger dogs and smooth for adult canines. 

Topline: Their topline is parallel to the slight arch over the loin. 

Body: They have a well-developed body with a rectangular rib cage. The rib cage is of good length and is deep and oval. 

Tail: The Xolos have a low set tail that reaches the hock. It is carried over on a graceful curve when the animal is in motion while maintaining a relaxed position at rest.

Forequarters: They have well-laid back shoulder blades with the shoulders covered by smooth muscles. Their upper arm is angled to make the forelegs drop under the body. 

Hindquarters: Their thighs are of equal lengths with straight and well-muscled legs. They also have equal-length feet. 

Coat: Hairless varieties are devoid of hairs on their body but have a few short hairs on the top of their head, toes, and tail tip. The coated type is covered with a short, smooth, and close-fitting coat. 

Color: They are often found in black, gray-black, slate, red, liver, or bronze, with or without white spots and markings. 

Gait: They exhibit an effortless gait with free movement, good reach, and drive. 

Xolos below 10 or above 24 inches tall, measured at the highest point of the withers. Cropped ears.

Xoloitzcuintli Temperament 

Xoloitzcuintli are independent-natured, inquisitive dogs who are devoted family companions. They have a calm disposition, whereas puppies are generally noisy and highly energetic. Although they are well-attached to the entire family, they tend to pick a favorite member. Hence, it is good for all of your family members to participate in their training sessions. They fare well with other pets and dogs. However, they have to be monitored due to their predatory nature. Xolos require adequate training and exercise to prevent them from climbing across walls and chasing other animals. They are alert watchdogs who are generally aloof with strangers. They bark very judiciously.

Xoloitzcuintli Training 

Xoloitzcuintli is characterized by a high level of prudence, making them smart dogs who quickly learn your expectations. Although their intelligence eases their training process, their stubborn nature can make it challenging. They respond well to a positive reinforcement technique and structured consistent training sessions. They can be easily house-trained. They must be socialized early to a tender age to ensure they grow to be well-mannered adult dogs. For this purpose, you can take them regularly to dog parks and invite visitors frequently. Although they aren’t excessive barkers, they tend to bite if they sense their master is in danger. Their high prey drive means they carry a tendency to chase animals. They excel in therapy, obedience, confirmation, and agility. Ensure that your Xolos are kept on the leash. You can also train them for some basics like “stay” and “come”.

Trainability Overview

Easy to train Medium
Intelligence High 
Mouthiness tendencies Medium
Barking and Howling tendencies High 
Prey drive High 
Wanderlust tendencies High 

Xoloitzcuintli Exercise Needs 

Xolos thrive well with a moderate exercise routine that consists of a long walk or a jog. Alternatively, they can indulge in active play within a fenced yard for at least 20 to 30 minutes to keep them from behavioral issues. You can enroll them in agility, obedience, and rally if you want them to participate in dog sports. The young Xolos must spend more time exercising or should be engaged in a well-structured gaming activity. Although these canines are energetic during play, they exhibit a calm demeanor at home. 

Exercise Needs Overview  

Energy level Medium
Exercise needs Medium
Intensity Medium
Playfulness Medium

Xoloitzcuintli Grooming 

Grooming needs for both the coated and the hairless varieties are more or less the same. Although coated Xolos can shed very little, hairless canines never shed and are pretty suitable for people with allergies. While coated Xolos require occasional brushing, the hairless ones don’t need them. Since the hairless variety is prone to acne or blackheads, they must not be bathed frequently. Further, they require sunscreen to protect them from the sun in case of prolonged exposure. Instead of a bath, you can rinse them at home and wash their face and feet whenever they get dirtier. Apart from this, you must take care of their: 

Nails: Your dog’s nails are subject to breakage if they grow too long. Since broken nails are very painful, trim your pet’s nails regularly. 

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Teeth: Regular brushing of your dog’s teeth with a dog-formulated toothpaste can prevent tartar buildup and periodontal diseases in dogs. Additionally, you have to schedule an annual appointment with the veterinarian. 

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Ears: Your dog’s ears accumulate wax that must be removed using a cotton ball dipped in pH-balanced ear cleaner. However, ensure not to damage his ear canal and check for signs of ear infection during the annual appointment with the vet. Finally, ensure to take them for their yearly vet visits. 

Grooming Overview

Easy to groom High 
Drooling tendency Low 
Amount of shedding Low 

Xoloitzcuintli Health 

Xoloitzcuintli’s are known for their robust health. This dog’s life span ranges between 14 to 20 years of age. There are no documented specific health conditions for this breed. Hence, it is good to know the common signs of a sick dog to know if your dog needs to visit the vet.

Symptoms of a sick dog

  • Change in activity or energy level
  • Abrupt changes in daily routine or personality
  • Changes in the frequency or in the appearance of urine or stool.
  • Evidence of pain while walking or running
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing or hacking
  • Excessive salivation or thirst
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever

If your canine suffers from any of the above mentioned symptoms, take him to the vet to rule out any of the below health conditions: 

Health Overview  

Overall health High 
Weight gain tendencies Medium
Size Medium

Canine Arthritis: A common condition that causes inflammation of your pet’s joints. This issue is the most prevalent in older dogs with symptoms such as pain and stiffness of joints that lead to their inability to exercise. However, this condition is treble with medication and physical therapy. Glucosamine is known to be a promising supplement for dogs suffering from arthritis.

