What are Xolos really like? What kind of temperament
do they have? Here are some observations from Xolo owners.
Nowat - March 2008
I met my first Xolo while studying Art History in Mexico. I had seen Artifacts of Xolos and drawings on the walls of pyramids even Diego Rivera murals, but when a pack of Xolos approached us on the beach, I knew these were not only a historical presence but very special creatures in the present.
I never thought I could actually own a Xolo, However, when my wife and I bought our house and wanted a dog, I insisted we look to rescue one. This was initially met with much resistance since no one had ever heard of a xolo they first thought I made it up then I got and after I showed a picture form a web site The reaction was “A hairless dog! Like one of those yappy dogs with a Mohawk”?!?
It took all of 10 minuets on the first meeting with a good soul looking to re-home Nowatel a 6 year old Xolo who after a divorce was forced to live unhappily in a city apartment instead of the house and yard he was used to. We were so sad when the former owner took him home later that day. Luckily for us it was only a short time before he came to stay.
Nowat is extremely affectionate defiantly a Velcro dog he goes to work with me every day in my glass blowing studio and lays in a dog bed near by or stands against my leg both while I’m blowing glass or working in my office. He is very protective of anyone or anything in his territory usually consisting of the bed or couch he is sleeping on. He doesn’t like other males to intrude in our space with out invitation, but will relax after a hand shake and a pat on the head. When we visit my 93 year old grandfather in his assisted living community he greets all of the seniors with affection even after having his tail stepped on didn’t seem to affect him that much. He doesn’t pay attention to many other dog breeds even when provoked. At the dog park except other sight hounds Whippets, Yeller dogs, grey hounds, etc and he dislikes aggressive small dogs and will snap at them if provoked.
When we first got Nowat I made it a point to establish my Alfa Male status immediately by wrestling and pinning him to the turf, playing with him and rewarding with treats while keeping him submissive. He was generally very well trained and we discovered he had some agility training, as he responds to the signals. He accepts me as the Alfa male without question, I don’t have to walk him on a leash though he will run after Deer and Rodents especially Squirrels, Skunks or Rabbits the latter two of he has caught and eaten (two rabbits) since he has been in our family. He was treating my wife who was ambiguous in the pecking order, as if she was his Bitch. Not like prison inmates, like dogs do. After she got pregnant he was very protective and had to be touching her in some way, not leaving her side except when I took him away.
7 weeks ago we had a baby girl; Sophia Relna. we introduced the new baby to her older brother with out incident I say her older brother because his emotional attachment to the baby as one of our pack is absolute. If she cries and I don’t respond in time he will moan and bark until someone notices. I am making an effort not to trade attention for the baby with attention for the dog though the baby gets attention first. He is very patient and his personality hasn’t changed at all. Nowat is gentile and careful not to step too close to Sofi. Though No one Should Ever Leave A New-borne Unattended Much Less Unattended with ANY Pet, I have no problem with the dog and the baby being together most of the time.
I don’t know if any one else noticed this about their dogs but our Xolo seems to have personality and communication skills beyond that of other breeds. I’ve had many breeds of dog as pets from wolf, border collie mixes to Dalmatian Labs, I’ve never had a more attentive, intelligent, companion as our Xolo. Nowat expresses himself very well through different vocalizations for treats, walks, play time, and sleep time. One bark means Outside please, low to high pitch growl means play tug or treat ball, series of grunts means toy out of reach. If you wake him up or try to pull the covers away from him he will groan like an old man. Since He’s been fixed I would have him cloned if I could afford it. I can’t imagine having another dog in the family.
- July 2005
I was working at a vet's office when I first met my
Xolo. She was among a litter of abandoned puppies being
boarded. At the time I had never even heard of hairless dogs,
let alone the Xoloitzcuintli. From the start she and I were
inseparable! She was housebroken in about a week and doing
tricks shortly thereafter. Izzy was very independent, she
liked to be in the same room with us (me and my roommate) but
preferred to just sit on the chair that she claimed as her own and
watch tv. At night she would crawl under the covers and dare
to me to move! If I made the slightest shift that upset her
position then I would hear about it, as she "voiced" her opinion by
grumbling for about 2 minutes. Izzy, contrary to what I hear
about most Xolos, was definitely a barker. She barked at
anyone that came by unexpectedly and to let me know it was time to
go outside. My "sweet-love, honey-girlfriend" (as I used to
call her) died a year ago and I have been lost without her.
