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 hide. The coated variety is covered by a short, flat coat. Hairless varieties come in dark colors, ranging from black, gray-black, and slate, to red, liver, or bronze while coated varieties can have even more variation.
Xolos went through periods of popularity, beginning in 1887, the first time the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club, which at the time referred to them as the Mexican Hairless. A Mexican dog named Mee Too was the first Xolo registered with the AKC. After that first flush of interest, little was heard from the breed, except for a brief time in the spotlight in 1940, when a dog named Chinito Jr. became the first and only Xolo to earn an AKC championship. Pet stores could barely keep the dogs in stock. Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo portrayed them in artwork. Fashion is fickle, though, and the Xolo again dropped from view, so much so that the AKC deregistered it in 1959. The breed might have disappeared altogether, but fans have brought it back from the brink of extinction. Today it is considered a national treasure in Mexico and was named dog of the year there in 2010.
Xoloitzcuintli (Show-low-eats-queen-tlee) is one of the oldest natural breeds dating back to over 1000 B.C. and further. Their lineage According to the genetic markers, place them from Mexico through Egypt. Old bones of these soulful dogs have been found in many places making it hard to tell their true origins. They were used for Guards, Hunting, and Healing the ill with their warm bodies. It was also said that they guarded the underworld, but today we know them as one of the smartest natural breeds of dog that are capable of just about anything a typical dog can (and can’t) do.
Xolos went through periods of popularity, beginning in 1887, the first time the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club, which at the time, referred to them as the Mexican Hairless. A Mexican dog named Mee Too was the first Xolo registered with the AKC. After that first flush of interest, little was heard from the breed, except for a brief time in the spotlight in 1940, when a dog named Chinito Jr. became the first and only Xolo to earn an AKC Championship. Pet stores could barely keep the dogs in stock. Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo portrayed them in artwork. Fashion is fickle though, and the Xolo again dropped from view, so much so that the AKC de-registered it in 1959. The breed might have disappeared all together, but fans have brought it back from the brink of extinction. Today it is considered a national treasure in Mexico and was named dog of the year there in 2010.
The Legend of The Chupacabra
Most people have heard of the legend of the Chupacabra, a “mystical creature” that supposedly sucks the blood from its victims, livestock. (The name translating to “Goat-Sucker”) It has been said to be a four legged creature with no hair, the size of a large dog. Some have even claimed it to have spines along its back. There have been many sightings of the “Chupacabra” in southern parts of the U.S and northern Mexico. A lot of people believe it to be just a dog with mange, others that it is all nonsense. However, the “Chupacabra” does exist…but it isn’t a mythical goat sucking creature. Actually, the Chupacabra is a Xolo. The hairless dog, especially ‘hairy hairless’ Xolos, can easily be mistaken as an animal with mange by people. The ‘spines’ running along the back of the Chupacabra that some refer to are hair on hairy-hairless Xolos (hairless Xolos who have large or spread out hair patches.)
Unfortunately, some people even set out to hunt down this “Chupacabra” and kill wild Xolos. In doing so, scientists were able to analyze the remains and identify them as being Xolos.
Now, the next time you get stares and strange looks from people and they ask you “What is that?” You can simply tell them, “It’s my Chupacabra.”
The Legend of The Butterfly Dogs
In ancient times, Xoloitzcuintli’s were sacrificed and buried with the newly departed. Most of the time, it was with their master, but sometimes it was a stranger to them. In any event, the dog was tied to the deceased with a red ribbon so that the dog wouldn’t get “loose” in the afterworld. The Xolo’s job was to guide the soul of his or her master through nine levels to reach Mictlan (heaven), then help him cross the Chiconahuapan, a river that was the last level before getting to Mictlan. According to the belief, the Xolo would swim across the river with the soul of the person on their back. A red dog was preferred because black ones were too “dirty,” and lighter colored dogs were too “pure,” but whatever color the dog, crossing the river with the soul of his or her master got the dog dirty from the water.
Once the pair reached heaven, they met Mictlantecuhtli, lord of the underworld. Mictlantecuhtli always asked the Xolo if s/he wanted to stay in heaven or return to earth. Some dogs decided to stay with their beloved master in heaven, but dogs who had been sacrificed for someone they didn’t know had no particular loyalty to them, and chose to go back to earth. In order to return to earth, however, they had to cross the river one more time. Instead of making the dogs dirty the second time they crossed the river, the water cleansed them. These dogs returned with white marks on their legs, chests, tail, and sometimes face because that’s where the water splashed them the most. Back on earth, everybody knew that a Xolo marked this way had returned to earth from the underworld. Now, when you see a butterfly Xolo, you know that the dog is a blessing sent directly from heaven.
Xolos are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders will screen their stock for health concerns such as cardiomyopathy, patellar luxation, and eye disorders.
We test all of our Xolo’s no only with the OFA Certifications, but also using genetic screening. Embark is a comprehensive set of results taken from a DNA swab of the dog. They sample for more than 170 genetic diseases (as well as diversity and trait testing!) However, because not all gene variants cause disease in each breed, and most disease variants have not been investigated in all breeds, detailed information about the test results are provided in three categories:
- Disorders known to be relevant to the tested breed
- New potential disorders
- Other disorders, usually ones not found to be significant in the breed
Embark tests for genetic risk factors relevant to your breed and will screen for 170+ genetic mutations linked to disease in other breeds, allowing you and us to learn more about the frequency and behavior of rare genetic mutations in dogs. They offer results for nearly all genetic mutation tests recommended by national breed clubs. Their test results are accepted by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for all conditions where the OFA has an established DNA registry. Having tests done physically and genetically not only verifies that the dogs being bred do not have any health problems, but also that they do not carry any known health concerns that could be passed down to their offspring.
Xolo’s do best in a loving home equipped with secure fences and closed gates. Daily walks, jogs and outdoor play during warm weather can not only help keep them healthy but also help them get out their energy. Puzzles and creative thinking may be needed when there is bad weather and your Xolo gets less exercise or you just need exercise their mind.
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.
Xolos are an intelligent breed and generally take to training easily, as long as the training is gentle and consistent. They are known to test boundaries, so being consistent is crucial. The breed has a calm demeanor and remains attentive to its surroundings.