The A to Z Challenge – X for Xolo ~ Xoloitzcuintli dog

The LAST WEEK in the A to Z Challenge !
Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we wrap up blogging the alphabet this week. My daily posts have been mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy, I hope you will find them interesting too.

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Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter X ~
X for Xolo the Xoloitzcuintli dog
(pronounced Sholo- eets- queently or just Sholo for short)

A documentary on PBS first introduced me to the dog called Xolo. It took some digging because I couldn’t recall the title of the show, but I found the broadcast and added to this post. The portion that caught my eye early on was the visit to a rural village in Mexico. There an older woman with rheumatism demonstrated how she applies Xolo puppies to her arthritic joints. Yes, I said applies.

If you’ve never heard of the rare Xolo, the dog is also called the Mexican hairless. I’d heard of the Mexican hairless before, but up until that program I thought hairless was a nickname for a short-haired chihuahua. The Xolo is actually an ancient hairless breed, one of the oldest on the planet, and it’s also the official dog of Mexico. Recognized by kennel clubs around the world, the Xolo comes in three sizes that range in weight from 10 to 60 pounds. They are bare overall with wrinkly faces. The small amount of hair they do have is seen on the end of their tails and on the top of their heads standing straight up like a Mohawk hairdo. Because hairlessness is a genetic mutation, litters often include furred puppies.

That’s one ancient pup
Some 3000 years ago, the Aztecs named the Xolo for Xolotl, their god of lightning and death. That seems like a pretty intense association for a dog, but it was believed the dog not only possessed healing properties for the body, it healed the spirit too. Having dogs in my life, I believe that’s exactly what dogs do. 🙂

The Xolo was obviously a popular dog among pre-Columbian civilizations. Undoubtedly this high standing is the reason they were frequently buried with the dead. I’ve read this was done in the belief that they xolowould help the soul safely navigate the underworld and find its way home. I’m happy to say statues in the thousands have been found in burial sites throughout Mexico, suggesting pottery Xolos were ritually placed in burials and tombs to symbolically serve the same purpose. Infinitely better than burying the family pet.

Hairless heating pads?
Dogs generally have a body temperature between 99° and 102°, so Xolos aren’t any warmer than furred dogs. Their bare skin contact just feels hot to the touch. That’s why the woman was pressing puppies to her knee.  😀

Artist Frida Kahlo put Xolos in many of her paintings and photographs. Sometimes you have to look for them, but they’re there.
045fredaFrida Kahlo painted many pictures of Xolos. Frida was very proud of ...

PBS 2-part documentary on dogs. Fascinating.


Examples of pottery Xolos from Colima Wow. Check out those prices. It’s sad to think of the burials that were potted and graves disturbed just so collectors could have Xolos on their shelves.

Tomorrow ~ letter Y


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About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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8 Responses to The A to Z Challenge – X for Xolo ~ Xoloitzcuintli dog

  1. rosgemmell says:

    Wow – you really do come up with some amazing and interesting facts, Rose! Had never heard of this type of dog before.

    • We have a fair trade import store near me and I’ve been seeing clay animals for years that sort of look like a fox with a wrinkled face. In writing this post, I finally made the connection.

  2. Ray G says:

    I am curious as to whether or not the skin is dry or moist.

  3. Great article, Rose. I’ve heard of these dogs but thought they were a breed of chihuahua. When I was in Australia nearly two decades ago, an Aborigine shaman prescribed puppy medicine to a woman suffering stomach troubles. I think many ancient cultures engaged in dog medicine. The dog in your photo resembles Anubis, too. Thanks for stirring my gray matter once again!

  4. skmarshall2014 says:

    Another informative blog, Rose. I thought they were a breed of chihuahua’s, too.

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