Mexico is known for many things, but its dog breeds often get overlooked.
There are 5 Mexican dog breeds worth paying attention to, all of which are dogs native to Mexico
While only five breeds aren’t as many as somewhere like France or the UK, what Mexico lacks in numbers of native dog breeds it more than makes up in the quality and uniqueness of those breeds.
So here are the top 5 Mexican dogs:
Each comes with its unique selling points, so if you’ve been thinking about getting a new dog, why not get a Mexican breed?
Highlights: Alert, brave, loyal
Nothing says Mexican dogs like the name Xoloitzcuintli or Xolo for short. The breed is also known as the Mexican Hairless Dog because, you guessed it, it has no fur. However, versions do exist with coats, but hairless is the standard.
WORTH A LOOK: “American Hairless Terrier“
The Xolo can trace its ancestry back to the Aztecs, which is also the reason for its name.
Xoloitzcuintli= Xolotl, the god of lightning and death + itzcuintli, or dog
Those familiar with Aztec culture will be able to recognize the language in the dog’s name, which seems to have stuck even in modern Mexican culture.
The breed’s history and association with the Aztecs mean it likely stretches back thousands of years, although this is difficult to prove.
However, the breed was also semi-wild for much of this time, meaning there was very little selective breeding done.
This means that not only is there still quite a bit of variation in the breed, but also that it’s not prone to as many health conditions.
Xoloitzcuintli exist in three different sizes: standard, miniature and toy. Standard and hairless is the most popular type of Xolo, but the mini and toy versions are becoming more popular as family pets.
- The breed’s name actually comes from the Aztec god of death. The Aztecs considered the dogs to be sacred.
- Indigenous people used Xolos to protect against evil spirits entering their home, which is why the breed was considered sacred.
- Some experts believe they've found evidence of Xolos in tombs dating back over 3000 years, arguably making it one of the oldest breeds in existence.
- Xolo is the National Dog of Mexico
Xoloitzcuintli dogs are known to be very sociable dogs and are very people-oriented.
Xolos are known for being very friendly and protective of their family, but they can also be very wary of strangers.
However, this rarely becomes aggression, and the right training will prevent this.
Xoloitzcuintli dog breeds are very active dogs and need plenty of exercises and mental stimulation to keep them under control.
With the right training and attention, Xolos make amazing family dogs and are fine around children of all ages.
However, without the right training and stimulation, Xolos can become bored and destructive.
When it comes to training a Xolo, it’s relatively easy. Their intelligence means they’re receptive to training, but also that it needs to be maintained throughout the dog’s life; otherwise they can become bored.
Xoloitzcuintli appreciate mental stimulation and are capable of learning a wide range of commands.
|Breed type:||Non-Sporting Group|
|Suitable for:||Novice Owners, older singles, older couples, allergy sufferers|
|Size/Height:||(See image above)|
|Weight:||10 to 31 lbs|
|Color:||liver, gray, black, red, fawn, solid or spotted|
|Grooming:||weekly brushing/ bath with a mild dog shampoo once a week or every few weeks|
|Daily exercise:||daily exercise: 20-30 minute walk|
|Diet:||22% protein and 9% fat diet|
|Known health issues:||arthritis, cataracts|
|Price:||$1,900.00 - $4,500.00|
1. Are Xoloitzcuintli rare?
Simply put, Xoloitzcuintli is one of the rarest breed in the world. Little is known about them outside of Mexico, so it might be difficult to find one where you are.
Breeders do keep them in the USA and elsewhere, but it might take some searching.
2. Are Xoloitzcuintli hypoallergenic?
Xoloitzcuintli are considered hypoallergenic because they don’t have the same triggers as normal dogs (mainly their coat).
However, it’s always difficult to think of a dog breed is truly hypoallergenic because some people can still be affected by the dog’s saliva or skin.
3. Are Xoloitzcuintli good dogs?
Overall, Xolos are an excellent choice of dog because they make both great family pets and guardian animals.
They’re very clever and alert, which make them ideal for protecting the home. While they’re not aggressive dogs, their bark is enough to put most intruders off.
2. CHINESE CRESTED DOG
Highlights: Loving, playful, loyal
You might be thinking this is a typo, but it seems that the Chinese Crested Dog belongs on a Mexican dog breeds list.
It comes in two types:
- Powderpuff – With fur
- The Hairless – Without fur
The breed has until recently had sketchy origins, and it seems that the name is something of false flag. with and without fur, which is born in the same litter:
The Chinese Crested is a relatively old breed, but similar dogs have cropped up in other areas of the world.
However, modern research seems to indicate that the Chinese Crested dog actually descends from the Xoloitzcuintli from Central America as both breeds share many similar genetic characteristics.
