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No, the fifth day of May is not the Mexican equivalent of America’s fourth of July festivities. Mexican Independence day is in the fall, on September 16th! Cinco De Mayo actually commemorates the nation’s victory over French forces in 1861’s Battle of Puebla. While it’s just a minor holiday south of the border (mostly celebrated in the state of Puebla), it’s a major occasion in the United States. At PetPlace, we’re commemorating the holiday with a closer look at some of Mexico’s native dog breeds.
Mexico’s most adorable export is the tiny, apple-headed Chihuahua. A popular symbol of their homeland, the dog has become a favorite of celebrities and everyday dog lovers alike.
- Recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC): 1904
- Popularity: 33 of 197 AKC-recognized breeds
- Height: Five to eight inches
- Weight: Less than six pounds
- Group: Toy
5 Chihuahua Fun Facts
- Chihuahua’s coats come in a range of colors and two different varieties: long-haired and smooth-haired.
- Chihuahuas are named for the Mexican state where the oldest examples of the breed have been unearthed. In English, the state’s name translates to “between two waters.”
- Today’s Chihuahuas are believed to have descended from a tiny dog known as the Techichi, which was native to Central America. The breed was potentially crossed with small, hairless dogs from Asia.
- Chihuahuas form clans and tend to greatly prefer companions of their own breed.
- Xavier Cugat, a famous bandleader of the 1940s and 50s helped popularize the breed among American dog owners. Other famous Chihuahua owners have included Jamie Lee Curtis, Paris Hilton, and Madonna.
The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced “show-low-eats-queent-lee”) has an appearance as eye-catching and unusual as its name. Some enthusiasts call them Xolos for short.
- Recognized by the AKC: 2011
- Popularity: 140 of 197 AKC-recognized breeds
- Height: 10 to 14 inches (toy variety), 14 to 18 inches (miniature variety), 18 to 23 inches (standard variety)
- Weight: 10 to 15 pounds (toy variety), 15 to 30 pounds (miniature variety), 30 to 55 pounds (standard variety)
- Group: Non-Sporting
5 Xoloitzcuintli Fun Facts
- Xolos are among the oldest dog breeds on the planet, dating back more than 3,000 years.
- Tijuana, Mexico is home to a soccer team known as Xoloitzcuintle, which features a Xolo as its mascot. According to the Xoloitzcuintli Club of America, the squad’s success has done a great deal to popularize the breed on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
- Descriptions of the Xolo appear in journals from Christopher Columbus and other European explorers to North and Central America.
- The breed’s tough-to-pronounce name comes from the name of an Aztec god (Xolotl) and the Aztec word for dog (Itzcuintli).
- Xolos have been immortalized in famous works by Mexican painters including Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
More Mexican Dogs
The Xolo and the Chihuahua are the only two Mexican breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, but the Federación Canófila Mexicana lists the Calupoh as a native breed. Since 1999, the organization has officially recognized the “Mexican wolfdog” and breeders have worked to maintain populations. Chamucos (sometimes known as “Mexican Pit Bulls”) are not especially numerous in their home country. Like their American cousins, the breed’s reputation has suffered as a result of dog fighting rings.