Should I Get a Xoloitzcuintli Dog?
Read all about the Xoloitzcuintli dog to see if this dog breed is right for you.
Amy Fernandez |
May 30, 2012, 9 a.m. EST
Xoloitzcuintlis undeniably have much to recommend them, but there are some critical facts to consider before choosing this breed. The breed’s rarity and exotic appearance are intriguing, but these should never be considered valid reasons to get any dog. Beware of anyone who attempts to "market” Xoloitzcuintlis in this manner. Exotic appeal wears off, but dogs of every shape and size require daily care and attention.
This is a low-maintenance dog breed in terms of grooming needs, but this is offset by the time required to meet their mental and physical demands. Xoloitzcuintlis of all sizes are athletic and energetic but a large, fenced yard will not serve as an adequate solution. Large or small, hairless or coated, the Xolo is an indoor dog breed. Although they are very hardy, Xoloitzcuintlis are sensitive to cold weather. More importantly, this is a companion dog breed that requires a considerable amount of human interaction. If deprived of social contact, Xoloitzcuintlis can become territorial or dog-aggressive or relieve their boredom though rampant destructive chewing.
As a primitive working dog breed, all three sizes of Xoloitzcuintlis possess the hardiness of a feral dog, the keen senses of a hunting dog breed, the fearlessness and natural reserve of a working dog breed and the unwavering loyalty of the most well-bred companion. Typical Xolo personality cannot be described as either timid or extroverted. After 3,000 years of living by its wits, the Xoloitzcuintli dog breed comes by a well-deserved reputation for intelligence and vigilance.
Xolos are quick to develop an undying devotion to one person and will inevitably become exceedingly attached to their family. It is not unusual for a Xoloitzcuintli to suffer from severe depression when separated from a beloved owner. In order to offset this problem, Xolo puppies should be habituated to the idea of temporary separation as part of their regular training. Like any other dog, a Xolo is quite capable of enduring time away from you. If you do not foster a semblance of self-reliance and security in your Xolo puppy, be prepared to deal with separation anxiety, excessive barking and destructive deeds.
As adults, Xoloitzcuintlis are prized for their calm, steady demeanor, but this cannot be said of Xolo puppies. Do not consider getting a Xolo puppy unless you are prepared to set boundaries and provide leadership. Xolo puppies require the guidance, socialization and training of a working dog breed. This must be done firmly and consistently. This concept, however, must never be confused with overbearing treatment or heavy-handed training. Xoloitzcuintlis are highly responsive and make a great effort to please their owner. Most training problems stem from inconsistent or ambiguous communication. Centuries of survival skills have honed the Xolo’s sensitivity to social cues. They will listen as long as they can understand what you are telling them. Owners may be tempted to overlook bad behavior, especially with Xolo puppies. This simply reinforces the pattern and sends a message to your dog that rules will not be enforced.
Typical adult dog behaviors such as wariness and guarding instinct emerge gradually as Xolo puppies mature. Their onset may come as a surprise to owners if they have not been made aware of all aspects of the Xolo’s natural temperament. Xoloitzcuintli dog breeders have an obligation to be forthcoming about the importance of training and socialization. Enchanting Xolo puppies can grow into intractable adults without appropriate training.
If your Xolo puppy is routinely allowed to indulge in territorial dominance or resource guarding, be prepared to live with the consequences. These habits become far more difficult to revise in Xolo adults. Harsh discipline is rarely effective, especially when confronting an aggressive, dominant adult dog. If challenged, a Xoloitzcuintli can easily reveal its legacy of tough survival instincts. They have an extremely high pain threshold and rarely back down from a fight. Dog owners may impulsively resort to a confrontational stance—after the situation is already well out of control. If a problem has escalated to this point, forceful intervention is more likely to make matters worse. Professional assistance may be the only recourse. It is far simpler to implement early training that will easily prevent such unpleasant possibilities.
Xoloitzcuintlis have always been prized as watchdogs because of their scrupulous habits and superior guarding instinct. The breed remains true to its heritage as a staunch protector of the home. They are instinctively possessive and protective of their territory, including family members. Xoloitzcuintlis are gentle and patient with children and other pets whom they regard as members of their pack. But this acceptance does not automatically extend to unfamiliar individuals. Xolos do not easily tolerate the presence of strangers in their home.
Xoloitzcuintlis are also notorious for their stubbornness. Xolos easily become set in their ways. Good or bad, their habits can be extremely difficult to revise. This trait has earned Xolos a reputation for being remarkably easy to housebreak. Xoloitzcuintlis are known to be fastidious in their personal habits and will even clean and groom themselves like a cat.
Thanks to a combination of moderate body structure and 3,000 years of natural selection, the Xoloitzcuintli remains one of the world’s most naturally healthy dog breeds. The interplay between body weight, leg length and muscle development are the basic determining factors of orthopedic disease. Moderation is the key to success. Throughout history, the Xoloitzcuintli has been noted for its high natural resistance to ailments ranging from distemper to fleas. Today the Xolo remains free of the genetically based illnesses common to many dog breeds. Of course, only responsible dog breeding can ensure that this remains true in the future.
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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