The 3,000-year-old Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced “show-low-eats-QUEENT-lee”), the ancient Aztec dog of the gods, is today a loving companion and vigilant watchdog. The alert and loyal Xolo comes in three sizes, and in either hairless or coated varieties.
The Xoloitzcuintli (show-low-eats-queen-tlee) comes in three sizes (toy, miniature, and standard), and two varieties (hairless and coated). The hairless has tough, smooth, close-fitting skin. The coated variety is covered by a short, flat coat. Both varieties come in dark colors, ranging from black, gray-black, slate, to red, liver, or bronze. The face is thoughtful and intelligent, and a Xolo’s forehead will wrinkle when he’s deep in thought. The Xolo’s graceful, elegant body is surprisingly strong and rugged.
Xoloitzcuintles are national treasures in Mexico, with a history that goes back at least 3,000 years. Mentions of these “strange hairless dogs” appear in the journals of Columbus and other European explorers. Ancient Aztecs named the breed for their dog-headed god Xolotl. Xolos were considered sacred by the Aztecs and often were sacrificed and buried alongside their owners to serve as protective guides to the next world. In modern times, Xolos are dedicated watchdogs and companions.
Temperament: Loyal / Alert / Calm
10-14 inches (toy)
14-18 inches (miniature)
18-23 inches (standard)
10-15 pounds (toy)
15-30 pounds (miniature)
30-55 pounds (standard)
Life expectancy: 13-18 years
Xolos are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders will screen their stock for health concerns such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and eye disorders. As with all breeds, the Xolo’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.
Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club:
- Hip Evaluation (Standard)
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation (Miniature, Standard, and Toy)
- Cardiac Exam (Miniature, Standard, and Toy)
- Patella Evaluation (Miniature and Toy)
Coated Xolos have an easy-care short coat, requiring only occasional brushing. Adult dogs require minimal grooming, while younger dogs may suffer from adolescent acne when the skin may need special care. Beyond regular weekly grooming, the occasional bath will keep them clean and looking their best. The nails should be trimmed regularly, as overly long nails can cause the dog discomfort. Hairless dogs need sunscreen with prolonged exposure to direct sun.
Xolos like long walks and upbeat play, but they are famously tranquil around the house. Young dogs need a substantial amount of exercise and structured playtime, however, to keep them healthy, happy, and out of trouble.How to Train a Xoloitzcuintli Click To Tweet
Xolos need a consistent training regimen and clearly defined boundaries. Early socialization and puppy training classes are vital and help to ensure that the dog grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion. Xolos take their watchdog job seriously but are judicious barkers who only speak when they have something to say. With their loved ones they’re cheerful, affectionate pets. If you have allergies but long to own a dog, the hairless Xolo should be on your shortlist of breeds to consider.
The Xoloitzcuintli should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.