The Mexican hairless is said to have been much valued food for Mexican Indians long before the Spanish invasion.


Having a body temperature of 104°F, it was also popular as a natural heater. This breed made its way from Mexico to South American countries, and later became known worldwide. In the nineteenth century, it was used widely as a guard dog who barks well. The Mexican hairless received official recognition from the American Kennel Club in 1959.

Surprisingly the breed was first exhibited at a dog show as early as 1883 — in the United States. But it remained extremely rare and by 1959 the AKC had removed it from its list of recognized breeds. It was not until the 1980s that it at last began to grow in popularity. There are now serious attempts being made to ensure its survival, not only in the United States and Mexico but also in Europe.


The Xoloitzcuintli has a flexible, straight back; a slightly arched neck; a wide skull; bat ears about four inches in length; medium-sized almond eyes ranging in color from black to yellow; a long, tapering muzzle; and a long smooth tail. There is a slight coat on the top part of the head, but the rest of the body must be hairless. The skin is soft, smooth, and reddish gray. Dogs with darker skin must have a black nose; others should have a pink or brown nose. The naked variety has only wisps of hair on its head, nape of the neck, feet and tip of the tail. The powder puff has a full coat of medium length soft hair covering the entire body, including the tail.


In personality the Xoloitzcuintli is a calm, dignified, obedient, sensitive animal. Cheerful and friendly with its family, this dog is not aggressive but makes a good watchdog. It is intelligent, but may not demonstrate this too freely because it is also rather wary of strangers. If one can accept its wrinkled, naked appearance, it has several special advantages as a companion, namely that it is flealess and odourless, and does not cause the allergic responses found with most hairy dogs.

Care and Exercise

The Xoloitzcuintli needs only gentle rubbing with a dry towel. It needs a moderate amount of exercise. When taking it outdoors, remember that this dog is susceptible to cold.

Puppies and Training

The three to six puppies per litter are born pink, and acquire adult coloration around one year of age. Delivery is relatively easy, but the puppies will require special measures against cold.

Miniature Xoloitzcuintli

Also known as the Miniature Mexican Hairless Dog, or the Tepeizcuintli, this dog differs only in size from its larger relative.

The Xoloitzcuintli is now recognized in three sizes: the Standard, which is above 18 in (46 cm) at the shoulder; the Miniature, which is 13—18 in (33—46 cm); and the Toy, which is below 13 in (33 cm). The Toy is a recent breed created in the 1950s specifically as a modern lapdog; the Standard is the full-sized animal, descended from ancient stock, and the Miniature is simply a reduced version of this, being about the size of a small terrier. It weighs 13—22 lb (6—10 kg), and has come into existence as a breed simply because, originally, size was not a controlled feature. There was a whole range of different-sized hairless dogs, with no pressure to breed for a specific weight. Then, when interest in pure-breeding these dogs grew, it was a natural development to categorize them into different types and, from then on, to keep them separate. The Mexican Kennel Club recognized the Standard and the Miniature as distinct breeds in 1956.

All three sizes of Xoloitzcuintli remain rare and it has been estimated that, even taking the three sizes together, there are fewer than 500 of them in existence in the world today.

Gallery of Xoloitzcuintli