Today is Cinco de Mayo, a day that commemorates the Mexican army’s victory during the Battle of Puebla in 1862. This day has become a day to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage, so this is a great time to learn more about the two dog breeds native to Mexico: the Chihuahua and the Xoloitzcuintli (or Xolo), also known as the Mexican hairless dog.
Designated as the official dog of Mexico, the Mexican hairless dog is a rare breed that originated in Mexico over 3,000 years ago. This primitive breed came about by natural selection rather than by a selective breeding program. A relatively unknown dog, this breed is becoming more common since the breed was shown at the 136th Westminster Kennel Club dog show this year and a Xolo named Giorgio Armani was named best of his breed. The Xolo (pronounced “show low”) comes in toy, miniature and standard sizes. The hairless variety is the most popular, but the breed is also available with fur. The Xolo is a hardy breed, and is intelligent, athletic and a loving, loyal companion. While this active breed does require plenty of exercise and discipline, they are easy to care for and the breed has no known health concerns. Grooming is easy, with the Xolo just needing an occasional bath and skin lotion.
Most people are familiar with the Chihuahua, the smallest of all dog breeds. Named after the Chihuahua region in Mexico, this breed is usually between 6 – 9 inches in height, and most weigh between 2 – 6 pounds. This breed had a surge in popularity after the familiar Taco Bell commercials featuring a talking Chihuahua aired years ago. The Chihuahua is generally self-confident, lively and fearless and they make fiercely devoted companions. The Chihuahua comes in many colors and coat patterns, and with long or short, smooth coats. This breed can have hereditary health problems such as luxating patella, so it is best to get your Chihuahua from a reputable breeder. Even though they are small dogs, this breed should get regular exercise and needs proper socialization. The short-coated Chihuahua only requires occasional brushing, while the long-haired Chihuahua will benefit from brushing once or twice a week with a soft bristle brush. Because Chihuahuas can be prone to dental problems, they will benefit from regular tooth brushing.