Mexican Hairless dog Xoloitzcuintli, origin and characteristics

Mexican Hairless dog Xoloitzcuintli, origin and characteristics

Xoloitzcuintli, the Mexican Hairless dog

The Xoloitzcuintli is a 3,000-year old dog.  The ancient dog of the Aztecs, it is also known as Mexican hairless dog. This alert and loyal dog actually comes in hairless and coated varieties in three different sizes.

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The Aztecs, Mayans, Toltecs, and other groups considered the Xolo a sacred dog. The history of this Mexican national treasure goes back 3,000 years. According to Aztec mythology, the god Xolotl made the Xoloitzcuintli using a sliver of the Bone of Life, the one used to make all mankind.

The Aztecs named the dog after the god Xolotl, which has the head of a dog.  Columbus and other European explorers mention the presence of these “strange hairless dogs” in their journals. The Mexican hairless dog was usually sacrificed with their owner when this one died to serve as a protective guide in the afterlife.

Physical Characteristics

The Mexican hairless dog is very similar in appearance to the Pharaoh Hound. This dog has been molded by natural selection instead of human selective breeding. They range in size from about 10 to 50 lb (4 to 20 kg).

Their body is sleek, a long neck, almond-shaped eyes, and large bat-like ears. The most noticeable characteristic of the Xolo is the dominant trait of hairlessness. The coated variety represents the original dog before a mutation caused dogs to be born hairless.  They are the recessive manifestation of the gene.

The Xolo may vary in color between several shades of black, blue, and red.


This dog has not seen his personality altered despite the years. This ‘primitive’ temperament includes high intelligence, high energy, strong social and hunting instincts, inquisitiveness, and highly intelligent.

They take their watchdog job seriously and will only bark when necessary.

Caring for a Mexican hairless dog

The Xolos are very tranquil around the house. However, they do enjoy long walks and upbeat play as they are very energetic. The young ones need to steam off the excess of energy and therefore require more play time. As for grooming, the coated version’s hair is rather short and required no more than the occasional hair brushing.


Xolos need consistent and firm training. Train him using positive reinforcement. He is a very intelligent dog but he is a good manipulator.

Fun Facts

  • They were popular “doctors” in their native Mexico and Central America as their heat would help patients with arthritis or other ailments.
  • Pronounced the name show-low-etz-queent-lee.
  • This dog could easily be the first descendant of dogs in North America as well as one of the first dogs on the continent.

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