Xoloitzcuintli: Breed Profile

| Updated: August 19, 2023
A Xoloitzcuintli (or Xolo, or Mexican Hairless Dog) in Central America (Nicaragua)

Origin History of the Xoloitzcuintli:

The origin story of the Xoloitzcuintli, also known as the Xolo, is as fascinating as it is ancient. The breed dates back thousands of years and is believed to have originated from a spontaneous genetic mutation. Archaeological evidence suggests that the ancestors of the Xolo accompanied migratory peoples across the Bering landmass from Asia to the New World, and were considered to be a natural breed, likely not the result of human manipulation.

The Xolo takes their name from the Aztec deity Xolotl, the god of fire and the escort of the dead to the underworld, and itzcuintli, the Aztec word for dog. These dogs of Xolotl were said to have healing powers, and were also believed to serve as guides for the dead as they made their way from this world to the next. Unfortunately, that guide job usually involved being sacrificed. Xolos were also used as a source of food and pelts.

The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887, with a Mexican dog named “Mee Too” being the first Xolo registered with the AKC. After 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, the breed again dropped from view and was deregistered in 1959. Fortunately, fans of the breed have brought it back from the brink of extinction. Today it is considered a national treasure in Mexico, with approximately 30,000 Xolos known to exist worldwide. The American Kennel Club brought the breed back into the fold in 2011.

Xoloitzcuintli Appearance:

The physical appearance of the Xoloitzcuintli is quite unique and can be quite striking. The Xolo comes in three different sizes: small, medium, and large, and it has a lean, strong body. Its head is wedge-shaped and its muzzle is tapered. Its eyes are almond-shaped and can range from yellow to black in color. The ears are large and thin and stand erect.

The Xolo has a long, thin tail, and its feet are webbed. The hairless variety has smooth, tough skin that fits closely to its body. It can have some hair on its head, feet, and the last third of its tail, and the hair may be any color. Coated Xolos are completely covered in short, smooth, close-fitting hair. The Xoloitzcuintli’s unique physical appearance is sure to draw attention.

Also Read: Alaskan Malador

Diet and Nutrition:

The Xoloitzcuintli is a special breed and needs special dietary considerations. As with any breed, you should provide your Xolo with a diet of high-quality, nutrient-rich food formulated for their size, age, and activity level.

Due to the Xolo’s small size, it’s important to feed them smaller meals throughout the day. This helps to ensure that their stomachs are not overworked and that their digestive systems can process their food more easily. As such, it’s best to feed your Xolo three to four times a day. You can also spread out their meals by giving them one meal in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening.

Your Xolo should be fed a balanced diet consisting of high-quality proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. Protein sources should include lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and fish. Healthy fat sources can include things like flaxseed, olive oil, and coconut oil. Complex carbohydrates should include things like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. And fiber is important for digestion, so make sure you include sources like apples, carrots, and green beans in your Xolo’s diet.

Also, it’s important to make sure your Xolo is getting enough vitamins and minerals. You can get these from things like eggs, yogurt, and leafy greens. You can also supplement your Xolo’s diet with a multivitamin formulated specifically for dogs.

Finally, always make sure your Xolo has access to clean, fresh water. This is especially important if your Xolo is hairless, as they have an increased risk of dehydration.

By providing your Xolo with a balanced diet of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, you can ensure that your beloved pup has a long and healthy life.

A Xoloitzcuintli or Mexican Hairless Dog in the Garden of Dolores Olmedo Museum in La Noria Mexico City
Credit: Matt Mawson/ Gettyimages

Common Health Issues Affecting Xoloitzcuintlis:

The Xoloitzcuintli is generally a very healthy breed, with few serious health concerns. However, as with any breed, there are some issues that can arise. One of the most common health issues seen in the Xolo is skin problems, such as dry skin, allergies, and infections.

These issues can be caused by their lack of fur, which makes them more prone to environmental irritants. To help keep their skin healthy, it’s important to regularly bathe them and use a moisturizing shampoo. It’s also important to use a high-quality diet to ensure that their skin has the proper nutrients.

Additionally, some Xoloitzcuintlis may be prone to dental issues, such as missing or misaligned teeth. This is due to their genetic link between hairlessness and dentition, so it’s important to have their teeth checked regularly. Finally, Xolos can be prone to obesity, so it’s important to keep a close eye on their activity levels and diet. With proper care and attention, the Xoloitzcuintli can be a healthy and happy breed.

