The Xoloitzcuintli will be your best friend in life and death.
1. Dante, the dog from Coco, belongs to a breed called «Xoloitzcuintli», or just «Xolo» for short.
Xoloitzcuintli is derived from the Nahuatl language: Xolotl is the Aztec god of life and death, and the term «itzcuintli» means «dog».
2. The breed’s existence goes back more than 3000 years.
They’re extremely ancient lil’ doggies. This one has clearly seen a lot.
3. And the breed originated in Mexico.
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Which is why it’s become an icon of Mexican culture and a national symbol.
4. According to Aztec mythology, Xoloitzcuintlis were companions to the dead during their journey to Mictlan, the underworld.
Dogs were sacrificed and buried next to the bodies of the deceased, so that they could set out on their spiritual journey together.
5. The most noticeable physical feature of these dogs is the absence of fur.
It’s a hereditary genetic malformation of the skin, and it’s very powerful, meaning that, if a Xolo crossbred with a heavily haired breed, the puppies will probably have little to no hair.
6. However, the American Kennel Club has accepted the version of the Xolo that has a little fur.
Because every living being deserves recognition.
7. They’re really, really warm.
Due to their lack of fur, they feel warmer to the touch than other dogs. Because of that, a lot of people use them as therapy dogs, and historically, they were treated like heating pads for sick or hurt people.
8. They come in different sizes…
There are toy Xolos, miniature Xolos, and standard Xolos.
9. And it also comes in several colors. There are black, gray, and even reddish Xolos.
But they’re all equally beautiful.
10. It’s common for them to be missing some teeth, especially the premolar ones.
In fact, generally speaking, the less hair a Xolo has, the fewer teeth it’s likely to have as well.
11. They were super trendy pets in Mexico in the ’30s and ’40s.
It was a time in Mexico where pre-Hispanic art was going through a big revival, and when there was a lot of nationalist sentiment.
12. At that time, many Mexican artists kept Xolos, like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
They served as inspiration for several photographers, painters, and authors of the time, and the breed’s likeness was often captured in art at that time.
13. However, their popularity has sadly decreased over time.
Although… maybe the success of Coco will change that.
14. The Xoloitzcuintli is not the only hairless dog; there’s also the Chinese Crested dog.
The Chinese Crested’s origins are less clear. There’s also the Peruvian Hairless dog, which is a very important breed in Incan culture.
15. They’re very loyal and mellow, but also said to be very alert in case a stranger finds their way into your home.
The humans they live with are very important to them, and they do everything they can to care for their people. They live to be between 13 and 18 years old, they respond well to training, and they’re basically adorable.
16. And just keep in mind that all doggos, regardless of where they’re from or how they look, are good boys and girls, and they all deserve affection, respect, and love.
But also be responsible! If you want to adopt one of these little cuties, make sure you’re ready for that kind of responsibility, and don’t do it just because it’s trendy.
Like, literally forever.