Rare and Ancient the Aztecs Favorite Dog Finally Recognized by the American Kennel Club
Photo: The Xoloitzcuintli
The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-etz-queent-lee) or Xolo for short, is one of the world’s rarest breeds and is still considered a “healer” in remote Mexican and Central American villages today. The breed comes in three sizes: toy, miniature and standard and two varieties: hairless and coated. All of which makes the Xolo ideal for those looking for a dog with more variety and an ancient pedigree. They serve as an excellent companion for families due to their attentive and calm nature and require moderate exercise and grooming.
One of the world’s oldest and rarest breeds dating back over 3,000 years, the Xolo can justly be called the first dog of the Americas. Archaeological evidence indicates that Xolos accompanied ancestors of the Aztec Indians when they arrived in Mexico from Asia on their first migrations across the Bering Straits. Their name is derived from the name of the Aztec Indian god Xolotl and Itzcuintli, the Aztec word for dog. They were highly prized for their loyalty, intelligence and curative mystical powers. The Xolo of today remains virtually unchanged! Unfortunately, the Aztecs not only enjoyed the hairless dogs as pets, but also found them useful as bed warmers, food, and sacrificial offerings.
The Xoloitzcuintle, Standard and Miniature size were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) until 1959, when a lack of registrations and show entries caused it to be dropped. Now this rare and ancient breed is welcomed back to the delight of many Latino owners and their growing fan base world wide.