Week’s Featured Breed: Xoloitzcuintli (Xolo)

Xoloitzcuintli

Summary

Dog Breed Group: Companion Dogs

Height: 1 foot, 6 inches to 1 foot, 11 inches tall at the shoulder

Weight: 10 to 50 pounds

Life Span: 14 to 20 years

Price: ~ $2000 to $2500

  • Comes in 3 different sizes: Toy (at least 10 through 14 inches tall at the shoulder), Miniature (more than 14 through 18 inches tall) or Standard size (more than 18 through 23 inches tall).  Their weight ranges from 10 to 50 pounds.
  • Native to Mexico and Central America
  • Thought to date pre-Columbian civilizations
  • Is a great companion as well as a watchdog
  • Belongs to the non-sporting group as recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2011
  • Can have a strong prey drive

History

Also called the Mexican Hairless, the Xoloitzcuintli is said to have descended from the first dogs in North America.  Considered a natural breed, archeological evidence suggests that these dogs accompanied migratory people across the Bering region.  The dog takes its name from the Aztec deity ‘Xoloti’, the god of fire and escort of the dead to the underworld, and ‘itzcuintli’, the Aztec word for dog.

The dogs were said to have healing powers for conditions like asthma, rheumatism, and insomnia.  They were also said to frighten evil spirits away as well as intruders.  In olden days, they were also considered as good eats.

The breed was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887, but deregistered the breed because of unpopularity among the masses in 1959.  But some true fans brought it back from the verge of extinction.  It’s a national treasurer in Mexico now, and was named dog of the year in 2010.  About 30,000 Xolos are known to exist worldwide.  The American Kennel Club reregistered the breed in 2011.

Personality

The Xolo is a calm dog; much a family dog too.  It does not need heavy exercise, and energy can be contained within the fences of a home garden.  Puppies usually need more activity than older dogs.  It likes the sun and would sit in it for long hours, but is not fond of staying at home alone.

Xolos can be excellent watchdogs, but not nuisance barkers.  They will only alert you of things that seem to be an irregularity.  They are generally wary of strangers and do not make friends easily.  These strangers could be people outside the family or animals outside the dog’s social circle.

Gentle positive reinforcement is recommended to bring up trained and intelligent Xolos.  Once trained, a stern glance is all the dog needs to understand misbehavior.  But this dog is certainly not a choice for first time dog owners; the breed has the tendency to easily intimidate the owner.

The temperament of a Xolo depends on heredity, training, and socialization.  Try to meet the parents to judge for hereditary temperament traits.  After that make sure you go through a good training manual to train Xolos.  It is important that the dogs are brought up well.  Since the dogs are not usually social with outsiders, try to introduce them to networking at a young age: exposure to different people, sights, sounds, and experiences are an important part of the dog’s training.

The Xolo is not a big fan of having its ears or tail pulled by children or otherwise.  Never approach the dog while he is sleeping or eating or try to take the dog’s food away.  Do not ever leave unsupervised with children while still training.

Xolos can get along with other dogs and cats if they grow up with them.  They may be less sociable with animals that are strangers to them.

Adopting an adult Xolo has many benefits. Adult dogs are often already housetrained and have some obedience training, and they’ve already gone through the destructive puppy stage.

Health and Care

You must buy a Xolo from a responsible, credible breeder.  A puppy will be vaccinated and dewormed before it can be taken home.  Some problems may not appear till the dog is 2 years of age (full maturity). The dogs should not be bred before this age.

The dog can develop some genetic diseases.  These may include hairlessness.  The dog needs protection from sun in this case, and applying sunscreen to the entire body may be a good idea. I n cold weather, the dog may need a sweater.

The Xolo often cleans itself like a cat.  It is unlikely that the animal will get fleas.  Wash its paws lightly to make sure that the sebaceous glands are not blocked.  The dog requires bathing every couple of weeks with a gentle dog shampoo.  Oils and lotions are usually not required.

Nail trimming should be done regularly, as the dog grows them really fast.  Brush its teeth at least 2 or 3 times a week.  Check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection on a regular basis.  Ears should be free of wax and eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge.

Depending on the Xolo’s size, he should be fed about 5/8 to 1.75 cups of high quality dog food daily, divided into two meals. I t is needless to say that a highly active dog will need more food than a couch potato dog.  Obesity can stress a Xolo’s joints , so he should not be allowed to get fat.  You can use the hands-on test to see if your dog is overweight: place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward.  You should be able to feel, but not see his ribs without having o press hard. If you cannot, he needs less food and more exercise.

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