Xoloitzcuintli Resource


An ancient breed from Mexico, dating back 3,000 years, the Xoloitzcuintli was named after an Aztec god, and served as a companion and watch dog. Once revered as a sacred guide leading the departed into the afterlife, the Xolo had the reputation of bringing health and healing; his warm skin was said to ward off illness as well as evil spirits.

Today the Xolo keeps his family happy and healthy with devoted companionship, warm cuddling, and alert watchdog duties. The breed comes in three sizes — standard, miniature, and toy — and two varieties: hairless and coated, giving people plenty to choose from.

Although athletic, Xolos can live in both apartments and houses, if exercised daily. In the yard, high fences are in order; the Xolo is agile and an impressive climber and jumper. Indoors, an adult Xolo is rather calm, other than bursts of energy when he zips about with almost cat-like agility.

An extensively socialized Xolo can make a nice friend for respectful children. Although typically ok with other dogs, many Xolo show a prey drive, so co-habitating with small creatures is a gamble. Xolos are keenly aware of environmental changes, so they make solid watch dogs.

Training a Xolo involves lots of high value rewards and an understanding of their nature: the breed hasn’t been groomed for centuries to work alongside humans and answer orders. He is, however, both a steadfast companion and a top-notch bed-warmer too.

About the Xolo:

  • Fastidious houseguest
  • Tender warmth
  • Healing presence

Should I Get a Xoloitzcuintli?

Terrific for a person who:

  • Yearns for a personal connection or even a one-person dog.
  • Takes his time making new friends, and expects the dog to do likewise.
  • Considers it the cat’s meow to have a dog (almost) as clean and sprightly as a cat.

Think twice if you’re a person who:

  • Pronounces just about every word wrong, so will never manage “Xoloitzcuintli”!
  • Hopes his dog’s skin and coat will be tough outside in all the elements.
  • Figures dogs were bred to serve man, and has little patience for canine instincts.

Xoloitzcuintli Grooming
Regular baths and minimal grooming are required, and avoid dry skin by moisturizing with a non-greasy lotion. Lighter skin will burn or tan when exposed to sunlight, so protect the dog with a shelter or sunscreen. Because of their lack of hair, Xolo’s are a dog breed that doesn’t shed.

The Xoloitzcuintli Standard Look
The Xolo comes in three sizes: Toy (up to 13 inches), Miniature (13 to 18 inches) and Standard (18 to 23 inches); and two varieties: hairless and coated. The hairless has only bristly short hairs on its forehead, nape, tail and feet, and the coated variety has a short, flat coat. This breed may be shown in any color, including shades of black, brown, bronze, gray, red and gold, some with lighter spots.

Xoloitzcuintli Personality
Calm, aloof, and attentive; thoughtful and intelligent, vivacious, and loyal.

Is the Xoloitzcuintli Easy to Train?
High trainability. The Xolo quickly understands training and doesn’t need drilling exercises. Does best with positive methods.

Do Xolos Have a Lot of Energy?
Moderate to high; needs daily interactive playtime. Toys and Miniatures need daily walks, while larger Xolos need daily runs to keep fit and healthy.

Do Xoloitzcuintlis Have Any Health Problems?
Hearty, with no dominant health issues; breeders should screen for genetic diseases prior to breeding, such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and eye problems.

Are Xolos Good with Children?
Yes, when both the child and dog are trained and supervised.

Are Xolos Good with Other Pets?
Yes, when raised from puppyhood. Miniature and Standard adults can have strong prey drives with birds, rabbits, cats, and small dogs.

The Xoloitzcuintli: An Inside Look
Smart and devoted, this ancient Mexican breed is known for its distinctive name and look.
By Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz

Top Traits

  • Clever
  • Exotic appearance
  • Two varieties: hairless and coated

When a Xoloitzcuintli wants dinner, feed him pronto. Otherwise, this eerily intelligent dog may fetch the empty dish off the counter and drop it into your lap. “Rumor, my 11-year-old male, does this when I’m running late at mealtime,” says Kay Lawson of Hesperia, Calif., president of the Xoloitzcuintli Club of America. “Trust Xolos to show you what they want.”

The Xolo — pronounced Show-low-eats-queen-tlee, or shortened to Show-low — is one of the most ancient breeds, existing at least 3,000 years. Its name combines that of the Aztec god Xolotl and Itzcuintli, the Aztec word for “dog.” The breed comes in three sizes — standard, miniature, and toy — and two varieties: hairless and coated.

Once revered as a sacred guide leading the departed into the afterlife, the Xolo was prized for his mystical healing powers. Snuggled in bed next to his owner, the Xolo’s warm skin doubles as a hot water bottle to ease body aches and pains.

Catlike Companion

Today this intuitive family companion makes a good therapy dog. “If my 2-year-old Auanda senses that I need comforting, she pets me with her paw, like a cat,” says Jennifer Morley, a longtime owner in Channahon, Ill. “Rubbing a hairless Xolo feels like you’re stroking a soft leather jacket.”

Although aloof and wary of strangers, Xolos can be cajoled into canine sports. “They’re fast learners and don’t need drilling,” Morley says.

Famous Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and husband Diego Rivera were so taken with the exotic breed that they incorporated images of the dogs in their works. A Xolo serves as the team mascot for the Xolos of Club Tijuana, the soccer team of Tijuana, Mexico.

X out Fluffy

Life with Xolos presents challenges. “They spend their day waiting to please you, but constantly test the boundaries to see if yesterday’s rules still apply,” Lawson says. “This breed requires strong leadership, and a lot of socialization and training, or it reverts to guarding everything.” Left alone, Xolos may bark, dig, chew, or climb fences.

If the idea of owning an ancient breed appeals to you, also consider these breeds: the Peruvian Inca Orchid, Chinese Crested, Pharaoh Hound, and Saluki.

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Breed Details

Country of Origin:
Medium Dog Breed
Black, grey black, slate, brown, bronze, gray, red, liver or bronze.

Two coat types. Hairless: no hair except fo bristly short hairs on the forehead, nape, tail and feet; Coated: has a short, flat coat.


Protect skin of hairless from sunburns. Brush coated coat weekly.

Life Expectancy:
12 to 15 years
AKC Group:
Non-Sporting Group
UKC Group:
Toy 10 to 14 inches, Miniature 14 to 18 inches and Standard 18 to 23 inches
Proportionate to height
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