Rare Mexican hairless dogs Xoloitzcuintle + 5 other breeds of hairless dogs


The Xoloitzcuintle, the Mexican hairless dog, is a canine race that is related to the Mexica because they thought they were his guides to the afterlife. These dogs were sacrificed and buried along with their owners so that they could open the way to the underworld.

The dog god Xolotl: This 100% Mexican canine breed, in addition to its exotic beauty, is a very affectionate pet.
The dog god Xolotl: This 100% Mexican canine breed, in addition to its exotic beauty, is a very affectionate pet.

In pre-Hispanic times, dogs occupied a prominent place in the lives of the ancient inhabitants; not only were they a companion animal present in everyday life and with which they formed close relationships and a coexistence similar to that which we maintain today with this species, but also said animal was an important figure in the cosmogony of some Mesoamerican peoples.

There were different types of native dogs in the Nahua peoples, but among them, the presence of the Xoloitzcuintles, also called "bald dogs", which were characterized by their soft skin with little hair, their pointed muzzle, their big ears, and their high body temperature.

One of the most important faculties that was attributed to this type of dog was the ability to take the souls to the underworld; according to the researcher Patrick Johansson, it was a psychopomp dog, because they guide the dead towards their final destination, this was the reason why it was a substantial part of the mortuary rituals of the Nahua people.

After death, a complex and extensive ritual was set in motion which, among many other actions, included the sacrifice of a dog. Generally, the dog that had accompanied the deceased during his existence was sacrificed, as it was believed that the animal guided its master through the difficult paths of the underworld, particularly helping him to cross rivers; likewise, it was believed that dogs with red fur were the only ones that could do this task.

"Whether it is limited to crossing the river, or whether it accompanies the deceased throughout his journey across the Mictlan, the dog's psychopomp performance is clear... Beyond existence, the fire of life carries the soul of the deceased towards another luminosity, that of a new dawn in the east or of Aztlan's lethal achromatism, the origin," explains the researcher.

Contrary to the widespread belief that dogs were a common food among the inhabitants, these animals were a sacred food that was consumed in specific ceremonies in which dogs were generally sacrificed by means of the extraction of the heart.

Sometimes, in these rituals dogs substituted man; according to Mexican researcher, historian, and academic Mercedes de la Garza, the substitution of the dog for man in these sacrifices is due to the fact that "it is the animal par excellence of man and therefore the one that can represent him before the gods".

As the researcher explains, the name of this animal comes from the word "Xolo" whose meaning in Nahuatl is "deformity", "monstrosity" or "monster". This word was related to physical characteristics or people who were considered "abnormal", such as people with humps, short stature, and twins.

This is the reason why in the Nahua cosmogony the twin brother of Quetzalcoatl is called Xolotl, a deity represented as a dog; precisely the Xoloitzcuintle is the main animal representation of this deity which is related to death, movement, darkness, the double and the underworld; that is, ideas in opposition to Quetzalcoatl. Likewise, Xolotl was considered the god of the ball game, patron of witches and is linked to fire and its creation.

Together, Quetzalcoatl and Xolotl are Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, the personified representation of Venus. Xolotl is the "afternoon star", the evening representation of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli; while Quetzalcoatl is the "morning star".

The representation of this deity is mainly found in various codices of pre-Hispanic origin, such as the Vatican Codex, the Tellurian-Remensis Codex, the Borgia Codex, the Bourbon Codex, among others. In these codices, Xólotl carries attributes of Quetzalcóatl and is represented as a Xoloitzcuintle.

Codex Telleriano-Remensis
Codex Telleriano-Remensis

Contrary to the work of Quetzalcoatl, linked to the emergence or the rising of the Sun; in some codices the representation of Xolotl as the one responsible for leading the Sun to the underworld coincides, that is, "accompanying it in its daily journey through the kingdom of death". This idea about Xolotl is closely related to the attributes granted by the Nahuas to the Xoloitzcuintles to accompany and help their masters on the roads and obstacles towards Mictlan.

