A complete breed guide for Xoloitzcuintli

28 OCTOBER 2022

This article is written by Pet Circle's qualified veterinarian, Dr Lacey Kelly BVSc (Hons)

Pronounced show-low-eats-QUEENT-lee, the Xoloitzcuintli has a unique look you won't soon forget. The hairless variety has nothing but a small tuft of hair on the top of their head but what they lack in hair they make up for in personality. Coming in three sizes, this highly sociable dog will happily become your loyal shadow.

Xoloitzcuintli Facts
Top Toy Recommendations
Nutrition Recommendations
Health Concerns
Related Breeds
Further reading

Xoloitzcuintli Facts


Breed size:

Place of origin:

Other Names:

Small to medium


Mexican Hairless Dog

Breed group:

Energy level:

Weight range:



Toy: 4-6.8kg
Miniature: 6.8-13.6kg
Standard: 13.6-25kg

Life expectancy:

Tendency to bark:

Height range:

12-18 years


Toy: 23-36cm
Miniature: 36-45cm
Standard: 45-58cm

Drool factor:

Social Needs:

Coat type:



Hairless or Coated (short, flat coat).

Shedding factor:

Overall grooming needs:




Black, slate, grey, brindle, bronze,
fawn, liver, red, white, palomino

How big do Xoloitzcuintli get?

Toy Xoloitzcuintli grow to 4-6.8kg bodyweight, and stand 23-36cm tall.
Miniature Xoloitzcuintli grow to 6.8-13.6kg bodyweight and stand 36-45cm tall.
Standard Xoloitzcuintli grow to 13.6-25kg bodyweight and stand 45-58cm tall.

Do Xoloitzcuintli shed?

The hairless variety sometimes have a small tuft of fur on the top of their head but is otherwise fur- free, so shedding is almost non-existent. The coated variety on the other hand will be completely coated with short flat fur and no undercoating meaning you will experience a moderate degree of shedding.

How long do Xoloitzcuintli live?

The life expectancy of Xoloitzcuintli ranges between 12-18 years. Generally, the larger the breed, the lower the life expectancy, so Standard Xoloitzcuintli will have a life expectancy closer to 12 years, while Toy Xoloitzcuintli live closer to 18 years.

How do I choose a Xoloitzcuintli breeder?

It is important to choose a puppy from a reputable breeder who actively aims to improve the health of the breed by selectively breeding healthy traits and good temperaments. This dog is going to be in your life for the next decade at least so you want to put time into researching a reputable breeder. Never purchase a puppy without inspecting the breeder's premises, seeing their dogs, and asking the 10 Breeder Checklist Questions first. Good breeders socialise their animals, house them humanely and allow you to inspect their premises. Read our Guide to Finding a Good Breeder for more tips.

How much does a Xoloitzcuintli cost in Australia?

It was only recently, in 2009, that Xolos were imported into Australia meaning the breed is very early on in its development in Australia. With limited numbers you can expect to pay anywhere from $3000-$5000 to get your hands on one of these pups.

Are Xoloitzcuintli good pets?

Xolos make wonderful companions for the right household. They are affectionate and loyal and have a tendency to bond closely to one person. Their somewhat emotionally dependent nature makes them excellent pets for those that can give them all the love and attention they need. They are suited to an indoors lifestyle where they can spend as much time as possible with their family. Don't be deceived by their furless bodies; they will still need semi-regular attention paid to their coat and dog sunscreen applied for time spent outside.

While the Standard Xolo is probably too large and energetic for an apartment, toy and miniature Xolos are well suited to apartment living, as long as they are afforded plenty of play, exercise and social interaction. For more information, take a look at Tips For Keeping Your Dog in an Apartment.

Do Xoloitzcuintli bark a lot?

Xolos need a great deal of interaction and companionship and don't do well when left alone for extended periods. They can easily become anxious; often presenting itself as barking. To reduce your Xolo's barking, ensure you train with positive reinforcement from a young age and keep them entertained to reduce boredom and anxiety.

