No Hair, Don't Care: Meet the Mexican Hairless Dog (2023)

The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-eats-QUEENT-lee), sometimes called by its Americanized name, the Mexican Hairless Dog, is a lively small breed from Mexico with a short-haired or hairless body in dark colors. The breed name is also sometimes spelled Xoloitzcuintle. The Xolo (show-low), as it’s affectionately known, comes in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy. Although the hairless variety is the best known, the Xolo also comes in a coated variety. Coated Xoloitzcuintli sport a short, smooth coat that covers the entire body. Hairless Xolos are completely bare-skinned, although they sometimes sprout a few tufts of hair on the top of the head, on the feet, and on the last third of the tail. Although breeders might focus on one size or coat variety, all three sizes and the two different coat types can pop up in the same litter.

The Xoloitzcuintli is what is known as a primitive breed—basically, a very old breed that retains semi “wild” characteristics. This means they require extensive socialization and training in early puppyhood and throughout their lives to counteract shyness or fear. It’s important to note that a wariness of strangers is a hallmark of the breed; they make excellent watchdogs and will alert you to any strange happenings in and around your home. This breed does best when given clear boundaries and a consistent routine. These loyal dogs bond very tightly with their family members. They are somewhat needy emotionally, in that they want and need a lot of interaction with their people. Without it, they can become demanding and even destructive in the home. But the Xolo is so charming and engaging, it’s easy to give them the attention they so desire. They usually get along well with respectful family children, other dogs, and can even peacefully coexist with the family cat if raised together.

Breed Overview

Group: Non-Sporting

Height: Standard: 18 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder; Miniature: 14 to 18 inches; Toy: 10 to 14 inches

Weight: Standard: 30 to 55 pounds; Miniature: 15 to 30 pounds; Toy: 10 to 15 pounds

Coat:Hairless: A small amount of short, coarse hair may appear on the top of the head, the feet, and the end of the tail. Coated: Short, smooth, and close-fitting coat

Coat Color: A range of dark colors, including black, gray-black, slate, red, liver (brown), or bronze

Lifespan: 14 to 17 years

Temperament: Intelligent and protective

Hypoallergenic: No. Despite its hairlessness, most of the dander lives in its saliva

Origin: Mexico

Characteristics of the Xolo

The Xoloitzcuintli is active and agile. They are generally calm indoors as long as they get enough exercise in the form of daily walks and romps in the backyard. They are intelligent and sensitive,

(Video) Poppy the Xolo: No Hair, Don't Care

You might think that with no hair, the Xolo is hypoallergenic. Although it’s true that the breed might be good for some allergy sufferers, it depends on whether the individual is sensitive to dog hair or dog dander (dried saliva and material shed from an animal’s skin). The Xolo lacks hair, but has plenty of dander. It’s best for allergy sufferers to spend lots of time with adult Xolos (preferably in a home where Xolos live) in order to determine if they react to them or not. That said, in general, the Xolo is one of the breeds considered good for people who suffer from dog allergies.

Affection LevelMedium
Exercise NeedsMedium
Energy LevelMedium
Tendency to BarkMedium
Amount of SheddingVery low

History of the Xolo

The Xoloitzcuintli is an ancient breed that traces its roots back to the time of the Aztecs, making the breed at least 3,500 years old. According to the Xoloitzcuintli Club of America, the breed name is a combination of the name of the dog god Xolotl and the Aztec word Itzcuintli, which means dog. The Xolo is the national dog of Mexico. The Xoloitzcuintli is recognized by the American Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, the Canadian Kennel Club, the Mexican Kennel Club, and the international kennel club Fédération Cynologique International.

In ancient Mexico, the Xoloitzcuintli was sacred. The dogs were frequently sacrificed and placed in the graves of their recently deceased owners because they were thought to help safely guide their owners’ souls into the land of the dead. They were also thought to cure various health conditions.

No Hair, Don't Care: Meet the Mexican Hairless Dog (1)

No Hair, Don't Care: Meet the Mexican Hairless Dog (2)

No Hair, Don't Care: Meet the Mexican Hairless Dog (3)

Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Dog) Care


Xoloitzcuintli are pretty low maintenance where exercise is concerned: several daily walks are all they need to stay healthy and in good shape.


