The xoloitzcuintle, or Mexican hairless dog, is a canine breed typical of Mexico. The breed dates back to pre-Hispanic times, when it played a role not only in everyday life but also in religion and myth. The archaeological contexts in which remains of the dog have been found, point to the ritual importance of the xoloitzcuintle in funeral rites, as guide and protector. It is also known that these dogs were bred to be eaten, but they were a food available only to a small segment of Mesoamerican society. The word xoloitzcuintle is derived from the Nahuatl words for ‘dog’ (itzcuintle) and ‘wrinkle’ (xólotl). In addition to ‘wrinkled dog,’ the combination has also been interpreted to mean ‘strange dog.’ The first evidence of the breed represented in art comes from some ceramic pieces dated to 200 C.E. from the western Mexican states of Nayarit and Colima. The breed’s characteristics are its docility, delicate skin, and lack of premolars. Until recently, it was considered in danger of extinction, but several institutions and persons have undertaken to care for and foster the breed, which is no longer endangered.


  • Title: Xoloitzcuintle
  • Creator: unknown
  • Location: México
  • Physical Dimensions: 31.5cm x 21.3cm x 21.3cm
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Fideicomiso Museo Dolores Olmedo
  • Medium: Ceramic

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