She was the best dog I have ever had and probably the best I ever
This is the anniversary of her death, so I
appreciate you having this forum and letting me talk about her.
and Chincle el Dink - 2000
Here's one person's experience. I have two Xolo's,
small standards, one male who joined us a month ago and one female
who adopted us a year and a half ago. They are both
three years old. My Xolo's are very loving, affectionate and
protective of the whole family (me, wife, two teens), but each has a
special attachment to one family member. They play favorites just a
tiny bit. They are very smart and are eager to please us larger,
bipedal dawgs. My wife and daughter taught Necu to sit, shake hands,
lay down, dance on her hind legs and speak, all on command. In the
space of two hours. My new guy, Chincle el Dink, learned to sit and
shake hands in the space of about two weeks, on his own, while he
was acclimating himself to his new household (ours) - he watched
Necu do it on command and be rewarded with a treat, and so he does
it now as well.
They are also playful - they love to romp around
with each other and/or any human that is willing. When it comes to
relaxation time, they love to snuggle with their favorite person.
Generally speaking, they are not velcro dogs - if someone is
available for snuggling, that's great. If everyone is busy doing
something, they are content to watch us go about our business. They
don't care to be alone if they don't have to, and are very happy to
just be in the same room with any one of us. Sometimes Dink will
laze on the sofa right next to my computer with his chin on the
keyboard tray for hours while I email and surf the net.
They are wary of strangers. Neither timid nor
aggressive, they just keep an eye on a new person for awhile with a
kind of 'reserving judgment for later' attitude. They may warm up to
a new person quickly, during the course of the person's first visit
for example, or it may take a second or third encounter before my
guys decide that a particular person is worth trusting. Again,
there's no overt aggression - just a quiet watchfulness.
Although they have that wariness of strangers, they
also behave as if they are happy to meet up with anyone on their
travels, especially when out of the house on walks. There is always
a tail wag, with ears back for anyone that comes within their view;
if ignored, my girl Necu will stand on her hind legs and track the
person with her eyes and her body, swiveling as the person walks up
to us, past us, and away. It seems that she feels that standing up
might make her more noticeable.
I can't say how they are around kids in general,
because my two babies are both nearly adults. We do live, however,
about a half mile from a primary grade school and our walks often
take us by the school when classes are letting out. Both of my Xolos
really eat up the attention that they get from the groups of kids
who are fascinated by the naked dogs (one little one thought that
they were miniature horses from a distance).
These are the most perfectly behaved dogs that I
have ever owned - we all click together.
I hope that my experiences with them help you with
your overall mental picture of them.
my xolos are a lot alike. they love being in the
same room with me - they used to want to be either on the couch or
chair with me or in my lap - until i got them a pet nest from
jeffers pet supply. now they love their "nest". but if i move from
one room to the other (yes,
even the bathroom) they usually come with me. in fact, i'm in the
bedroom at the computer and they're asleep in their bed (you know,
the king size one that they let me lie on at night....) i even hear
snoring. i teach piano lessons and have different children in
several days a week for 1/2 hour at the time. when j and i lived
together, kojak wouldn't even come into the den where the piano was
if there was a piano student. now, the piano is in my living room,
and he stays and listens. he barks a few times when the newer
students come in, but then gets in the chair with me (or his nest)
and enjoys (if the kid has practiced) the music. i wouldn't say
either of them is especially agile, but they both seem quite smart.
they aren't wild about dogs who run around our neighborhood,
especially the males who come to our house and pee in our yard. and
if they think someone or something is going to hurt me, watch out!
they'll growl and bark and have little hissies! and of course,
they're beautiful. good luck - i think they're the best babies ever!
