Xoloitzcuintli: The Ancient Aztec’s Vigilant Watchdog

Published March 16, 2021
Xoloitzcuintli Dog Breed

The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-eats-queen-tlee) or Xolo comes in three sizes and two coat varieties. This popular breed is known for being hairless, but there is a coated variety. The Mexican hairless dog was once a sacred dog of the Aztecs and a national treasure.

Xoloitzcuintli Breed Overview

The dog's name comes from two Nahuatl words meaning "god" and "dog." The breed comes in three sizes and a coated variety. There may be a few wisps of hair on the top of the head, tip of the tail, and toes. The hairless Xolo may need a sweater, as the skin is susceptible to frostbite. Xolos are lovely dogs for any pet parent suffering from allergies.

Mexican Hairless Dog Origin and History

Xolos came to the Americas across the Bering Strait with nomadic tribes. Genetic testing shows the Xolo is related to several Old World breeds. This breed is now a national treasure in Mexico, and approximately 30,000 are known to exist worldwide.


This breed is considered a "primitive" dog. The Xolo's temperament is intelligent, sensitive, and curious. Pet parents need to expect a dog with a strong hunting instinct.

tiny cute Xoloitzcuintle puppy

Overall Appearance

The Xolo is a special canine and tightly linked to Mexican culture for centuries. It is only in modern times that hairlessness by selective breeding is a priority for breeders. You may see a few wisps of hair on the head and feet of hairless dogs like the Xolo.

  • The popular version is hairless, but there is also a coated variety.
  • The dog's coat is available in red, liver, or bronze.

Toy Xolo

The tiny Xolo may be a perfect bed-warmer.

  • Height: The Toy is between 10 and 14 inches tall.
  • Weight: This tiny Xolo weighs between five and 15 pounds.
Xoloitzcuintli dog rolls a snowball

Miniature Xolo

Miniature Xolos are adorable in sweaters.

  • Height: The miniature variety is between 14 and 18 inches tall.
  • Weight: The miniature Xolo is between 15 and 31 pounds.

Standard Xolo

The standard Xolo may weigh 40 pounds!

  • Height: The standard size is between 18 and 24 inches.
  • Weight: Large Xolos weigh between 24 and 40 pounds.

Low-Maintenance Grooming

Pet parents may not need to worry about grooming, but the Xolo is a delicate-skinned canine. This breed needs protection from the sun and frigid weather.


The Mexican hairless dog benefits from one brisk walk a day and a fetch game in the yard.

Mexican Hairless Dog Xoloitzcuintli

Health Conditions

This breed is a generally healthy dog. Hairless dogs tend to be missing some of the teeth, typically premolars. The traits of hairlessness and missing teeth are genetically linked.

Small Breed Diet

Most small breeds benefit from a diet designed for little dogs. Always feed your small breed a diet with high-quality ingredients. You do not want your small breed to become obese.

Xolos Are Warm to the Touch

Indigenous people believed Xolos to have healing powers. This myth still survives in today's culture in rural parts of Mexico. The Xolo breed feels warm to the touch like a "hot water bottle." He radiates body heat, and farmers used the dogs as bed-warmers and warm compresses.

Caring for Your Senior Xolo

The lifespan of this breed is over ten years. Many small senior breeds need to visit a vet at least twice a year. Your senior Xolo may need lab work, supplements, and pain medication for achy joints.

Xolos Is a Sacred Dog of the Aztecs

This hairless breed is an excellent dog for any pet parent suffering from allergies. The Xolo's history is fascinating, and this canine was once the sacred dog of the Aztecs. This intelligent and sensitive breed is a wonderful family pet. Some Xolos are used as service dogs and for pet parents with chronic pain. Any pet parents interested in the Xolo breed or puppies may visit the Xoloitzcuintli Breed Club of America.

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Xoloitzcuintli: The Ancient Aztec’s Vigilant Watchdog