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Meet the breed: Xoloitzcuintli

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle presents the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for a kind and sensitive companion, learn everything you need to know about the Xoloitzcuintli.


  • Tranquil
  • Sensitive
  • Attentive
  • Protective
  • Intelligent


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The first breed of the Americans, the Xoloitzcuintli is the oldest dog on the planet and the official pooch of Mexico. A godlike or healing dog, the name comes from the Aztec language. Also known as a Xolo (pronounced show-low), this is the first breed inducted into the American Kennel Club. The breed nearly fell into extinction in the 1800s. Becoming popular again thanks to celebrities, the breed was re-inducted into the AKC in the mid- to late 1900s. Often referred to as a Mexican Hairless Dog, there are actually a few varieties of the breed. Coming in toy, miniature and standard, one in five of the breed is born with hair. The only dog beginning with the letter X, the Xolo is still used as a protector against evil spirits in Central America. Often used in ugly dog competitions, these pups enjoy warmer weather and have very sensitive skin.

Breed standards

  • AKC group: Non-sporting
  • UKC group: Sighthound and Pariah
  • Average lifespan: 16 – 20 years
  • Average size: 5 – 45 pounds depending on size variety
  • Coat appearance: Soft and smooth if hairless or short and flat if hairy
  • Coloration: Black, gray, gray-black, red, bronze
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Other identifiers: Unique look with bat-like ears and features; dark, almond-shaped eyes; long tail and strong, athletic legs
  • Possible alterations: May be born with hair or have blue eyes

Is this breed right for you?

A kind and family-oriented breed, the Xolo should be monitored around young children. Good for apartment living, this dog will need adequate exercise to remain happy. Due to jumping, it’s best that a Xolo has a fenced-in yard. Preferring warmer climates, Xolos cannot be outside pets due to their tender skin, and will not do well being kenneled either. Requiring sunblock and care, a Xolo is easy to groom but will need extra maintenance for his sensitive skin. In addition, he does require a special diet to avoid stomach problems. A nice breed, the Xolo is very attached to his owner and can be emotionally hurt easily. Intelligent, he’s easy to train and will not respond well to harsh leadership. Considered a good watchdog, he will protect and serve his master without second thought.

A dream day in the life of a Xoloitzcuintli

If the Xoloitzcuintli had his way, he would sit on his owner’s lap from sunup to sundown. However, since this may not be the healthiest way for him to live his life, it would be best to incorporate a walk and playtime in the Xolo’s day. Enjoying playing outside, the breed will like to play with the older children and climb fences or trees if available to him. Going to sleep at his owner’s feet, the Xolo will dream the night away while he keeps his ear out to protect the home.

Other breeds you might like

Chinese Crested
Pharaoh Hound

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