The Xoloitzcuintli dog breed, pronounced “show-low-eats-queent-lee” (but often shortened to Xolo “show-low”), is a rare breed that originates from Mexico and Central America. The Xoloitzcuintli may not attract as many people appearance-wise as a fluffy pup such as a Poodle or Golden Retriever does, but this hairless dog has a calm personality and moderate exercise needs, making them an excellent companion to many.
The Xoloitzcuintli is an affectionate dog that is devoted to their family members and believes it is their duty to protect them. If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading below!
History Of The Xoloitzcuintli Dog
The Xoloitzcuintli dogs are hairless and are native to Mexico and Central America, often known as the Mexican Hairless. That being said, they also do come in a coated variety. There are less than 1,000 Xolos in the United States, with approximately 30,000 worldwide, making them a very rare breed. They are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a member of the Non-Sporting Group and have been since 2011.
It is thought that the Xoloitzcuintli dog accompanied migratory people from Asia to the New World many, many years ago. The purebred Xoloitzcuintli takes their name from the Aztec deity Xolotl and “itzcuintli,” the Aztec word for dog. These dogs of Xolotl were said to have healing powers, especially effective in cases of asthma, rheumatism and insomnia. They were also said to frighten off evil spirits.
The Xoloitzcuintli dog was first recognized by the AKC in 1887, under the name Mexican Hairless dog, and was a very popular breed. However, within 70 years the breed’s popularity had dropped, so much so that the AKC deregistered the breed in 1959.
After this, the breed almost became extinct but luckily fans of the breed saved it. The Xoloitzcuintli dog is now considered a national treasure in Mexico and was named dog of the year there in 2010. The AKC re-registered the breed in 2011.
Characteristics Of The Xoloitzcuintli Dog
The Xoloitzcuintli dog comes in three different sizes and is therefore adaptable to many different homes. As we have mentioned above, these dogs are very rare and can be difficult to find, so if you are lucky enough to find a breeder you may be put on a waiting list.
These dogs are normally born in litter sizes of between 3 and 7 puppies and a Xoloitzcuintli puppy can set you back anywhere between $1500 and $3000!
The Xoloitzcuintli dog has a very unique appearance. Not only are these dogs hairless, but they also come in three different size — toy, miniature and standard. The toy size stands between 10 to 14 inches tall, the miniature 14 to 18 inches tall and the standard 18 to 23 inches tall. Their weight ranges between 10 to 50 lbs.
The Xoloitzcuintli is a lean, sturdy and muscular dog with a body slightly longer than it is tall. They have a wedge-shaped head and their large but thin ears sit erect on their head. They also have almond-shaped eyes that range in color from yellow to black and a wrinkled brow. The Xoloitzcuintli’s feet are webbed and their tail is long.
The Xoloitzcuintli dog is a hairless breed, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are easier to take care of! Their skin is smooth but tough and fits closely to the body. The little hair that they do have sits on the top of their head and on their feet. Although they are not completely hypoallergenic, if you are allergic to animal fur then a Xoloitzcuintli might just be the perfect dog for you. Interestingly, their lack of an insulating fur coat makes them feel warm to the touch, even though their body temperature is not any higher than that of other dogs.
We mentioned above that some Xoloitzcuintlis are coated. If they are coated, they are completely covered with short, smooth, close-fitting hair.
Whether your Xoloitzcuintli dog is coated or not, their hair comes in the same colors. Typically, it is black, gray-black, slate, red, liver or bronze. Some Xolos have white spots and markings, too.
The Xoloitzcuintli has a wonderful temperament. They are relatively calm and bond very quickly to their owners, particularly to one member of the household more than others. They are very protective of their family too, and can make a great watchdog and guard dog by barking when they feel there is a threat. Because of this, they can be aloof with strangers, but are very affectionate towards the people they love. They will love to spend the day either exercising with you or cuddled up on the couch!
Thanks to their love of their people, the Xolo doesn’t like to be left alone. You shouldn’t think about adding one of these dogs to your home if you are out for hours at a time, because that can result in separation anxiety and destructive behaviors from your Xoloitzcuintli.
Despite their love of their family members, the Xoloitzcuintlidog needs proper socialization and training from a young age because they can be very wary of those they don’t know — both people and animals. Fortunately, their intelligence means they learn very quickly and, although consistency and patience is needed, they generally pick up commands well.
The Xoloitzcuintli has a very long life expectancy. On average, these dogs can live for between 14 and 20 years!
Known Health Issues
The Xolo is a relatively health breed with a long lifespan. However, like all dogs, they are not free of health problems and will need regular vet checkups to ensure they are healthy.
One of the biggest health concerns for the Xoloitzcuintli dog is their hairlessness! Because they don’t have fur, or only a very small amount, they need to wear sunscreen in hot weather and shouldn’t be left outside in the sun without areas of shade. Likewise, in the winter, they’ll appreciate a sweater or coat when outside!
While they are at home, they can go naked! Being covered up all the time can lead to skin problems that result from the blocking of pores. Fortunately, their skin heals very quickly when they get a cut.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Xoloitzcuintli, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these unique dogs on a day to day basis is really like. We will cover their food and diet, their exercise requirements and their grooming needs so you know exactly what to expect from the Xoloitzcuintli.
Food And Diet
The amount you feed your Xolo is going to depend on their size. It is also going to be depend on their age and activity level, but, on average, these dogs need around 5/8 to 1.75 cups of a high-quality dog food daily, divided into two meals.