It’s hardly a surprise that the Chinese Crested dog would descend from the Xoloitzcuintli, as it’s probably one of the world’s oldest breeds.
It’s most likely that merchants first brought the dogs from Mexico to other parts of the world, including Africa and Asia.
It’s believed that the breed’s name doesn’t refer to its country of origin, which is the usual case in dog breed names.
Instead, it’s believed that the “Chinese” part refers to the breed’s use on Chinese merchant ships, as it became their particular breed of choice.
It was only in the 1950s that the Chinese Crested was picked up and recorded by a breeder.
While not every Chinese Crested dog in the world descends from this kennel, they set the breed standards and therefore the name too.
Regardless of the breed’s actual name, it has its origins in Mexico, and so belongs on a Mexican dog breeds list.
- The Chinese Crested Dog is quite a well-known breed because it’s been the winner of the world’s ugliest breed in 2003, 2004, and 2005. A Chinese Crested, called Sam, was the winner of the ugliest breed these years too.
- Chinese Crested were used on merchant ships for catching mice and other vermin. Their being hairless doesn’t really offer any advantage in this situation, other than helping to keep them cool.
- One amazing feature about the breed is that they have sweat glands. A well-known fact about dogs is that they pant to keep cool, but this isn’t true of the Chinese Crested. It can regulate its temperature through its skin like humans.
- Known as the "Dr. Seuss dog because they look like the characters in Dr Seuss stories.
Chinese Crested Dogs are about as unique in temperament as they are in looks.
They love to climb and would much rather be at height than on the ground. This is probably a leftover of their use on ships, but it makes them behave much more like a cat than a dog.
Similarly, the Chinese Crested prefers to spend lots of time indoors, either playing or sleeping.
It’s not uncommon for Chinese Crested to not want to go for a walk, although they should still be taken daily to keep their weight down.
Chinese Crested dogs do make excellent house pets, and they’re incredibly affectionate with their owners.
They make a great choice to have around children because they love to play, and are friendly enough even to approach strangers.
|Breed type:||Toy Group|
|Suitable for:||Families with lots of free time|
|Lifespan:||13 – 15 years|
|Color:||Black, Apricot, Cream, Chocolate,|
|Grooming:||Daily brushing( Powderpuff)|
|Daily exercise:||daily short walks|
|Diet:||quality meat-based protein|
|Known health issues:||eye and knee problems plus
#defects in teeth, nails, sweat glands
|Price:||$400-$600 for puppies|
#defects in teeth, nails, sweat glands
1. What is the lifespan of a Chinese Crested?
A Chinese Crested can live between 13 and 15 years on average.
They’re a generally healthy breed and suffer from few hereditary conditions. However, owners do need to help them keep warm in cold weather.
2. Do Chinese Crested Dogs howl?
Chinese Crested Dogs aren’t known to be loud dogs, and generally, don’t bark or howl. What’s more, they’re friendly with everyone and so wouldn’t make a good guard dog.
3. Are Chinese Crested dogs hypoallergenic?
Yes, Chinese Crested are considered hypoallergenic because they don’t shed their hair.
However, they still create dander, and some people can be affected by their saliva, as with any other breed.
Highlights: Courageous, lively, friendly
Chihuahuas (Spanish: chihuahueño) are probably one of the most recognizable breeds in the world and have a special place in pop culture.
They’re a small Mexican dog breed, which is the source of much of their appeal. Chihuahua makes great house pets, an excellent watchdog because they are highly intelligent and possessive and are much more portable than regular-sized dogs.
Chihuahua is probably the most popular Mexican dog, and much of this is down to its temperament and ease of care.
They live for a relatively long time and because they don’t take up much space, they’re a convenient pet for many.
While little is officially known about the Chihuahua’s history, it’s believed that the breed was depicted in Mexican art from around 300BC, making them quite an old breed.
A genetic study was done on the Chihuahua and it was found to have less than 2% European DNA, making it an age-old Mexican breed.
It’s not known what purpose Chihuahuas served in Aztec culture, although it’s likely they chased vermin.
Spanish Conquistadors wrote that Chihuahuas were bred for food, but obviously, this isn’t a particularly unbiased source.
Evidence suggests that the Aztecs often used the breed as hot water bottles, especially for the sick and dying.
A ritual was created in which Techichi, which was the ancestor of the Chihuahua, was buried alive with a deceased person.
The Chihuahua, as we know it, didn’t come into being until the late 19th and early 20th century.
Before this time, the breed was mostly hairless and it was only around the time that the American Kennel Club recognized that the Chihuahua became hairy.
- Before becoming the Chihuahua, which happened relatively late in the breed’s history, they were known as Texas dogs or Arizona dogs.
