Hairless Dogs: The Naked Truth

Hairless Dogs The Naked Truth, a book by

Amy Fernandez and Kelly Rhae

Self-Published, 1999 available at Amazon

Although I have mentioned this book a couple of times before, I have never reviewed it.This review is actually a summary of my opinions on the whole subject.

The Hairless Gene comes from Mexico.

I absolutely love the history section from pp 43-58. This is a very cohesive history of the original Mexican hairless dogs, with excellent illustrations. I have followed up on as many of their references as I could, which has been a lot of fun. Fernandez and Rhae conclusively demonstrate through historical references alone, that no naked dogs were ever documented before the return of Cortez from the New World. After that, references abound of naked dogs under dozens of local “breed” names.

They proved that are no Chinese hairless dogs, there are no African or Turkish hairless dogs -before the Conquest.

Since the publication of the book, the origin of the hairless allele on the FoxI3 gene known as Hh was definitively found by Swiss scientists to have first occurred in Mexico 3 thousand years ago or so. It only occurred once and the Peruvian dogs share the same mutation.

With the exception of a recently found recessive hairless gene in a rat terrier in the USA, ALL hairless dogs have the Hh gene that goes back to Mexico. All hairy dogs have an hh allele on that spot called the FOX13 gene where the mutation occurred. Only dogs with the H mutation are hairless. The HH gene is lethal and the hh is the original coated, unmutated dog that can never have hairless pups-unless bred to a hairless dog.

The Genetics of Hairless Dogs.

This book was the first book I read to even mention the genetics of hairless dogs and it describes the nature of a lethal dominant gene, as the H gene is, when expressed as HH. Pups with HH are not born. The Hh gene gives restricted hair and tooth development. There are Hh hairless dogs with varying amounts of hair from none, to a full, but thin, single coat in some Chinese Cresteds. The hairy dogs can have double and/or single coats, though I think the single coat was more common in the tropics.

The Lethal Gene.

The nature of all lethal genes is about a dominant mutation, which with one copy, will give an unusual trait ie hairlessness, bob tails and ridgebacks, all of which are examples in dogs. The reason they are lethal is that two copies of the gene give such an extreme version of the trait, that the animals do not live- if ever born. Thus double dominant genes give bobtails and ridgebacks with external spinal cords and no anuses, for instance. No hairless puppies are believed to survive the double naked HH whammy. The teeth and skin probably do not develop at all, making the embryos nonviable from almost the beginning.

Can there be a “Breed” of Naked Dogs? Absolutely not!!!

Now, I have to stop right there and point out that ALL the hairless breeders started out developing naked breeds of dogs. They get two hairless dogs and breed them together. Even today, all they talk up, is the hairless variety even though up to 50% of a hairless litter can have hairy dogs. Yet, please note, no hairy dog can have the hairless gene, because it has 2 recessive hh alleles.

What Amy and Kelly never taught us, nor even seemed to figure out for themselves, is that the coated dogs are the breed.

The coated dogs are the breed.

The coated dogs are the breed. There is no such thing as a hairless “breed”. There is only a hairless genetic variation on a coated breed. Thus, the hairless trait can be introduced into any “breed” or landrace of ancient dogs and was.

  H h
h Hh hh

H is dominant, h is recessive. Above are all the possible combinations. The HH are not born, the Hh are the hairless and the hh are hairy.

Think about it. The only way to get a hairless dog was to breed a hairless dog, so one had to get a hairless dog to begin with. Then, there will ALWAYS be hairy puppies from hairless dogs in a predetermined ratio although not in every litter.  One practice is to breed hairless to hairless, but that always resulted in smaller litters as the HH pups perished, yet hairy pups still happened because each parent has an h allele. When the odds are that two hh alleles meet up, the dog has hair, so there is no way to get rid of the hairy pups. The reason should be obvious to dog breeders, yet they are so notoriously in denial about so much, they have lost the ability to reason through a situation. The answer to the naked breed thing is that there is no naked breed, there is only an Hh gene added to whatever the mix (or Breed) happens to be.

