Mexico is home to the world’s freshest avocados, finest tequila and biggest fiestas. It’s one of the most interesting countries in the world. But did you that the country is also home to some of the most unique native Mexican dog breeds?
In fact, there are 5 amazing Mexican dogs that the country has gifted us. And while they come in all shapes, colors and sizes, they have the temperaments that live up to the lively and festive fiestas that Mexico is so famous for.
You may be wondering, just five? Although Mexico hasn’t produced as many dogs as say, Germany, the 5 Mexican dog breeds make up for it with their awesomeness. Read on to learn which native breeds come from our neighboring North American country.
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Native Mexican Dog Breeds
All 5 native Mexican dog breeds include the Chamuco, Chihuahua, Xoloitzcuintli, Chinese Crested and the Calupoh. And although the Chihuahua may be the most popular Mexican dog, the Xolo is the national dog breed of Mexico.
Highlights: Brave, Confident, Protective
The Chamuco, also known as the Mexican Pit Bull, is undeniably the most ferocious and muscular of the Mexican breeds. They’re literally called “The Devil” in Spanish, which shows just how intense and feared this breed is.
Although the Chamuco is rare and near-extinct, this legendary canine is still extremely popular among Mexican folklore and urban legends. While many of those stories refer to the actual devil, Chamuco dogs often make an appearance.
The first thing that strikes you is the eerie resemblance to the American Pit Bull Terrier. But it’s not so surprising considering they were bred by crossbreeding the American Bulldog, Mexican Bulldog, Staffy, and of course, the Pit Bull Terrier.
Unfortunately, Chamuco dogs are not popular house pets in Mexico. Instead, they’re bred to participate in illegal underground dog fights. It’s really a shame because they have the potential to make splendid pets with proper training.
- Chamuco means “devil” in Spanish. However, it’s also slang to describe a mischievous person (or dog, in this case).
- You can’t actually buy a Chamuco in a pet store in Mexico. In fact, breeding this dog is frowned upon because of their association with dog fights in Mexico.
- In 1970, they were developed in Mexico through cross-breeding more than 7 dog breeds, including Mexican street dogs.
Surprisingly, the Chamuco can actually develop a favorable temperament when properly trained, while being raised in a loving environment. With their family, Chamucos are extremely friendly and love being included in all family activities.
Needless to say, Chamuco dogs are always brimming with confidence, whether around family members or strangers. They’re intelligent enough to interpret a stranger’s intentions, making them some of the top guard and watchdogs Mexico has to offer.
What’s even more surprising is their playful nature with children. Like with the Akita Inu, the Chamuco is believed to have an affinity towards kids. But even so, you should always exercise caution when letting a child play with a Chamuco.
But what about all the aggressive Chamuco dogs in dog fights? It’s likely hey weren’t properly socialized. Because of the Chamuco’s dominant personalities, training and socialization is more crucial than ever. It is just unfortunate situation for the Chamucos bred to fight.
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Highlights: Loyal, Charming, Alert
The Chihuahua is undeniably the most popular and iconic dog breed from Mexico. But it’s no surprise they’ve been exported worldwide. They’re small, spunky, loyal with a lot of sass. If you’ve ever met a Chihuahua in your life, I’ll bet you probably have been barked at.
These toy lap dogs come in at less than 6 pounds and sport their signature round “apple head.” And while Chihuahuas are little dogs, they have big attitudes and don’t easily shy away from dogs much bigger than them.
What’s most interesting about the Chihuahua breed is the variety. For example, you can find Chihuahuas of all colors, including: black, white, fawn, chocolate, gold, cream or a mix. Plus, some will have long hair, while others will have short hair.
In fact, it’s possible to find a hairless Chihuahua too! No matter what kind of lap dog you may be looking for, there’s a Chihuahua that’s perfect for you. The uniqueness of each and every Chihuahua is all part of their charm, and why they’re so popular.
Although Chihuahuas make excellent urban pets (in apartments or small space), they tend to feel the most comfortable in the lap of their owner. The most important part of raising a Chihuahua is giving them the attention and love they need.
- The famed Taco Bell dog was a Chihuahua named Gidget. Unfortunately, she died from a stroke at age 15.
- Prior to being universally recognized as Chihuahuas, these dogs were called “Texas dogs” and “Arizona dogs.”
- According to Mexican folklore, Chihuahuas were believed to cure respiratory conditions, such as Asthma, by absorbing the ailment from their owner.
The temperament and personality of a Chihuahua have been known to vary depending on the dog. Some will be timid, while others will be outgoing and loud. And despite Coren’s dog IQ rankings, these dogs are actually quite smart. They’re just stubborn.
