Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Three Xoloitzcuintli dogs in the park

From Cinco de Mayo to cuisine, Mexico has contributed a lot to other North American cultures. An often overlooked contribution is Mexico’s native dog breeds. Chihuahuas are famous around the globe, but there are other notable Mexican dog breeds. Keep reading to learn more about these beautiful and impressive breeds from Latin America.

1. Chihuahua

First on our list is the smallest dog breed from Mexico: Chihuahuas are loyal, charming dogs that will typically grow attached to one person. Despite their tiny stature, they make excellent guard dogs and good family dogs because of their alert and outsized personalities.

Throughout history, Chihuahuas had numerous roles, but people often bred them to do what they do best: be lovable, pint-sized companions. Watch their food intake  — Chihuahuas are prone to obesity, although these are healthy dogs overall.

Close up of a cute Chihuahua lying on grass

Facts about the Chihuahua

  • Breed groupToy breed
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Highly vocal
  • Life span — 14-16 years

2. Xoloitzcuintli

Easily one of the most recognizable dog breeds by dog lovers, Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced “show-low-eats-QUEENT-ly”) get their name from two Aztec words: Xolotl for the Aztec god of lightning and death, and itzcuintli for dog. These medium-sized dogs come in a hairless variety or a short, flat coat. And while small kids may test their patience, the Xoloitzcuintli (Xolo for short) is a fantastic family pet, thanks to its lovable yet watchful nature.

👉 Perhaps unsurprisingly, a dog with such a unique appearance has its own club, the Xoloitzcuintli Club of America, although the Chihuahua is still Mexico’s reigning national treasure.

One thing prospective dog parents should consider: Xolos are prone to skin issues due to sunburns and fleas, patellar luxation , or a slipped kneecap, which may require surgery if severe.

Five Xoloitzcuintli dogs

Photo by Xolomania (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Facts about the Xoloitzcuintli

  • Breed groupNon-sporting breed
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Life span — 13-18 years

3. Calupoh

A hybrid of a  Xolo and the gray wolf, Calupohs are medium-sized, strong dogs with black coats, although some may be silver or white and black. While they have traits of their wolf ancestors, domestication led Calupohs to become patient and loyal family dogs with striking wolf features, including gorgeous yellow or orange eyes.

4. Chamuco

A newer breed, the Chamuco is a cross between the American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, and, as some speculate, the boxer. The now-extinct Mexican bulldog also contributed to the breed. Chamuco means devil in Spanish, and while they have strong personalities, they can be devoted pets that are great with kids and protective of their family when well-socialized.

Mexico’s stray dog population contributed to the development of the Chamuco breed, which, unfortunately, is frequently the victim of dog fighting due to its durable and muscular body type.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Beto Ximello (@ximello)

5. Chinese crested

Despite the name, Chinese crested dogs may have origins in Mexico — with the Aztecs, to be exact. Dogs that fit their description date back centuries in multiple cultures, including the Aztecs, and had many roles in the different cultures they helped shape. As trade routes connected continents, these little, hairless dogs became popular on Chinese trading ships, which led to their name.

White Chinese crested dog on a leash

Facts about the Chinese crested

  • Breed groupToy breed
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Semi-frequently
  • Life span — 13-15 years

Mexico’s stray dogs

Certain dog breeds like the Calupoh and Chamuco are due to natural hybridization among stray dogs. For some areas, this isn’t a good thing — a lack of affordable spay and neuter programs harms these breeds, leading to overpopulation and safety issues for communities. This is a problem in the United States as well, and, like communities in the U.S., Latin American countries are taking measures to help curve the number of stray dogs in their cities.