The hairless dog of Mexico, also known as Xoloitzcuintli, or Xolo, is one of the unique breeds of canine in the world. This one of a kind breed has been around for ages. They are bald and loved dearly for their loyalty and calm nature. The Xolos acquire their name from the combination of the term Xolotl, meaning God of the Underworld and Itzcuintli, meaning a dog.
The Mexican dog has a history dating over 3500 years. The dogs played a vital role in pre-Columbian lifestyle. As per the ancient Mayan and Aztec culture, they were considered best friends to men even in ancient times. The Xoloitzcuintli, according to Aztec beliefs, was created to guide the dead souls through the Underworld’s dangers and also to offer safety to the living.
History of the Xolos
Xolos is the most ancient dog breed in the Americas, and researchers confirm that the ancestors of the Xolos accompanied the immigrants from Asia. Today after 3500 years since their arrival, the breed is still a popular and recognized one. The hairlessness of the Xolo is due to genetic mutation, and it is genetics that is responsible for the lack of their premolars too.
Xolos are depicted in ancient Mesoamerican art forms. They feature pointed ears and shrivelled up skin due to their hairless trait. The dogs are also very rarely seen in the U.S today. However, they have a reputation and history with the continents. They are hairless as they have a recessive gene causing this mutation. 5% of Xolos are born with a full coat of fur. The coated Xolos are also faithful, smart, and adorable though they do not have the uniqueness of their hairless relatives.
Charming and Intelligent
The Xolos are medium sized dogs with a heavy build and long bodies that are proportionate to their height. Its ears are upright and big, while the tail is thick, drooping and hairless. Sometimes, there is a thin course coating of hair on the tail alone. If the dog has some hair, it is generally scanty and only on the tail and near the tip. Some also tend to hand a tuft of hair right on the crowns of their head. Xolos have almond-shaped eyes, sleek bodies, elegant long necks, and bat-like ears. The Xolos seen today are different in size. There are three Xoloitzcuintli classes with weight ranging from 10-50 pounds and are classified as standard, miniature, and toy, respectively. Regardless of the size, the Xolo’s are calm, alert, and loyal. Xoloitzcuintli is regarded to be the first dog of America as it was one of the earliest dogs that were domesticated. Archeologists have discovered Xoloitzcuintli carved in clay and ceramic statues in the Mayan, Aztec and Colima Indian culture.
Legends and Myths
As legends would have it, Xolotl the God of death, gave life to the bone of death, conceiving a dog. Xolotl commanded the canine to stay with man and guide humans to the heavens through the Underworld. This is the reason Xolos are regarded to be Mexico’s national dog.
Xolos were considered to have healing powers and were also known as guardians that helped ward off evil spirits and intruders. The fact that they are without hair makes them emit heat from their bodies. This is why they double as heating pads too, and people love domesticating and cuddling with their canine counterparts. Xolo’s are famous for their capacity to heal health issues such as insomnia, toothache, and even asthma.