Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Mexican Hairless
Average Cost to keep/care for a Mexican Hairless
Breed Specific Buying Advice
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.
The Xolo was always extremely highly prized in ancient times for many reasons which includes the fact they were thought to have "healing powers". They were also sacrificed in religious ceremonies to ward off evil and they were sacrificed at funerals so they could show a dead person the way to the underworld. With this said, it is also thought that Xolos were a source of food for ancient civilisations. Hairless breeds have existed around the world for centuries, but it is thought that the Mexican Hairless is the most ancient of them all.
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. However, puppies can often command a lot of money and breeders are hard to find which means that anyone wanting to share a home with a Mexican Hairless would need to register their interest with breeders and go on a waiting list for the pleasure of doing so.
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.
They always hold their ears erect when excited and they are 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 for Kennel Club registration are as follows:
Dogs can also have spots on their bodies which includes white markings.
When a Mexican Hairless moves, they do with tremendous elegance remained nicely balanced and taking long, strides. At the trot, they are fast on their feet showing a flowing action and carrying their heads and tails high while at the same time keeping a level topline.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge the faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is only given as a guideline.
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 must 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 must 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.
Xolos are not the best choice for first time owners because they need to be cared for, handled and trained by people who are familiar with their specific needs.
Xolos are very social by nature, but they have retained many of their "natural instincts" even in the home environment. As such, they have a very high prey drive and should not be trusted around smaller animals and pets they don't already know. Care should also be taken as to where and when a Xolo can run off the lead more especially if there is livestock or wildlife close by.
Xolos are known to be extremely playful and love nothing more than to be involved in all sorts of interactive games. They are known to be a little mischievous when the mood takes them and being so clever, a Xolo quickly learns what pleases an owner and how to get their own way.
Xolos are highly adaptable dogs and providing they are given enough daily physical exercise combined with as much mental stimulation to prevent boredom from setting in, they are just as happy living in an apartment in town as they are living in a house in the country.
Xolos form extremely strong ties with their families and dogs are never very happy when they find themselves left on their own for longer periods of time. They are better suited to people who either work from home or in households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out so they are never alone for any length of time which could see a dog suffering from separation anxiety. This can lead to them being destructive around the home which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and a way to keep themselves entertained which often includes incessant barking.
Most Xolos love the sound of their own voices a little too much which is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when a dog is still young being careful not to frighten them although, some dogs just love to voice an opinion for the sake of it anyway and will bark at the slightest thing.
Some Xolos love swimming and it can be hard to keep them out of the water more especially during the warmer summer months. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Mexican Hairless off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Xolos are known to be "fearless" and being so loyal, they are very good watchdogs being quick off the mark to let owners know when something they don't like is going on or when there are strangers about. However, rarely would a well socialised Xolo show any sort of aggressive behaviour preferring to keep their distance and bark as a way of alerting their owners.
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 must start early and it must 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 focused.
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 focused which means shorter, more interesting and fun training sessions work better than longer ones.
Xolo puppies like all puppies are incredibly cute and it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in a new home. However, owners need to start out as they mean to go on by setting out rules and boundaries once a puppy is settled in. It helps puppies understand what is expected of them and what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. It also establishes a pecking order and who is the alpha dog in a household. With this said, the first commands a Xolo puppy should be taught are as follows:
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 must be taken when the weather is hot or cold. Dogs must 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 skin acne which can be very hard to clear up once a condition takes hold.
The health issues that affect the breed whether standard size, intermediate size or miniature the most are as follows:
Xolo puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Some Xolos gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal.
Xolos are prone to suffering from skin allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up, bearing in mind that they are known to suffer from a kind of skin acne. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Xolo breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
Apart from the standard breeding restrictions, there are no other breed specific breeding restrictions in place for the Mexican Hairless. However, all responsible breeders would ensure that they only use health tested dogs in their breeding programmes.
Currently, there are no BVA tests or DNA screening schemes available for the Mexican Hairless. But prospective owners should always ask breeders about hereditary health issues known to affect the breed and whether dogs have been health tested before being used in a breeding programme and that puppies are healthy and clear of any congenital and hereditary health issues.
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.
Xolo puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Xolo puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Xolo puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Older Xolos need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with a Mexican Hairless in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include taking a look at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Xolos need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Xolos don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
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 they can develop a type of skin acne. 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 builds 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 must 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 must 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 must 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.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Mexican Hairless puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 13 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Mexican Hairless should be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult dog can be fed the following amounts every day:
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 £23.41 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £44.19 a month (quote as of June 2018). 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 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 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 healthy, well-bred Kennel Club registered pedigree Mexican Hairless puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
The Mexican Hairless has fast become a popular breed both in the UK and elsewhere in the world which means that healthy, well-bred puppies can often command a lot of money. As such, with the Mexican Hairless there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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