Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Xoloitzcuitle, the Dog of Gods

Miniature and Intermediate sized Xolos (photo courtesy of Ricklene)
Miniature Xolo
Coated Miniature Xolo
The Xoloitzcuintle, or Xoloitzcuintli (show-lo-eets-qweent-lee), commonly referred to as the Mexican Hairless or Xolo, is an ancient breed whose ancestors ranged from Mexico to South America. Proof that they shared their lives with many early civilizations of the pre-Columbian era can be found in pottery shards and relics. Aztecs raised hairless dogs for food and for their medicinal purposes. It was thought that the dogs could heal arthritis, asthma, and other ailments. The meat was thought to have curative properties. We may think of this as barbaric, but to these people it was no different than raising say, a herd of sheep or goats. They depended on these dogs for their survival.

The Mayans and Toltecs worshipped them as gods. Legends tell us that the god Xolotl sent a messenger, Itzcuintle, made of a sliver of his bone to guide mankind in his life journey through the afterlife to be reborn. It is said that the xolo was born flesh from deep within a volcano that left the hair singed from his body so all would know the pain he endured to help mankind. The dog was the only domestic animal to be buried with their master when they passed on. It was thought that to be without a dog when you die would forever block your passage to the underworld. The stories say that the dog would stand before the gods at his masters side and judge the man on how he treated his dog. This same theme can be found in Egypt as Anubis, the dog-headed god of the dead. 

Xolos share the genetic makeup of many of the hairless breeds and therefore the personality traits among the groups are the same. Differences in appearance abound due to inbreeding and the lack of recognition between hairless breeds until very recently.  The xolo can also be a cobby type, or pottery style; that is short and squat and very muscular as seen in relics. They can also be deer type which is fine boned, tall and thin. Deer type have more of the sight hound ancestry and closely resemble whippets or greyhounds.

Body hair can also vary greatly in the xolo, some may have little to no body hair, while others may have a sparse amount on the head, tail, and feet. There is a coated variety that people commonly mistake as a pitbull/lab mix due to their muscular bodies and broad heads. Both hairless and coated can be born in the same litter. The ears may be pricked (upright), tipped (folded at tips), or rose (folded back against the head).

Xolos, like all primitive breeds are pack animals used to living in groups, and distrust outsiders. Outsiders may mean a stranger, solicitor, or perhaps a neighbor or family member they have not met before. They are devoted and loving to those they know, reserved and shy with strangers. They can be wonderful companions and bond strongly with their human families. It is said that the xolo is a very stubborn dog. I believe they are merely extremely intelligent.

Xolos can be very dominant, remember they are pack animals and will take on the role as alpha if allowed. Any dog that feels they must show dominance will attempt to "mount" a person or other pets (I’ve even heard of one humping a potted plant! Poor plant never had a chance). Just correct this by showing him or her who's boss. At my former job as an animal caretaker we did this by putting the dog in a  "down position". Basically you force the dog to lie down and then show its belly. This puts it in a submissive posture. Soon the dog will do this automatically. You see this all the time when a dog rolls over to get its belly rubbed, or tries to lick your face.  Dominance must be established by you early in the relationship.

Dogs of South and Latin America

Kahla Grande
The Hairless Khala, Kahla, Perro K'ala, Chala, K'ala, or Caa allepo, is native to Central and South America and is still used by the native people of Argentina, Bolivia and Peru as a hunting dog. The coated variety of the breed resemble a Borzoi. They are considered to be the largest of the Xolo breeds weighing around 45-55 pounds. The Khala come in two varieties; the Khala Grande, and the Khala Medio.

These dogs are highly prized by the tribe and their parentage can usually be traced back through generations. The most notable difference in appearance in this breed is the high, domed forehead and the large ears. Khalas have coarse hair covering their head, feet, and tail. Like the xolo, Khalas are very wary of strangers and bond quickly to their family. They are intelligent, gentle dogs and keenly sensitive to the emotional state of their owners. Many have been known to develop gastrointestinal problems due to stress at home.

Kahla Grande

The Peruvian Inca Orchid, PIO, Moonflower Dog, or Perro Flora, was raised by the Inca civilization of South America. Thought to be magical creatures they were allowed to roam freely about only at night. This was most likely due to the fact that the PIO has very light pigmented skin which causes them to sunburn easily. Inca rulers guarded these dogs fiercely and kept them as bed warmers and pets.

The natives viewed them as gifts from the gods and thought them to have healing capabilities. The Inca Orchid is primarily white or pink skin that is spotted by color. They also have a trademark spot on the top of their head (known as the "kissing spot"), distinguished by either a lighter coat color or skin pigmentation. 