I will not review the rest of the book, which is a detailed account of how the three registered hairless breeds were developed, the Xoloitzquintle, the Peruvian Inca Orchid, and the Chinese Crested. All three breeds mistakenly only valued the hairless variety, thus the breeds themselves have never been promoted. In the Chinese Crested, the breed is the powder puff; the naked crested dogs are a variation on the basic breed. Seems like the Peruvian breed used a hound model on which to put the hairless gene. The Xolo actually seems to be based on a common type of Mexican dog, a very handsome balanced animal with upright ears and a low curved tail.

Naked dog breeders need to face the reality of how the Hh gene works and develop the actual breed, then use some good dogs to produce the naked variation. However current AKC beliefs in eugenics style closed gene pool breeding, is refusing to admit the truth about how Hh genes work. The crested breeders have so much hair in their hairless dogs, they have to shave some of them for shows. They bemoan it, but have no clue on how to fix it- and. the AKC wouldn’t let them, if they did know how!

So here I am, back at my anti-AKC stance on the breeding of dogs.

Future note.

I would like to see the “Itzquintle” become a Mexican landrace breed, of which some are used to perpetuate the Naked allele. I think the Peruvian dogs are a hodge-podge, a very inconsistent “breed” that I would never invest in. I would like to see the Chinese Cresteds fold up, go away and learn how to breed a good dog and recognize the limits of certain genes. The powder puff version of the dog is so hairy it is almost Qualzucht by itself. The hairy Cresties should not be bred at all. Crestie breeders need to learn some genetics and realize the creators of their “breed”, were Sorcerer’s apprentices who did not know what they were doing- then or now, and thus produced a Qualzucht breed. Look up “Qualzucht” It is German for “torture breeding”.

I do recommend that people look at this book; it reveals the true origins of the AKC Chihuahua as well, and indirectly bolsters the techichi theory, although you need to follow the sources to get the complete picture.

Originally the naked gene was bred into in all sizes of dogs. Until very recently there was a line of naked Chihuahuas (techichi types) in Tucson. Apparently, at the beginning of the development of the Xoloitzquintle breed by the AKC-bbased Xolo club,  techichi-sized dogs were not allowed in at first. Now they are, but a lot of genetic material got lost in Tucson before the club made that change. I have  three sources for that info, two local one-time breeder/owners of naked Chihuahuas and Pat Kennedy, once the sec’y of the Xolo club in the early years -and my Great Aunt, as well. I interviewed her about the early days of the Xolo club at a family reunion, about when she was active in the beginnings of the Xolo breed. She knew a lot about the Tucson scene in the 1950’s when there were lots of naked techichi types.

After thoughts: Qualzucht and naked dogs

After having owned 3 naked dogs, I have come to realize that I totally love the hairy dogs of the breed and would have one any time,  I would not ever own another naked dog. I think it is a weird kind of cultural appropriation to keep breeding these dogs as pets. The original breeders, Aztec ancestors, considered the naked dog sacred to one of their Energy Streams, (I hate the word “gods” in English; it has the wrong connotations for Aztec thought) called Xolotl, the dog-like, twin-like other half of the Quetzalcoatl Energy. The dogs need special care; most have bad dentition, even when bred from hairy dogs with good dentition. The skin itself is extremely vulnerable to all kinds of conditions, all its life- which too often ends with skin cancer.

Tosso Lieb, the Swiss scientist who traced the age and geography of the naked gene has long since reached the conclusion that breeding for nakedness is Qaulzucht, a kind of torture breeding in which humans make their dogs endure an unnatural condition of breeding which distorts the animal. Flat faces, are an especially egregious form of Qualzucht as it affects the internal temperature control and breathing of the dogs with the trait. Just because dogs produce genetic sports- especially when inbred, does not mean man needs to make dogs into an animal that gets bred for the weird trait.

There is not one word of the genetic struggles of the Chinese Crested breed to maintain its baldness in the proper places, in this book, nor of the ethics of breeding weird genes into dogs. They are proud members of AKC-think, not independent scientists who really examined the trait. Just to have a different looking dog, is an ego trip for the owners- it always has been, and naked dogs are no exception- witness the mass killings of hairy pups for decades. If they didn’t have the weird trait, they were worthless dogs.

On the other hand techichi dogs, although small, only have the one weird gene for smallness, which when bred to an extreme is Qualzucht, but in the ordinary 10-20 pound size produces devoted and quite long lived house pets who are a bit high strung about company, but are calm and easy to live with, in general.  In the old days, here in the northern deserts,  the smallness was a trait that allowed even the poorest people to be able to feed their dogs, who also were good at getting and eating rodents. So, even though their smallness does impose some weirdness, like the big eyes, the techichi type is hardy and long lived with no discomfort or special treatment. A good little dog.