- The Chihuahua is named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
- Chihuahuas have quite a lot of variety in their breed standard: they can come in many different colors and sizes, and with short or long hair. Whatever the type of Chihuahua, they’re recognized as the smallest breed in the world.
- The ritual described above led to the cultural belief that Chihuahuas could cure ailments, such as colds or asthma, by absorbing the illness into their body from their owner’s.
The smallest dog living, in terms of height, is a female Chihuahua called Milly, who measured 9.65 cm (3.8 in) tall on 21 February 2013 and is owned by Vanesa Semler of Dorado, Puerto Rico.
-Guiness World Records
- Chihuahuas popularity were boosted by the famous "Rumba King" Xavier Cugat, whose Chihuahuas appeared with him on his TV shows weekly.
Along with having plenty of physical variety, there’s plenty of variation in the temperament of Chihuahuas.
Some can be very friendly and affectionate, while others can be a bit snappy and cold.
Similarly, some Chihuahuas can be very timid, but much of this is probably related to their size.
However, Chihuahuas are very outgoing dogs that are very loyal to their owners. They’re known to be very lively and playful, while also being very affectionate.
Chihuahuas benefit from plenty of training, particularly if you notice a potentially unpleasant streak developing in the dog.
Chihuahuas are generally fine around children, although owners should obviously be careful around small children.
Because Chihuahuas are so small, they can’t really withstand the kind of boisterous attention you might find from small children. However, with supervision, everything should be fine.
Chihuahuas aren’t particularly energetic dogs, and even daily walking is a minimal task.
They simply don’t need to go as far as larger breeds, and many can get away with not being walked every day.
Due to their size and ease of care, Chihuahuas are a good choice both for apartment living and first-time dog owners.
|Breed type:||Toy Group|
|Suitable for:||Older singles, Older couples, city dwellers, dog sports competitor, physically disabled owner|
|Color:||all solid colors except white.|
|Grooming:||occasional brushing and regular baths(smooth coat), brush at least once a week(longhaired )|
|Daily exercise:||slow, short walks|
|Diet:||avoid fatty foods and cooked bones(prone to obesity)|
|Known health issues:||arthritis, glaucoma, dryness of the cornea, gum problems|
|Price:||Puppies range from $150 - $16000 USD fromreputable breeders|
1. How smart is a Chihuahua dog?
Chihuahuas are quite intelligent dogs and can learn a wide range of commands.
However, with this intelligence also comes stubbornness, which some owners can find difficult to overcome.
2. Do Chihuahuas like to cuddle?
Among other things, the Chihuahua is known to be very affectionate. They’re considered house dogs and much prefer to be asleep on someone’s lap than outside playing.
However, they do love to play indoors and will form intense bonds with their owners if raised well.
3. Do Chihuahuas bark a lot?
Chihuahuas are quite a vocal breed and will bark at many different things.
The main reason they’ll bark is because of a perceived threat, although they’ll also use barking to communicate several other things.
One benefit is that because they’re small dogs, they can’t actually make that much noise.
4. CHAMUCO (Mexican Pitbull)
photos courtesy of Wikimedia commons
Highlights: Bold, confident, loyal
The Chamuco is also known as the Mexican Pitbull and was historically used for dogfighting matches.
Much like other Pitbull types worldwide, the Chamuco has been subjected to a negative campaign for most of its history and so is very rare.
The Chamuco is very muscular, and while many people believe them to be aggressive dogs, this is generally behavior that’s taught to them.
However, the breed retains a certain boldness and requires the right kind of owner.
The breed looks very similar to the American Pitbull, which was one of its foundational breeds.
It contains other common fighting dogs, such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Pit Bull Terrier, along with the Mexican Bulldog.
RELATED: “Staffordshire Bull Terrier“
Although the Chamuco has the potential to be a great family pet, it’s still often used in illegal dogfighting.
Unfortunately, this seems unlikely to change in the near future, but hopefully, like other Pitbull breeds, it can become more popular as perception changes.
READ: “American Pit Bull Terrier“
- The breed’s name (Chamuco) is Spanish for “devil”. It’s also common slang for a naughty person, so seems fitting either way.
- Chamuco can only trace their history back to 1970, when they were created out of 7 different fighting breeds. Their entire purpose was fighting, and they’re one of few modern breeds created for this.
- The Chamuco isn’t recognized by any kennel club and so has no breed standards. This means they can vary massively in size and color, although there is a set of expectations for their appearance.
The Chamuco is generally believed to be quite an aggressive breed, but this isn’t necessarily true.
Like all other ex-fighting breeds, the Chamuco has the potential to be a very friendly and loving dog if raised in a good home.
The breed is known to be loyal and very eager to please its owners, and the dogs love to be included in everything.
