Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Mexican Hairless
Average Cost to keep/care for a Mexican Hairless
The Mexican Hairless is not only a unique looking dog, but they are highly intelligent having retained many of their natural primitive instincts. The breed's official name is Xoloitzcuintle or Xolo for short which translated means "God Dog" in Aztec. Although hairless on most of their bodies, these charming dogs have tufts of hair on their head, tails and feet which adds to their endearing looks. On top of their unique appearance, the Mexican Hairless also boasts being a loyal, affectionate and extremely energetic dog and one that's a pleasure to have around.
The Mexican Hairless boasts an interesting history with the Aztecs believing these dogs were given to them by the Gods and that they possessed special magical healing powers. They were named Xoloitzcuintle which translated means God Dog. They are very warm to the touch and as such, Xolos were often used to keep people warm too. When an Aztec died, their dogs were buried with them in their tombs because the belief was these dogs knew the way to the "Land of the Dead". Xolos were also considered a delicacy by the Aztecs which was one of the reasons their numbers fell very low at one point in ancient history. Luckily, these extraordinary hairless dogs survived and have been around for over 3000 years.
In fact, the breed almost vanished altogether on several occasions more especially when the Aztecs were conquered during the 16th century, then again during the Mexican revolution, but in 1954 thanks to the endeavours and dedication of breed enthusiasts, an expedition led by Norman Pelham-Wright was mounted with an end goal being to save the Mexican Hairless from extinction. Although no pure Xolos were found, the scientists did manage to find dogs that they took to the States, Canada and Europe with some dogs remaining in Mexico that could be used in a breeding programme to rescue the Xolo. Two years later in 1956, a male and female Xolo arrived at London Zoo.
Today, the Mexican Hairless has become popular in many parts of the world, including here in the UK because they make such wonderful companions and family pets thanks to their kind, loyal and affectionate natures.
Height at the withers: Males 40 - 60 cm, Females 40 - 60 cm
Average weight: Males 11 - 27 kg, Females 11 - 27 kg
The Mexican Hairless is a very unique looking dog with the tufts on their heads, tails and feet adding to their charming appearance. Their heads are quite wedge-shaped and broad while at the same time being elegant and strong. They have a very slight stop and nicely developed cheeks. Their muzzles are straight with a dog's nose matching the colour of their coat. Eyes are almond-shaped and moderately large with dogs boasting an intelligent, alert expression in them. The colour of a dog's eyes also matches their coat colour which means they can be brown, black, hazel, amber or yellowish in colour. However, darker coloured eyes are always preferred.
Their ears are always erect when dogs are excited and set obliquely on a dog's head. They are large, long and quite elegant being super fine to the touch. The Mexican Hairless has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones although some dogs do have a level bite. Their necks are quite long which allows these dogs to carry their heads high and slightly arched adding to their elegant appearance. Their shoulders are quite laid back with dogs having a nice length to their front legs.
A Mexican Hairless has an athletic yet sturdy body with a nice firm, straight and level back with muscular, strong loins and a nice albeit slightly rounded croup. Their ribcages are deep and long being well sprung and their bellies are moderately tucked up which adds to a dog's athletic appearance. Back legs have well developed first and second thighs and are parallel and straight. Their feet are hare-like with semi-arched toes, their nails match the colour of a dog’s coat and paw pads are strong and firm. Tails are set as an extension of a dog's croup and are long and thin tapering from the root to the tip. Dogs carry their tails down when resting, but when alert or excited, they carry them higher and nicely curved.
When it comes to their skin and tufts of hair, the Mexican Hairless has smooth and very sensitive skin that always feels warm to the touch. Dogs can have short, coarse tufts of hair on their foreheads, their faces and on the back of their necks, but these tufts are more commonly seen on a dog's feet and on the tip of their tails. Accepted breed colours are as follows:
Dogs can also have spots on their bodies which includes white markings.
The Mexican Hairless is a charming character both in looks and temperament. They are extremely intelligent although they have retained many of their more primitive instincts which includes a deeply embedded instinct to hunt. They have boundless energy and need to be given the right amount of daily exercise combined with enough mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. Xolos mature very slowly and it's not until they are around 2 years old that they fully mature mentally which has to be taken into account during their training.