Just had to give you one more comment on Xolo's. I
do think each dog is an individual. I grew up with an Xolo (then
referred to as a Mexican Hairless) as our family pet...."Poncho"
.... and 20 years after his decease, now have "Pelo". The comparison
of the two is a lot day vs. night....but it is just the way they
expressed themselves. Common characteristic are being devoted to
their "people family".....Poncho was around small children, so he
had more opportunities to show his protectiveness.... Pelo only
shows his protective side when he thinks his adult human family
needs his help (which is a lot due to his intuitiveness to when I'm
stressed). Poncho liked to be in same room with you, and sleep"under
the covers" at the foot of the bed, where as Pelo is much more a
"touchy" dog, he likes to have body contact , gives me "hugs" when I
come home from work, sits right next to me at every opportunity, and
sleeps under the covers, but with his head on his pillow between my
husband and me touching us both. In general Poncho's temperament was
more abrasive toward strangers, he was a very confident dog. Pelo is
much mellower to strangers, he gives everyone the benefit of the
doubt, he is definitely a lover not a fighter. (However if Pelo
doesn't care for someone I pay particular attention... like Poncho,
he is a great judge of character.).
Poncho was treated more like a dog, where as I am
accused of treating Pelo like a little boy. (Both my girls are away
at college, so he is my empty nest syndrome child). I have 3
siblings, and my mom is the source of all of us being big pet
lovers. Growing up we had a variety of pets...donkeys,
rabbits,cats,etc, but I can guarantee if you asked any of them who
was our special pet of our childhood, it would be Poncho. I am a
founding board member of our local Humane Assoc. since 1975. I have
"known" a lot of dog breeds. We have had numerous "special pets"
share our home, and be precious companions to me, my husband, and my
girls. However I could type all night and still probably not be able
to express how or why I feel about after a 20 year absence of a Xolo
in my life, now being blessed with Pelo. Though "not Poncho"
(commonly heard from my brother and sisters)he is loved by all of
If I could only have one breed or type of pet for
the rest of my life, it would have to be the one and only,
indescribable Xolo. There is nothing quite like being "owned" by an
Each person is going to tell you something a little
different based on their own experiences with their dogs. When I
first got Nubie he was the psycho dog or devil dog from hell. He was
rescued from a Miami pound and I have no idea what his history was
or what he experienced. I don't think his temperament is the norm
for xolos. I suspect some neuro involvement but he has calmed down
significantly over the past few years. Maybe just due to getting
older. He is a very dominant alpha and we have had our battles of
wills as to who is in charge. Finally he has seen the light and let
me be in charge.
As a whole I think, xolos are extremely intelligent.
They keep us on our toes constantly. They love nothing better than
to sit in your lap or next to you (under covers of course!!) When I
settle down at night to watch tv, they sit next to me under covers
and rarely stir unless they hear outside noises or the snap crackle
pop of food!!
I keep my trash cans on counters because they are in
them non-stop - paper puppies I call them. Mine are friendly to
kids, strangers, family. Nubie for some reason reacts negatively to
large black dogs. Usually he is nice to other dogs, but when he sees
a large black dog, he will growl and snarl, sometimes show teeth -
so I'm not sure what's going on there.
These guys can be funny to watch with their antics
like most dogs. Nubie is a zoomer. He goes flying through the house
at breakneck speed and often sails through the air over sofas,
whatever. He even clocked me once right in the head while he was in
mid-flight. (That one really hurt!)
Both of my guys are very healthy. I haven't had any
problems with their health. They're a hardy breed.
This has been my experience with my guys... never a
dull moment with them.
Xolos - 2000
This is only my opinion but I would answer yes to
all - each of these dogs seem to be there own individual, but the
one thing I will say is that once you have been owned by a Xolo,
nothing will compare to it. It has been the highlight of my entire
life - each day I look into those eyes, and feel the warmth of their
skin and I know I am the luckiest person in the whole wide world. A
Xolo is definitely the best mate in the world. I have a female &
male and the two are worlds apart, but still I love them both the
same and if I could I would have lots more!! We have a 9 year old
son who has never been as happy as he is since I brought the Xolo's
into our lives!!!!!
Ok, Ok, I know - but this is so much how I
feel!!!!!!!! And remember I am a farm girl, so I have had about
every type of pet you can imagine - but a Xolo well it is more that
a pet, it is yes a mate. (Even my husband admits these dogs are
special - and he says he doesn't like animals, but yet when I come
home after shopping, working, etc - there they all are, snuggled up
on the couch, watching TV!!)