Have You Met a Xoloitzcuintli?


THE first time I touched a Xoloitzcuintli *—Xolo for short—I was amazed. Its black, hairless body felt so soft and hot! This champion show dog paraded majestically behind its owner, giving us a chance to admire its slim figure graced by a white “paintbrush” tip on the tail—such a contrast to its smooth black body!

Before the arrival of the Spaniards, dogs were highly valued as pets in Mesoamerica. Some were buried with their owners, as ‘companions in the afterlife.’ Xolos enjoyed a special place in society. It was believed that they had medicinal value. Yes, physical contact with this hot little companion seemed to help those who suffered from rheumatism. Of course, a Xolo could also keep your feet warm on a cold night!

Today, many find the Xolo to be the perfect pet. Like many other breeds, the Xolo can be trained and comes in different sizes—including a toy variety. Best of all, no hair means no fleas, and the Xolo is an ideal choice for those who are allergic to dog hair. Caring for a Xolo is quite easy. To keep the dog’s skin soft, it is necessary to rub it once in a while with some skin cream or oil. Miguel Ángel Moreno, a breeder, points out another advantage of the Xolo: “It takes only one minute to give it a bath,” he says, “and it will be dry in two.” What about the Xolo’s medicinal value? Even today, some say that they have found relief from rheumatic pain by holding a Xolo against the affected part of the body. Moreno, however, believes that the Xolo is only as effective “as a hot water bottle.” *

Not long ago the Xolo was considered to be an endangered species, but much effort has been made to preserve this animal. Today, Xolos can be found not only in Mexico but also in other countries, such as Peru and the United States. So would you like to meet a Xoloitzcuintli? If you ever do, you will not forget your encounter with this unique dog.


^ par. 3 Pronounced sō·lō·ēts·kwēntʹlē.

^ par. 5 The Xolo’s temperature is not really much higher than that of any other dog, but its lack of hair makes it feel hotter to the touch.