The Xolo is
native to Mexico. Archaeological evidence shows that the breed
existed in the New World for more than 3,500 years. Most likely,
early forerunners of the Xolo originated as spontaneous hairless
mutations of indigenous New World dogs. Hairlessness may have
offered a survival advantage in tropical regions. Indigenous
peoples of Central and South America had Xolo dogs as home and
hunting companions, and today they are still very popular
companion dogs; even as the national dog of Mexico. Their value
in ancient native cultures is evidenced by their frequent
appearance in art and artifacts, e.g., those produced by the
and Toltec civilizations in Mexico.
considered sacred dogs by the Aztecs (and also Toltecs, Mayans
and some other groups) because they believed the dogs were
needed by their masters’ souls to help them safely through the
underworld, and also they were useful companion animals.
According to Aztec mythology, the god Xolotl made the
Xoloitzcuintle from a sliver of the Bone of Life from which all
mankind was made. Xolotl gave this gift to Man with the
instruction to guard it with his life and in exchange it would
guide Man through the dangers of Mictlan, the world of Death,
toward the Evening Star in the Heavens. The Aztecs also raised
the breed for their meat. Sixteenth-century Spanish accounts
tell of large numbers of dogs being served at banquets.
arrived in the Caribbean in 1492 his journal entries noted the
presence of strange hairless dogs. Subsequently, Xolos were
transported back to Europe.
Even today, many people in Mexico believe this
breed to have healing qualities. Some cultures ate the meat of
the Xoloitzcuintli, and the meat may still be found for sale in
some parts of rural Mexico. Laws concerning animal rights in the
country control this situation harshly.