Raymi, PIO (photo courtesy of Sonja)
The Peruvian Hairless, Inca Hairless, or Perro Sin Pello Del Peru, are usually a solid dark color, normally brown to grey black. Hair growth is minimal, but some (called the "fuzzy-face" variety) can get hair on the head and tail. Like the xolo they resemble hairless sight hounds.

The Peruvian is recognized in three sizes; toy, miniature, and standard. The genetic registry for this breed has been extremely mixed over the years since any breed of hairless dog in Peru was considered a Peruvian. In recent years the formation of the Inca Hairless Club of America has helped to define this breed and develop a standard to which breeders can strive for.

There has been much debate for years among both American and South American Breeders as to whether or not the PIO and PSPP are actually one and the same. Most registries in the US recognize only the PIO. Without further genetic testing this may never be fully resolved.

My personal opinion is that they are in fact the same breed, the difference being that the PIO is mostly white with spotting, and the PSPP is a uniformly darker pigment without spotting.

For more information on these dogs, please visit the links below:
To submit a link, please Contact Us!

The Chinese Crested Dog

The Chinese Crested Dog got it's name from the Mongolian Emperors of China who collected these rare dogs to decorate their palaces. Chinese merchants helped to spread this breed throughout the world by taking them on their ships. It's thought that they were handy rat killers, and not having hair they did not carry fleas! The Chinese Crested is much older than the merchant ships of China though. Small hairless dogs roamed the African dessert for thousands of year before being "discovered". It is thought that the Chinese Crested bred with a Chihuahua to produce the toy Mexican Hairless, however there is currently no proof of this theory. Because there are naturally occurring hairless dog breeds found throughout the world, many of these dogs have been inadvertently mixed.

Hair growth on the Chinese Crested varies greatly but is commonly known by the full silky mane of hair on the head- the crest, the tail- or plume, and the feet- or socks. My personal opinion on why this hair pattern emerged is simple. Days on the African deserts get to unbearable temperatures, while nights become cold, even frigid! This hair pattern protects the dogs extremities susceptible to frostbite, but prevents the dog from overheating in the hot sun.

They resemble tiny ponies in both appearance and gait. The coated variety, called the Powderpuff, can be born in the same litter as the hairless and has a full fluffy coat. The only notable difference between the two is in dentition, or tooth formation. Hairless dogs have primitive, or tusk teeth that do not have a full root system. Often the hairless are born with missing or malformed teeth. This is not considered a fault and is normal for the hairless variety of the breed.
Of the coat varieties I mentioned above, there are other variations as well. The "veil coat" is not seen often but was once common to the breed. Characterized by a single layer of soft, downy; hair that in the light resembled a veil placed over the dog. The curly coat, again not seen often as it is not a desired trait, is a tightly curled coat that resembles a combination of Maltese and Poodle. I have groomed one of these coats, and let me tell you.. not fun at all! Talk about frizz!! See photo on left. Yet another coat type is the terrier coat. The terrier coat is made up of mostly guard hairs and is the most like "fur".

Chinese Crested Dogs are very people oriented, both to family and strangers. Nicknamed the "clown dog", they will do what it takes to get plenty of attention. Unfortunately this can also lead to destructive behavior. Many times people get these dogs because they are unusual or rare but don't really have the time to spend with them. They keep them crated, or allow them to wander and entertain themselves. Which of course they will do! Just not in the constructive way one would hope.

Our Chinese Crested Ming took great pride in shredding paper and tissues when she felt ignored by us. Our Chinese Crested Powderpuff once had a tantrum after a bath and left a wonderful "present" on the bed to show his displeasure. They will always find new and unusual way to capture your attention. We like to say it's a good thing Chinese Crested's don't have thumbs or else we would be in big trouble! That's not to say they are bad dogs, not in the least! They are the most personable, comical, elegant, and intelligent dogs I have ever met. BUT they will let you know when they are not pleased or are feeling ignored.

The Chinese Crested Dog is one of the most unique, intelligent, loyal, and devoted dogs I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I am honored to have shared my life with them.

The American Hairless Terrier, or AHT

The American Hairless Terrier or AHT, is not a primitive breed at all, but rather new. The first recorded hairless terrier was born in 1972 to a Rat Terrier. They named her Josephine, and it is from this original dog that this unique breed began. The AHT is a natural mutation of the Rat Terrier, but unlike other hairless breeds, the gene causing the lack of hair is recessive, not dominant. AHT's are born with full dentition (a full set of teeth), and a soft downy fuzz on their bodies. As the dog matures it will lose this downy covering rather like a baby's peach fuzz. Adults are completely hairless other than a few whiskers. Their skin is soft, and they are not prone to acne or allergies, they do however sunburn quite easily so care must be taken when outside. Like other hairless breeds, the AHT “sweats” through it’s skin. This is highly noticeable when they are excited or nervous, as well as overheated. First listed by the United Kennel Club in 1999 as the Rat Terrier-hairless variety, in 2004 the American Hairless Terrier was officially recognized by the UKC as a distinct breed. See the breed standard as set by the founding kennel HERE.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stevie, a Bolivian Kahla for Adoption

 Please contact Marianne (nothinglikethesun@att.net) for more information about this pet.

