Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Xoloitzcuintli: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Xoloitzcuintle temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Xoloitzcuintle dog breed

Xoloitzcuintle Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

By Michele Welton.
Copyright © 2000-2013


The elegant, animated Xoloitzcuintle (Mexican Hairless) moves lightly and gracefully, runs swiftly, and jumps and climbs with agility. His webbed toes are somewhat prehensile, allowing him to grip toys with dexterity -- or your neck in an affectionate hug.

Tranquil in the home, the Xoloitzcuintle is exceptionally attentive to his owner and needs a lot of personal interaction. He is likely to pine or act out when left too long without the companionship of people or other pets.

Wary of strangers, the Xoloitzcuintle makes an alert watchdog, exceedingly aware of his surroundings. Some Xolos are high-strung and/or timid of new people and new situations. Early and frequent socialization will help build a confident, stable temperament.

Still somewhat primitive in behavior, the Xoloitzcuintle is most content with structure and consistency in his life. He often reacts based on instinct, and his reflexes are lightning fast.

Though independent, the Xolo is smart and sensitive and responds best to gentle, reward-based obedience training. Harsh discipline only frightens him.

Because of his athleticism and ingenuity, your fences should be high and secure. Don't allow barking to become established.


If you want a dog who...

  • Comes in several sizes, from small to medium
  • Has an exotic, elegant appearance, like that of a small deer
  • Is mostly hairless, needs no brushing, and doesn't shed
  • Moves with light-footed grace, runs swiftly, and jumps and climbs with agility
  • Is high-spirited, smart, and sensitive
  • Makes a keen watchdog, but not a guarddog
  • Is usually peaceful with other animals

A Xoloitzcuintle may be right for you.


If you don't want to deal with...

  • A somewhat highstrung, emotional, dependent personality that demands much attention and will bark or act destructively when left too long without companionship
  • Timidity or suspiciousness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
  • Independent thinking (mind of his own)
  • Emotional sensitivity to stress, loud voices, rough handling, and abrupt changes in schedule
  • Tendencies to climb or dig to escape from confinement
  • Barking
  • Housebreaking difficulties
  • Vigilant care of the hairless skin, which is sensitive to sun, cold, rain and sleet, chemicals, and hard sleeping surfaces

A Xoloitzcuintle may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy


More traits and characteristics of the Xoloitzcuintle

If I was considering a Xoloitzcuintle, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Separation anxiety. More than most other breeds, the Xoloitzcuintle needs a great deal of companionship and does not like being left alone for more than a few hours. Bored Xolos become anxious, which they express by destructive chewing and barking. If you work all day, this is not the breed for you.

  2. Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, Xoloitzcuintli need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness or suspiciousness, which are difficult to live with.

  3. Mind of his own. Xoloitzcuintli are not Golden Retrievers. They have an independent mind of their own and can be stubborn and manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    To teach your Xolo to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Xoloitzcuintle Training Page discusses the program you need.

  4. Emotional sensitivity. Be honest...is there tension in your home? Are people loud or angry or emotional? Are there arguments or fights? Xoloitzcuintles are extremely sensitive to stress and can end up with digestive upsets and neurotic behaviors if the people in their home are having family problems. Xolos are peaceful dogs who need a harmonious home.

  5. Housebreaking problems. The Xoloitzcuintle is considered a "primitive" breed (meaning not too far from wild roots) and all of the primitive breeds are difficult to housebreak. Consistent crate training is mandatory. Sometimes a doggy door is necessary. And some owners never do get their Xoloitzcuintle fully housebroken. Territorial marking (unneutered males lifting their leg to pee in your house) is a common problem.

  6. Fence security. Many Xolos climb like monkeys and dig like gophers. You may need higher fences than you might imagine for their small size. You may also need to sink wire into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging.

  7. Barking. Xoloitzcuintli are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them so they don't turn into yapping nuisances.

  8. Skin care. The Xoloitzcuintle has delicate skin that must be protected from sunburn and freezing temperatures and frequently washed and moisturized. Xolos need soft blankets to curl up in.


book cover To learn more about training Xoloitzcuintli to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Xoloitzcuintle the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.



book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Xoloitzcuintle. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.


If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Xoloitzcuintle might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.


book cover Once you have your Xoloitzcuintle home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.



Please consider adopting an ADULT Xoloitzcuintle...

When you're acquiring a Xoloitzcuintle PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Xoloitzcuintli who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter

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