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Mexican Hairless Dog Breed Description

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Breed Organization

Xoloitzcuintli Club of America

Native Country

Other Names
Tepeizeuintli, Xoloitzcuintli, Xolo, Xoloitzcuintle

Life Expectancy
Approximately 15-18 Years

Litter Size
Average 2-4 Puppies

Breed Group
AKC-Miscellaneous Class

General Description

The breed ranges in size from about 10 to 55 lb (5 to 23 kg). The height is 9 to 26 inches (23–67 cm). Similar in appearance to a Pharaoh Hound, with a sleek body, almond-shaped eyes, large bat-like ears, and a long neck, the Xolo is notable for its dominant trait of hairlessness. The dominant hairless trait originated in this breed as a spontaneous mutation thousands of years ago. The recessive expression of the trait will produce a coated variety, which is genetically inseparable from the hairless, as the homozygous appearance of the hairless mutation is fatal to the unborn pup. Most litters contain both hairless and coated puppies. The coated variety, covered with a short, flat dense coat represents the original form of the dog, prior to the occurrence of the spontaneous hairless mutation. The hairless variety is completely hairless on the body, with many dogs exhibiting a few short hairs on the top of the head, the toes, and the tip of the tail. Most hairless dogs are black or bluish-gray in color. The allele responsible for the Xolo's hairlessness also affects the dog's dentition: Hairless Xolos typically have an incomplete set of teeth while the dogs of the coated variety have complete dentition.

The Xolo is moderate in all aspects of its appearance, conveying an impression of strength, agility, and elegance. Xolo body proportions are rectangular, slightly longer in total body length than the height measured at the highest point of the withers (top of the shoulders). The breed occurs naturally in two varieties, hairless and coated. Hairless Xolos are the dominant expression of the heterozygous Hh hairless trait. Coated Xolos (hh) are the recessive expression, and breeding hairless to coated or hairless to hairless may produce pups of either or both varieties. Breeding coated to coated will only produce coated pups because they are recessive to the hairless trait and do not carry the dominant H gene.

Both varieties occur in all hair or skin colors, and the skin is often marked, splashed, or spotted. The most common colors are various shades termed black, grey, bronze, yellowish-blonde, blue and red. The breed occurs in a range of sizes, which breeders have standardized into three designations: Standard, Miniature and Toy.

Breed Standard

Head: Long. Fairly broad skull. Minimal stop. Long, slender muzzle. Tight-lipped. Nose dark pink or brown, depending on coat color.
Ears: Large (up to 10 cm), thin. Held stiff and slanted in action.
Eyes: Medium-sized, slightly almond-shaped, preferably dark, ranging from yellow to black.
Body: Fairly long. Neck carried high, slightly arched, graceful, without dewlap. Chest deep but fairly narrow. Tuck-up. Straight back. Well-rounded croup.
Tail: Set on low, smooth, fairly long.
Hair: Tuft of short, stiff hair on the skull. Crisp hair on the tip of the tail. Complete absence of hair is not penalized.
Coat: Preferably solid dark bronze, elephant grey, greyish-black, or black. Unpigmented areas with pink or brown patches are acceptable. Hair on the head and tail must be black in dark varieties. In light varieties, it can be any color that blends with the overall appearance.
Size: 30 to 50 cm.
Weight: Varies according to size.


The Mexican Hairless Dog is one of the world's oldest breeds. He might have been brought to Mexico from northeastern Asia by the nomadic ancestors of the Aztecs. The Toltecs, the first inhabitants of Mexico, kept Chihuahuas in their temples. When the Aztecs conquered the land, they introduced the Mexican Hairless Dog. Some believe that these two breeds were crossed to produce the Chinese Crested Dog. The name Xoloitzcuintle comes from the ancient Aztec god Xolotl, who accompanied souls to the afterworld. Despite this godly name, native peoples ate these dogs and kept them for protection and healing purposes. The first descriptions of the Mexican Hairless Dog date to the seventeenth century. The American Kennel Club published a standard in 1933. The breed is rare in Europe.


The Xoloitzcuintle's 'primitive' temperament (very high intelligence, sensitivity, high energy, inquisitiveness, strong hunting, and social instincts) is apparent because the breed's temperament was not modified overall by selective breeding in their native history in Mexico. This has also ensured a sturdy physical nature and vigorous health generally innate in both coated and hairless Xolos. Adult Xolos are frequently noted for their calm demeanor, although puppies can be extremely energetic, noisy, and very oral until they reach maturity (after 2 years old) and do not bark much, after which they tend to settle down and become more calm. Inadequately supervised or exercised Xolos can become escape artists, climbing and jumping fences to chase. Many individuals of this breed can possess guard dog ability and will not back down from a fight. At the same time, adult dogs, when they are raised properly, can become steady, well-behaved, and affectionate companions.

Though physically grown at 1 year, many dog breeds including Xolos, are not 'emotionally mature' until around 2 years. Like active breeds such as terriers, Xolos need calm, consistent and loving obedience training and regular socialization during their growing years. Well-raised Xolos bond strongly with their owners, becoming highly devoted to their families while frequently choosing one specific family member as favorite.

Anyone considering acquiring a Xolo should expect to spend time educating themselves in positive reinforcement dog training techniques and, ideally, should have prior experience with active and intelligent dog breeds. A spacious, well-fenced, and safe physical environment is desirable for this breed. Daily walks are ideal for exercising most Toy-sized Xolos; however, more stimulating physical and mental exercise is advised for larger and more active individuals. Behavior problems in Xolos are typically a result of a dog receiving inadequate or inconsistent supervision, as well as inadequate exercise and mental stimulation. The Xoloitzcuintle is a social dog that should not, in most cases, be an "only dog". It does not do well when kept as an outside-only dog. This is a breed that is at its best when it is made part of the family, receiving regular interaction and socialization with its humans (and other dogs, whether present in the home or as regular playmates).

He needs minimal exercise. Because of his delicate skin, he must be bathed regularly and rubbed with a moisturizer. He cannot tolerate cold or bright sun.


Pet, Watchdog.


The Xolo has been developed by natural selection for thousands of years, and is therefore generally not prone to health and structure problems as other dog breeds more modified by human selection efforts. Xolos came from tropical climates and are not suited for outdoor life in colder temperate and northern climates; they should be considered an indoor dog breed. They need bathing, light grooming and skin care as with other dogs of similar physical type, or acne can result. Most skin problems arise from poor breeding, neglect, or over-bathing and over-lotioning, stripping natural protections and clogging pores.

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