Being affectionate and protective dogs, what’s constant is their love of humans, especially with their family. Chihuahuas are fiercely loyal and will often show it whenever a stranger gets too close to their loved ones.
However, if you can’t stand the barking, Chihuahuas are known to yap away at anything and everything. As the smallest purebred dog, Chihuahuas try to overcome their physical “shortfalls” by exhibiting some aggressive behaviors. We call this small dog syndrome.
When things are calm at home, they can be a little mischievous by nature. Nevertheless, the Chihuahua will provide you with an endless amount of fun entertainment. Their quirky personalities can really bring out the liveliness of these dogs.
But because of their pleasant temperament and the low maintenance, they are top options for a first time owner or novice trainer. As long as you can stand the barking and provide them with plenty of attention, a Chihuahua is one of the best lap dog options.
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Highlights: Calm, Devoted, Alert
The Xoloitzcuintli, or “Xolo” for short, is also referred to as the Mexican Hairless Dog. And it doesn’t take a genius to understand why. However, there’s so much more to these one-of-a-kind dogs than a hypoallergenic coat.
Xoloitzcuintli dogs are very intelligent. They also carry themselves in a graceful manner. They may not be as well known as the Chihuahua, but their colored history dates back to the age of the Aztecs. In fact, they were companions and watchdogs for the ancient civilization.
Xoloitzcuintli dogs come in three sizes: toy, miniature and standard. And despite popular belief, not all of them are hairless. It’s just that the hairless variety is the more popular and famous type, most likely due to the unique look.
It’s worth noting that the fur-coated Xolos have a sparse coat with short, flat hair. Plus, the hairless dog isn’t completely hairless, as they’ll often have slight fur on the head and legs. In some cases, the hair on the head resembles a “mohawk.”
Although some people may associate the lack of fur with poor health, the Xolos are actually some of the most robust dog breeds. It’s largely because of the thousands of years of breeding through natural selection (with little human intervention).
- The Xolo dogs were considered sacred by the Aztecs. In fact, they were named after the Aztec god of lightning and death.
- Indigenous people of Mexico believed that the Xolos were able to ward off evil spirits from entering their homes.
- Evidence of this dog breed can be dated back over 3,500 years ago. These dogs were found in ancient tombs of the Mayans, Aztecs, Colimas, Toltecs and other ancient civilizations.
The Mexican Hairless dogs are “people-dogs.” In other words, they love to be with familiar humans and love nothing more than to please. With the right environment and an affectionate family, there are few dogs better than the Xoloitzcuintli.
Xoloitzcuintlis are alert dogs that enjoy keeping watch over their pack. For this reason, it may take them a little bit of time to warm up to strangers. But on the plus side, it’s a big reason why they tend to make great watch dogs for families.
Xolos are extremely active dogs and require plenty of physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis. Like other active dogs, they can show destructive behavior without it. But when they aren’t getting in a workout, they can be relatively calm in the home.
The Xoloitzcuintli also makes great playmates for kids. Thanks to their protective nature, you can count on them to be a second pair of eyes. At the same time, they aren’t too fragile, though I’d still teach your kids how to respect these dogs before play time.
4. Chinese Crested
Highlights: Loving, Playful, Cheerful
Wait, what? The “Chinese” Crested is a Mexican dog breed? Well, according to some of researchers, it’s true! Technically, the Crestie was developed from Mexico’s most ancient breed – the Mexican Hairless dog. At least, according to these researchers.
There’s a possibility that the early ancestors of the Chinese Crested were imported into China. Further breeding in China ultimately led to the modern Chinese Crested that we know and love today. So, you can argue that they’re from both Mexico and China.
But despite the unorthodox origin story, the Chinese Crested are fantastic toy dogs with a huge heart. They’re some of the best lap dogs and generally prefer to stay close to their owners. After all, they were developed for solely companionship.
Chinese Crested dogs can come in two varieties: Powderpuff and Hairless. However, the hairless is the dominant trait and thus, more popular. Powderpuffs are identical in temperament and personality, just with a soft and silky coat.
- The winner of the World’s Ugliest Dog contest in 2003, 2004 and 2005 was a Chinese Crested named Sam. Sadly, he passed away after his last competition.
- Chinese Crested dogs have sweat glands and, unlike other dog breeds, don’t necessarily require panting to cool down.
- These dogs were popular dogs on Chinese ships in the 14th century. Their primary jobs were to hunt down rats and prevent the spread of the Bubonic Plague.
