Xoloitzcuintli – Spotting Mexican Hairless Dogs in Mexico City

Xolo dogs - Xoloitzcuintli

Xoloitzcuintli, another one of those seemingly unpronounceable Aztec words, is otherwise known as a Mexican hairless dog.

Before I first visited Mexico’s interior, I had heard of these dogs, but thought of them only as some long-lost breed. I better knew “Mexican hairless” as a type of drink popular at bars that cater to college students. It’s one of those phrases that raises the eyebrows, which is how it became a drink, of course.

But these creatures are no myth. I saw my first “Xolo” (pronounced Cholo), when I was walking around a tiny fishing town in the Yucatan. A woman was getting out of her car and her dog ran up to her. He (or she) was unmistakably a hairless, and surprisingly elegant and mythical looking. I couldn’t help but stare, analyzing this dog’s every movement. I’m still not sure why they appeal to me so much, but I am not alone.

Hairless cats? Hilarious. Hairless rodents? Scary. But hairless Mexican dogs? Gorgeous.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, while walking through the artist’s market in San Angel, a couple came by, holding several Xolo puppies. My friends and I stopped to talk to the people, who were selling them for the equivalent of about $300 U.S. dollars. Who knows how legitimate these people were, and where or how they obtained these dogs. But the puppies are pretty, too, albeit more wrinkly and less stately.

Tons more photos of Xolos at the Flickr Xolo photo pool.

(Photo courtesy of Creative Commons. Source: “Group of three xoloitzcuintles (“Mexican hairless“). Museo Dolores Olmedo, Xochimilco, México, D.F. 640×444 px. Photo taken by Hajor, December 2001. Released under cc.by.sa and/or GFD” Found on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mexico.Xoloitzcuintle.01.jpg)

19 thoughts on “Xoloitzcuintli – Spotting Mexican Hairless Dogs in Mexico City

  1. DKN says:

    Wow! they are very pretty, and yes, mythical looking!

    Now I wonder if this is the origin of the Mexican slang “Cholo” or I guess Xolo (guessing on the spelling obviously) I’ve heard before. I think it’s more of a California thing…and I don’t think it’s something nice to call someone, unless it’s a comrade or something, in jest.

    Anyone know?

    • Jim says:

      I’m sorry to tell you, the answer is no. It is not the original term for cholo.

      Please dont relate chola with the comment below. No the term is not derogatory, neither is it just used in Corpus Christy. They are not “gangsta” as the comment below refers to it. It is as much a slang term as saying cowboys are only from Texas.

      To whoever reads this article commentary, a chola is not a female “gangsta”. Thats completely inappropriate.

  2. Joy says:

    Yep, you’re right — they are related terms.

    It’s a mostly derogatory term, used for gang members and such. But, it’s like any other slang term — it’s used in many different ways.

    In Corpus Christi, a “chola” was a girl who wore bright red lipstick, dark eyeliner, teased her bangs up huge, and wore baggy dark clothing. A girl gangsta, basically.

  3. Yorch says:

    Original Xolos are really expensive and their skin is hugely delicate. You have to apply them cream and moisturizer. Protect them from cold and sun… Lots of work!

  4. brenda says:

    They’re REALLY GORGEOUS! and they’re REALLY EXPENSIVE! only the rich people in Mexico own them. And ‘cholo” and “chola” are reffered to Peruvian Indians

  5. charlie the unicorn says:

    Wow! I saw a Nature episode that had these guys on it, and I think that this is where people are getting the ideas for the chupacabra from! Does anyone other than me see the similarity here? They are a very cool species, and some native Mexicans believe that they have healing powers because their skin is so warm! lol

  6. zlatinka says:

    I think this dog is a good choice for the president elect kids I wish i could tell them about this cute dog the first dog in the white house the cholo dog he is hypoelergenic dog good choice mr president obama

  7. Teresa says:

    Hi Joy!
    I am back online after catching up on moving back to Tlalpan, Hope this last year treated you and the family well. You are correct on the CableVision comment you mentioned awhile back, ick spendy also wow.
    On this story, I truly believe the from the images I saw in the sites, web and papers on the chupacabra that yes, they are a form of the Mexican Hairless Dog. I have written to several authors of those stories with photos etc but you never get a response. lol or at least I haven’t.
    It is much more profitable to think it is a long lost blood sucking creature I guess..lol
    Me I’d prefer looking at them for the beautiful creature that they are.

  8. Ray says:

    I think these dogs are the basis for the Chupacabra sightings in Texas. They may have mated with coyotes which resulted in a breed with large teeth.

    • Geo. says:

      Yes, wierd stuff like that does happen in Texas – In california this type of thing is regulated much better. Due to climate, level of education, and the terrain. LOL

  9. helen ryder says:

    On “Mysteries of The Museum” 09/07/14 at 8am this dog was once again identified as a CHUPACABRA. Or as a rare coyote hybrid. That’s inexcusable for a show of that caliber. Insulting to audience and annoying. Would like to see show on animal planet channel continually repeated until it get thru some thick skulls. God save us from stupid people! These are beautiful dogs!

  10. Lugardo says:

    Just to comment
    My grand father told me once that this dogs was a delicious food for the Aztecs, before the Spain’s came to Mexico, and brought the pigs and goat Whit them, there where raise for hundreds of them to feed the tribe, this particular dogs where feeding only with tropical fruit and only fruit, there where others xolo dogs for company and this companion dogs provide the heat for the owners in winter under the blankets in bed, this digs produce incredible heat

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