Often referred to as the first dog of America, the Xoloitzcuintli temperament is happy and adaptable.
The Xoloitzcuintli pronunciation is “show-low-eetz-kweent-lee” but you can call them the “Mexican Hairless” or “Xolo” dog.
Xoloitzcuintli Temperament and Personality
Xoloitzcuintli dogs are highly adaptable. This is a breed that adapts well to many different lifestyles.
This Wild Beast Needs Taming
The Xolo tends to react in response to his primary instincts, but ironically, he actually prefers to have some kind of structure in his life. He’d rather you tell him what to do in a particular situation than shoot from the hip all the time, so to speak.
Lovable and Smart
Xoloitzcuintli temperament is happy, loyal and incredibly smart. This affectionate breed loves nothing more than cuddling with you on the couch.
Needs Attention, Doesn't Like To Be Left Out
They do well in a home where they are included in a lot of activities – but the Xolo does tend to latch on to one person in the family. He likes to give you as much affection as he desires from you – so you can tell by how much he gives you that he wants a lot of attention!
Some people consider the Xoloitzcuintli needy as they will likely become destructive if they feel left out. They don’t do well when boarded or left in another person’s care. He may even brood for a while after like a moody teenager.
Strangers need to “grow” on them
The Xoloitzcuintli can be cautious and reserved with strangers but they are not timid. They take their time getting to know guests and will decide for themselves whether they like them or not. The Xolo does not like to be touched by strangers, either.
However, this is not a problem that a little training can’t fix. The more you socialize your dog, and the earlier you do it, the better he will do with people and animals he doesn’t know as he gets older.
Xolos make excellent watchdogs and will let you know if they see something of concern. They are not nuisance barkers, though.
In fact, some Xolos are alert to the point of becoming high-strung. They feel like if they don’t jump at every little noise, then they won’t be ready to jump when the moment strikes when they should.
Some Aggressive Behavior
Xoloitzcuintli’s can be territorial towards other animals. If they are not properly socialized, they can become aggressive towards other dogs or humans.
Older Children and Pets are Welcome
The Xoloitzcuintli is a sensitive breed and does better in a home with older children. This is mainly due to its size. Older children are less likely to be rough with the dog and accidentally hurt him.
Xolos also do well with other pets – including cats! – when raised with them. However, they do have a strong prey drive, so I cannot stress enough that you must put the time in to socialize a Xolo properly before introducing him to smaller pets.
The Xolo can be a sensitive soul, so you have to be careful with how you handle him. Especially during training, you should refrain from yelling or spanking him, as these harsh punishments will only scare him and ultimately cause him to distrust you.
Some Mexican Hairless Dogs regularly tremble. This may be related to nerves, or it could just be because he’s cold! If your dog is a trembler, try getting him one of those doggy sweaters and see if that helps. If not, you may want to talk to your vet for suggestions on ways to calm his nerves.
Some people believe the Xolo has natural healing powers. They base this on the dog’s warm, soft skin, which they believe is brimming with healing energy. In fact, some believe the Xolo can heal conditions like rheumatism and headaches, as well as relieve insomnia!
Quick Xoloitzcuintli History
Xolos have been around for many years – about 3,000 to be exact.
They have been depicted on pre-Columbian pottery along with reports from Spanish conquistadors.
The Xoloitzcuintli’s history includes being prized for their healing abilities. These warm-bodied dogs were known to help with anything from insomnia to toothaches to asthma.
They were even known for warding off evil spirits.
Xoloitzcuintli’s were popular during the 1930s and 1940s. They were often found in the works of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.
Though they dipped in popularity shortly after, they recently made a comeback – being re-recognized in the American Kennel Club in 2011.
How Do You Train a Xoloitzcuintli?
Xoloitzcuintli’s are quick learners, especially with housetraining and obedience training.
Negative or harsh punishment does not work on this sensitive breed. They respond well to positive reinforcement training. Make sure you provide a lot of praise, food, and play rewards.
Xolos do need consistent training with defined boundaries, though.
Begin training Xoloitzcuintli puppy as soon as you bring them home.
Xolo’s can be an escape artist! Be sure you have a secure fence in your backyard or you may need to train him out of that tendency.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Xoloitzcuintli dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
Finding the Perfect Xoloitzcuintli
If you are ready to find your perfect Xoloitzcuintli, check out the Xoloitzcuintli Club of America. Here you can find everything from the breed history to a breeder directory to Xoloitzcuintli rescues.
Xoloitzcuintli Puppies for Sale
A Xoloitzcuintli for sale will cost around $600-$800. The Xoloitzcuintli price depends on your location, litter availability, and lineage. The more superior the lineage, the more expensive the Xolo will be.
Xoloitzcuintli Rescue and Adoption
Looking for a Xoloitzcuintli available for adoption? Xoloitzcuintli adoption is right for you if are in the market for an adult Xolo or perhaps a Xolo with special needs.
Adopting an adult Xolo can be beneficial as they are typically already housetrained and trained. Essentially, they are out of that pesky puppy stage!
The rarity of the breed makes them scare in local shelters but there are dedicated Xolo rescues. The Xoloitzcuintli Primitive Breed Rescue is a great resource for finding a Xoloitzcuintli dog available for adoption.
Finding a good Xolo breeder will require time and research. Xoloitzcuintli breeders should know everything there is to know about the breed. For example, they should know the breed's temperament and health issues.
