English teachers have a lot of fun getting their students to pronounce the word Xoloitzcuintli. Xoloitzcuintli is perhaps the only dog breed name beginning with ‘X’. The Xoloitzcuintli pronunciation is as follows: ‘Show-Lo-Itz-Queen-Tlee’. Also known as the Mexican hairless dog, the Xoloitzcuintli has a soft, warm skin and it is actually used as a heating pad for people with aches and pains. Let us study everything you need to know about owning a Xoloitzcuintli.
Facts and characteristics of the Mexican Hairless Dog
- The Xoloitzcuintli is considered to be Mexico’s natural treasure. It is a relatively rare dog breed in the United States.
- Native American Indians believed that the ‘show low itz quin tuli’ could actually guard against more than just intruders; the Aztecs believed that this dog could ward off evil spirits and that it had healing powers.
- Known as Xolo (Show Low) for short, this breed is considered to be one of the oldest breeds available today. Mexican artifacts show that it might be nearly 3500 years old.
- The AKC has now registered this breed as the Mexican hairless and is trying to protect it and increase its numbers.
- Purebred Mexican hairless dog come in different sizes: toy, miniature or standard. They can also have coat or hairless varieties. The coated variety has a full coat while the hairless has no coat. They have almond shaped eyes, black nose, broad skull and erect ears. Toy Mexican hairless have a height of 9-14 inches whereas the average height of the standard Mexican hairless is 20-30 inches.
- Average lifespan of standard Mexican hairless is 12-15 years.
- Fun fact about Mexican hairless dog puppy-it is actually born with a full coat of short hair. Some adults retain a bit of hair on their back, head and tail.
- Many artists including Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera have depicted the Mexican Hairless dog in their paintings.
Other hairless dog breeds
There are several other hairless dog breeds apart from the Xoloitzcuintli. Of these, the Peruvian hairless dog is famous. China produces the Chinese crested hairless dog. Southern India has a large naked variety of its own. African sand dogs are also without coats. European Turkey has a spotted hairless species. As stated above, many tribes believe that the hairless dog breeds are sent by the Gods and have magical properties.
Other Mexican dog breeds
Apart from the Xoloitzcuintli, Mexico has given the world many Mexican dog breeds including the Chihuahua, Mexican pit bull, New Mexican Shepherd dog and the Calupoh or the Mexican Wolfdog.
Xolos make great family pets especially if you have other pets or children. They are known for their intelligence, loyalty and ability to get along well with kids. Your Mexican hairless will be extremely devoted to you and other family members. The breed is naturally warm, so you may want to snuggle with it on cold nights! In the past, this breed is known to have played many roles including hunting for food, as sacrifice dogs and also as guard dogs. Today, they are mostly used as companion pets.
Training your Xoloitzcuintli
The Mexican hairless needs consistent training from a young age. Be gentle and use praise and rewards to get your pet to obey and behave. You must also get them used to other people, pets and kids early on if you wish to avoid socialization or behavioral problems. This intelligent breed learns and trains quickly.
Younger Xolos need plenty of exercise- walking and running for 30-45 minutes per day is best. As your dog ages, s/he will calm down a lot and need lesser activity. Provide your pet with mental stimulation to keep up their spirits in their golden years.
Skin issues and grooming needs
While the Mexican hairless dog is usually quite healthy, they may suffer from skin issues. Did you know that they are especially prone to acne and sun burns? While your Xoloitzcuintli does not need too much grooming and bathing, you must make sure to keep them warm in extreme cold weather. Just like Chihuahuas, this breed is very susceptible to climate changes. So do not fail to protect your pet with a sweater in winters. In hot summer months, preferably keep your pet indoors in cool environment and use a sunscreen if you plan to take him/her outside. You need to bathe your pet once or twice a month. If your pet is prone to acne, your vet could recommend an exfoliating scrub to use once in a while. The coated Xoloitzcuintli variety is slightly easier to care for though you need to bathe, brush and groom it more often than the hairless variety. The Mexican hairless dog with hair tends to shed seasonally, so regular brushing is needed to keep the hair off your clothing and furniture. Never over-bathe your Xolo. Clean its ears out regularly and also clip toe nails and brush their teeth from time to time.
As a pet parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that your pet is not over or underfed. Some dogs have access to food all day long. You certainly do not want to take this approach as it can lead to weight gain. Younger dogs exercise a lot and they burn off their calories quickly. As your dog ages, you must change the amount and type of food you feed it. Your vet can recommend the right food for your Xolo. Give your dog fresh water as often as you can.
The Xolo is a generally a very healthy breed. As long as you feed it right and exercise it regularly, your pet should remain healthy for years. Also, as stated above, the Xolo is prone to skin issues. You must keep it warm with sweaters in the winters and use a moisturizing lotion on the skin to prevent dryness, flaking, acne and sun burn. Also use a good tick and flea prevention all year round. Do deworm your pet from time to time to prevent whipworms, heartworms and tapeworms.