What Breed Is the Mexican Hairless Dog from Coco? – The Surprising Answer!
By Ashley Bates
The movie Coco warmed the hearts of children and adults alike. In the film, it’s easy to notice Miguel has a tag-along named Dante, and he’s pretty darn cute! It’s clear that maybe Dante isn’t the brightest crayon in the box, but he sure is lovable!
So, what breed is this hairless dog, and do they have similar personalities to the one portrayed in the movie? The actual breed is a Xoloitzcuintli—but saying Mexican Hairless or simply ‘Xolo’ might be a little easier. Let’s talk about breed characteristics!
Xoloitzcuintli: Film Portrayal
In the movie Coco, Dante is a goofy, clumsy pup who follows Miguel everywhere he goes (even though he isn’t allowed by the family.) Soon into the movie, Miguel discovers that Dante is his spirit guide animal—a bridge to the afterlife.
Accompanying Miguel to the other side, Dante leads the way to visit the family’s ancestors to get a blessing. After all, Miguel desperately wants to become a singer and needs the blessing of his great-great-grandfather.
Along his journey, Dante stays by his side, offering companionship. Miguel is surprised to learn that this street dog is so much more than just a shadow – he will protect Miguel long after he passes from the human realm.
So, is there any real significance to these myths, or is the concept of a Mexican hairless dog being a walker in the afterlife just a legend?
Xolos in Mythology
A tribe of indigenous people, otherwise known as the Aztecs, believed that this particular dog breed was a protector and guardian, assisting individuals living a physical reality with entering the afterlife.
These Mesoamerican folklore myths say that these dogs would safeguard the people they protected and their homes from evil spirits and intruders. In indigenous cultures, these dogs were often sacrificed alongside their owner to help them journey into the afterlife.
Sadly, many owners would die and the people would also kill the dog to assist the person in passing into the spirit realm. While we know scientifically that this isn’t the case now, it was a huge tradition and thought to be a sacred practice.
It is no wonder that they chose a Xolo to accompany Miguel on his journey in the movie. It fits perfectly with the storyline, even if the personality differs slightly from what real Xolos exhibit.
Xoloitzcuintli Breed in Reality
Unlike Dante’s goofy personality in the film, these dogs are more serious and show a great amount of intelligence.
The hairlessness is naturally occurring and quite interesting, to say the least. Since these dogs are from such a steamy part of the globe, it makes sense that their need for hair isn’t as prevalent as some other breeds.
These dogs truly are protectors and take their roles very seriously. While they are generally friendly animals, some of them can be aloof and even indifferent toward strangers.
These dogs are incredibly loyal and devoted companion animals. They are on high alert, letting you know of any odd happenings that might be going on around you. For this reason, Xolos make excellent guard dogs. However, the same sentiment does not extend to their family.
These dogs bond very strongly with their owners, so it is important to remember that this is a forever animal. They might not adapt so well-being tossed about from home to home.
It could cause them to become suspicious and wary of people, leading to behavioral issues. But with love and affection, these dogs will blossom and become irreplaceable household members.
Xolos have abundant energy, so they require families with active lifestyles. You must be ready to give your best bud the physical outlet they require.
If a Xolo isn’t exercised correctly, it can exhibit some destructive behavior, so it’s crucial to get a good workout regimen. As puppies, Xolos should have one long, brisk walk a day and lots of playtime in between.
As adults, this breed needs roughly 60 minutes of exercise per day, but can need more or less depending on the individual dog.
These dogs are sturdy with defined muscle structures. They come in three size varieties: standard, intermediate, and miniature. They can also have completely furred babies in a litter, contrary to their parents’ hairlessness.
Some of them might also be partially furred, which means that they have hair puffs on their head or the bottom portion of their legs. Much like a Chinese crested, it isn’t uncommon for Xolos to exhibit this growth style.
However, the hairless gene is highly dominant. If a Xolo is bred with another dog, it is so strong that many of the puppies in the litter would take on this genetic display.
The grooming is unique with this breed. Because they are hairless, there’s no brushing involved, but cleaning can be a little different. Rather than panting to sweat, these dogs sweat through their pores, so you must wipe them down to keep them oil free.
The Xolos with hair are a little different. You would treat them like a regular dog, brushing their coats as needed. Regardless of whether the pup has hair or is completely hairless, there’s no matter. They are generally easy to care for and require standard maintenance.
Xoloitzcuintlis might not be walkers of the underworld in this reality. These dogs might even be a little challenging to find. However, this interesting breed definitely sparks a lot of curiosity. So, do you think a Xolo sounds like a good fit for your family?
Finding breeders in the United States is rare but possible. Travel might be necessary, and you might be required to get on a waiting list for a puppy. However, with enough perseverance, you can have your very own Dante.
Featured Image Credit: Kerekes, Shutterstock