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404 – The Athletic, Wicked Smart, Primitive Xoloitzcuintli

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The Athletic, Wicked Smart, Primitive Xoloitzcuintli

Host Laura Reeves visits with passionate fanciers Barbara Griffin and Giovanna Suedan, a self-proclaimed “xolo-aholic,” about the Xoloitzcuintli.

According to the Xoloitzcuintli Club of America, this is “one of the world’s oldest and rarest breeds, with statues identical to the hairless variety dating back over 3,000 years. These clay and ceramic effigies have been found in tombs of the Mayan, Colima and Aztec Indians. The Aztecs deeply revered the Xolo and believed the breed to have mystical healing abilities.” Columbus even mentioned encountering strange hairless dogs in his 1492 New World journals.

Barbara Griffin

Xolos are recognized in three sizes and two coats, according to Griffin, who was instrumental in the breed’s recognition by the American Kennel Club in 2011. The Xoloitzcuintli was actually first registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) from 1887 to 1959 as the “Mexican Hairless” breed, but was dropped due to insufficient numbers of dogs being bred and registered.

Gio Suedan

“I always mention this,” Suedan said. “(The breed) might be really old, but if you compare it to breeds that have been worked on, it’s not as old. It was out of extinction in the early ‘90s. So from the ‘90s to now, it’s not a long time ago. In the beginning, we had very few dogs, very few breeders. They were doing a great job trying to rescue the breed. (But) now the numbers are stable and now we have to standardize (breed) type.”

Size matters

“I find my standards are much more territorial and much more protective,” Griffin said. “If I am going someplace at night, I would rather have my standard xolo with me than my Anatolian Shepherd. They’re very, very territorial. When you walk into my kennel from the little one on up to the biggest one they’re barking. Take some (of them) out and they’re “hi there, how are you, I was a Golden retriever in another life.’”

“Mine are all very friendly,” Suedan said. “But they’re very, very socialized. The key to this breed, because they are primitive, is socialization, socialization, socialization. They’re not a keep in your backyard dog and then think you’re going to take the dog to the park.”

Hairless or coated

“I used to think that they need a lot of lotion, a lot of sunscreen and a lot of care,” Suedan said. “Eventually I realized that it’s also genetic and feeding has a lot to do with it. I don’t use as much lotion as I used to and I don’t use sunscreen even though I do have a spotted dogs. They do burn if you let them outside all the time. Some dogs are allergic to some cleaning products.

“Puppies (skin) are soft. They break out, so they get like little pimples and then they outgrow it. The big key is good quality food. Each dog feels different but they’re very smooth, almost like a chamois. I mean just a very, very smooth. It feels like fine leather.”

Griffin adds, “Their skin is very tough. Veterinarians have to not freak out when the needle bends when they get a shot.”

Coated dogs can pop up in a variety of manifestation, Griffin noted. “You want a short harsh coat. They do not have an undercoat. You can get a variety of different coats. My first standard there were two coated females (in the litter) that looked like Australian Shepherd mixes. Like a Golden retriever, but fluffier. You can get a coat that looks like a bearded collie. You can get a coat that looks like a rough coat Jack Russell.”

Links for more information:

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/queenofxolos

Xolo Database – https://xolo.breedarchive.com/home/index

https://www.facebook.com/giovanna.suedan

 

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER — FRANCIS BACON

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