Adoption Application link: http://crest-care.net/forms.htm

Hello and wags to you! My name is Stevie, short for Sir Stephen the Bold, and I am a very rare hairless breed called a KHALA. KHALA is the Bolivian Quechua Indian word for 'naked,' so I guess I must be native to South America! As far as I'm concerned, I'm native to the place where someone will love me and play with me.

Right now I'm living with a nice foster family who says I'm in 'rehabilitation.' You see, I was homeless for a long, long time, and I became very emaciated and ill. My foster family is fattening me up and having me treated for heartworms, so I won't be available for adoption until early fall. For now, my doctor says I have to be very still until all the heartworms are gone and then I can be 'neutered,' whatever that means. I hope there's food involved! I can't wait until I can run and play in the grassy back yard with the other dogs! I believe my foster mom has my best interest at heart, but why can't I run with the little dogs? The only exercise I'm allowed is tail-wagging, so I do that all the time! When I'm healthy, though, I will be very good on a leash and would love to go for walks with you.

My foster mom says when I reach '45 pounds and holding,' we will all -- that's me, my family, and the other dogs -- get in the car and go for ice cream to celebrate, so I'm eating whatever I'm told and trying to gain as much weight as I can! I love to go in the car, and I'll bet I'll like ice cream too! The other dogs tell me it's heavenly.

I am a KHALA GRANDE, so I'm a big gangly boy. Graceful and agile, but I'm no sissy! I might look like a giant Chinese Crested, and wear clothes to protect me from sunburn and frostbite, but I'm a man's man. I would most like to keep busy chasing squirrels and doing other hound-dog stuff. For now, though, my family lets me snuggle on a blanket with them when I'm not resting in my crate, and I'm confident giving love to anyone who is nice to me. When I love someone, I practically melt right into them!

If you are interested in a great big hairless dog with a fabulous disposition, I just might be the one you need to complete your family! It would be especially nice if you know something about hairless dogs. Our teeth aren't the greatest and we are prone to skin issues because our skin is tender like baby skin, but the best part is that we are smart, joyful, and loyal. My foster family has been buying me clothes, so I will come with a small wardrobe. My favorite shirt says that I am a surfer dude! I'm well-socialized and learning more each day, though my foster mom thinks I will be a 'marker' if not watched properly, but it's just because I'm in a new place (LOL!) and there's a little hairless boy here who marks everything ahead of me. It took me some time to get used to all of the other four-leggers in my foster home, but taken slowly, I get used to everyone and I wouldn't harm a flea.... well, maybe a flea. And I would love to eat that cockatiel that lives on the porch!

My foster family says that my forever home will have to be just right for me, so if you think I might be just right for you, why not submit an application now so I can come home to you in the fall? Just visit www.crest-care.net and click the How to Adopt button and it will tell you everything you need to know. If you click the Sponsor button and scroll down, you can see a picture of me before I was rescued and read more about my story.

If you want to ask me any questions, just e-mail my foster family at nothinglikethesun@att.net and they'll give me the message.  Remember I am still undergoing medical treatment for heartworms so I will not be ready for my forever home until fall 2010 but my foster mom says she would love to find the perfect home for me now so they can watch me go from a skinny sickly boy to a fat and sassy boy like I should be.

Website: www.crest-care.net
We may get our miracle after all..... 
Stevie did GREAT at the vet's office today.  He is doing so well, and has gained so much weight, that Dr. Hooks is going to HW test him before his next scheduled HW treatment in 6 weeks to see whether he is HW-free and maybe can go on normal HW prevention.  No one expected him to do this well this quickly, but he is a healthy, happy dog, and actually had to be knocked out for today's treatment because he was so rambunctious.  He didn't want to sit still for anything -- he just wanted to roll around on his back and play.
And the best part .... get this.... Stevie is at THE HIGH END OF HIS WEIGHT CATEGORY and is not supposed to gain one more pound (my orders).  He weighs 55 pounds today, and he now has to go on his "weight maintenance" routine until he is allowed to exercise.  WOO HOO!!!
Thanks to EVERYONE for the prayers and support for Little Stevie Wonder.  In another month or so, he should be able to play and go for walks like a normal dog!!  YAY!!
See more at http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/16844775