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Breed Priorities – Xoloitzcuintli

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226 – October,2015

By Nikki Riggsbee

The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-eetz-QUEENT-lee), or Xolo, is an ancient breed, but relatively new to AKC dog shows, having been added to the Non-Sporting group in 2010. At one time many years ago, they were recognized by AKC as the “Mexican Hairless,” but registration was discontinued due to insufficient numbers. Statuary resembling the breed has been found in Mayan and Aztec Indian tombs over 3000 years old. The breed comes in two coat varieties in AKC, hairless and coated, and in three sizes: standard (18” – 23”), miniature (14” – 18”), and toy (10” – 14”).

We found thirteen Xolo experts to survey on their breed’s priorities, and all but one returned completed surveys – thank you! They have been in the breed from a few to many years, with an average of nearly seventeen-and-a-half years with Xolos.

Xoloitzcuintli Virtues

The survey included a list of virtues taken from the Xolo standard. The experts prioritized the breed characteristics, and the correct characteristics are listed below in sequence by the average of the ranks, with 1 being the most important.

1. Outline rectangular, 9/10 ratio

2. Movement free, effortless at fast trot, good reach and drive

3. Back level and firm

3. Moderate in all aspects

5. Ears large, set high, carried strongly erect

6. Temperament calm, tranquil, aloof, attentive

7. Tail set low, carried in a graceful curve when moving, but not over the back

8. Neck long, blending smoothly into shoulders, without wrinkles

9. Muzzle longer than skull, straight in profile

10. Lean, sturdy, well-muscled

11. Moderate angulation

12. Forelegs well under the body

13. Eyes almond-shaped, medium-sized

14. Scissors bite

15. Harefeet

16. Brow wrinkles at attention

“Brow wrinkles at attention” (16th) had the greatest agreement, with all but two ranking it at or near the bottom. Close behind with seventy-five percent agreeing was “Harefeet” (15th). The group is effectively saying that these points may be used as tie-breakers among dogs you consider approximately equal.

“Outline rectangular, 9/10 ratio” (1st) had the highest average rank with two-thirds of the group valuing it highly and only two considering it below average in importance. “Tail set low, carried in a graceful curve when moving, but not over the back” (7th) had the same number valuing it slightly above midpoint.

Only five other virtues had a majority consensus. “Movement free, effortless at fast trot, good reach and drive” (2nd) was second or third on many surveys, but a couple put it somewhat or a lot lower. A small majority had “Neck long, blending smoothly into shoulders, without wrinkles” (8th) at mid-point or better, but four had it definitely lower, dropping its position in the list.

Also with the lowest majorities, “Moderate angulation” (11th) was ranked in the third quartile by seven, with three considering it distinctly more important. “Eyes almond-shaped, medium-sized” (13th) had a similar distribution. “Scissors bite” (14th) had its majority in the last quartile, but a third had it as much more important. As with other hairless breeds, the hairless Xolo variety may have missing teeth. I wondered if that allowance on dentition influenced their opinions on bites, as well.

Most of the other virtues had half of the group agreeing, but also had another group with a different opinion. “Back level and firm” (tied at 3rd) had half put it below midpoint, but a third had it in the top three, raising its average. Also tied at third was “Moderate in all aspects,” which had half place it in the top quartile, but three ranked it fourteenth, lowering it.

Six surveys valued “Ears large, set high, carried strongly erect” (5th) more than middling important, but five had it below average. “Temperament calm, tranquil, aloof, attentive” (6th) was quite important for half, but a third thought it below midpoint. This is often the opinion on temperament on surveys – either very important or not an issue. “Lean, sturdy, well-muscled” (10th) was in the second quartile for half, but five thought it much less important.

“Forelegs well under the body” (12th) was valuable for a third, but five placed it below average. “Muzzle longer than skull, straight in profile” (9th) was valued all over, from second to sixteenth. I wondered if this was a reflection on how often this virtue is found in exhibits.

As with other surveys, additional input could indeed change a virtues relative position in the list, including breaking the tie at third with “Back level” and “Moderation.” “Tail set low” (7th) and “Neck long” (8th) had averages less than a tenth of a point apart as did “Lean, sturdy, muscular” (10th) and “Moderate angulation” (11th).

The biggest gap in the averages is nearly four points separating the average of “Scissors bite” (14th) and “Harefeet” (15th). This degree of separation firmly places the bottom two as least important in this list, as did the fact that these two had the greatest majority opinions.

Xoloitzcuintli Faults

The Xolo experts also ranked a list of faults from most serious to least serious. The faults were either directly from the standard or derived from it. Here is the list in sequence by the average placement, with 1 being the most serious.

1. Ears not standing erect by one year of age

2. Topline not level

3. Long, soft, or wavy hair

4. Coarse, heavy, or over-muscled

5. Both eyes not the same color

6. Pasterns turning in or out

7. Short or curled tail

8. Croup flat or steeply angled

9. Rib spring barrel-shaped

10. Excessively wide or narrow head

11. Tail carried over the back when moving

12. Pronounced stop

13. Brisket does not reach to point of elbow

14. Loose or wrinkled skin on the body

15. Splayed feet

16. Lacking complete dentition in coated variety

There was greater agreement with the faults than the virtues. Ten experts concurred on “Ears not standing erect by one year of age” (1st), although two didn’t consider it a problem at all. Next greatest majority was on “Splayed feet” (15th); interestingly, the correct feet also placed fifteenth among the virtues.

