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Mexican Hairless Dog (Xoloitzcuintle) Breed Guide: Pictures, Info, Care & More!

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Dogster Team

Xoloitzquintle dog

Mexican Hairless Dog (Xoloitzcuintle) Breed Guide: Pictures, Info, Care & More!

The Xoloitzcuintli (show-low-eetz-queen-tlee), also called the Xolo or Mexican Hairless Dog, is an ancient Mesoamerican dog breed with roots from the centuries before Columbus came to the Americas. The name Xoloitzcuintli comes from the Nahuatl language, meaning “dog of the god Xolotl.” Although Xoloitzcuintli dogs used to be incredibly rare, they have become more common in recent years and are often used as a symbol of Mexico and the Mexican people.

Breed Overview

Height

20–30 inches

Weight

25–40 pounds

Lifespan

14–20 years

Colors

Black, brindle, brown, bronze, brindle, copper & white

Suitable for

Families with older children, experienced owners

Temperament

Affectionate, alert, sensitive, companionate, loyal

Xoloitzcuintli dogs are famous for being naturally hairless, but there are also variants with “powder puff” coats. The Xoloitzcuintli is an affectionate, sensitive dog who will become incredibly loving and attached to their owner. They can develop strong bonds with their family and become anxious when left alone. Because of that, they’re more suitable for experienced owners who spend most of their time at home.

Xoloitzcuintli dogs are usually medium-sized, but there are also teacup and toy variations of the breed that are much smaller.

Energy
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High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Trainability
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Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Health
+
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Lifespan
+
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Sociability
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Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

Xoloitzcuintli Puppies

cute Xoloitzcuintle puppy
Photo By: art nick, Shutterstock

Before buying a Xoloitzcuintli puppy, knowing what to expect is essential. The happiest and best-adjusted dogs come from homes where owners know their dogs’ needs and adjust as necessary. These compassionate dogs will do well in a home with an experienced dog owner. However, you may have trouble finding a Xoloitzcuintli breeder in the United States, and you may have to import a puppy from Mexico. Adult Xolos also make excellent pets, and you can check shelters and rescue centers for adults.


Temperament & Intelligence of the Xoloitzcuintli

The Xoloitzcuintli is an intelligent dog with a knack for learning commands and tricks quickly. They’re affectionate and become highly attached to their owners, so stability is important. They like to accompany owners everywhere and can develop separation anxiety if left alone for too long. They’re not the best pets for owners who work outside the home or travel frequently. Xoloitzcuintli dogs are friendly with those they know well, but they can be shy and reserved around strangers. They don’t become aggressive unless they feel someone is a danger to them or their family.

Are These Dogs Good for Families?

Xoloitzcuintli dogs are good around families, especially families with older children. They can become stressed by small children, especially children 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 become loyal companions who love to play with them.

Because Xolos don’t like being left alone, they do well in families with a parent who stays or works from home. They love to spend time with family members, but they may bond with one more than the others.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

xoloitzcuintli
Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

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 toward animals that they know well, even smaller animals like cats.

However, some Xolos are anxious or aggressive toward strange dogs and other unfamiliar animals. They require training and socialization to teach them that dogs they see on walks and trips to the park aren’t threats.

Things to Know When Owning a Xoloitzcuintli

Food & Diet Requirements

Xoloitzcuintli
Image Credit: TatyanaPanova, Shutterstock

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 can easily become overweight, measuring your dog’s food is important. Although dog food packages include feeding suggestions, you can contact your veterinarian to develop a nutritious diet for your Xolo.

Exercise

Xolos have moderate exercise requirements and need at least 45 minutes of daily exercise. They love to run around and enjoy playing games like fetch. Xolos prefer shade while exercising, and you must apply canine sunscreen to prevent sunburn on hot days. In the summer, it’s better to go on walks or jogs with your pup in the early morning and late evening to protect their skin and keep them from overheating.

Training

xoloitzcuintli dog on leash
Image Credit: Ira Shpiller, Shutterstock

The Xoloitzcuintli is an intelligent dog that can take well to training with the correct approach. They are sensitive and a little stubborn, so training works best when accompanied by lots of praise, persuasion, and positive reinforcement. Punishments don’t work well on Xolo dogs. They can become withdrawn, stubborn, or anxious in response to punishment without changing their behavior.

The Xoloitzcuintli is a fairly well-mannered dog, but they bark frequently and require additional training to control barking. This is especially important in apartment buildings or other areas where barking can become a nuisance. Xolos are also anxious around strangers, so socialization with other dogs and humans is important.

Grooming✂️

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 Xoloitzcuintle is outside frequently, they can easily get sunburned if they don’t spend time in the shade. It’s vital to apply sunscreen to them and ensure they have access to fresh water when playing outside. Xolos with fur will need brushing once to twice a week.

Along with skincare, Xoloitzcuintli dogs need regular nail clipping. Use a dog-safe nail clipper, and be careful not to cut nails too short. You should also brush your Xoloitzcuintli’s teeth a few times a week with a dog-safe toothbrush and toothpaste.

Health and Conditions

Xoloitzcuintli dogs are a naturally healthy breed because of their long genetic history. They don’t have many serious health conditions, but since they love to eat, they can become obese if their diet isn’t managed properly. Many hairless 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.

Serious Conditions:
  • Obesity
Minor Conditions:
  • Dental abnormalities
  • Sunburns
  • Acne

Male vs. Female

Male Xolos tend to have higher energy levels, while females are calmer. These differences are less prominent in spayed or neutered dogs. Spaying or neutering can help dogs live longer, be healthier, and avoid behavioral problems such as marking.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Xoloitzcuintli

1. Xoloitzcuintli Are Guides for the Dead in Mythology

The Xoloitzcuintli is one of the oldest breeds in the world and has a long history. The first Xolos were even older than the Aztecs, but the Aztecs introduced them to the Spanish. The dog 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 Xoloitzcuintle, they would guide your soul to safety after you died.


2. Dante Is a Xoloitzcuintle Who Appears in Pixar’s Coco

The Mesoamerican heritage of the Xoloitzcuintli makes them especially beloved in their homeland, modern-day Mexico. The story of guiding the dead has persisted into the present day, and today, the Xolo 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 Xoloitzcuintle 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 one is a pleasant sensation. Sleeping with a warm Xoloitzcuintli has even been used as a treatment for arthritis!

Conclusion

From their ancient American ancestors to the present day, Xoloitzcuintli have wowed their owners with their sweet personalities, loyalty, and stunning hairless bodies. 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.

See also:


Featured Image Credit: Vladimirkarp, Shutterstock

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