On top of this, Chamuco makes amazing guard dogs because they’re very protective of their family and home.
They’re very intimidating dogs and so can be excellent to have around the home. Chamuco is relatively intelligent and easy to train, which can be harnessed to create a fierce guard dog.
Despite being such fierce sounding dogs, Chamucos are great around kids. They’re very playful and can be very gentle, although it’s always best to train them properly and have them around kids from a young age.
Although Chamuco can be great family pets, they’re not freely available to buy in Mexico.
This is mainly because of public perception, but much of the breeding is believed to be done by gangs specifically for fighting, meaning there are few opportunities for people to get hold of them.
|Suitable for:||experienced owner|
|Size/Height:||medium or Large(varies)/62-75 cm|
|Color:||black, gray, tan, brown, and white|
|Daily exercise:||at least 1 hour/day|
|Diet:||High protein, low carb|
|Known health issues:||hip dysplasia|
5. CALUPOH (Mexican Wolfdog)
photo courtesy of calupoh.com
Highlights: Cunning, intelligent, quick
The Calupoh or Mexican wolfdog (Spanish: Perro Lobo Mexicano) is probably the rarest of the dog breeds in Mexico, and generally isn’t known outside the country.
In fact, they’re mainly regarded as a working breed and generally aren’t kept as pets.
The Calupoh was only created in the 1990s, but it was done so to reintroduce wild dogs into the native habitat.
Calupohs were created by breeding dogs with wolves to create something similar to the wild dogs native to Mexico.
There was a species of wolf-dog native to Mexico and Central America that was important to native cultures in the region.
It was mainly used as a working dog in Mexico and would fill roles in hunting and protection. The ancient wolf dog breed also has associations with native spiritual rituals, so it holds a significant place in the culture.
Calupoh were long kept as working dogs, but this tradition died out from the 16th century onwards.
Local farmers were expected to use European breeds, and so the wolf dogs basically died out. It wasn’t until relatively recently that people decided it would be worth trying to revive the breed.
Work is being done to make the Calupoh more appealing as a family and companion pet.
They’re similar in appearance to breeds like the German Shepherd, and providing they receive the right training, there’s little reason why they couldn’t make an amazing family dog.
- Native Mexicans had been breeding dogs with gray wolves for centuries in order to get the best from both species. This practice was never official so there wasn’t a breed name, but this is the role the Calupoh was created to fulfill.
- The breed standard is for black dogs, which is relatively difficult to achieve considering the breeding stock that was used. Genetic “defects” can include pink lips and pink eyelids.
- The ancient wolf dogs were important in the native culture because they represented a combination of symbols. The wolf represented power and teamwork, while the dog represented fertility and agriculture. To own one of these was a powerful status symbol.
Much like other big breeds (a male Calupoh can reach 30 inches in height), it can be challenging to handle these dogs.
However, with the right training and handling, they can be an enjoyable and rewarding breed.
Calupoh dogs are known for their stable and relatively easy-going temperament. They enjoy being around other dogs and take well to people, although they’re known to be wary of strangers.
It’s important to train a Calupoh properly because their size means they can’t be controlled with strength alone.
Due to their size and wariness of strangers, Calupoh makes great guard dog. The breed isn’t known to be aggressive, but will bark to alert their owners to a threat.
Hopefully, as they become more widely available, this will become another working role they’ll easily fulfill.
|Breed type:||foundation stock|
|Weight:||60 to 120 lbs|
|Daily exercise:||3-4 hours/day|
|Activity levels:||Very high|
|Diet:||several pounds of raw meat per day|
|Known health issues:||heartworm, tumors, infectious diseases|
|Price:||$700 USD (average cost)|
Several of the 5 top Mexican dog breeds are incredibly well known. However, the others are at the complete opposite end of the spectrum and are barely known even within Mexico.
Hopefully, as more people become aware of some of the amazing breeds to come out of Mexico this situation will change.
Until then, we’ll just have to enjoy reading about them.
If you’re thinking of getting a new dog, why not consider one the well-known Mexican dog breeds?
1. [^] Taran, Sergey, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. “This Hairless Mexican Dog Has a Storied, Ancient Past.” National Geographic, 22 Nov. 2017, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/11/hairless-dog-mexico-xolo-xoloitzcuintli-Aztec/.
2. [^] Ding, Z-L, et al. “Origins of Domestic Dog in Southern East Asia Is Supported by Analysis of Y-Chromosome DNA.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 23 Nov. 2011, https://www.nature.com/articles/hdy2011114.
3. [^] Parker, Heidi G, et al. “The Bald and the Beautiful: Hairlessness in Domestic Dog Breeds.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, The Royal Society, 5 Feb. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5182420/.