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Mexican Hairless

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Origin / History The Mexican Hairless, also called the Xoloitzcuintl, is a rare breed of dog distinguished by its lack of body hair. It is one of the rarest and oldest breeds in the world, dating back 3,500 years to the Aztec Indians of ancient Mexico. More remarkably, the breed’s appearance has remained virtually the same throughout its existence.

The Xolo, as it is popularly called, was highly valued for its intelligence, kindness, and alleged curative powers. The dogs’ natural body heat earned them a reputation as “medicinal” dogs; they were used to treat everything from night chills to rheumatic pains. They were so valued, in fact, that they were considered sacred dogs for a long time. It was only in the late 19th century that they evolved into companion dogs, although their warmth remains their most remarkable feature.

Appearance The Mexican hairless is physically similar to the Manchester terrier and Pharaoh hound, although it varies greatly in size. There are also coated and hairless varieties, with the latter considered more valuable because of its rarity. Coated Xolos have a full coat of short, sleek hair, while hairless ones should have little to none. The skin is soft and smooth, but surprisingly resilient to outdoor elements.

Colours Colors of the hairless variety can range from black to light gray, although blue, red, liver and bronze are also accepted. Coated ones can have two or more of these colors.

Temperament The Xolo makes a great companion dog as it is very alert, friendly, and loving to family members. It easily bonds to the people who give it the most attention, but may be a little shy around strangers. It also gets along well with children and other pets, especially if socialized at a young age.

These dogs are also very intelligent—some owners claim they can tell whether a human is sad or sick, and stay close to comfort them. In fact, it can become so attached that some people have called it the Velcro dog—it will never leave its owner’s side.

Height and Weight There are three size types: toy (under 13 inches), standard (22 1/5 inches), and miniature (13 to 18 inches).

Common Health Problems The Xolo is one of the few breeds with no known health issues. It is a very hardy breed, able to withstand harsh weather even with its meager coat and fine skin. Its skin has natural protective oils, but overbathing can wash these away and cause acne, rashes, and irritation. Dark-skinned Xolos are usually the most resilient, while light and spotted ones are most susceptible.

Living Conditions This breed needs a lot of attention; they cannot be kept in the backyard or left alone for long hours. It is perfectly suited for apartment life, provided that it gets enough exercise indoors and outdoors. The ideal owner is an active family with children in an urban or suburban setting.

Exercise Requirements Xolos are fairly inactive indoors and do not need a lot of exercise, although daily walks will be helpful. Most Xolos will be happy to roam and play around the house with the occasional outdoor trip. They can and should be taken on family trips, as long as they have proper sun protection.

Training Requirements This breed responds best to gentle, reward-based training. Harsh training methods are discouraged, as this can make the dogs insecure. Training should be easy since Xolos are an intelligent breed. However, they should be house-trained and socialized and at an early age, otherwise they will grow up excessively shy and aloof.

Life Expectancy The Mexican hairless can live 11 to 15 years.

Grooming Grooming needs are very minimal since Xolos have very short or nonexistent coats. Proper skin care is necessary, however, especially in hot and temperate climates. Owners should take care not to overbathe or overtreat the skin. Bathing should be done only once or twice a month, with regular applications of sunscreen and exfoliation to remove dead skin buildup.

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More Mexican Hairless Information: Check out our Mexican Hairless Clubs and links to more informative websites dedicated to the breed.

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