I really liked your article about the hairless dogs. I have a coated Xolo, she was the only coated one in her litter and I was just not ready for a naked dog. I also have a Chihuahua type dog. I am very interested in promoting the Techichi type by breeding these girls to other Xolo types, of which I understand came from the same stock. If you know of anyone else interested, please get back to me. My plan is to breed my Chi girl to the father of my Xolo, he is hairless.


    Caitlin Williams

    Thanks for your comment!!!! It is not politically correct to breed anything nowadays, but frankly, I am glad you aren’t paying attention. Please keep us up to date on what happens. Please let us know. I would still love one more hairy pup, myself! Use my email if you want to contact me personally.



      Yes, having bred animals my entire life, show cats and AKC dogs I am aware of the PC police!! I have bred dogs for almost 40 years and will continue to do so until they lock me up. Without breeders, we would lose so many varieties of dogs. The idea that the Techichi type dogs still retain native dna, proven by the Nat Geo and other studies, has caught my interest, and I believe someone should work to preserve that and keep it separate as much as possible. I just don’t know where to start and wonder if anyone else is interested? I would like to preserve a Techichi type dog, bigger than the AKC Chi, without some of the problems, 10-20 lbs. Anyone out there interested?


Caitlin Williams

I am SO glad to hear of your background and I agree with you.

So far, all I have been able to recommend to get a techichi, is to get it from the pound. I think the techichi type should come out in the open and I sure would like to find the people that actually breed them, because they are everywhere!

I have wanted to do what you propose for ages, but don’t have the resources. I would love to learn details and would support your work any way I can. I sure would like information to write about- unless you like to write.

The hairy small itzquintles are already a kind of Mexican landrace type, really quite consistent in phenotype. You could go to Mexico and find some pretty ones. One of those XUSA breeders had a little guy that had a coat similar to a coyote. It was very wild looking. I’d love to see more of those.

What could it be called? the Itzquintito? Just kidding. Maybe.



    Hello, I found my Chi girl on Craigslist. After looking at the pics on the Techichi page.. It was like a sign, I started looking and there she was. She weighs just under 10 lbs and is white with the little spots under her coat, I will try to post a picture of her. The people were rather evasive about her ancestry, so not sure. She looks just like some of the deer type on the page. I like the name Techichi myself, now I know why everyone names a Chihuahua “Chi chi”. My Xolo looks a lot like a rat terrier, but I saw her siblings and parents, all hairless. I cannot figure how to put her pic on here, but I did put it on the FB page months ago.


      Caitlin Williams

      Thanks Deni!
      for a long time I looked at the idea of some kind of wiki for the native dog types. I would like it if several people could get one started each with a special interest. Or something else like that. some kind of forum Neither WordPress nor Facebook is exactly right for the best format, but i see the subject heating up on all sides. I hope for more people who could be important to this doggie will show up here and share their ideas and work.

      I am really happy about this. thanks again



        This sounds like a good idea, I am not very technically inclined, but if someone were to set it up I would love to help somehow.


Caitlin Williams

I wish there were a good way for people to put up pix over here! I guess I could grab some from Facebook….



    I did post some on the fb page, and found some nice ones there as well.



    I thoroughly read your article on “The Naked Truth”. There was a dog show a couple of years ago that was won by a coated Xolo, right after they were accepted for AKC. So perhaps breeders are realizing the importance of them. My coated girl looks like a rat terrier, but she also looks like a lot of pictures of Xolo’s and I have seen her parents, both naked, several times. The person who has them is from Mexico so he is familiar with them. He got them here in CA, but did not get their papers, perhaps they have none. He was telling me about small hairless dogs that live near Monte Alban, in Oaxaca, Mexico.

    I also was in contact with a woman who was breeding “mini Xolo’s” that looked like Chihuahuas near San Diego. I did not pursue it because they are too small.

    Having bred and shown cats for 30+ years, I dabbled in Si-manx for awhile and totally understand the dominant lethal gene. I am not sure why anyone would risk the heartache of sickly or dying animals by breeding two dominant together.


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