Xolo: Getty Images
The Xoloitzcuintli breed is as old as his name is long: his name combines the name of the Aztec Indian god Xolotl and the Aztec word for dog, Itzcuintli but people call them Xolos for short.
Archaeological evidence of the Xoloitzcuintli places the breed in what is now Mexico over 3,000 years ago.
Considered a "primitive" breed, Xolos developed without much human interference, despite being considered sacred. The Aztec people thought the souls of their Xoloitzcuintil companions would guide their own souls through the underworld.
It probably helped that Xolos are natural companion dogs with calm dispositions, moderate exercise needs and the attentive nature of guard dogs.
Today many believe the breed still has healing qualities. They are even used as healers in some villages, their soothing presence and warm skin improving symptoms of rheumatism, asthma and insomnia.
However, not every Xoloitzcuintil is hairless. The breed comes in three sizes: toy, miniature and standard (raning from 10 to 50 lbs and 10 to 24 in in height); and two varieties: hairless and coated. Coated Xolos have a short, flat, often uniformly-colored coat in black, gray, red or bronze.
Xolos are extremely energetic as puppies, as well as highly intelligent. These traits were perfect for their history as companions to free-roaming families, but do make them a breed in need of a little extra, positive obedience training early on.
It will pay off in spades as your Xoloitzcuintil calms and matures after 2 years of age.
Due to the natural development of this breed, Xoloitzcuintil are hearty, without many inherited health issues.
However, this is an indoor dog breed, unequipped with a hearty coat to protect from sun or cold weather.
The Xoloitzcuintil Rescue League and the American Kennel Club provide plenty of information of finding a responsible breeder or even a rescue Xolo! The Xolo is now one of 6 new breeds to be recognized at the Westminster Dog Show.