When choosing a breeder, arrange to make visits to several different ones. You’ll know the breeder is reputable if they are able to answer all of your questions and ask you questions in return.
Although a lot of reputable breeders have websites, red flags include multiple litters at their house, puppies always being available and if you are able to pay online with a credit card.
Do your research and you will surely find the perfect Xoloitzcuintli breeder.
The Xoloitzcuintli Appearance
The Xoloitzcuintli comes in three sizes:
- Toy – Toy Xolos weigh around 10-15 pounds are around 10-14 inches tall.
- Miniature – Miniature Xolos are between 15-30 pounds and 14-18 inches tall.
- And Standard. – Standard Xolos are between 30-55 pounds and between 18-23 inches tall.
As far as colors go, the Mexican Hairless Dog comes in black, brindle, bronze, dark brown, fawn, or a mix of copper and white.
And check this out – the Xolo actually has webbed toes! This helps him grip his toys better. (It also makes his hugs all the more affectionate by helping him grip you tighter!)
Grooming a Xoloitzcuintli
In addition to coming in three different sizes, the Xoloitzcuintli comes in two varieties: hairless or coated. A coated Xoloitzcuintli has a short coat as opposed to the hairless Xoloitzcuintli.
Coated Xoloitzcuintli’s only require occasional brushing. Younger coated Xolos can suffer from adolescent acne and may need special care. Occasional baths are also necessary to keep them clean, however, you want to be careful with the hairless Xolo.
Don’t use shampoos or skincare products without checking with your vet first, as these products have proven to be irritating to the dog’s skin and dry it out. And, in some cases, all you may really need is a damp cloth to wipe him down – a bath may not even be necessary.
Hairless Xolos will require sunscreen if they will be in the sun for long periods of time. And, of course, if you’re going to take him for a walk in the winter, make sure to bundle him up. He can’t rely on his coat to keep him warm like other dogs do.
If you’re in the market for a hypoallergenic dog, then it all depends on which version of the Xolo you go for. If you choose a hairless dog, you are less likely to develop an allergic reaction because there’s no hair to be allergic to!
However, you may still be allergic to the dog’s saliva, dander or urine, which can all be true regardless of whether a dog has fur. The best way to tell if you’re allergic is to spend time with a few different Xolos to see if you develop a reaction.
What are the Xoloitzcuintli Health Issues you Must Know?
Xolos are generally healthy but can suffer from
And, because there are hairless Xolos, they require protection from the sun and cold weather. Use sunscreen when in the sun. In the winter, put a sweater or coat on your Xoloitzcuintli to keep them warm.
The average Xoloitzcuintli lifespan is between 13-18 years.
As I mentioned earlier, you have to be careful with how you care for the skin of a Xolo. In fact, your vet may recommend products manufactured for those with more sensitive skin, such as baby shampoo or baby lotion.
Helpful Dog Health Resource:
Note: if you agree that your health and your dog's health should be a top priority then get a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health. Your Xolo friend will love you for it. This guide will help save you money, time and most of all help you keep your dog healthy.
The Xoloitzcuintli is a fairly active breed. They love long walks and games of fetch in the backyards. But, they are famous for being calm while inside.
Xoloitzcuintli puppies need quite a bit of exercise and playtime to keep them happy – and out of trouble. But once the Xolo outgrows his puppyhood, he usually calms down and requires less strenuous exercise.
Just make sure that you exercise him in a yard that you have properly fenced in or otherwise secured. The Xolo’s tendency to rely on his instincts may kick in if he feels the need to escape. Therefore, make sure your fence is high and/or that you have a gate in place to keep him in the yard where he belongs.
And, of course, be sure to supervise him while he’s out there. You can have the best fence in the world, but if you leave him alone long enough to dig under it, he’s outta there!
Peruvian Inca Orchid vs. Xoloitzcuintli
If you're torn between adopting or buying a Mexican Hairless dog or a Peruvian Inca Orchid, you may want to consider those temperament traits that really make these breeds stand apart.
For one thing, if you've never owned a dog before, the Peruvian Inca Orchid is the better choice, hands down. I also do not recommend the Xoloitzcuintle if you had a really easy breed the first time around. I only recommend this breed for experienced dog handlers.
Both of these breeds are great with both children and grooming, though the Peruvian is more high maintenance in the latter category.
And if barking drives you crazy, the Xolo is more of a barker than the Peruvian, so you’d be better off with the latter breed
A Final Word about the Xoloitzcuintli Temperament
The Xoloitzcuintli temperament makes him a great dog for those who have owned a dog before. If you’re a first-time dog owner, then this breed may prove to be too much of a challenge for you, so steer clear.
Whether you choose a hairless Xoloitzcuintli or Xoloitzcuintli with hair, be prepared to be stopped on the street. These striking dogs are unmistakable and are sure to turn heads.
Xolos are an adaptable breed that will shower you with affection. They are quick learners and make excellent watchdogs. They are also very alert which, in some dogs, can make them into Nervous Nellies if you don’t teach them how to control themselves.
As long you have love to give, the Xoloitzcuintli will be a lifelong companion.
Kailyn has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2012, and during that time she has written about nearly every dog breed imaginable. Her mother loved Collies, and so Kailyn grew up with three of them throughout her childhood – including a blonde one who was half-blind! Now her home belongs to her first official dog, Macho, a Dogo Argentino rescue.