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AKC Meet the Breeds: Xoloitzcuintli

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-eats-queen-tlee), or "Xolo," is an ancient, natural breed from Mexico. It comes in three sizes -- toy, miniaturem and standard, and two varieties -- hairless and coated. In the hairless variety, the skin is tough, protective, smooth and close fitting. The coated variety is covered by a short, flat coat. In both varieties, a dark, uniform color is preferred, with colors including black, gray black, slate, red, liver, and bronze, although white spots and markings are permitted. Today, this breed serves as a guard and companion.

A Look Back
One of the world's oldest and rarest breeds, the Xolo can justly be called the first dog of the Americas. Archaeological evidence indicates that Xolos accompanied man on his first migrations across the Bering Straits. The name is derived from the name of the Aztec Indian god Xolotl and "itzcuintli," the Aztec word for dog. With a reputation as a healer, the breed and its warm skin were often put to use in remote Mexican and Central American villages to ward off and cure ailments like rheumatism, asthma, toothache, and insomnia. Xolos were also believed to safeguard the home from evil spirits and intruders.

Right Breed for You?
Typical Xolo temperament is calm, tranquil, aloof and attentive. They make excellent companion dogs with moderate exercise and grooming needs.

  • Non-Sporting Group; AKC recognized in 2011.
  • Toy (at least 10 inches through 14 inches tall at the shoulder), Miniature (more than 14 inches through 18 inches tall), or Standard size (more than 18 through 23 inches tall).
  • Guard; companion.

AKC Meet the Breeds is a registered trademark of the American Kennel Club, Inc.