Mexico is home to the world’s freshest avocados, finest tequila and biggest fiestas. All of which, make Mexico one of the most unique and interesting countries in the world. But did you the country is home to some of the most interesting native Mexican dogs too?
In fact, there are 5 amazing Mexican dog breeds the country has gifted us. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes, but 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, these Mexican dogs make it up in pure awesomeness. Read on to discover all native dog breeds from the America’s hispanic neighbors.
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Table of Contents
All Mexican Dog Breeds
We’ve tracked down all the known dog breeds of Mexico that are still in existence. All 5 Mexican dog breeds include the Chamuco, Chihuahua, Xoloitzcuintli, Chinese Crested and the Calupoh. Now let’s see what makes these dogs so special.
Highlights: Brave, Confident, Protective
The Chamuco, also known as the Mexican Pit Bull, is undeniably the most ferocious and muscular Mexican dog breed. 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 wildly popular among Mexican folklore and urban stories. While many of these legends refer to the actual devil, Chamuco dogs make their appearances.
The first thing that strikes you is the eerie resemblance to the American Pit Bull. But it’s not so surprisingly considering they were bred by crossbreeding the American Bulldog, Mexican Bulldog, Staffordshire 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 has a favorable temperament when properly trained and 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 with their family or strangers. They’re intelligent enough to interpret a stranger’s intentions, making them some of the best 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 has an affinity towards kids. Even so, you should always exercise caution when letting your kids play with a Chamuco.
But what about all the aggressive Chamuco dogs in dog fights? Chances are, they weren’t properly socialized. Because of their dominant personalities, obedience and socialization is more crucial than ever. It’s an unfortunate and sad situation for the fighting Chamucos.
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Highlights: Lively, Charming, Alert
The Chihuahua is undeniably the most popular and iconic dog breed from Mexico. 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 for you. The uniqueness of each and every Chi is all part of their charm.
Although Chihuahuas make excellent urban pets (in apartments or small space), they feel the most comfortable in the lap of their loving 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 intelligence rankings, Chihuahuas are actually quite smart.
Being affectionate and protective dogs, what’s constant is their love of humans, especially with their family. Chihuahuas are fiercely loyal and will 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 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 or novice owners. As long as you can keep their barking in check, they’re 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 dogs that run with a graceful stride. They may not be as well known as the Chihuahua, but their long history dates back to the time of ancient Aztecs. They were companions, guardians 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 is the more popular and much more famous due to their unique appearances.
It’s worth noting that the fur-coated Xolos have a sparse coat with short, flat hair. Plus, the hairless variations aren’t completely hairless, as they’ll often have slight fur on the head. In many cases, it’ll resemble 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 due to 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 with the right environment and an affectionate family, there are few dogs better than the Xoloitzcuintli.
Xoloitzcuintlis are alert dogs that enjoy keeping a watch over their pack. For this reason, it may take some time to warm up to strangers. It’s a huge reason why they make such great watch dogs for families.
Xolos are extremely active dogs and require plenty of physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis. Like many other active dogs, they can exhibit destructive behavior without it. But when they’re not exercising, they’re 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 another pair of eyes. At the same time, they aren’t too fragile, though I’d still teach the kids how to respect these dogs before playing.
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4. Chinese Crested
Highlights: Affectionate, Playful, Cheerful.
Wait, what? The “Chinese” Crested is a Mexican dog breed? Well, according to some of the best researchers, it’s true! Technically, they were developed from Mexico’s most ancient breed – the Mexican Hairless Dog. At least, according to researchers.
There’s a possibility that 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 make the argument 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 come in two varieties: Powderpuff and Hairless. However, 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. They’ll do tricks, cuddle, obedience training and anything else 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. These unique hybrid dogs were developed in the 1990’s by the crossbreeding of wild wolves with various dog breeds.
Though they were directly derived from wolves, they served many jobs and roles in society. For example, Calupohs have been used as sheepdogs, cattle dogs and even companion dogs in Mexico. Still, 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. Even so, 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 and 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. But even with the lack of info, 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.
Surprisingly, the Calupohs have very stable temperaments, which breeders made sure of during the development process. Though they aren’t ideal for new trainers, 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. In a family setting, they’ll love their family like any other dog breed. Just because these dogs look like wolves, doesn’t 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 stems from the wolf’s pack-mentality.
Most of the time, a Calupoh will play well with humans. Though, they tend to appear aloof around strangers. 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.
Mexico’s Stray Dog Problem
There are currently millions of stray dogs living in Mexico. Most of which, hang around the beaches or in the cities. According to the Yucatan Times, roughly 70% of the 18 million dogs in Mexico live on the streets (highest in Latin America).
Why is this a problem? Well, because in just Mexico City alone, authorities capture and kill roughly 20,000 stray dogs per month. Also, an estimated 1.2 million strays live in Mexico City. Given these alarming numbers, it’s a huge problem.
Not only do these strays struggle to live on a daily basis, but they’re climbing a severely uphill battle. Without access to even basic care, these dogs are battling with diseases, hunger, dehydration and severe heat.
Inhumane Treatment of Mexican Dogs
This is perhaps the saddest part. On top of everything I mentioned, humans are probably the deadliest threats to Mexican street dogs. I’ll admit there are plenty of good people out there helping the street dogs too, but not enough.
But if you do a search on the internet, you’ll discover that these dogs have been tortured by kids, killed (for sport) and treated as literal trash (tossed off boats into the water). The worst part is that there are no animal rights laws in Mexico – they’re ambiguous at best.
Because these stray dogs were treated so poorly, it’s not a huge surprise they’ve developed animosity towards people. In some cases, strays have even attacked and killed innocent people. Because of events like these, humans have become even more hostile. And, this vicious cycle continues.
Help this Cause
Fortunately, there are ways you and I can help. First, educate yourself on the situation in Mexico. If you’ve read through this segment of the article, then that’s a great start.
Not everyone will be like Edgardo Zuniga, who travels around Mexico and has saved over 400 dogs. And, certainly no one expects you to be so. However, there are tons of charities and organizations aiming to find homes for stray Mexican dogs:
My favorite charities and organizations:
- Humane Society Mexico
- Compassion Without Borders
- Barb’s Dog Rescue
- Coco’s Animal Welfare
- Fur-ever Homes Rescue
A small donation may go a long way in saving a dog’s life. And if you’re up for it, you can even adopt one of these strays! With our help, hopefully we’ll get to see more stories like this. Thank you for reading and sharing.
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