Similar to the cats of ancient Egypt, Xoloitzcuintli dogs were revered as guardians and guides to the afterlife in the Aztec culture of Mexico. Today, these hairless dogs are loving companions that carry out their duties no matter what size they are.
The complex and crazy-looking name can be broken down and pronounced as “show-low-eets-QUEENT-lee”. These Mexican dogs have been bred down to miniature and toy varieties over the years but each version remains intelligent and graceful.
See something that piques your interest? Continue reading to learn even more about this distinctive breed.
Xoloitzcuintli Dog Breed Information
|Height||10-14 inches for the toy|
14-18 inches for the miniature
18-23 inches for the standard
|Weight||10-15 pounds for the toy|
15-30 pounds for the miniature
30-55 pounds for the standard
|Life Expectancy||13-18 years|
|Coat Type||Hairless or smooth, short coat|
|Affection Levels||Very loving|
|Shedding Level||Little to no shedding|
|Health Issues||Hip dysplasia|
|Trainability||Pretty easy to train|
|Exercise||Pretty high exercise needs|
|Friendliness to People||Alright with strangers|
|Friendliness to Dogs||Alright with other dogs|
|Drooling Levels||Little to no drooling|
|Mental Stimulation||Pretty high mental stimulation required|
|Barking Level||Average barking|
Xoloitzcuintli Dog Appearance
Two people might claim that they both have a Xoloitzcuintli but when you look at them, they seem like completely different breeds. This is because of the amount of variety there is within this one dog breed.
Although the breed is well-known for being hairless, there is a short-haired strain out there and Xoloitzcuintles are often confused with similar breeds like the Chinese Crested.
The size of a Xoloitzcuintli can also be a point of contention but realize that there are three different size classifications for the breed, all of which are valid and recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Aside from their hairless nature, the breed is exemplified by erect and alert ears atop a sleek but rugged body. These small to medium-sized dogs don’t quite have the deep, barrel chest that some people admire but they do experience a similar tapering of the body around the waist and hips. As for the tail, a thin and relatively short adorns the buttocks.
Personality and Temperament
Xoloitzcuintles are excellent watchdogs for families thanks to their keen senses and attentiveness. If something out of the ordinary is happening, like a stranger visiting the house, rest assured that a Xoloitzcuintli will let you know.
Even though they are alert to their surroundings, they don’t have the excessive barking ingrained in them like so many other small dogs.
A Xoloitzcuintli can be good playmates for children who are a little older because they are so playful and love spending quality time with their human family. Their intelligence lends itself to both functional and fun training as they are quick to pick up new commands and enjoy being challenged mentally from time to time.
Smaller versions of the Xoloitzcuintli may be more rambunctious but they will all love to snuggle with family members, especially that one person who they are likely to bond with extremely closely.
Xoloitzcuintli Grooming and Care
In general, the Xoloitzcuintli is regarded as a low-maintenance breed. This makes sense when you consider how they have very little or no hair at all. If a Xoloitzcuintli does have the short coat trait, weekly brushing is the minimum requirement to keep it looking its best.
Interestingly, younger Xoloitzcuintles and true hairless Xoloitzcuintles are a little more high-maintenance than older, coated Xoloitzcuintli. These dogs are prone to adolescent acne and skin allergies.
Special care and prescriptions may be necessary in these cases so that a Xoloitzcuintli doesn’t dig into its own skin and form scars. Occasional baths can aid the process but be careful not to over-bathe a Xoloitzcuintli to avoid drying out their exposed skin.
Nails should be trimmed regularly – every two weeks is a good guideline – but the ears require little attention and are unlikely to develop infections. If you know you’ll be spending plenty of time in the sun with a Xoloitzcuintli, bring sunscreen tailored for dogs to prevent burns.
The fact that these ancient dogs have been able to survive several millennia and that they have such a long life expectancy is characteristic of a healthy breed. Even so, Xoloitzcuintles are susceptible to several health conditions that can come from how they are nurtured just as much as their nature.
It usually isn’t a major concern but the gene for hairlessness in Xoloitzcuintli is linked to genes relating to the health of the dog’s teeth. Hairless Xoloitzcuintles are often born with an incomplete set of teeth or can develop malformed teeth within their mouths.
Hip dysplasia and patellar luxation are typically associated with older dogs reaching the end of their lifespan, however, an overweight or obese dog is at higher risk of presenting these issues earlier in life.
Eye issues like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataracts are relatively common but a Xoloitzcuintli’s quality of life can remain high even if it were to go blind because of conditions like these.
- The plural of Xoloitzcuintli is Xoloitzcuintles
- Xoloitzcuintles are thought to be the first dog breed of the Americas and have existed for at least 3,000 years
- The breed has a few other names like the Mexican Hairless and Tepezcuintli
- As Aztec guides to the afterlife, the breed is named after Xolotl, the Aztec god of lightning and death (who happened to have a canine-shaped head) and evil twin of the exalted Aztec god, Quetzalcoatl
Are Xoloitzcuintles Hypoallergenic?
Yes, Xoloitzcuintles are considered a hypoallergenic breed because they shed very little or not at all depending on what kind of coat the Xoloitzcuintli has. However, the term “hypoallergenic” accurately describes the low-allergen nature of this breed because they are not completely allergen-free just like all other hypoallergenic dogs.
Xoloitzcuintles may not shed allergens present in hair, but dander from the skin is still a major source of allergens. They may not drool very much but Xoloitzcuintles still produce some saliva that has allergens as well.
Are Xoloitzcuintles Rare Dogs?
Yes, even though they have existed for many years, they are not a widespread breed. Even in Mexico, seeing a Xoloitzcuintli is a relatively rare occurrence, so finding a reputable breeder will be difficult to find if you are looking to get your hands on one of these amazing dogs.
Can Xoloitzcuintles Eat Regular Dog Food?
Because Xoloitzcuintles can be born without a full set of teeth or have other dental issues, you might think that they require special dietary accommodations.
This is not necessarily the case and regular dog kibble can often be used like with any other dog. If a Xoloitzcuintli has particularly severe dental health, wet or soft dog food may encourage the dog to eat and maintain a healthy weight.
The Xoloitzcuintli is a bewitching sight to see with its dignified stature and hairless appearance. A smart dog like this might put some off but the breed is easy to train without being too stubborn and is good for first-time dog owners and families alike.
Be sure to educate yourself on how to care for dog acne and skin allergies when considering a Xoloitzcuintli so that you can provide it with the happiest possible life.