Be very careful about overfeeding the Xoloitzcuintli because they can be prone to weight gain. Obesity can stress their joints, which can lead to more health problems later. Don’t allow these dogs to free feed and keep an eye on how much they are eating.
The Xoloitzcuintli should be on a diet that meets all their nutritional needs. As a relatively active dog, it is often advised you put them on a food formulated for this. If they are a toy or miniature size, your can also feed them a kibble designed for smaller dogs. Take a look at one dog food we recommend for the Xolo below.
Best Dog Food For The Xoloitzcuintli
Taste of the Wild High Protein Premium Dry Dog FoodBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the High Protein dog food from Taste of the Wild for the Xoloitzcuintli. As a fairly active dog, this breed needs a large amount of protein in their diet and this recipe contains 32% protein. This helps to keep your pup’s muscles lean and strong and also ensures an optimal amino acid profile.
Alongside the protein, there are also vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables as superfoods for hardworking antioxidants, and fatty acids that help to promote skin and coat health. Proprietary probiotics are also present, surviving and thriving in the GI tract. All the ingredients are highly digestible and there are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
The Xoloitzcuintli has moderate exercise needs. These pups are athletic and strong and will certainly enjoy being outside and being active, but they’ll also be happy snuggling up on the couch next to you! One walk a day or an energetic playtime in a fenced yard will satisfy their exercise needs. They just want to be with their family members so as long as you are involved, they will enjoy the exercise wherever it is!
Remember, the Xoloitzcuintli is very sensitive to changes in the weather and so you should always be careful when exercising them outside. If it is sunny, use a dog sunscreen. If the weather is cooler, make sure your Xolo has a coat to wear to keep them warm.
The Xoloitzcuintli can make a fantastic family pet when they are socialized with all members of the household from a young age. These pups get on well with both children and animals that they are raised with and can make a great playmate. Fortunately, they also do not have very high exercise needs and so you do not need to dedicate a lot of your time to walking these dogs — playtime in the garden will be enough for most Xoloitzcuintlis.
Because the Xoloitzcuintli dog does not like to be left alone, they can pose an issue for busy families who are out and about all the time. You will want to make sure at least someone is home with your Xoloitzcuintli dog at all times, otherwise they can become frustrated and destructive.
These dogs come in three different sizes and therefore are a wonderful pet for families with limited space. They won’t mind living in an apartment, but will benefit from having a yard or space to run around in. You should be warned, however, these dogs are wonderful escape artists! They can scale a six foot fence with no issues and so you will want to make sure your yard is secure.
An intelligent breed, the Xoloitzcuintli is fairly easy to train and will pick things up quickly. You may need to be consistent with them as they learn, but once they know certain commands they will know them for life!
Like all dogs, the Xolo responds best to positive reinforcement and reward based training. This includes verbal praise and treats. You should never get angry or frustrated with your dog when training. They may not understand what is happening and this will cause them to not want to learn. You should ignore negative behavior and praise positive behavior so they learn which is more desirable.
The Xoloitzcuintli is sociable with those that they know, but can be wary of strangers and animals who they are not familiar with. They will bark when they feel threatened and, although this makes them a good guard dog, you should still be socializing them from a young age.
Introduce your Xoloitzcuintli to new sights, sounds, places, smells, people and animals in a calm and controlled way from puppyhood. This way they will learn there is nothing to be afraid of.
As you have probably guessed, the Xoloitzcuintli doesn’t require any brushing. However, this doesn’t mean they are free of a grooming regime! You will need to be checking their skin regularly for signs of inflammation, rashes or sores. You should also check their ears for any signs of an infection.
Xolos clean themselves like cats, yet they still sweat through their skin and paw pads. You should be checking their feet and cleaning them every few weeks to keep the sebaceous glands free. Bathing your Xoloitzcuintli every 2 weeks is important, because they don’t have any fur. Use a special puppy shampoo.
Clip your Xoloitzcuintli’s toenails as often as needed, normally when you hear them clicking on the floor. You should also brush their teeth at least twice a week to prevent dental decay and disease.
Start grooming with your Xoloitzcuintli from a young age so they learn that it is nothing something to be feared.
Xoloitzcuintli Dog FAQ’s
How much does a Xoloitzcuintli cost?
A Xoloitzcuintli dog can set you back between $1500 and $3000. This high price tag is down to the fact that they are a rare breed and also very unique, so can be in high demand from limited breeders. You should always make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder who can show you health clearances for both parent breeds.
If this is out of your price range, you can always check your local shelter. A search online will also help to find any Xoloitzcuintli rescue organizations.
How do I take care of my Xoloitzcuintli’s skin?
As a hairless breed, you should be checking your Xoloitzcuintli’s skin regularly for signs of infection or sores. Take them to the vet if anything looks unusual or they are in pain.
You should bathe your Xoloitzcuintli dog every 2 weeks to keep their skin clean and to keep the sebaceous glands free. Also remember to put sunscreen on your Xolo when they are outside, as they can be very prone to burning.
A Xoloitzcuintli dog is a unique hairless breed of dog. While the appearance of this pup isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, the Xolo is a loving and affectionate breed that devotes themselves to their owners. Protective and loyal, the Xoloitzcuintli can make a great companion dog and just wants to be around their family at all times. With relatively low exercise needs and good trainability, this dog is not too much of a handful and the three sizes they come in means you can certainly find a Xoloitzcuintli to fit into your home. Do you think this doggie is the right pup for you?