The Xoloitzcuintli is a wash-and-wear dog. The coated variety requires occasional baths and minimal brushing (the hairless variety needs no brushing). The hairless variety does need frequent baths to remove oily buildup on the skin, followed by a moisturizing lotion rubbed all over the skin. Some Mexican Hairless might need a pet-safe sunscreen. If you’re wondering what the skin of the hairless variety feels like, it’s not soft or silky. Described as a hide, the skin is in fact thick, tough and protective. In adolescence (typically during the dog’s first year), acne (skin breakouts) and cradle cap (waxy buildup on the skin) is common as the skin goes through a transition. Extra skincare may be required during this time to minimize these issues. Your breeder can coach you through proper skincare until the skin matures.

In addition to skin or coat care and bathing, your Xolo needs regular toothbrushing and nail trimming.


Xolos are easy to train as long as you use positive methods and don’t overwhelm them. Socialization is extremely important for this breed, which can be wary and cautious of strangers. Start socializing early in puppyhood, and continue throughout the life of the dog.

(Video) 10 Things Only Mexican Hairless Dog Owners Understand

No Hair, Don't Care: Meet the Mexican Hairless Dog (4)

No Hair, Don't Care: Meet the Mexican Hairless Dog (5)

No Hair, Don't Care: Meet the Mexican Hairless Dog (6)

Common Health Problems

The Xoloitzcuintli is quite healthy. Some hairless Xolos may not have a full set of teeth (something that is likely correlated to the gene that causes hairlessness), but this does not usually cause any problems for the dog. Responsible breeders perform standard tests on their Xolos before breeding them, including screening for hip dysplasia and patella luxation, as well as heart and eye diseases.

Diet and Nutrition

Some Xoloitzcuintli are prone to becoming overweight. Feed your Xolo high-quality dog food and measure out regular meals with a measuring cup or scale to avoid overfeeding. Free feeding (leaving food out all day) can lead to weight gain. Overweight dogs may experience joint or hip issues, and other health conditions like diabetes. Ask your breeder or veterinarian to recommend the best food for your Xolo.

Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds for People Allergic to Dogs

Where to Adopt or Buy a Xoloitzcuintli

The Xoloitzcuintli is a rare breed. Some adults might find their way into rescue, but usually, people wanting to bring home a Xolo will be buying a puppy. Make sure yours comes from a reputable breeder. The Xoloitzcuintli Club of America publishes a directory of breeders on its website, but be prepared to get on a waiting list.

Xoloitzcuintli Overview


  • Does not shed

    (Video) The Xoloitzcuintli aka Mexican Hairless - Breed History, Care, Temprament, and More

  • Bonds strongly with family

  • Excellent watchdog


  • Requires regular skin care

  • Can be wary of strangers

  • Require extensive socialization and training

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

If you like the Xoloitzcuintli, you might also like these breeds:

  • Basenji
  • Chinese Crested
  • Poodle

Otherwise, check out all of our otherdog breed articles to help you find the perfect dog for you and your family.


  • How much does a Xoloitzcuintli cost?

    Depending on availability and where you live, Xolos cost from $2000 to $4000.

    (Video) THE XOLO DOG - SCARY OR BEAUTIFUL? - Mexican Hairless Xoloitzcuintli
  • Why do Xoloitzcuintli have no hair?

    Xolos have no hair, save for a patch on their heads, because of a genetic mutation.

  • How long do Xoloitzcuintli live?

    Xolos live from 12 to 15 years.

  • Why can Xoloitzcuintli go in the sun?

    Xolos actually can't go out in the sun without protection, as their bare skin is prone to burning. In fact, the Xoloitzcuintlineed sunscreen if they're going to be outside for very long without access to a shady area.


What is the Mexican dog myth? ›

According to Aztec belief, 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.

What is the myth of Xoloitzcuintli? ›

According to creation stories, humans and xoloitzcuintlis were formed from the same Bone of Life. Xolos were a gift to humans to guard them in life and guide them in the afterlife. Today, these dogs are routinely called “xolos” (pronounced cholos).

What is the Mexican dog with no fur? ›

The breed's full name, Xoloitzcuintli, derives from Xolo, the name of the Aztec god of fire and lightning, and itzcuintli, the Aztec word for dog. If that's too much to remember, they are also referred to as “Mexican hairless dogs.”

