The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced as show-low-eats-queen-tlee) dog breed, Xolo for short, might have descended from the first dogs to arrive on the North American continent. They were popular “doctors” in Native Mexico and Central America because the heat given off by their bodies have comforted people who have arthritis and other ailments. Until today, people still love to cuddle with them. Let us know more about the Xoloitzcuintli breed.
The Xolo is considered to be a natural breed and it is probably the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation. Based on Archaeological evidence, the ancestors of the Xolo were dogs that accompanied migratory people across the Bering landmass which is now submerged from Asia to the New World. The Xoloitzcuintli got its name from the Aztec deity Xolotl, the god of fire and the escort of the dead to the underworld, and “itzcuintli” which is the Aztec word for dog.
Xolos are believed to have healing powers which were effective especially in cases of asthma, insomnia, and rheumatism. Aside from that, they are also believed to frighten away evil spirits and intruders, as well as serve as guides for the dead as they made their way from this world to the next. However, they are sacrificed to be able to be a guide to the dead and they were also considered good eats.
Nonetheless, they thrived and became popular. In 1887, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club for the first time and they referred to it as the Mexican Hairless. The first Xolo to be registered with the AKC was a Mexican dog named Mee Too. After that, little was heard from the breed except for a short time in the spotlight in 1940 when a dog named Chinito JR. earned an AKC championship. He was the first and only Xolo to earn that award.
During that time, pet stores could barely keep the dogs in stock. They were even portrayed in artwork by artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. However, the Xolo again dropped from view and in 1959, the AKC deregistered it.
The Xoloitzcuintli breed might have disappeared altogether but fans have brought it back from the brink of extinction. In the present time, it is considered as a national treasure in Mexico and was named dog of the year in 2010. There are about 30,000 Xolos that are known to exist worldwide. It was also brought back into the fold by the American Kennel Club in 2011.
Characteristics of Xoloitzcuintli
Average size: 10 inches to 23 inches tall
Average weight: 10 to 50 pounds
The Xoloitzcuintli belongs to the companion dogs breed and it can live from 14 to 20 years. It comes in three sizes: Toy which is 10 to 14 inches tall, Miniature which is 15 to 18 inches tall, and Standard size which is 19 to 23 inches tall. Its weight can range from 10 to 50 pounds.
The Xolo usually has smooth but tough skin that fits closely to its body. It has little hair that adorns the top of its head, feet, and the last third of its tail up to the tip. It typically comes in colors black, gray-black, red, bronze, and slate. There are also some Xolos that have white spots and markings.
An adult Xolo is a calm dog that is aloof towards strangers, but attentive towards its family. It usually has one favorite person but it does not stint on affection from other family members. It possesses a clean, graceful outline, combing elegance and strength. Its typical temperament is calm, aloof, tranquil, and attentive.
Caring for Xoloitzcuintli
Since Xolos are calm dogs, a daily walk or an energetic playtime in a fenced yard will satisfy their exercise needs. They also enjoy lying in the sun or snuggling with you to stay warm most of the time. You might also want to take them with you whenever you can because they are not fond of being left home alone. They are also known to be excellent watchdogs that will surely alert you to anything that seems of concern, therefore, if they sound off, it’s better to see what has disturbed them.
When you have Xolos as pets, make sure that your yard is escape-proof because a six-foot fence is nothing to an adult Xolo. Puppies can be highly active and destructive but when they grow, they start becoming mellow dogs.
The Xolo breed is not known to be prone to any serious diseases, however, it has some traits that can affect its appearance and how you should care for it. The biggest factor is its hairlessness. It’s because it needs protection from the sun and from extremely cold weather as well. You can apply sunscreen to its body especially for light-colored ones. Also, do not leave them outdoors for long period and make sure they have a shady place where they can retreat from the sun’s rays. During the cold season, you can let them wear a coat or sweater to keep them warm.
This breed also cleans itself like a cat and it also sweats a lot, therefore, it’s important to keep his skin and paw pads clean. You can bathe them every couple of weeks using a gentle dog shampoo. Also, make sure to trim their fast-growing nails weekly and brush its teeth at least two or three times a week.
When feeding the Xolo, the recommended daily amount is from 5/8 to 1.75 cups of high quality dog food daily that is divided into two meals. The amount of dog food will depend of course on your pet’s size, activity level, and metabolism.
The Xoloitzcuintli is indeed another amazing dog breed that can be a great companion as well. So if you’re looking for a friendly dog to keep as a pet, then you might want to find a Xoloitzcuintli.