Obesity: Obesity in dogs negatively impacts their health and predisposes them to conditions such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. A perfect combination of physical exercise and a healthy diet will help your dog maintain a healthy weight. 

Dental Diseases: Dental diseases are the most prevalent in dogs. It results mainly from an unclean mouth. They appear as gum disease and begin to rot the teeth, which may have to be surgically removed to arrest infection from spreading to the jaw and the skull. 

Allergies: Your dog can be prone to allergies which can appear in the following ways: 

  • Food-based allergies: If your pet is allergic to certain food ingredients, you can adopt an elimination diet that involves deliberately removing the suspected ingredients to which your dog may be allergic.  
  • Contact allergies: When your dog’s immune system reacts adversely to certain topical substances such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals, he suffers from contact allergies. However, eliminating the cause of the allergy reduces the symptoms.   
  • Inhalant allergies: If your canine accidentally inhales airborne allergens like pollen, dust, and mildew and suffers from any symptoms, he is said to have inhalant allergies. Treatment for these allergies varies with the severity of the disease. Often, ear infections accompany these allergies.

Benign Tumors: Benign tumors are harmless fatty deposits or skin lumps that don’t proliferate to other parts of the body, unlike cancer. However, it is always good to evaluate if your dog has a benign tumor or cancer in case you find skin lumps or fatty deposits. 

Parasites: Your dogs can inflict bugs, fleas, worms, and ticks that can get into their systems through unclean water, contaminated soil, or mosquito bites. Signs include pain, discomfort, and even death.

Ear Infections: Several environmental and hereditary factors lead to ear infections in dogs. Some of these include: 

  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune disorders 
  • Wax buildup in the ear and 
  • Even excessive cleaning 

Signs of ear infection in dogs: 

  • Excessive scratching or shaking of dog’s heads.
  • Odor
  • Dark discharge
  • Redness or swelling in the ear canal 

Note: Ear infections often clear up within two weeks with proper medication and cleansers. 

Urinary Tract Infections: Dogs most likely suffer from bladder stones or urinary blockage, serious conditions that need immediate care. In such cases, reach out to your vet if you notice the below symptoms: 

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections in dogs: 

  • Frequent need to urinate, 
  • Pain or discomfort while urinating, 
  • Bloody or other discharge in your dog’s urine.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Physical accidents are the leading cause of soft tissue injuries. It generally occurs when a dog suffers from a joint sprain, lacerates skin, or pulls a muscle.

Recommended tests for Xoloitzcuintli

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam

Xoloitzcuintli Diet and Nutrition 

Xoloitzcuintli will enjoy robust health with high-quality dog food. It can either be commercially manufactured or homemade. However, it is good to seek your vet’s advice while going with either of the choices to know if it suits your dog’s size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. However, you must ensure you feed a calorie-conscious diet to your pet to prevent obesity. Hence, it is good to divide your pet’s meal into two and provide them with 5/8 to 1.75 cups of daily food. It is always good to monitor your canine’s weight and consult your veterinarian in case of a spike. 

Xoloitzcuintli Living Condition 

Xoloitzcuintli are available in different sizes, and they are extremely versatile dogs who adapt to any living condition. They cannot be kennel dogs or outdoor pets, as they need your companionship. You have to protect them from extreme weather conditions. Xolo loves to sunbathe and enjoys being outdoors.

Did You Know? 

  • Xoloitzcuintli is one of the oldest and rarest ancient dog breeds available today. 
  • The origin of Xolo can be dated back to the pre-Columbian civilization. 
  • Aztec mythology considered these dogs sacred and believed they guided the souls through the underworld. Unfortunately, they sacrificed the Xolos to bury them along with the dead. 
  • Xoloitzcuintli have tough skin that is warm to the touch. The ancient Aztec people took advantage of this and used them to warm up their beds and for relieving pain.
  • Xoloitzcuintli was the only breed dropped from the AKC roster of registered breeds in 1959 due to the dwindling number of dogs. 
  • The breed’s popularity was revived when in 1953, a team of British and Mexican officials searched for its presence in the remotest part of Mexico. 
  • This Xoloitzcuintli achieved the pride of an official dog of Mexico in the year 1956. Since then, it has been considered the national treasure of Mexico. 
  • It was named the breed of the year in 2010.  
  • The Xolo named Chinito Jr. was the first and only one to earn the AKC championship in 1940.

Xoloitzcuintli Club Recognition 

  • FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale
  • AKC = American Kennel Club
  • CKC = Canadian Kennel Club
  • NKC = National Kennel Club
  • CKC = Continental Kennel Club
  • APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.
  • ACR = American Canine Registry
  • DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • NAPR = North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • ACA = American Canine Association Inc.

Xoloitzcuintli Rescue Groups 

  • Xoloitzcuintli Primitive Breed Rescue

Adding a Xoloitzcuintli to Your Family

A Xoloitzcuintli’s cost ranges from $600 to $4000.

To buy a puppy online:

Xoloitzcuintli (Xolo) Puppies
Find a Dog

Xoloitzcuintli Videos

Mexican Hairless Xolo – Know Your Breed


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