The Ancient Xoloitzcuintli from Mexico, aka the Mexican Hairless Dog

3 hairless mexican dogs standing side by side in front of a forest

Sometimes known as the Mexican Hairless dog, also has coated varieties. The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced “show-low-eats-QUEENT-ly“) gets its name from two words in the language of the Aztecs: Xolotl, the god of lightning and death, and itzcuintli, or dog. According to Aztec beliefs, the Dog of Xolotl was created by the god to guard the living and guide the souls of the dead through the dangers of Mictlán, the Underworld.

Xoloitzcuintlis standing proud

Breed History

Xoloitzcuintlis(Xolo for short) dogs have their roots dating back to 4000 years ago, and originate from Maya and Aztec empires.

Mayan people used to believe that Xolotl was the god of the underworld, which led human souls from this world to the world outside. According to ancient mythology, Xolotl created this dog breed to introduce the mortal realms to this world and its humans. n ancient times, Xolos were often sacrificed and then buried with their owners to act as guides to the soul on its journey to the underworld.

Sixteenth-century Spanish accounts tell of large numbers of dogs being served at banquets. Aztec merchant feasts could have 80–100 turkeys and 20–40 dogs served as food. When these two meats were served in the same dish, the dog meat was at the bottom of the dish, either because it was held in higher regard or because it was increasingly considered a step above cannibalism.

The Aztecs consumed few domesticated animals, with over 90% of the bones found at archaeological sites being deer.

Breed Standard and Acceptance

Hairless Xoloitzcuintle

Xolos were among the first breeds recorded by the American Kennel Club (AKC). A Mexican dog named ‘Mee Too’ made breed history as the first AKC-registered Xolo in 1887. ‘Chinito Junior’, bred and owned by Valetska Radtke of New York City, became the breed’s only AKC champion to date. He earned his title on October 19, 1940.

In 1959, the Xolo was dropped from the AKC stud book due to the breed’s scarcity and perceived extinction. The Xoloitzcuintli Club of America (XCA), the official parent club for the breed, was founded on October 26, 1986, to regain AKC recognition for the breed. On May 13, 2008, AKC voted to readmit the breed to its Miscellaneous Class starting January 1, 2009. The founding members voted unanimously to recognize all three sizes (toy, miniature and standard) and both varieties (hairless and coated) at their initial meeting.

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