Below are four dog breeds from Mexico as part of a continuing series on differing breeds throughout the world. I think you’ll find some surprises!
XOLOITZCUINTLI (MEXICAN HAIRLESS)
With archaeological finds and records spanning over 3500 years, the Mexican hairless is Mexico’s oldest breed. Bred originally as hunting dogs and protectors, the Xoloitzcuintli is now a protective and loving family member. They were among the first breeds recognized by the American Kennel Association. The first Xolo was registered by the AKC in 1887.
They come in three sizes – Standard, Miniature, and Toy. Weights vary, with the Standard Xoloitzcuintli weighing in between 30 and 55 pounds, and the Toy between 10 and 15.
PERSONALITY AND CARE
Mexican Hairless Dogs are loyal, attention-loving family members. Xolos need plenty of time with their human owners, and may become destructive or ill if they’re neglected. Some have even called the Xolo (pronounced “show-low”) needy. He loves to cuddle up on the sofa with his people and expects to be included in every family activity. Good with other pets, the Xolo is also a star when it comes to agility.
Because they are hairless, great care must be taken to avoid direct sun for long periods of time. Dogs, like people, can sunburn, and the lack of fur makes this much more likely for a Xolo. Although all dogs need some physical activity, this breed is moderately active and does not need excessive exercise.
What the Xolo needs most of all is socialization. Without it, his natural protective tendencies will kick in. Visitors to your home may feel uncomfortable, and it may progress to the point that you will have to kennel your dog whenever a non-family member arrives. Take your Xolo to a reputable trainer, and use their suggestions as to how and when to introduce your pet to other people and animals.
If you’re interested in adopting a member of this unusual breed, visit the webpage of the Xoloitzcuintli Primitive Dog Breed Rescue and check out their available dogs.
Now here’s a familiar breed. The perked up ears, the tiny body, and the spirit of a much bigger dog. Their ancestors go back to at least the 12th century. Dogs resembling the breed as we know it today were around by the time the Conquistadors entered Mexico in the 15th century. The first AKC registered Chihuahua was listed in 1908. They’re Mexico’s national dog, and have been made famous by celebrities in this country as “purse dogs”.
Unfortunately, Chihuahuas are also the second breed most euthanized, with only the pit bull terrier ahead of them. There’s a reason for that. Chihuahuas are often adopted by families with small children, with the thought that they’re just the right size for the little ones. Far from being the ideal dog for toddlers, Chihuahuas are frightened by the unpredictable way in which small ones move. Add to that the loud voices of small children playing, and it’s just too much for the nervous Chi. Because they’re tiny (and suffering from the canine equivalent of Napoleon syndrome), they can nip or even bite when scared. They’re also likely to be injured by children playing too roughly.
PERSONALITY AND CARE
Chihuahuas are often one-person dogs, preferring the company of one family member above all others. They will tolerate other people in the home, if properly trained, but don’t expect the Chihuahua to be a “family” dog. (These, of course, are generalizations – not all Chihuahuas display this characteristic.) Please wait until your children are over the age of ten to adopt one of these charmers. This will be a benefit to both the dog and the children.
They’re great dogs for apartments as they need little exercise. Long haired Chihuahuas need regular grooming, but the short-haired variety have very easy coats to maintain. They’ll need a coat in the winter, as they’re too tiny to be efficient at keeping warm. Weighing in at a whopping 3 to 6 pounds, they should never be allowed outside alone, as they are easy prey for hawks and other predators.
Because they are so often surrendered, there are plenty of Chihuahua breed-specific rescues to choose from. Chihuahuas are also often found in general animal shelters and rescues, so, if this tiny breed with the large personality is right for your family an adoptable dog should be easy to find.
A Chamuco (meaning devil in English) is a miniature pit-bull breed not recognized by any breed or kennel clubs. Originating in Mexico sometime in the 1970s, they are often bred secretly as a fighting dog. Chamucos do, however, make delightful family pets – if they are the only dog. Known for loyalty to his owners, a Chamuco is often very good with kids. Due to its strength, however, play times should always be supervised.
The Chamuco weighs in at about 45 to 55 pounds when full grown. Bred from a combination of American Staffordshires, the extinct Mexican Bulldog, and, perhaps Boxers, they resemble a short legged pit bull terrier. Since they are often used illegally for fighting, it is rare to see one. As a matter of fact, I’ve not been able to find a Chamuco rescue in the United States, at all. I’m sure, however, that Pit Bull rescues would take one without question.
PERSONALITY AND CARE
Chamucos need plenty of exercise, early socialization with other dogs, and consistent training. One can only hope that, in the future, Mexican laws against dog fighting will be enforced, and this unusual breed will take its place as a family pet.
THE CHINESE CRESTED IS ACTUALLY A BREED FROM MEXICO (OR NOT)
Believe it or not, these odd looking pups don’t come from China. As a matter of fact, they may not even come from Mexico, although genetic links have been made between them and the Xolo. In other words, no one is sure exactly where these guys came from. I’m going with the Mexico theory, however, and include them here as a Mexican dog breed.
PERSONALITY AND CARE
Another tiny dog (weighing between 8 and 13 pounds), Chinese Cresteds were often thought of as “invalid’s dogs” since they were happy just curling up in bed with their person for hours at a time. They’re generally hairless, although there is a variation of the breed with short hair. Care must be taken to avoid leaving them in direct sunlight. Just as with the Xolo, Chinese Cresteds can sunburn badly.
These dogs are well-suited to apartment living since they only need a short walk for exercise. A few minutes of playtime will do the trick as well. Generally noisy (bark, bark, bark), they’re natural watchdogs. If socialized early, they do well with other dogs. And, unlike the Chihuahua, they love everyone in the family and do not tend to attach themselves solely to one person. Like any other dog, however, they must become used to people of all ages or their natural guarding tendencies may take over.
If you want a happy companion dog, who loves spending time with her human family, consider adopting a Chinese Crested. Cresteds are not commonly found in general shelter and rescue environments. There are, however, several rescue groups involved in re-homing the breed. Check out Bald is Beautiful, a national hairless dog rescue, to see if they have a Chinese Crested perfect for you.
A DIVERSE SPECIES
These are the dog breeds that are considered to come from Mexico. Each area of the world has produced differing breeds of dogs – they are a wonderfully diverse species! The Great Dane and the Chihuahua, the German Shepherd and the Bichon Frise are related so closely that they can and do interbreed. What amazing creatures dogs are, and how fortunate we are to have them in our lives. If you absolutely fall in love with a breed, please rescue one who has become homeless. Whenever you adopt you save two lives. One is of the dog you adopt, the other is of the dog who can take his place at the rescue.
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