The Xoloitzcuintli is now known to be one of the world’s oldest and rarest breeds, with statues identical to the hairless variety dating back over 3,000 years. These clay and ceramic effigies have been found in tombs of the Mayan, Colima and Aztec Indians. The Aztecs deeply revered the Xolo and believed the breed to have mystical healing abilities.
Xolos first began to turn up at Mexican dog shows in the late 1940s. While it was recognized that these were indigenous specimens of a native breed, interest in them was minimal at that time. Within a decade, however, the FCM realized that the breed would be extinct if drastic action were not taken to save it. This led to the widely publicized “Xolo Expedition of 1954”.
The expedition, led by Norman Pelham Wright, found and brought back sufficient numbers of good Xolos and it was these dogs that formed the foundation of Mexico's program to revive the breed. A committee headed by Wright authored the first official standard for the breed. (¯See “Standard for the Large Xoloitzcuintli” below.)The Xoloitzcuintli breed was first registered in Mexico in 1955. When on May 1, 1956, the “Standard” for the breed was adopted, the Xolo was finally recognized in its native land and is now the designated “Official Dog of Mexico”. With Mexico a member of the FCI, this gained the Xoloitzcuintle worldwide recognition, too.
The Xoloitzcuintli was actually first registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) from 1887 to 1959 as the “Mexican Hairless” breed, but was dropped due to insufficient numbers of dogs being bred and registered. The photo with the “Mexican Hairless” chapter from the AKC 1935 “Toy Dogs” makes it completely clear that this breed was in NO WAY a true Xoloitzcuintli, simply a hairless Chihuahua or crossbred.
The Xoloitzcuintli is currently registered by the Canadian Kennel Club in the Non-Sporting Group for the Standard and Miniature and in the Toy Group for the Toy Xolo.
In the F.C.I., the Xoloitzcuintli is judged in the Primitive and Spitz Group, recognizing their ancient origins.
FOR AN EXPANDED HISTORY OF THE XOLOITZCUINTLI
¯STANDARD FOR THE LARGE XOLOITZCUINTLI Adopted By The Mexican Doglovers' Association (A.C.M.) On 1 May, 1956
1. GENERAL APPEARANCE
The dog should measure, as an adult, more that 30 cms. high at the "cross" (base of the neck), and the best measure a little less that 50 cms. It should have a harmonious overall appearance, gracile movements and large legs.
Cranium: viewed from above, should be wide and strong. The line of the cheeks ought to smoothly narrow toward the base of the snout, without being brusque. Seen in profile, there ought to be a slight curve in the upper line. The frontal-nasal depression ought not be very pronounced, given that the planes defined by the snout and the cranium should not be greatly separated.
Snout: bony, of a proportion somewhat larger than the longitudinal width of the cranium. Seen in profile, it is similar to the wedge of the acute line, but neither course nor weak, but rather proportionate to and in harmony with the cranium.
Ears: large, expressive and elegant, measuring up to 10 cms. in length, and thin, reminiscent of the ears of a bat. Laterally inserted into the cranium, and raised when in a state of alert. In this position the ears ought to be between 50 and 80 degrees from horizontal.
Eyes: of medium size, somewhat almond-shaped, neither too close together nor too separated, neither deep-set nor bulging. The color of the eye ranges from yellow to black, and dark colors are preferred. The two eyes are always the same color. The expression is one of intelligence and liveliness, and transmits the noble and faithful temperament characteristic of the animal. The eyelids ought to be dark in dark animals, and may have pink or brown spots in animals with less pigmentation.
Teeth: the mandible closes like a pair of scissors. Lower or upper prognathism will be penalized. May lack all premolars. The absence of an incisor will not be penalized, but preference will be given to those with all incisors.
Nose: dark in dark animals, pink or brown in animals of those colors.
Lips: pursed, perfectly covering the teeth. With neither superior nor inferior blubber-lips.
3. BODY AND LIPS
Neck: raised, proportionately large, slightly arched in the cervical line, flexible with the grace of an antelope. Without wrinkles or a double chin. Inserted in the thorax in the part called the cross. Narrow at the base of the cranium and gradually widening towards the connection with the thorax.
Chest: deep, developed to the height of the elbows.
Ribs: well-developed, without interfering with the movements of the front limbs.
Belly: muscular, tight.
Shoulders: straight loins, ending in a rounded rump. Animals that are overly arched are undesirable. The ratio of the length of the body to its height ought to be 9 to 10.
Front limbs: the legs, seen from the front, ought to be straight and proportionate, of sufficient length to enable a long and elegant step, in proportion with the size of the dog. As far as the shoulders are concerned, the union of the shoulder blade with the humerus ought to produce an angle close to 45 degrees. Firm elbows that do not stick out.
Hind quarters: the muscles should be firm, wide, and give the impression of potency. The angles formed by the unions of the pelvis and femur, femur and tibia, tibia and shank or hock ought not be very obtuse, but rather should show the angles indispensable for the wide and free movement of these extremities. Seen from behind, the hind quarters ought to be completely straight. Bovine, cloven feet will be penalized.
Feet: like a hare's, with digits drawn in. Black nails in dark animals; light colored nails are acceptable in animals with less pigmentation in the feet.
Tail: long and fine without knottiness, prolonged to the shank, and narrowing towards its tip.
Hair: The principle characteristic of this dog is the total absence of hair, though a tuft of rough, short, not very dense hair atop the cranium is common. This never ought to reach the length or softness of the long lock of the Crested Chinese Dog, or "Tai-Tai". Similar hair is also common on the end of the tail, but its presence ought not change the profile of this appendage. The total absence of hair in these regions should not be penalized.
Skin: Smooth and soft to the touch, especially those parts less exposed to the sun. Accidental scars should not be penalized, as the skin of this animal is by nature sensitive. The skin feels hot to the touch, given that the normal temperature is approximately 40 degrees centigrade, this being one of the peculiarities of the animal. Its skin sweats, especially the lower parts, and for this reason it rarely or never sticks out its tongue and pants like other dogs.
Color: A uniform color, from dark bronze, gray, dark gray, or black, is preferred, though animals with brown or pink spots or areas without pigmentation are also tolerated. Discoloration on an exaggerated scale however is undesirable. If there is hair on the head or tail it ought to be black in dark animals; in light-colored animals hair of any color in harmony with the overall coloration is tolerated.
4. ADDITIONAL OBSERVATIONS
A good adult is a rather silent and tranquil animal, which only barks, growls and whines upon provocation—something which by no means implies a sad or cowardly character. It should be happy, noble, alert and intelligent. Neither aggressive nor timid animals are desired. The puppies are different from the adults in appearance, given that they are flat-nosed and short-legged, and frequently noisier than the adults. Their characteristic traits assert themselves as they develop.
5. TRAITS ESPECIALLY UNDESIRABLE
Timid character, ears that cannot lift up entirely, exaggerated discoloration, hair growing in areas other than the cranium or tail, skin that is exaggeratedly loose, the presence of fetlocks, monorchidism.
Hanging ears, like a hound's, cut ears, cut tails, albinos, unilateral cryptorchidism.
The foregoing was authored in 1955 by the ITZCUINTLE COMMITTEE OF THE MEXICAN DOGLOVERS' ASSOCIATION, A.C., chaired by Norman Pelham Wright.