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Your Pet, Our Passion.

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.  

  • 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
Dog staring in distance


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.

Dog sitting in yellow flower field

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

The main health problems encountered in the Mexican Hairless dog are related to their skin, being particularly predisposed to sunburn given the lack of protection from fur. Dental problems also occur quite frequently.

Exercise Needs

Miniature Mexican Hairless dogs need about half an hour of daily dog exercise and the Intermediate and Standard need about an hour. Ensure whichever size you have has plenty of mental exercise in the form of training and puzzle solving games and activities. Do ensure they are protected from the elements (both the warm and cold) before taking them outside. 

Space Requirements

The Mexican Hairless does not need a large home, however they will appreciate a warm and comfortable house, soft bedding and need a very secure garden as they are excellent climbers, agile jumpers and generally clever escape artists! Country or town as long as they have plenty of exercise both mental and physical, they will be happy.

Nutrition and Feeding

The Miniature Mexican Hairless dog is a small dog that has a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.  

The Intermediate and Standard diets need to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's also important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food. 

Discover more about how to offer your dog a balanced diet with our easy-to-follow guide. 

Grooming Mexican Hairless Dog (Xoloitzcuintle)

Small tufts of hair can appear on the Mexican Hairless dog, but this is a generally hairless dog and no hair-care is therefore required. However, the skin can become dry, as it is not protected with a coat. Smoothing some baby oil on will help hydrate the skin. A suitable sun cream can be used to prevent the skin from burning, and the dogs should be kept out of direct sunlight in warm weather. The dogs also need protection against the cold and should wear a coat when walked in the winter months. 

Training Mexican Hairless Dog (Xoloitzcuintle)

Intelligent and quick to learn, the Mexican Hairless needs careful dog socialisation due to their naturally wary, reserved nature. Capable of high levels of dog training if this is done sensitively using positive reinforcement-based methods. All sizes of Mexican Hairless will benefit from basic training and in particular a good recall and training to ignore livestock or small furries, as they will hunt and chase. 

Best Family Dog Breeds

A good family dog for those with older children or teenagers, puppies can be rather boisterous, loud and can play bite enthusiastically so may not suit homes with very small children. 

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with each other and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them. 

did you know?

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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