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)