What was the Aztec dog guide? ›

According to Aztec legend, the Xolo came about when the god of death, Xolotl, created a dog from the Bone of Life. Xolotl gave the dog to Man and instructed him to guard it with his life. In exchange, the dog would guide Man through the underworld on the way to the heavens.

What is the Aztec dog of death? ›

And among the ancient Aztecs of central Mexico, Xolotl, the god of death, was depicted as a canine-headed monster. He in turn lent his name to the Xoloitzcuintli, a dark-colored, elegant dog that was often hairless.

What did Aztecs name their dogs? ›

The name Xoloitzcuintli is ancient Aztec. Xolo translates to the Aztec god of the underworld while Itzcuintli simply translates to “dog”. You can also call them Xolo's (show-lo) or just the Mexican Hairless dog.

What is the oldest dog breed still alive? ›

  1. Basenji. There is some discussion about what is the oldest breed of dog still in existence, with the Basenji a leading candidate. ...
  2. Afghan Hound. Closely related to the Saluki, the Afghan Hound is another breed that many think originated in ancient Egypt thousands of years ago. ...
  3. Saluki. ...
  4. Tibetan Mastiff.
Feb 7, 2023

What does Xolo dog symbolize? ›

Long regarded as guardians and protectors, the indigenous peoples believed that the Xolo would safeguard the home from evil spirits as well as intruders. In ancient times the Xolos were often sacrificed and then buried with their owners to act as guide to the soul on its journey to the underworld.

Are Xoloitzcuintli smart dogs? ›

Personality: The Mexican hairless is considered intelligent, even-tempered, affectionate and playful. The dog is also protective and will bark at intruders.

What are the 2 famous dogs of Mexico? ›

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, we're celebrating two unique dog breeds that hail from Mexico! Put on your party hat – your sombrero – and meet the Chihuahua and the Xoloitzcuintli (or just Xolo for short!) Commonly referred to as New Yorker by the Mexicans, this popular breed originated in Mexico.

Do Xoloitzcuintli have teeth? ›

Missing Teeth: Hairless Xolos are always missing a few teeth. It's completely normal and doesn't cause any issues—they can chew just fine (but don't give them hard chews). If your Xolo is coated, on the other hand, you can expect them to have all 42 teeth.

Do Xoloitzcuintli still exist? ›

About the Breed

The 3,000-year-old Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced "show-low-eats-QUEENT-lee"), the ancient Aztec dog of the gods, is today a loving companion and vigilant watchdog. The alert and loyal Xolo comes in three sizes, and in either hairless or coated varieties.

What does the dog represent in Aztec culture? ›

Dogs were believed by the Aztec, Maya, and Tarascan to travel between worlds, assist the souls of the dead, warn of dangers to the living and, at the same time, were regarded as a food source, companion, and guardian in daily life.

What does the Aztec dog symbol mean? ›

Itzcuintli, meaning 'dog', is the day in the Aztec calendar associated with the god Mictlantecuhtli. Mictlantecuhtli is the god of death and ruler over the lowest underworld, associated with funerals, wakes and remembrance. He is also associated with spiders, owls and bats.

Why did Aztecs breed Chihuahuas? ›

Chihuahuas are the true ancestral breed of the Techichi, which were used as sacrificial dogs for sacred Toltec practices. Ancient Aztecs and Toltecs also believed these dogs guided the soul to the underworld after death. In fact, Techichi dogs were often buried with deceased family members.

What did Aztecs do to Chihuahuas? ›

The Aztecs believed that when an Aztec noble would die, it was necessary to slay a Chihuahua and bury or cremate it with the body of the human. They believed that the spirit of the dead Chihuahua would act as a guide through the afterlife for the soul of the dead noble.

Did Aztecs sacrifice dogs? ›

Just as we make a distinction between animals we keep domesticated in our homes and the animals we eat, the Aztecs did too. There is little evidence that they regularly consumed their household dogs, but they did sacrifice them, so that the dogs could continue to serve as companions in the afterlife.

Who is the dog god? ›

Anubis (/əˈnjuːbɪs/; Ancient Greek: Ἄνουβις), also known as Inpu, Inpw, Jnpw, or Anpu in Ancient Egyptian (Coptic: ⲁⲛⲟⲩⲡ, romanized: Anoup) is the god of funerary rites, protector of graves, and guide to the underworld, in ancient Egyptian religion, usually depicted as a canine or a man with a canine head.