Are Xoloitzcuintli good with kids?

Known for their affectionate and playful nature the Xoloitzcuintli are a good choice for families with children. They can be sensitive to having their ears and tails touched and pulled so it is important to supervise when around children. Care should be taken around boisterous toddlers as their small stature (toy and mini) makes them susceptible to accidental injury.

As with any breed, proper socialisation is essential to ensure your dog forms positive associations from a young age. Always supervise interactions between children and dogs and give your dog some space if they seem fearful or stressed.

Xoloitzcuintli History


The Xoloitzcuintli dates back more than 3,500 years ago to Mexico where they were revered as the ancient Aztec dog of the gods. There was a point when the breed actually reached a point of near extinction as a result of them being eaten as part of special Mexican ceremonies. They were thought to be a representative of the god Xolotl and so consuming them was to have them guide the souls of the dead to their eternal destination.

These days the Xolo is best known for its sweet and playful personality and is more at home as a house pet.

Xoloitzcuintli Personality

Via Dog Time

The Xolo is a very intelligent, loving, and loyal breed. They are extremely social dogs that require near-constant interaction, making them the perfect pet for someone who can provide them with lots of love and attention.

Xolos usually bond to one person but with proper socialisation they can be good company to family, friends and other pets. Care should be taken to ensure kids are gentle with the smaller toy and mini Xolos.

Top Toy Recommendations for Xoloitzcuintli

Xoloitzcuintli are very intelligent dogs and require mental stimulation and challenges to avoid unwanted behaviours, such as nuisance barking, from developing. Interactive and treat dispensing toys are a great way to keep this smarty-pants entertained for hours. Dental toys are also great for Xolos as they are very prone to dental disease.

Paws for Life Snuffle Mat

This cute as pie sunflower snuffle mat is a great way to feed your Xolo with a bit of added puzzle-solving fun.

ZippyPaws Smartypaws Puzzler

This toy provides multiple levels of challenge to keep even the smartest dog on their toes.

KONG Extreme Black

The perfect and cuddly mate, this plush toy has squeakers in each paw to keep your Xolo entertained.

Tuffy Toys

Perfect for your dental disease prone Xolo, this tough chew toy is flavoured to encourage gnawing and chewing.

Xoloitzcuintli Nutrition

Via Pumpkin Care

Xolo Puppies

Bringing home a puppy is an exciting time, though it can be overwhelming with so many things to learn about puppy care, behaviour and training. Take a look at our New Puppy Guide to help you prepare for those first few weeks and months with your new family member. For tips on combating some of those problematic (but entirely normal) puppy behaviours, like inappropriate chewing, take a look at our Puppy Training Guide.

Xolo puppies should be feed a premium quality food formulated for their size until they are 12 months of age. For more information and for answers to all your puppy feeding questions, check out Everything You Need to Know about Feeding Your Puppy.

Best Food For Toy and Miniature Xolo Puppies

The following diets are suitable for Toy Xolos and Miniature Xolos who have an expected adult weight of less than 10kg. Miniature Xolos vary in their adult weight and may fall into the small breed category (<10kg) or the medium breed category (10-25kg).

The best way to tell how big your puppy will grow is to take a look at their parents - in general, puppies will be approximately the average weight of their parents.

Best Food For Miniature and Standard Xolo Puppies

The following diets are suitable for Standard Xolo puppies and Miniature Xolo puppies that fall into the medium breed category (adult weight between 10-25kg)

Top food recommendations for adult Xolos

As mentioned above, the choice of food for your adult Xolo will depend on the weight of your dog. The following scientifically formulated diets include additional ingredients to support their health and wellbeing. Given Xolos propensity for dental disease you may consider feeding an oral care diet.

Pro Plan Adult Fussy And Beauty

Formulated with high quality ingredients and a specially shaped kibble, this dry food will help to promote chewing for reduced dental plaque in even the fussiest eater.