These unique looking dogs are not the best choice for first time owners because not only do Xolos need extra care, but also because until they do mature, the first two years of living with a Xolo can prove quite challenging. The reason being that a Mexican Hairless takes a long time to settle down and are known to chew just about anything they find. They also like the sound of their own voices which in short means excessive barking can become a real issue. Owners have to show their pets a lot of patience and understanding right up to the time when they start to settle down.
Xolos do not do well when they are on their own, but they do thrive when they live with another of their own kind. They are extremely social by nature although they are known to be fearless watchdogs too. Puppies must be well socialised as early as possible and this needs to include introducing them to new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs as soon as they are fully vaccinated so they mature into confident and relaxed dogs. The Mexican Hairless needs to be in a home with people who are familiar with the breed and therefore understand their needs which are quite different from many other dogs both on the grooming and exercise front.
The Mexican Hairless is an intelligent dog that has a tremendous amount of energy especially when they are puppies and young dogs. This paired to the fact that Xolos mature late which is usually when they are around 2 years old, means their training and socialisation has to start early and it has to be consistent and always fair. It would be a mistake to try to rush things when teaching a young Xolo to do anything so it's better to concentrate on the "basics" and then to start their education in earnest when a puppy is a little older and therefore more focussed.
Because Xolos are known to be sensitive dogs by nature, they do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction of heavy handed training. They do answer well to positive reinforcement, the key is to keep these high energy dog focussed which means shorter, more interesting and fun training sessions work better than longer ones.
The Mexican Hairless is known to be a gentle, sensitive albeit energetic character that gets on well with children forming extremely close bonds with them. However, any interaction between dogs and children should be supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not end up getting too boisterous which is especially true when a Xolo is still a puppy.
Xolos have been known to be a little aloof when they first meet other dogs, but rarely would one of these dogs show any sort of aggressive behaviour preferring to just keep their distance to begin with. The early a dog is socialised the better when it comes to coping well around other dogs and pets which includes cats.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Mexican Hairless is between 12 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Mexican Hairless is known to be a healthy dog and one that does not suffer from hereditary health issues so often seen in other breeds. However, because they are "hairless", they have quite fragile skin and care has to be taken when the weather is hot or cold. Dogs have to be protected from the cold which means investing in a coat and they need to be protected from the sun during the summer months too. When their skin is not cared for correctly, a Mexican Hairless can develop a form of acne which can be very hard to clear up once a condition takes hold.
As with any other breed, the Mexican Hairless needs to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Needless to say, a Mexican Hairless is low maintenance in the grooming department. However, they boast having delicate skin and as such it is important to keep an eye on things and to oil their skin when necessary. It's also essential to apply an appropriate sun block on a Xolo during the hotter summer months to avoid them being sunburnt.
Xolos need to be bathed and kept as clean as possible or a type of acne can develop on their skin. However, over-zealous grooming can cause the condition to flare up too which means keeping a close eye on things and only oiling a dog’s skin when necessary. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
Although not very big, the Mexican Hairless boasts having a ton of energy which means they have to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well rounded dogs which is especially true when they are puppies. However, it's also important not to overdo things. Without the right amount of mental stimulation and physical exercise, these dogs quickly become bored which could lead to a dog developing all sorts of behavioural issues which includes separation anxiety, being destructive around the home and barking incessantly.
It's also important to make sure a dog is kept warm during the colder winter months which means buying a Mexican Hairless a warm coat to wear when they are taken for a walk or allowed to run around a back garden. Many owners litter train their Xolos so they don't have to go out when the weather is bad, however when the weather is good the Xolo will find the best sunbathing spot before anyone else, but they need to wear an adequate sunblock during the hotter months of the year.
These dogs need to be given at least 40 minutes exercise a day, a shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these lively and energetic dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble. The thing to bear in mind, is that Xolos are experts at escaping out of a garden so the fencing has to be extra secure.
With this said, Mexican Hairless puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Mexican Hairless puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Mexican Hairless, you would need to register your interest with a breeder and agree to being put on a waiting list because so few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything from £800 to over £1500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Mexican in northern England would be £19.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of June 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Mexican Hairless and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Mexican Hairless would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree or other puppy.
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