Two-thirds of the group agreed on three virtues: “Rib spring barrel-shaped” (9th), “Loose or wrinkled skin on the body” (14th), and “Lacking complete dentition in coated variety” (16th). “Skin wrinkles” was at or near the bottom of both lists as were “Dentition” issues.

“Topline not level” (2nd) had the smallest majority place it in the first quartile, but five put it in the second quartile, resulting in an average less than a tenth of a point behind the most serious fault “Ears not erect” (1st). Seven surveys agreed on the seriousness of “Long, soft, or wavy hair” (3rd) (this would apply to the coated variety), “Short or curled tail” (7th), “Croup flat or steeply angled” (8th), and “Pronounced stop” (12th).

Half of the surveys agreed on “Pronounced stop” (12th). The same number similarly valued “Excessively wide or narrow head” (10th), but five experts considered it much more important, which raised its rank.

Two other faults had bipolar results, where the experts didn’t agree. “Coarse, heavy, or over-muscled” (4th) had five surveys rank it in the second quartile, but four had it well into the third quartile. “Pasterns turning in or out” (6th) had a similar distribution.

“Both eyes not the same color” (5th) was very important for five experts, but the rest placed it all over. “Correct tail set/carriage” was slightly more than midpoint as a virtue, but there was no consensus on “Tail carried over the back when moving” (11th), with rankings from fourth to sixteenth.

In addition to the first two faults mentioned earlier, “Pasterns in/out” (6th) and “Short/curled tail” (7th) had averages within a tenth of a point of each other, so additional surveys might change their relative ranks.


The survey included two sets of Xolo outlines, six dogs and six bitches, made from photos of real dogs. Since they were real dogs, none was perfect, and all were not in the exact same position. The experts placed each set of outlines first through fourth, as in a dog show class. Select your favorite before you see what the experts selected.

The Xolo male with the best average placement score was dog “A.” Those who placed him first commented “moderate, balanced dog,” “moderate, not heavy or overdone or spindly,” ‘good topline and structure,” “straight front legs, close between ‘A’ and ‘B,’ but ‘A’ had a better underline,” and “proper proportions, closer to 9:10 in length, good length of leg, brisket reaching elbow, smooth underline with slight tuck up, better fill of brisket/forechest.”

The dog with the next best average placement was dog “B.” Surveys that liked him best said “more elegant, good topline, correct tail length, good angulation,” “proper proportions, best overall body proportions,” and “balance.”

The Xolo bitch who placed best on average was bitch “X.” The experts’ comments on her included “the only one who looked balanced,” “alert and confident, good proportions and angulation, nice neck and head,” “nice balance and natural carriage,” “best despite small ears and short tail,” “correct outline, tail carriage, topline, decent muzzle length, but too much stop,” “moderate,” and “standout for silhouette, length of back, and tail carriage.”

The bitch with the second best average placement was bitch “W.” Some of the comments on her were “nice specimen,” “topline good and elegant,” and “closest to correct, needs a better topline and croup.”

Xolos “A,” “E,” and “X” were each named Best of Breed three times. Bitch “X” had the best average placement score and the most first placements among the twelve outlines, so she was Best of Breed. Note that dog “E” who was fourth among the dogs was placed first three times, named BOB each time he placed first.

Xolo dogs “A” and “D” and bitch “X” were never out of the ribbons. Xolo dogs “C,” “D,” and “F” and bitches “U” and “Y” were not placed first on any of the surveys. Dog “C” was not placed in the ribbons by any expert. Bitch “Y” and bitch “Z” had the lowest placements among the females.

Essential Characteristics

The experts were asked to name four to six characteristics that a good Xolo must have. Most often named was head, with additional notes on its shape, fill, wrinkle, eye shape and set, balance, and ears (elegant, expressive, and erect). Just behind head was movement and topline followed by balance. Also listed were outline, moderation, and temperament.


The survey asked what movement component they felt was most important and which movement fault was most serious.

Most important to good movement, for these Xolo experts, free-flowing, ground-covering reach and drive.

The most serious movement fault was poor front movement that resulted from steep shoulders and short upper arms.


Xolo experts offered the following comments on their breed:

• Remember the breed is primitive, not created by man, but formed by nature.

• The breed was used as companion, work animal, guardian, hunter, and food.

• Watch for: correct outline, not overdone; ground covering stride; attitude; correct front, not “U” shaped or forward set.

• Don’t be hesitant when approaching, don’t stare the dog in the eye; the breed doesn’t like excessive touching, it isn’t necessary.

• Judge the whole dog, but note that it clearly a Xolo; don’t award it if it resembles another breed.

• The Xolo is moderately constructed, sound and balanced, with good substance.

• Large expressive ears, slight stop, and a muzzle longer than the skull are typical of a good Xolo.

• Fringe anywhere on a coated Xolo is completely incorrect.

• Xolo temperament should be confident and calm.

• Any dog that brings an “Oh, how sweet!” smile to your face is not a correct Xolo. The wedge-shaped head, very slight stop, and longer muzzle gives a different, somewhat snooty, unique look to the Xolo.

• This breed is a survivalist. It has to be sturdy, athletic, and versatile. Spindly and refined or massive and coarse are wrong. This is a very tough, hardy, primitive breed. Every piece is designed for functionality.

• Moderate, smooth, and sleek.

• Look for balanced movement with good reach and drive, a solid topline, and tail carriage that stays correct.

Much appreciation to the Xolo folk for sharing their knowledge and expertise.

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Posted by on Oct 22 2015. Filed under Current Articles, Editorial, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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