All About the Xoloitzcuintli

Learn all about the Xoloitzcuintli’s traits and how its primitive design has helped this dog breed flourish.

By Amy Fernandez | May 31, 2012

XoloitzcuintliMost pure-bred dogs have been designed for a specific purpose; the Xoloitzcuintli dog breed was not. The Xolo evolved naturally, to thrive under harsh conditions. The primitive Xolo needed to be tough and adaptable and thus the Xoloitzcuintli evolved in an environment characterized by "survival of the fittest.” Hairlessness obviously offered an advantage to survival. As long as the environment favored the hairless mutation, the trait would have been rapidly spread throughout the dog population.

In addition, the Xoloitzcuintli had to be versatile. Indian dogs were used for a variety of tasks. They served as hunting dogs, guard dogs, pack animals, vermin killers and household companions. To succeed at all of these jobs the dogs needed stamina, hunting ability, guarding instinct and most of all, a tractable nature. Otherwise, they would have presented no useful advantage to man and would have likely been dispatched to a more useful fate in the cooking pot.

To fulfill such a range of demands, the Xoloitzcuintli needed to be efficiently constructed for power, endurance and agility. A good Xolo not only trots effortlessly,  it is built to sprint, jump and climb. The key to this versatility is the Xoloitzcuintli’s natural, moderate structure. Extremes of type or structure always come at a price, and the Xolo could not afford to sacrifice any skills to survive. Extreme variations of temperament, size, proportion, balance or angulation would have also been counterproductive to the maximum functionality of an all-purpose working dog breed.

XoloitzcuintliThe Xoloitzcuintli’s defining trait is no doubt its hairlessness. Completely functional by design, Xolo skin is thick and protective, highly resistant to injury, sunburn and insects (including fleas and ticks), while at the same time smooth and warm to the touch. It is not unusual for hairless Xoloitzcuintlis to be completely bald. Unlike the Chinese Crested, they are not required to possess furnishings. Most Xolos sport a short tuft of coarse hair on their head, tail and feet. This hair should never be long or soft and it should never extend beyond the areas specified in the dog’s breed standard. Normal Xoloitzcuintli skin should appear clean and blemish free. Rough, grimy looking skin is not typical or desirable.

Coated Xoloitzcuintlis are identical to their hairless counterparts in every way except that they are completely covered with a smooth, flat coat. The coat is short, glossy and dense. It should not reveal any thin or bare patches.

With a choice of three sizes, ease of care and an eye-catching prehistoric appearance, it is easy to understand the Xoloitzcuintli’s enduring appeal. They also offer the advantage of being hypoallergenic and can be tolerated by many allergy sufferers.

Excerpt from Xoloitzcuintli, part of the Comprehensive Owner’s Guide series, with permission from its publisher, Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Xoloitzcuintli here.



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