Who is the Aztec god of dogs? ›

In Aztec mythology, the dog god Xolotl is the Sunset god. He accompanies and guards the Sun into the land of Death every night.

What 2 names did the Aztecs call themselves? ›

The people whom we typically refer to as Aztecs called themselves Mexica or Culhua-Mexica. They were also known as the Tenochca, a name derived from the ancestor Tenoch. It is also the source of the name of the great Aztec capital city, Tenochtitlán, on the site of current-day Mexico City.

What was the first dog on earth name? ›

It is called Miacis, the genus that became the ancestor of the animals known today as canids: dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes. Miacis did not leave direct descendants, but doglike canids evolved from it. By about 30 to 40 million years ago Miacis had evolved into the first true dog—namely, Cynodictis.

What is the dog creation myth? ›

When angels brought the human soul to be inserted into the body one of them noticed a dark spot, scraped it off and the substance turned into the dog. Because the dog is created both from Satan's spittle and from the same substance as the man himself, it is considered unclean but remains the best friend of the man.

What are the dogs in Spanish mythology? ›

The cadejo (Spanish pronunciation: [kaˈðexo]) is a supernatural spirit that appears as a dog-shaped creature with blue eyes when it's calm and red eyes when it's attacking. It roams isolated roads at night, according to Central American folklore of indigenous origin.

What is the Mexican dog like creature? ›

Eyewitnesses describe the legendary chupacabra, a beast that sucks the blood of goats and livestock, as a hairless dog-like creature that roams parts of the Americas.

Are dogs a form of god? ›

The dog (Shvan) is also the vahana or mount of the Hindu god Bhairava. Yudhishthira had approached heaven with his dog who was the god Yama himself, therefore among many Hindus, the common belief exists that caring for or adopting dogs can also pave the way to heaven.

How is dog related to god? ›

Deities like Rudra, Nirriti and Virabhadra are associated with dogs. Shiva, in his aspect as Bhairava, had a dog as a vahana (vehicle) (mentioned in the Mahabharata). Khandoba, a deity, is associated with a dog on which he rides. Dattatreya is associated with four dogs, considered to symbolize the four Vedas.

Why did the Aztecs raise Chihuahuas? ›

Chihuahuas are the true ancestral breed of the Techichi, which were used as sacrificial dogs for sacred Toltec practices. Ancient Aztecs and Toltecs also believed these dogs guided the soul to the underworld after death. In fact, Techichi dogs were often buried with deceased family members.

What is the Aztec symbol for love? ›

In Aztec mythology, the dove represents Xochiquetzal, the goddess of love, and is believed to be the mother of all humanity.

What does the dog symbolize in Native American culture? ›

Many Native American tribes put dogs in places of honor. Dogs are symbols of protective powers and loyalty, so the Cheyenne tribe had a group of warriors called dog-soldiers who were in charge of protecting and guarding the village. They were essentially watchdogs of the tribe and territory.

Who is the dog of god? ›

Anubis was said to have protected and guided sacred dead Spirits. The depiction of Anubis was that of man who had a black jackal like head, or as a black jackal. Many ancient Egyptians, because of this dog-god Anubis, had a spiritual and reverent association with their dogs.

What Greek god is a dog? ›

In Greek mythology, Cerberus (/ˈsɜːrbərəs/; Greek: Κέρβερος Kérberos [ˈkerberos]), often referred to as the hound of Hades, is a multi-headed dog that guards the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving.

Is there a Greek god dog? ›

Laelaps was a dog in Greek mythology. When Zeus was a baby, a dog, known only as the “golden hound” was charged with protecting the future King of Gods.

What dog looks like a chupacabra? ›

In lively Internet discussions dog breeders say the carcass appears to be a Xoloitzcuintle or Xolo, otherwise known as a Mexican Hairless dog, rather than the blood-sucking creature of legend.

Do Mexican street dogs make good pets? ›

Mexican Street Dog Temperament

As the "street" in their name would imply, many of these dogs must fend of themselves. So, they tend to be intelligent, adaptable, and highly food-motivated. But often, Mexican Street Dogs are also friendly. And with proper socialization, they do well with children and other dogs.


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