"The dog as a religious symbol was more than an astral deity: it has several other meanings... that are closely linked to man, since it was considered from the companion that replaces him before the gods in the sacrifice and that takes him to his final destination, to the ancestor and the cultural hero that gives him the solar fire and, with him, civilization. In other words, the dog is at the origin of man, in his daily life and in his death," explains De la Garza in his text The Dog as a Religious Symbol among the Maya and the Nahua.

Official recognition

The Spaniards tried to end this species, and almost managed to get it, but these dogs, being so intelligent and trusting their instincts, took refuge in the Sierra de Oaxaca and in Guerrero, an area where they remained hidden for many years, until the decade of the fifties of the twentieth century when it was officially recognized as a breed by the Federation Canófila Mexicana and by the International Cynological Federation, and it was at that moment when they began to take measures for the conservation of this species.

Qualities of the species

These dogs do not have hair, so there is no need to worry about ticks, fleas or allergies caused by them. Although for the same lack of it, it is necessary to moisturize your skin with some cream or fat, because otherwise it will dry out and could suffer some injury due to the lack of moisture in your skin. In addition to that, you have to put repellent for mosquitoes in case they are going to be exposed to them, since it is very common to suffer stings and that these can become infected.

These adorable dogs have a very loving character and are perfect to embrace those cold nights because their skin gets to warm up around 40 degrees centigrade.

Particular feature: lack of hair

Puppies with hair and without hair can be found in the same litter because the absence of hair is the result of a dominant gene that provides alopecia.

Very Mexican character

As good Mexican puppies have a very stubborn temperament and their training requires large amounts of patience, but yes, they are very good guardians (the standard and intermediate size). But unfortunately, they are not very popular dogs, since some people dislike their absence of hair.

Life expectancy

It can live between 12 to 14 years, and being a primitive race it is difficult to have diseases or congenital problems.

Icon of Mexico City

The Xoloitzcuintles is a 100 percent Mexican race that is worth knowing and loving, and which a couple of years ago at the request of the Canófila Mexicana Federation to the government of Mexico City, became its symbol.


Although not as usual as in cats, certain dog breeds do not have hair either.

Peruvian hairless dog

The hairless dog of Peru was raised in its origins to be eaten. It was the same race as the Inca dog but with different skin color. With time it went from being a food to be the favorite pet of the nobility.

American hairless terrier

American hairless terrier
American hairless terrier

The American hairless terrier is a small breed originally from the United States. It is relatively new, given that the first litters appear in the 70s. When descending from the Terrier buzzards, the American Terrier is a lively, dynamic and playful dog that gets along very well with children. He is also very intelligent and familiar.

Mexican hairless dog or Xoloitzcuintle

Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican hairless dog)

The appearance of the Mexican hairless dog is very similar to that of the Peruvian dog or the Argentine pile dog and its origin is Mexican. There is an aura of mythology that surrounds this ancient race since in the past it was believed that these dogs were the companions of the deceased to the underworld.

Chinese crested dog


The Chinese crested dog is also known as crested or puff. The hairless Chinese crested dog is not totally free of hair. We can see tufts on his head and legs. However, the skin of his body is soft and thin, similar to that of the human being.

Argentine Pila dog

Argentine hairless dog
Argentine hairless dog

The Argentine hairless dog, also called Pila dog, is very similar to the Mexican dog so it is suspected that it can be a direct descendant of it, bred for centuries in the American continent. The Argentine hairless dog is very sociable and intelligent, able to learn any trick with just a few training exercises.

Hairless Chihuahua

Its origins are quite recent, being the result of the crossing of a Chihuahua with hair with a breed of hair without a dog, crossing its offspring again and again until obtaining what we know today as the hairless Chihuahua.

By Mexicanist Source Secretary of Culture