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Mexican Hairless Dog (Xoloitzcuintle)

The Mexican Hairless Dog or Xoloitzcuintle, called the Xolo for short, is a hairless dog with soft skin. Slightly longer than they are tall, with a slim, elegant build, they come in three size varieties and also a haired version which should have a short, tight, flat and smooth coat with no undercoat. 
Hairless varieties should have a smooth, elastic yet close fitting skin. Some tufts of hair are permitted on the forehead, face and back of the neck.  

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Medium dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Hypoallergenic breed
  • Quiet dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12-15 years 
Colours: Solid black, grey, red, liver, bronze or blonde,
with or without spots of any colour including white markings
Sizes & Heights: The three sizes are Miniature: 25-35cm; Intermediate: 36-45cm; and Standard; 46-60cm
UK Kennel Club Groups: Utility


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 3/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 2/5
Energy level: 3/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 1/5


Shy and reserved with strangers, the Mexican Hairless Dog is in fact an intelligent, loving companion with family. Described as peaceful and contented, they are alert to their environment and will bark to alert their owners to the presence of strangers or unusual activity. As may be expected, they are warm and cuddly and will appreciate a warm jumper or coat in cooler weather, and can be found burrowed under blankets or your duvet when temperatures drop.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Mexico

Thought to be an ancient breed, the Mexican Hairless or Xolo has been associated with the peoples of Central and South America for around 3000 years. Revered by the Aztecs, the name Xoloitzcuintle (say ‘sholo-eats-QUEENT-ly’) means ‘dog god’ (or ‘dog of the god Xolotl’ who was the god of deformed things, and a hairless dog seemed to fulfil that description). They were thought to have special powers of healing transmitted to them from the gods. They were also used as a gift to the gods and were sacrificed and eaten.

Fortunately their unusual appearance and calm, dignified personality meant sufficient of the breed survived to leave Mexico when dog showing became a popular hobby. First shown as early as 1883, the breed was recognised by the American Kennel Club but was so rare they were removed from the register of recognised breeds in 1959. They rose again in popularity in the 1980s but are still not fully recognised by the Kennel Club, though are now on the import register so should soon reach full recognition in the UK.

Health and Common Issues

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Mexican Hairless Dog (Xoloitzcuintle)

Training Mexican Hairless Dog (Xoloitzcuintle)

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Did You Know?

  • They were not specially bred to be hairless and the gene that causes hairlessness is a spontaneous mutation. There will normally be a mix of both haired and hairless puppies in each litter. The gene that produces hairless puppies also affects dentition, with hairless puppies prone to missing teeth.
  • Often thought to be hypoallergenic and so good for those with allergies, this is in fact only true if the allergy is to the hair. If the allergy is related to saliva or dander, then the Xolo is no more hypoallergenic than any other dog!
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