Xoloitzcuintlis come in two types: the hairless and the powder-puff. Hairless Xolos look dark, mottled, wrinkly and naked. They typically have a few short, coarse hair strands on the top of their head and tip of their tail, although even these are sparse. Hairless Xoloitzcuintlis rarely develop flea infestations, are basically odorless and obviously do not shed. Some people find hairless Xolos ugly or unattractive to look at, while fanciers of the breed find them endearing and unique. Powder-puffs have a full coat of hair. However, they are not yet accepted by the American Kennel Club for competition in the conformation show ring. Both coat varieties can pop up in the same litter, regardless of what the puppies’ parents look like. Xoloitzcuintlis have slender pointed muzzles, large widely-set erect ears and long, slightly arched necks. Their legs are straight and slender, and their backs are broad, firm and muscular for their small size.
Size and Weight
Today, there are three recognized varieties of Xoloitzcuintlis in terms of size and weight: the Standard, the Miniature and the Toy. The three sizes are considered to be separate breeds, although they are supposed to be the same in all ways except for size differences.
The Standard is the largest and should be over 18 inches at the shoulder, according to the current American Kennel Club breed standard. This is the oldest variety of Xoloitzcuintli, going back to ancient stock. Mature Standard Xolos usually weigh up to 32 pounds. The Miniature Xolo, which is the medium-sized variety, descends directly from the Standard and measures between 13 and 18 inches at the shoulder. Miniatures typically weigh between 13 and 22 pounds. Long ago, size didn’t matter in this breed. However, when fanciers in Mexico, the United States and elsewhere started trying to standardize the breed, height and weight became increasingly important. The Standard and Miniature were recognized by the Mexican Kennel Club as distinct breeds in 1956. The most recent of the three Xoloitzcuintli varieties is the Toy, which should be less than 13 inches tall. Toys were developed in the 1950’s exclusively to be companion lapdogs. In Mexico, the Toy is called a Miniature, and the Miniature is called an Intermediate. Each of the three sizes comes in a hairless and a powder-puff variety. There usually are one or two full-coated puppies in any Xoloitzcuintli litter, even when both parents are hairless.
Coat and Color
Hairless Xoloitzcuintlis lack hair on almost all parts of their bodies, although they usually do have a number of thick, coarse hairs on their foreheads, the back of their necks and the tip of their tails. Powder-puffs are fully-coated. Xolos come in a range of solid colors, including black, gray, liver, red, brown, bronze and golden yellow. They also come in what are called parti-colors, which are patchy combinations of any of the above colors and can also include white, beige or tan. Basically, hairless and powder-puff Xolos can come in almost any color. The hairless often look mottled. They should wear sunscreen when they are in bright sunlight, and they should wear sweaters or coats in cold weather. A unique characteristic of the hairless Xolo is that their bare bodies give off a tremendous amount of heat, which makes them terrific natural foot- and lap-warmers for their owners.
Xoloitzcuintlis are low-maintenance dogs in terms of grooming. The hairless variety should not be over-bathed or over-moisturized, because this can cause acne or other skin infections. Most owners bathe their Xolos only about once a month. A light application of moisturizing skin lotion after a bath can be helpful to keep their skin supple, but it should not be overused. Lighly-colored Xolos may need additional grooming and more frequent application of sunscreen to protect their skin from sun damage. Shedding is not a problem with the hairless variety of Xoloitzcuintlis. Even powder-puffs only shed moderately. Powder-puff Xolos require no more brushing or combing than any other moderately coated breed. Nails should be trimmed and teeth should be cared for in the same fashion as for most other breeds.