The Xoloitzcuintli, or Xolo for short, is a small, hairless breed of dog that originates from Central America. Archaeological evidence shows that the breed has been present in Mayan and Aztec societies since up to 3,500 years ago. Legend says that the dogs were made by the god Xolotl, who took a piece of the Bone of Life and handed it to Man, telling him to guard it with his life and that it would in turn guide him to heaven. The Xolo was said to be created from that piece of the Bone of Life. Because of this mythical history, Xolos were believed to have healing powers as well as the ability to ward off evil spirits.
The Xolo is the official dog breed of Mexico. The first time a Xolo was registered in the AKC was 1887. Its numbers and popularity dropped over the years, and it was removed from the AKC Studbook. It recently made a comeback in the AKC in 2011 as a member of the non-sporting group. The standard calls for it to be hairless, but coated Xolos exist as well.
When socialized correctly, Xolos are a great breed for our modern world. They do tend to be territorial and protective of their family, so proper training and socialization at a young age is essential. Inviting people over to visit and getting your Xolo used to company will greatly benefit your lives together. Once well socialized, they are very affectionate and enjoy accompanying you for as many activities as possible.
This breed does have some inherited health conditions that are important to know. Xolos can be hairless or not, and some hairless ones may have missing premolar teeth. The hairless trait and the trait for missing teeth are linked, so sometimes these conditions can appear simultaneously. Some hairless Xolos can also have skin problems, like acne, that will require special shampoos and regular baths. This dog can also be sensitive to too much sun exposure, so limiting time in full sunlight or using a dog-safe sunscreen is recommended. Other than that, it is mostly a wash and wear dog. Since the breed is ancient and has primitive roots, it is not plagued by many of the genetic issues that many of the modern breeds have to deal with.
Xolos are not very common in the Northeast US, and I do not have much experience with them at all. If there are any Xolo folk reading this, or you know of someone with one, please tell them to chime in and educate all of us! Maybe even tell us what breeders or rescues we should look at in case we are interested in getting a Xolo!