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Hairless dogs in competition; meet Mexico's Xoloitzcuintles

Spend any time on the streets of Mexico, and you will eventually see them. Mexico's hairless brown or red-skinned dogs -- the Xoloitzcuintle (pronounced sholo-squint-lay).

Love them or hate them, they've played a long-term part in Mexico's history, according to Gabriel Mestre, who is a small-scale Xoloitzcuintle breeder and author of a number of books on the subject. He says this breed of dog can be traced back at least 2,800 years in Mexico, and that some Mexicans believed that the animals had curative powers.

Not all Xoloitzcuintle dogs are bald, and litters yield hairy and hairless pups. But it's the hairless dogs that tend to attract more attention, Mestre says.

He sells most of his dogs and puppies to other breeders in Europe, and says the reactions he gets when he takes his dogs out onto the streets here in Mexico City are mixed. Some people compliment him, others shy away. Mestre's client base does suggest that the unusual looking animals are an acquired taste and are more popular with foreign than domestic breeders.

But that doesn't stop him from showing them off, and he's a regular at national and international dog shows around the world. We went along with him and one of his dogs, 8-month-old Aztlan, to a recent show here in Mexico City.

Watch the video for more.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Video: Mexico’s hairless Xoloitzcuintle in competition. Credit: Deborah Bonello

Comments () | Archives (6)

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A further example of the effects of unrestrained breeding--that is people playing god with another species.

Muchas felicidades es un gran reportaje, muy interesante y gran trabajo de tu parte. Saludos

I love these dogs!

The were bred for eating.

Great story on these character dogs. I saw them at the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Xochimilco and was fascinated by their look and personality. They barked at me as if telling me, "Get out of my barrio".

So Cholos means dogpacks.

The dogs are so loved, that in Tijuana there's a professional team called: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente, who play in the second level of the Mexican soccer pyramid.

The "xolos" were runner-ups on the last tournament, and people in Tijuana like to dress up with little dog noses or with the phrase: Soy xolo y qué?

More info: www.xolos.com.mx


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