Why the hairless dog is not the underlying breed, but grafted onto it.

As the hairless gene does not define the actual breed, but only a hairless version of the breed, the Xolo breeders are the tail waving the dog. The hairless gene (Hh) can be imported to any line of dogs. Take a couple of Mexican Xolos to Peru and breed to the local spotted hound type then keep breeding  the hairless ones to the local stock and to each other. Because the hairless gene will show up about 25% of the time when bred to any coated local stock, which is actually the true rate at which the hairless ones were wanted or needed in the old populations. The hairless ones were originally used on their hairy counterparts as well as to each other. This is where the difference lies. The Xolotl Dog just had to be weird. Xolotl was the God of the weird or deformed and was also doglike. If a dog was born bald, it could have short legs or other deformities as well and still be “of Xolotl energy”. The Hairless Dog was the quintessential Xolotl dog, the archetype, but not the only one possible. Thus, the hairless gene was not necessarily used on pretty dogs. When Xolotls were wanted, a hairless dog was bred to either another hairless dog, or to a hairy dog with an anomaly like a “human” face or short legs. When the hairless gene was used in the smallest of the house dogs, it looked like the type we know as deer type Chihuahuas today, only hairless. So originally there were only the xolotls born out of breedings of at least one xolotl dog, there was no breed and could not be, because it did not breed true.

Too bad the “new style” breeders of the hairless ones have devalued the coated dogs, because using them in a breeding program will get a percent of pups with the hairless gene, every time. But in order to have coated pups you can sell, you need to define the actual foundation breed for the hairless genes.  The coated Xolos are quite variable in color and coa ttype, but very little care has been given to breeding them as the true foundation stock. The ones in the registries today are the less desirable siblings of the sought after hairless ones. Little to no effort is made to breed them in registry circles, which is a deep mistake, in my opinion. If this breed does not want to go through a Basenji-type crisis, when all the dogs share all the founder’s genes (or rather, what is left of them!)

Gracie was identified as a coated Xolo in a Memphis shelter.

What is this breed, the Itzquintle? It is a fairly wolfy looking dog slightly longer than tall with a relaxed slightly curved tail that comes in many colors, including fawn, the tri-color, black, black and white and more.Color is not important. Coat types vary from short to slick. The small shepherd type is important. These small dog wolves, as far as any of the dog history books go, are most likely the direct descendents of  the same type dog which originally traveled to the New World with their families. (Various dogs came at various times and in various ways and there were probably already some variations on the standard dogwolf. Dogs with long hair, for instance.)

Pre-Conquest Mexico tended to have smallish dogs. The Itzquintle type was the in same size range as today. Toy, around 10-15 pounds, intermediate, around15- 20lbs, give or take, and standard, around 20+ pounds, was always more of  a luxury dog, probably not all that common in the old days, but due to the variable sizes possible in the genetic structure, there would be a few larger ones, which only rich or royal people could support. The average ones were 10-20pound coursers, watch dogs. There were also dogs smaller than 10 pounds, which were considered sports or runts. It created bad energy to breed them to each other, because the female usually died, so the tiny ones remained rare sports.There is no percent in keeping a large dog on small acreages. When food gets scarce, the little ones and the medium ones will fare much better until times get better. You can feed 3 ten pound dogs as easily as one 30 pound dog and they can chase game just as well as the bigger dogs. Their legs can actually match the loping  speed of the average male in a society where all men allover the continent were runners, but they were capable of very fast bursts of speed as well, thus helpful in hunting. Thus the 10-20 pound dogs were the most usual.

Lots of bigger dogs came with the Conquest. The conquest seems to be the beginning of the dropped ears too. At least I have have not yet seen dropped ears in pre-Conquest New World pottery or art. So, the Iztquintles were a dingo-like dog, typically not over 20 pounds. In fact, the 10-15 pound dog was widespread from an early time, probably as early as the hairless mutation. We see short legged dogs in ancient pottery, hairless dogs, tiny dogs, small dogs,but no big dogs and no dropped ears.

When the “Expedition” went to Mexico decades ago and collected Xolos, they concentrated on collecting only the hairless ones and breeding them to each other from that point on. Of course they always got a percentage o fcoated dogs because of the nature of the hairless gene as a heterozygous dominant. (HH would be pure hairless, but is never seen, indicating it is lethal as a pure dominant. All hairless dogs are Hh and when bred to each other will have 25% hh puppies, which would be the coated version) Certain things seemed to be built into the chosen dogs, coated or hairless, and those would be the general proportions of the dog and the build, which remained the same regardless of size. The eyes are almond shaped (also typical of dingoes and even Basenjis) the hare foot. They are a breed and would probably genetically test as a distinct breed. The coated ones are the descendents of the original immigrants who never got the Hh gene, which is the huge, vast majority of dogs.The correct promotion of these guys, finding their true Aztec identity as the typical house and field dogs, would give them a highly desirable breed provenance,so to speak. They are little, domestic dog wolves, tried and true.

What? Is this one a coated Xolo or a Chihuahua? If you guess, how could you know for sure? I too, wonder what the DNA holds on these little-tested dogs way beyond the state of their hh-ness?



Now, this is a good post!It takes just one ancestor to introduce this Hh into a gene pool. That's why xolos and cresteds have very different mtDNA sequences but have the same genotype.


Caitlin Williams

Thanks! I thought this was a good post too. Sometimes, my best posts are ones that are after the third stomach, so to speak.I would be really happy if you tear some of my worse posts apart. I can only learn from it!The different mtDNA? A hairless male bred to some other ancestor of the CC would have different mtDNA from a female xolo bred to a hairless male, right? Please direct me to the studies, esp, where they talk about the xolo dna.I watched 6 hours of the Westminster freak show yesterday and thought the Ibezan and pharouh hound both looked amazingly like the standard sized Xolos! They are both new breeds, so where did their dna come from? Surely not the ancient dogs. I think the now-AKC xolo has had a lot of genetic engineering since the 1950's and likely only the H gene is unique.


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