Chinese Crested Temperament
By now, you’ve probably realized they’re somewhat unusual dogs. For instance, one of the most unusual traits about the Chinese Crested is their love of heights. In a way they’re “like cats” and have often been described as feline dogs.
If your Chinese Crested can reach higher ground, it’s not unusual to see him attempt to get there. What’s more, these dogs won’t even want to go on walks. They’re truly home-body dogs that would rather be pampered on your lap.
A Chinese Crested is a true toy dog that loves nothing more than to play and lounge. They’ll do tricks, cuddle, and even obedience training, just to grab your attention. Like a good velcro-dog, your Crestie will never leave your side.
If you’re in a household that houses cats or other dogs, they’ll get along just fine. They are not territorial nor aggressive dogs. Rather, Chinese Cresteds are sensible dogs and can make friends with just about anyone, including strangers!
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Highlights: Agile, Loyal, Dynamic
As one of the rarest Mexican dog breeds, the Calupoh dog is also known as the Mexican Wolfdog. And as the name suggest, there’s some wolf in them. This unique hybrid dog was developed in the 1990’s by the crossbreeding of wild wolves and various dog breeds.
Though they were directly derived from wolves, they served many jobs in society. For example, Calupohs have been used as sheepdogs, cattle dogs and even companion dogs in Mexico. But even so, they’re most useful as guard dogs given their territorial instincts.
Calupohs are durable dogs with high endurance. They’re strong and agile and are to be feared in the canine kingdom. However, Calupohs are more balanced in temperament than the primitive wolf, as intended with the breeding process.
They have elongated legs that help them reach amazing speeds once in full stride. Their lean muscular frame gives them agility that can match that of a German Shepherd’s. In addition, a strong head, neck and skull make them overall powerful dogs.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much information that has been published about these wolf-like dog breeds. However even with the lack of information, they’re fascinating and easily one of the most interesting dog breeds to come out of Mexico.
- The Mexicans have been crossbreeding dogs and gray wolves since the 16th century. They decided to start the Calupoh genetic project because of a “cultural rescue.”
- A male Calupoh can reach up to 30 inches tall. For comparison, that’s roughly the height of a Leonberger or Great Pyrenees.
- It’s fairly difficult breeding these dogs. Sometimes, there will be hiccups that produce Calupoh dogs with pink colored lips and eyelids.
Calupohs have very stable temperaments, which breeders made sure of during the breeding process. Though they aren’t ideal for new trainers or first-time owners, they’re relatively easy to handle with an experienced handler.
Like with wild wolves, the Calupoh is loyal to the pack, including human pack-members. And in a family setting, they’ll love their family like any other dog breed. Just because these dogs look like wolves, does not mean they’ll act like them.
The key to successfully raising a Calupoh at home is socialization and obedience. If, and only if properly socialized early on, can they can easily coexist and even thrive with other dogs in the family. Without question, the traits comes from the wolf’s pack-mentality.
Most of the time, a Calupoh will play well with humans. They do appear to be aloof around strangers. So if you’re looking for a guard dog, or at least a deterrent, the Calupoh may be a great choice. Few burglars would dare mess with one.
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Thursday 30th of June 2022
The Xoloitzcuintle was often buried with humans because of their association with Xolotl, who is a dog headed man. He serves as a spirit guide in the underworld- in one famous tale he guides his twin brother, Quetzalcoatl, through Mictlān. Interestingly, Xolos aren’t the only animal named after him- as the Axolotl also gets their name from him.
Tuesday 9th of November 2021
Mountain xolo are the dogs which came over the Bering Straights with the ancestors. this is the oldest breed of dog in the world, and can be found in all tropical and subtropical climates. Cave paintings of them were found to be over 11,000 years old. Most peoples call them pariah dogs. According to our elders, this dog waits the Great Cleansing, when they'll take their place at the side of man as his partner.
Monday 20th of September 2021
Another excellent rescue is Ranchito Rescate run by Missy. This rescue would strongly benefit from support. So that Missy can continue her good work!
Eddie Bosman Sanchez
Saturday 21st of August 2021
love this feed on Xolo's.. I am intrigued by the info on these beautiful and intelligent animal's. I am hoping to be able to have one to raise soon.
Friday 28th of May 2021
Thank you for this article. I adopted/ rescued a Belgian malinois mix from this amazing lady named Marisol who has a rescue here in AZ that has dogs that are rescued from Mexico. I'm so happy I was able to help with the issue, even if it was only a tiny bit. I love our puppy,he is so sweet and loving! ❤