Royal Canin Mini Adult Dental Care

Royal Canin Dental Care Mini has a scientifically designed kibble shape, size and texture which helps to reduce the formation of dental tartar by polishing the surface of the teeth.

Hills Science Diet Adult Oral Care

This premium diet uses a unique interlocking fibre technology to reduce plaque and tartar build up on your dog’s teeth.

Advance Triple Action Dental Care Medium

Formulated for medium breed dogs, this super premium, Australian made food contains extra dental care ingredients to support oral care.

Xoloitzcuintli Grooming

Don't let their lack of fur lull you into a false sense of security around grooming! The signature look of the hairless Xolo still requires a moderate level of maintenance to keep them looking their best.

The hairless variety requires regular baths to reduce oil build up. Be sure to follow with an all over body conditioner to keep their skin from becoming dry, flaky and irritated. The coated variety needs occasional baths and brushing to keep their coat in peak condition.

Their bare skin makes them very susceptible to sunburn and should always have protection when out in the sun, in the way of a dog coat or doggy-safe sunscreen.

Our top grooming recommendations for Xoloitzcuintli dogs

Xoloitzcuintli Health Concerns

Via K9rl

Patella Luxation

The Patella, or kneecap, usually sits neatly in a groove at the bottom of the femur bone. In dogs with patella luxation this kneecap 'pops' in and out of that groove. This luxation causes pain, inflammation, and arthritic changes as it regularly pops in and out. It is commonly seen in smaller breed dogs and is often treated surgically.

Find out more about Luxating Patellas in Dogs.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is the abnormal growth and development of the hips. A healthy hip joint operates as a smooth gliding 'ball and socket' joint. Hips that are dysplastic typically have a flattening of the 'socket', resulting in a shallow joint that the 'ball' cannot sit in securely. This leads to instability of the joint; causing pain, inflammation, and the development of osteoarthritis.

The condition is primarily genetic in origin with varying degrees of disease seen between dogs due to a combination of factors such as body weight, exercise, nutrition, and hormonal factors. Rapid growth due to incorrect diet can worsen the dysplasia of the hip joint in affected puppies making correct nutrition so vital at this important stage of growth and development.

To learn more, check out our article on Hip Dysplasia

Dental disease

The genes that produce the Xolo's distinctive hairless appearance is also linked to poor and incomplete dentition. It is not uncommon for this breed to develop dental disease at a young age so daily brushing and a dental healthcare plan is imperative.

Skin Conditions

The Xoloitzcuintli may seem low maintenance in the beauty department but their hairless coat actually makes them quite prone to developing skin conditions , especially acne. Allowing your Xolo to get too wet or too dirty can result in blackheads and blocked hair follicles.


Glaucoma is a painful eye condition that can quickly lead to blindness if not identified and treated correctly. It occurs when the pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure) increases, causing damage and degeneration of the retina and optic nerve. Initial symptoms include watery eyes, squinting and eye rubbing, a blueish or cloudy appearance to the eye, and in some cases overt swelling of the eyeball.

Related Breeds


Like the Xolo, the Chihuahua is a Mexican dog breed; named for the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Despite their position as smallest dog breed in the world they are full of personality and sass. Their small size makes them well suited to an indoor lifestyle and apartment living.

Hairless Kahla

The hairless Kahla, or Bolivian Hairless Dog, are a rare hairless breed that are quite similar in appearance to the Xoloitzcuintli. The hairless Khala can be quite standoffish and aloof with strangers and require good socialisation and training.

Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is a toy breed and comes in hairless and coated (powderpuff) varieties. Cresteds are lively, affectionate dogs who make loving companions. The hairless variety makes a convenient indoor pet due to their lack of shedding and doggy odour.

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Further Reading

New Puppy Guide

Premium Pet Food: Is it Worth it?

Should You Feed Your Pet A Raw Meat Diet?

The Benefits of a Slow Feeding Bowl

Arthritis in Dogs