History of Xolo

“Sho-low-eets-queen-tlee” is an ancient breed of dog. Evidence of their existence has been found in the ruins which remain from the Pre-Columbian societies of Mexico and the countries of Central and South America. Archeologists have collected and identified their remains and done comparative studies between the Xolo and the “common” dogs of Mexico. For information about the early Xolos and other ancient dogs of Mexico, search out writings by Dr. Valadez Azua.

The Xoloitzcuintle was used by the ancient people for many things: food, sacrifice, companionship, hunting, protection and also for medicinal and curative purposes. The Xolo was used as a sleeping companion for warmth and was believed to have curative powers for arthritis and other painful ailments. The flesh of the Xolo was consumed for food and also in the hope that it would aid in the cure of various physical problems. The Xolo provided the ancient people with a convenient source of protein and they raised them in large numbers much like we now raise cattle, sheep and goats. The young ones were fattened for market. The Aztec people held great faith in the ability of the Xolo to guide them to their “land of the dead”, or “Mictlan”, after their death. For this reason, many were buried with a Xolo, which of course was sacrificed for that purpose.

Because of its hairlessness, the Xolo feels very warm to the touch. Some people believe that the body temperature of the Xolo is higher than other dog breeds. This is not true. It’s body temperature is within the same range as that of other dog breeds.

They do surprisingly well in cool weather but often need a sweater when the temperature is very cool or cold. In the winter in the northern hemisphere they are a house dog. The lighter colors may sometimes need protection from the sun. The Xolo skin darkens with exposure to the sun and in the winter they may grow very light if they are kept in the house most of the time. White areas or spots on their skin will continually burn from the sun. The Xolo is a very devoted dog and dislikes being apart from its human owner. They tend to bond primarily to one person but are devoted to the entire family. They make excellent watch dogs and do not bark without reason.

The Xolo ranges in size from very small Chihuahua size to quite large or Doberman size. Standards for the breed vary in the United States and Canada but are the same in all other countries, under FCI rules.

The Xolo is a rare breed, numbering approximately 4000 in the world. It is not common, even in Mexico. Members of the Federacion Canofila Mexicana began a registration and breeding program for the Xolo on May 1, 1956. Prior to that time the Xolos were considered nearly extinct.

For the purposes of judging in the conformation ring, dogs are grouped according to their type. At first the Xolo was in the non-sporting group but in 1974 it was listed as a working breed because of it’s protective qualities. Mexicans believed that placing the Xolo in the working group would better explain its traditional image. Within the last few years the Xolo was moved to the spitz and primitive group, group 5. Each breed has a “standard” which is a description of what the dog should look like. The Xolo is judged according to the breed standard for it, FCI Standard No. 234, in most countries of the world.

The breed was diluted by dogs brought to the New World by Europeans but the hairless gene was strong enough to maintain itself through the centuries of out crossing with other breeds. In the fifties the AKC recognized the Xolo for a short time. It is not an AKC breed at this time.

Opinions vary regarding the value of the ‘coated’ Xolo in breeding programs. A percentage of the puppies of the Xolo are coated, or have a full covering of hair like other dogs. The hairless gene is dominant in the Xolo. If a breeder consistently breeds hairless to hairless in a breeding program, about ten percent of the puppies will be fully coated with hair. This percentage increases dramatically if coated breeding stock is used and bred to the hairless. If two coated Xolos are bred then the puppies will always be coated, 100 percent, and no hairless will be produced. Some breeders believe that they must use the coated Xolo as breeding stock in order to maintain the breed and have good teeth in their puppies. Unfortunately, they have been misled and end up producing even more coated puppies than they would have if they bred only the hairless to hairless Xolos. To maintain strength in their bloodlines they need to bring in new breeding stock from remote bloodlines. This of course is more difficult but it is possible with the many breeders that are now actively breeding and selling Xolos.

A few years ago the Federacion Canofila Mexicana, A. C. revised the breed standard to allow breeding and registering of the coated Xolos that are born from purebred hairless to hairless matings.  This is a huge stride for the breed and it greatly increases our gene pool.  This will allow serious breeders to select from a much larger gene pool.  Gradually the public is learning about the Xolo and many prefer the coated Xolo.  This is a wonderful turn in the development of the breed.  The coated brothers and sisters of the hairless Xolo can be marvelous companions and many are potential breeding stock.  I am using coated Xolos very selectively in our breeding program.

As the years pass, the serious breeders of Xolos are selecting out the colors that may carry hereditary problems.  They are also selecting the solid color over the patterned coat and the erect ear over the folded or down ear.   This is an effort to standardize the breed.

The coated Xolo is the “common dog of Mexico” and can look the same as many mixed-breed dogs. They can be any size, any color and have any marking pattern. For this reason, it is impossible to standardize the coated Xolo. They can be good companions and watch dogs and display the same personality traits as any mixed-breed dog.

The hairless Xoloitzcuintle is an interesting option for the dog lover who has allergies or a person who prefers a very clean animal to share their home with. They have no fleas and no shedding problems.

The Breed name is spelled Xoloitzcuintle by the FCM/FCI registries. Some breeders spell the name with an “i” on the end. Both spellings are correct. The name comes from the Aztec god, Xolotl. The hairless Aztec dog was considered to be a representative of Xolotl and guided and protected the souls of the dead to their unearthly destinations.

FCM is the abbreviation for Federacion Canofila Mexicana, A. C., which is the registry in Mexico for all pets. FCM was founded in 1940 and became a member of Federacion Cynologique International (World Dog Club) in the early 1970’s. FCI is the major international organization which governs the dog show world.

The Xoloitzcuintle was recognized and initial FCM registration of the breed began in Mexico in 1956. Prior to that time the Xolos were considered nearly extinct. In he 50;s the American Kennel Club recognized the Xolo for a short time. Xolos are recognized in Canada under the breed name of “Mexican Hairless.” The Xolo has now become an AKC breed. In the United States the Xolo can be registered with various rare breed clubs and also with the AKC.

A hairless Xolo that has never been registered can be inspected and given an initial registration through FCM by visiting the FCM facility in Monterey, Guadalajara or Mexico City. Xoloitzcuintle are given this special opportunity to receive a registration upon inspection in Mexico because of their rarity and their importance to the people of their country of origin. This practice of visual inspection and registration is also a very real necessity because there are many undocumented Xolo bloodlines. It is common practice for Xolo breeders in Mexico to seek out new breeding stock in the isolated villages of the Mexican countryside. The larger cities of Mexico are vary modern but many small villages remain extremely isolated. There are many Xolo bloodlines that remain undocumented because of this, perhaps some of the best. I am hopeful that FCM will provide this service to register new Xolos for many years to come. A Xolo registered in Mexico with FCM can be shown in any FCI country of the world.

None of the registering clubs in the United States are recognized by FCM/FCI, with the exception of XCUSA, the Xoloitzcuintle Club USA.  (website:  http://www.xoloworld.com )

Mexico hosted it’s first World Dog Show in 1978, which was the first World Dog Show on the North American continent. MexicoÍs second World Dog Show was in 1984. Mexico’s third World Dog Show was held in June 1999 and 88 Xolos were entered for the four day show. This was the largest collection of Xolos to gather together in the history of the breed. The Mexican breeders take great pride in their Xolos — their National Dog.