With Cinco de Mayo celebrations honoring Mexican culture and heritage underway, we thought it would be fun to spend a little time talking about dog breeds of Mexican origin. The first one that comes to mind for most people is the Chihuahua, with the Xoloitzcuintli and the Mexican Street Dog being lesser known.
Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed, but what they lack in size they make up for with their big personalities. These alert, active little dogs (that are surprisingly good at agility sports) can have long or short-haired coats and come in a variety of colors and coat patterns.
Interestingly, we have previously noted genetic differences between the indigenous Mexican Chihuahua and the show lines of the Chihuahua originating from the US and from Britain. Indigenous lines of the breed often show different conformation, or structure, than the show lines. They tend to have larger sizes, “deer style” build, and more muscling, rather than the small, short, “apple head” conformation of the show lines. They also appear to be more genetically and physically diverse than their show counterparts, as is common of non-show breed populations. We have found Mexican-line male Chihuahuas that weigh up to 19 lbs!
Ever popular, Chihuahuas are the fourth most common breed identified in the WISDOM PANEL™ dog DNA tests we run.
The Xoloitzcuintli is an indigenous breed from Mexico and got its name from the Aztec god, ‘Xolotl’, and the Aztec name for dog, ‘Itzcuintli’. Since their official name is a mouthful, most call it the “Xolo” (pronounced SHO-lo) for short. It’s sometimes referred to as a Mexican Hairless, although by nature, there are haired and “hairy hairless” individuals as well. Much like in the Chinese Crested and the Peruvian Inca Orchid (or Peruvian Hairless), the absence of hair is a dominant trait in the Xolo. The gene is lethal when two copies are inherited, so all hairless Xolos are actually carrying a single copy of the hairless gene.
Xolos are intelligent, friendly and very loyal. They tend to be protective of their owners and like to stay by their sides, which makes them a low risk for running away.
Mexican Street Dog
Our WISDOM PANEL™ canine DNA test was actually the first to identify the breed marker signature for Mexican Street Dogs. They are intelligent dogs that are generally thought to be the result of the stray and feral dog populations that roam the streets and beaches of Mexico. Since these dogs have often had to fend for themselves, they tend to be highly food motivated and respond well to reward-based training.
Because the Street Dog has had little interference in breeding from humans, there is a very wide variety of sizes, colors and builds. Take the dog pictured above, for example. She was found on the streets of La Paz, Mexico and brought to the US, where she was adopted. She may be a Mexican Street Dog, but her owners are awaiting the results of her WISDOM PANEL™ Health test to find out. We’ll share the results when we have them!
If you’re curious about your dog’s breed make-up, check out our DNA kits on WisdomPanel.com.