Interesting Facts About Xoloitzcuintlis:

The Xoloitzcuintli, or Xolo for short, is a unique breed of dog that has some interesting facts and traits. For starters, this ancient breed is the oldest known breed of dog in the world and has been around for thousands of years. It is believed to have been around since before the Aztecs and is thought to have been a sacred dog in many ancient cultures.

Another interesting fact about the Xolo is that they come in two varieties: coated and hairless. The hairless variety has no hair at all, while the coated variety has a coat that can be short or long. This breed is also known to be very intelligent and can do tasks like opening doors and fetching items.

The Xoloitzcuintli is also known for its healing properties. It is believed that these dogs have the ability to heal people from various illnesses, including asthma and insomnia. The Aztecs even believed that these dogs could accompany the dead to the underworld.

The Xolo is also a very loyal breed of dog and makes a great companion. They bond closely with their family and can be protective of them. They are loyal to their owners and have a strong sense of loyalty. This breed also loves to be around people and is often referred to as a “velcro dog” because of how closely they like to stay to their owners.

All in all, the Xoloitzcuintli is an interesting breed of dog with a fascinating history and many interesting facts. This ancient breed has been around for thousands of years and is still going strong today. They are loyal, and intelligent, and make great companions for their owners.

Where to Adopt or Buy:

If you’re looking to adopt or buy a Xoloitzcuintli, your best bet is to contact a local breeder or rescue group that specializes in the breed. Xoloitzcuintlis can be hard to find, but with a little research, you should be able to locate one in your area. Local breeders are the best source for a healthy, well-socialized companion, and they can provide advice on how to care for a Xolo. It’s also important to ask the right questions and make sure you’re comfortable with the breeder before bringing your new pup home.

Rescue groups are also a wonderful resource for finding a Xoloitzcuintli in need of a home. Shelters and rescue organizations often have Xolos of all ages, sizes, and temperaments available for adoption. In addition to providing a loving home for a dog in need, many of these organizations offer resources like training classes and health screenings to help you give your Xolo the best care possible.


The Xoloitzcuintli is a unique, ancient breed that is both rare and beloved. Despite its long history of being a companion, protector, and even a sacrificial animal, the Xoloitzcuintli is now mostly a beloved pet. They make excellent family companions, getting along well with children and other pets.

Their hairless bodies require special care and protection from the elements, but their tough skin tends to heal quickly. The Xoloitzcuintli is also genetically linked with hairlessness and dental issues, so potential owners should be aware of this. All in all, the Xoloitzcuintli is a unique breed that is sure to bring joy and companionship to its owners.


Q: Are Xoloitzcuintlis good with children?

A: Yes, Xoloitzcuintlis can get along well with children, especially if they’re raised together. They are family-oriented, so they should bond well with children. It is important to remember to supervise any interactions with young children, as they may not understand that the Xolo should not have its ears or tail pulled.

Q: Are Xoloitzcuintlis prone to any genetic diseases?

A: The Xoloitzcuintli is not known to be prone to any serious genetic diseases. However, they do have some traits that can affect their appearance and how you care for them. For example, hairlessness requires extra protection from the sun and cold weather.

Q: How much exercise does a Xoloitzcuintli need?

A: Xoloitzcuintlis are active dogs, so they need plenty of exercise. They thrive with daily walks, runs, and playtime. They are also intelligent and need mental stimulation in addition to physical activity.

Q: How do I groom a Xoloitzcuintli?

A: Hairless Xoloitzcuintlis need to be protected from the sun and cold weather. Apply sunscreen formulated for dogs all over their body, especially if they’re light-colored, and don’t leave them outdoors for long periods unless they have a shady place where they can retreat from the sun’s rays. Indoors, let the Xolo go naked so they don’t overheat or develop skin problems from having their pores covered up. Coated Xolos need regular brushing and bathing as needed.

BuzzPetz Staff Author Image
BuzzPetz Staff

Temporary BuzzPetz About Us

Read More

More From BuzzPetz

Before you go - You'll want to check out these articles!
[ultimatemember form_id="4648"]

Already a member?

Login Here

[uwp_register id="3" title="register"]

Not a member?

Register Here